August 16, 2006

Robertson's Pain

Pat Robertson, who traveled to Israel last week to pray for an Israeli victory, is upset that a cease-fire has been reached. He declared: "We were with child. We writhed in pain, but we gave birth to wind. In other words ... nothing came out of this at all. We writhed in pain, but nothing was born from it. ... Israel went in, but what have they done? Is the word of Isaiah true? — ‘We writhed in pain but we gave birth to wind’—I’m afraid so."

Peace has come and yet Robertson is upset. Should not Christians be rejoicing in peace? Consider the Reuters report that during the month-long conflict, 157 Israelis have tragically been killed and nearly 1,500 have been wounded. Also, during that time about 1,100 Lebanese have been killed and more than 3,700 have been wounded. Most of those killed by Israeli forces were innocent civilians. Additionally, about 300,000 Israelis fled their homes, as did more than 900,000 Lebanese.

Yet, all of these deaths and lives uprooted apparently is not enough for Robertson. He wants more! And how does he support such a seemingly un-Christian denouncement of peace? He takes Scripture out of context (should that really be a surprise?).

The passage in Isaiah that Robertson refers to is like many others in the Bible. The prophets often use the pain of childbirth to represent the sorrow of war. But Robertson uses it to talk about the end of a war. I can attest to this issue no better than Robertson, but I suspect that women who have given birth would compare the act more to that of war than peace.

Robertson may be pained by the cease-fire, but innocent people in Israel and Lebanon who lost friends and loved ones in the conflict are glad to see it. What pains them is not that Robertson's hopes for the end of the world have been put on hold, but that their lives have been wreaked by death and destruction.

It is time for Christians to pray for peace, and specifically that this cease-fire will last. Additionally, it is time for Christians like Robertson to quit twisting the Bible to justify their pro-death and pro-war theology.

5 comments:

  1. Anonymous1:56 PM

    Pat Roberson has never been good @ keeping his mouth closed. A very strange comment indeed. There were no winners from this war. Over 1,000 human beings died for absolutely nothing. Hezbollah will continue to despise Israel and will continue to receive funding from Iran and Syria. Although I do think Israel should be able to protect itself, by playing the war card they have created more Lebanese support for Hezbollah and more hate toward Israel.

    Pat Robertson’s comments reflect that of a politician, not a Christian. Sadly I don’t see the situation in the Middle East improving anytime soon. Religious hate and animosity will plague the region for a long time coming.

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  2. Brian,

    If you'll send me your e-mail address, I'd like to invite you to be a blogger on the Mainstream Baptists group blog.

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  3. At the same time, we all saw how Hezzbolah, Iran, et al are calling the cease fire proof of their victory. I don't intend to speak for Robertson here, but it's true that many peace-loving people feel that things are worse now than when the strikes started for all kinds of reasons, the emboldening of Islamofascists key among them.

    Time will tell if those fears are wrongly placed, and I won't repeate the usual allusions to Hitler and appeasement. I'd like to see more discussion in general, though, about the very real tension between Christian faith and real politik. I'd also like to see more room in progressive/centrist Christian camps for people subscribing to Just War Theory. (I'm not claiming to know or infer your or your readers' stances on pacifism versus Just War; just throwing the thought out there).

    Finally, I agree that we need to pray and hope for peace, and I'm gratified that your call is specifically for prayer that the ceasefire will last. We need also to pray that terrorism ends, that states stop sponsoring it and that children stop being used as fodder for fatwa.

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  4. Anonymous: Thanks for commenting. You are absolutely correct when you note that "Pat Robertson’s comments reflect that of a politician, not a Christian." That seems to be much of the problem with Robertson.


    Bruce: Thanks for the invite! I encourage everyone to check out the site because there are some good thoughts to be found there.

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  5. baptistlikeme: Thanks for the comment. It sparked a couple of thoughts for me.

    First, you mention that Hezbollah, Iran, and others are declaring victory. That, however, is not proof they won. They are working hard to win the PR battle and rally their forces. They likely would have declared victory in any circumstance other than every last one of them being killed (even if only of them remained alive that person would have probably tried to declare victory). I would not give their victory declarations much credence.

    Second, you use the word “Islamofascists” and allude to Hitler. Please check back in later today as I am working on a post about that very word.

    Next, for some excellent thoughts on "just war" and the recent conflict, check out Robert Parham's Ethics Daily column No Just War in Southern Lebanon.

    Finally, thanks for pointing out that we should pray that the ceasefire holds and that terrorism will end. I see the two items as inherently linked, but I want to join you in specifically calling for Christians "to pray "that terrorism ends, that states stop sponsoring it and that children stop being used as fodder for fatwa." Amen! Thanks for the reminder.

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