Making A List, Checking It Twice: Falwell And Robertson In The Christmas Spirit!

By Greg O?BrienCodfish PressWith the holiday season fast upon us, many are starting to wonder if some of our most outspoken televangelists are into the Christmas cheer. Recent comments from two in the flock have lit up public discourse and the letters pages like a night in December on the Boston Common.In a publicly vetted, pre-Christmas warm-up three months ago, an early stocking stuffer for the Bush Administration, the Reverend Pat Robertson?holding court on The 700 Club?suggested that American operatives assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to halt his country from becoming ?a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism.? Said Robertson, ?We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.?Perhaps Robertson has put the fear of God into Chavez, who?s now putting millions of gallons of discounted Venezuelan home heating oil under the tree for chilly, sticker-shocked residents in the northeast.Robertson was back in the pulpit earlier this month throwing thunderbolts at Pennsylvania, reprimanding Dover voters for casting school members out of office who supported the concept of intelligent design. ?If there is a disaster in your area, don?t turn to God,? he warned.Not to be upstaged, the Reverend Jerry Falwell and a legion of conservative lawyers, backed by his 25,000-member congregation, have become true friends of Christmas, threatening in a ?Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign? to file suit against anyone who spreads apparent misinformation about how the Christmas spirit can be celebrated in public places and in schools. The Boston Herald reported Wednesday that one of Falwell?s top Liberty Counsel attorneys condemned Boston ?Holiday Tree Lighting? ceremony. ?Calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree isn?t being inclusive, it?s disenfranchising people of faith,? Mathew Staver, Liberty Counsel?s president and general counsel, told the Herald. ?It?s like calling a menorah a candle stick.?Fair enough! The Christmas Tree has its roots in the seventh century when a monk, who went to Germany to minister, used a triangular fir tree to describe the Holy Trinity. By the 12th century, the Christmas Tree had become a symbol of Christianity.But what do threatening lawsuits, bombastic statements about offing South American leaders, and then telling the poor residents of a rural Pennsylvania town to go to hell, have to do with the spirit of Christ? Jesus led by example, not press releases, sound bites or intimidating lawyers. He walked the walk. ?For I gave you an example that you should do as I did to you,? Christ says in John 13:14.It?s something to think about this Christmas season, as we ponder revenge, judgment and ill feelings to those who don?t believe as we do. Tone down the rhetoric a bit, reverends. It?s hardly Christ like. It?s far easier to judge than to love.Last time I checked God?s Word that was His place.

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