Women: Religion's Traditional Victims

Column by Bishop John Shelby Spong on 15 November 2005 0 Comments
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Christina, a television producer at Fox News asks:

How do you respond to the Rev. Pat Robertson when he warns
the citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania, that God might strike
them with a disaster since they voted out the School Board
members who favored "Intelligent Design?"


Pat Robertson has said so many silly and ridiculous things
that I wonder why anyone would pay much attention to him on
any subject. He warned Orlando, Florida, that God would send
a hurricane to destroy them when Orlando's decision makers
added "sexual orientation" to that city's civil rights
ordinance making it illegal for an employer to discriminate
against a person because of race, ethnicity, gender, creed or
"sexual orientation." He suggested that Hollywood would be
the victim of an earthquake because that is where Ellen
Degeneres works. With Jerry Falwell he agreed that the 9/11
disaster was brought upon this nation as God's judgment for
harboring "feminists, abortionists, homosexuals and the
American Civil Liberties Union." He suggested that the CIA
should assassinate the duly elected President of Venezuela,
Hugo Chavez. He has said that the feminist movement is about
those women who want to "leave their husbands, kill their
children, practice witchcraft and become lesbians." The
tirade of absurdities goes on and on.

This country treasures the precious gift of free speech
and Pat Robertson can obviously say any foolish and ignorant
thing he wishes. When he pretends to speak in the name of
God, however, I think his fellow believers have a right,
indeed a necessity, to speak a word of judgment on his
behavior since his words slander the Christian definition of
God as Love given to us first by the author of the First
Epistle of John and even more important, lived out by Jesus,
who called us even to love our enemies.

I want to make only two points about this issue. First, I
wonder who, other than Pat himself, designated Pat Robertson
to be God's spokesperson? How dare Pat assume that the God
revealed in the Jesus I serve is filled with all of Pat's
peculiar prejudices. Why does he not understand that God is
God and Pat Robertson is not? Why does he not see that when
he tells the world with an unashamed certainty what God
thinks and what God will do, he is only revealing what he
thinks and what he would do if he had God's power? Pat needs
to understand that he is acting out the very meaning of
idolatry. He has confused God with himself.

Second, some one needs to inform Pat Robertson that the
idea of God sitting on a throne above the clouds manipulating
the weather in order to punish sinners is so primitive and so




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