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Strange endorsement

Justin Webb | 16:00 UK time, Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Rudy Giuliani and Pat RobertsonThe endorsement of Rudy Giuliani - the gay-friendly, abortion-tolerant, gun-hostile, former mayor of New York - by the evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson is breathtaking on all kinds of levels. Didn't Pat once think that 9/11 was a punishment visited on Gotham City by a vengeful God?

There was a wonderful moment at a debate a few months ago when lightning struck nearby while Rudy was talking about abortion - he paused and laughed! Supernatural interventions in human affairs are not for rigorous Rudy. He now gets the "free media" of the Robertson TV empire and its audience, having given nothing in return.

What a mess the religious right is in...

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 07:46 PM on 07 Nov 2007,
  • S. Callahan wrote:

Justin...

How does Robertson's endorsement of Giuliani suggest that the "religious right" (whatever that really means) is in a "mess"? Must a loon like Robertson play to the BBC's caricature of the "religious right" in order for it to be well ordered? Please do tell.

  • 2.
  • At 08:33 PM on 07 Nov 2007,
  • Joel Walters wrote:

i have to agree with justin the religious right are in a mess right now this election will prove without a doubt as to whether or not the religious right really do have the clout that everyone says they have especially because you have people on the religious right side saying that if rudy or anyone else that they dont pick becomes the nominee they will form a third party this election will prove whether they are in unity or not in unity and i think we will find that they are not unified

  • 3.
  • At 09:06 PM on 07 Nov 2007,
  • Richard Bridger wrote:

I must agree with sentiment raised above. Guiliani is consistently the best poller against Clinton and Pat Robertson feels that he is better off with a winning Guiliani than a losing Romney etc. The choice facing Republicans is less who do they want to win the primary than who do they think can stop the Democrats and, the most likely of them, Hillary Clinton. It is a union of interests, not ideas, but that does not mean it is any less potent.

Also, whilst it is true that the religious right does not have the ability to crown the Republican nominee, with Robertson moving to accommodate Giuliani more than vice versa, to what extent did it truly have that power in the past? Robertson is simply playing electoral politics at its best (and worst) - the dismissal of principle in favour of the ultimate goal - winning.

That said, thanks for starting the blog. I really enjoy your work from the States, especially the Radio 4 series on why people hate America. I look forward to lots of frequent updates (hint hint)

  • 4.
  • At 09:28 PM on 07 Nov 2007,
  • Bedd Gelert wrote:

Wow ! You are live ! Welcome aboard, and 'bon voyage'..

  • 5.
  • At 09:57 PM on 07 Nov 2007,
  • Richard Bridger wrote:

Whoops, delayed posting meant my first sentence appears to contradict the rest of what i wrote. I should have said that i agree with Post 1 to be safe.

  • 6.
  • At 11:58 PM on 07 Nov 2007,
  • Barnegat Leight wrote:

There is always at least a hint, when
this sort of thing happens, that the
surprise endorser would welcome the
VP nomination, even if they firmly
deny it, as they *always* do.

Robertson would certainly add some
weird balance to a Giuliani ticket,
just as General Wes Clark would for
Hillary Clinton.

In Robertson's case, it's the only
way he has of even getting close to
being President, a job he has sought
before.

  • 7.
  • At 12:46 AM on 08 Nov 2007,
  • Jame wrote:

Pat Robertson is a bit nutty. He does not represent every Republican or every christen conservative. If anyone ever paid attention to Giuliani when he talked about abortion over half of what he is saying is about reducing the number of abortions through the use of adoption and contraception awareness. Even most pro-lifers will admit that outlawing abortion would lead to unsafe "illegal" abortions. Also, as a Christen myself, to say that christen republicans can't be open-minded about gay people is simply silly.
Pat Robertson is aware that a lot of people that support him may agree more with Giuliani than him on a lot of things.
Also, what idiot would attach himself to a candidate that had no chance. With a higher-profile candidate comes more publicity for his supporters (Robertson).

  • 8.
  • At 03:37 AM on 08 Nov 2007,
  • Brad Jacobs wrote:

Woah, Pat Robertson must either be desperate for a winner that the American Public can get behind, or he just didn't know Guiliani's record on abortion and just signed the endorsement without reading it very carefully.

  • 9.
  • At 04:54 AM on 08 Nov 2007,
  • HawkeyeVoter wrote:

I disagree with "post 3." The whole purpose of Robertson's movement is about taking a stand against "evil." How can he, in good conscience, stand up for someone who completely contradicts his most core beleifs? Not only does Giuliani support abortion rights and gay rights, but he's also been divorced three times. These should be three huge strikes against Giuliani. It's not like there aren't other candidates on the Republican side that don't more accurately mirror Robertson's views.

I write the above as an open-minded Democrat. Robertson has chosen a candidate who stands for less of his core beleifs than the Democrats he so fears. If we're to beleive that people like Pat Robertson are moral leaders who only follow the path of their faith, then his choice is definitely odd, if not completely hypocritical.

  • 10.
  • At 08:18 PM on 08 Nov 2007,
  • Adil wrote:

Giuliani doesn't represent the religious right in the conventional sense. BUT his unequivocal pandering to Israeli interests and Robertson's heavy investment in the "holy land" amusement park are probably a few of the reasons this unlikely alliance has forged.

Robertson is also a strong advocate for a renewed crusade against Islam and see's Giuliani's hawkish policy advisors (Daniel Pipes amongst others) as the best vehicle to that end.

He is a true evangelical and a powerful leader of the "American Taliban" and now a policy advisor to possibly the next president of the U.S.A... WWIII here we come!

  • 11.
  • At 09:16 PM on 08 Nov 2007,
  • Peter Riva wrote:

Justin make a valid point... Pat Robertson needs anyone other than Hilary in the WH. Giuliani has already vowed not to upset the Supreme Court's anti-freedom of choice position and, if not anti-abortion, at least that is the status quo for Roberson who hardly complains about Bush. But what is all the more worrying is that Giuliani has pre-positioned all the worst neo-cons and ultra-Right wings for positions of authority should he get to office. Robertson wants Charlie Wicks old job - head of USIA. Perhaps he'l send Jerry Falwell to Kenya again, a week after the Pope to preach to the assembled destiture and poor (and I am not kidding, I was there)"Have more children in the name of my god!"

  • 12.
  • At 10:02 PM on 08 Nov 2007,
  • S. Callahan wrote:

Jame (post 7),

You are absolutely correct to call the caricature of religious conservatives as close-minded bigots silly, but it is, nonetheless, a silliness that is endlessy promoted by the BBC in general and Justin Webb in particular.

For just one example, see http://theamericanexpatinuk.blogspot.com/2005/11/webbs-own-little-fantasy-world.html

  • 13.
  • At 04:27 PM on 09 Nov 2007,
  • Justin Webb wrote:

It amuses me that fellow bloggers accuse the mainstream media of systematic bias and deliberate distortion while practising these sins themselves with a giddy and unserious recklessness.

Even the poor old US State Department has been suckered into the cut-and-paste business.

For the record, this was the original piece http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/4400865.stm that that quotation has been ripped from - slightly dated now but certainly not anti-American in tone or content.

  • 14.
  • At 04:37 PM on 09 Nov 2007,
  • Josh wrote:

I really take offense to people who call religious people or 'christian' people close-minded.

Too often, people(who don't claim religion) preach that everyone should be accepting of everyone, no matter how much different they might by. They want to be respected by everyone and if someone is a little bit 'different' than you, you should accept that person for who they are. Except for one case:

I can't count how many times I've heard people bash and complain about christian people for not 'agreeing' with them or being like-minded like they are.

And what happens to the original argument of 'accepting people no matter how much different they are or how much differently they think?'

I am a christian and I do have some conservative values, but I consider myself to be very open-minded and friendly to all people, not just those who are friendly right-wingers.

People must understand that the extreme right-wingers don't always voice the true opinion and heart of all 'christians' out there.

Just as blacks, whites, asians, gays/lesbians, etc. don't want to be labeled or discriminated against, Christians don't want to either.

Get to know us for who we really are, not what you've read about us, not what pop culture says about us and you might find, we're just a little bit different than you presume.

Sound familiar...? well, it should.

Thanks guys.

  • 15.
  • At 11:52 PM on 09 Nov 2007,
  • Andrea wrote:

I agree with Josh. Tolerance is promoted so heavily, yet it excludes tolerance for Christians or people whose faiths lead them to different positions on abortion, etc.

Real tolerance would include tolerance for Christians. And real "diversity" would include those who are right-to-life, etc.

Instead, we get "tolerance" for certain positions and intolerance for those who don't subscribe to those certain positions.

How is that tolerance?

  • 16.
  • At 01:40 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Vince Murphy wrote:

True, real tolerance includes all, with only one exception - the tolerance of intolerance.

I believe the reason religious take more "heat" in this regard than other groupings is the impression (and quite possibly a justified one)that many religions wish to place restrictions or requirements upon the entire population, based solely on their own beliefs. (Anti-abortion, sex outside marriage, homosexuality, censorship based on morality, genetical research, etc) These decisions would also involve non-religious people and is therefore seen as an intolerant attitude towards them by the religious.

If the religious would keep these restrictions and requirements on themselves alone, there would no longer be a basis for this "intolerance" against them, as they would no longer appear intolerant againt the others parts of the population.

In other words, if I ask another guy to go to bed with me, then the religious should tolerate it; and in return I would tolerate the religious not wanting to join me (in bed that is...) It has to go both ways.

  • 17.
  • At 07:35 PM on 12 Nov 2007,
  • Jame wrote:

To: "12.
* At 10:02 PM on 08 Nov 2007,
* S. Callahan"
I really don't take anything that reporters/bloggers/media in general says in face value.
Simply going to my local college for a 1 1/2 years has taught me how much the religious right is judged for their beliefs. The thought that a lot of the media and even my professors lump the religious right together no matter how different their beliefs annoys me to no end.
I realized the first time I read a USA focused politics article on this website I realized the basis. But do to the lack of proper world news on USA based programming I look to the BBC to provide most of my world news.
No news source will be perfect but the BBC does do a good job at providing the actual NEWS of the world. I just don't buy what they say when they discuss American conservatives.

  • 18.
  • At 02:23 AM on 13 Nov 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Robertson endorsed Giuliani because he looked at all the alternatives and for him this was the best of what he probably sees as a sorry lot. It's not that he likes Giuliani, it's that he hates all the rest much more. We have an old saying in the US; "politics makes strange bedfellows."

  • 19.
  • At 07:20 PM on 27 Nov 2007,
  • George Burrett wrote:

I was watching Pat's morning show when he suggested that Hugo Chavez be "taken out". He recanted.
But shouldn't Guliani be ashamed to be seen shaking his hand? How hungry can you get?

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