Video: Analyzing Robertson's comments

msnbc.com
updated 8/23/2005 4:24:45 PM ET 2005-08-23T20:24:45

During Monday's “700 Club,” program, televangelist Pat Robertson commented that the U.S. should assassinate Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez.

Since that broadcast, the U.S. State Department and the Defense Department have both distanced themselves from the televangelist's views.

Following the statement, the Vice President of Venezuela called Robertson’s comments "criminal and terrorist," and said that it, "violates U.S. law.”

Marvin Olasky, senior editor of "World Magazine", a publication covering news from a Christian perspective, discussed Pat Robertson's call for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell on Tuesday.

To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right.

NORAH O’DONNELL, ANCHOR MSNBC-TV: What do make of what Pat Robertson said?

MARVIN OLASKY, SENIOR EDITOR 'WORLD MAGAZINE': Well Pat’s 75, he’s had a live television show for decades, and sometimes he blurts things out. He doesn’t represent Evangelicals, and I hope that people in Venezuela don’t think that he represents the United States.

O’DONNELL: You mean he doesn’t represent Evangelicals in general? Or when he makes this particular comment out assassinating Chavez because it would be cheaper that going to war with him?

OLASKY: Well both. Biblically, assassination may be used in times of war, last time I looked we were not at war with Venezuela. We’re supposed to pray for those in government and those around the world in positions of leadership, not assassinate them.

So he doesn’t represent a Christian view as far as his interpretation of scripture, and I’m not sure he represents how many people he represents in the Evangelical community.

He ran for president 17 years ago, and at the peak of his popularity he didn’t get a whole lot of votes, so I’m not sure what clout he really these days either.

O’DONNELL: Why do you think Robertson is this, is there anything in the Evangelical world that has expressed concern about what Chavez is doing there in Venezuela?

OLASKY: Oh sure there’s concern about Chavez, from everything I’ve read, he’s a dictator, he probably rigged the last election, and so should really not be in office. But that still doesn’t give you a rational for going and assassinating him.

There are particular ways to act, pray for those in that situation, hope god will change that situation, but not take the law into our own hands in a vigilante style like that. Or, asking our government to do things when we’re not at war with a country.

O’DONNELL: It’s not just questions from an Evangelical, but there are also political questions to what Robertson said. Don’t the comments by Pat Robertson help Chavez further build up an anti U.S. sentiment.  

OLASKY: Well that’s exactly right Norah, he does that, so the comments by Pat are not biblical and they’re not helpful, they’re not useful in bringing peace, they just create a worse situation.          

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