Tuesday, 23 August 2005

A fatwa in everything but name

The message
When one was in Nigeria in the 1980's viewing the 700 Club revealed an insight that Christianity never had to be sackcloth, ashes, sad faces and plainly surviving. The message albeit almost subliminal helped give rise to a sweeping Christian revival of the Pentecostal brand.
With that came the inclination to aver that we were conquerors of our circumstances, but then that in excess gave rise to practices of faith without commensurate discipline, commitment and devotion, though ecstasy, hysteria and emotion was in abundance.
People left commonsense things undone in favour of mental assent that things would just fall into place. Many then came to a rude-awakening and the fall-out began - not everyone really can handle this devotion without good guidance.
The most complex aspect of this is church government and the way discipline, order, doctrine and civic society is marshalled like a flock of sheep and how to weed out the goats, the shepherd which leads on authority from above but in the humility of service, commands, persuades and convinces his survey on the basis of this authority, to abuse it is great dereliction of duty.
The following commentary is made the in full context of my introduction.
Sometimes ...
I do sometimes wonder about some pronouncements I hear on television, but this did prick my ears, a Pat Robertson who was once a presidential candidate in the US [Read: People left commonsense things undone in favour of mental assent that things would just fall into place], he magnificently failed.
However, he did say in not some many words that the President of Venezuela be assassinated.
The United States does have a history of assassinating other heads of State but this was banned by President Gerald Ford in 1976, if that principle gets revived then that would be unfortunate.
Does that however, from the eyes of the Americans make everyone fair game and what world would be in if our elected officials get gunned down like they have in Serbia, Iraq, Lebanon and the United States? [OK, that was 1963].
That said
Any Muslim cleric of suitable authority can on the request on a follower offer a pronouncement of clarification on a wide range of matters, this is called a fatwa.
The most famous fatwa however was the one issued by the Iranian leader for the death of Salman Rushdie on the publication of the Satanic Verses which presumably denigrated the religion.
The commonly accepted meaning of fatwa is an ordered killing issued by a religious figure, I am at pains to separate Pat Robertson's statement from that basic principle.
He issued a fatwa against the President of Venezuela.
Standards and their doubling effect
The President of Venezuela is the duly elected representative of the Venezuelan people, even twice so. Not long ago there was a coup to unseat the president to which the United States responded with the muteness that would make a dumb man a class act.
If anyone anywhere had made a statement that was only published to one person about assassinating the President of the United States, all the force of the realm would be mustered to track the person and associates down and eliminate that threat.
As bastions of democracy, the flimsy denial rather than outright condemnation of Mr Pat Robertson's comments is a complete letdown on the part of the United States, smirks of double-standards; it is rather unfortunate and is typical of the cant that many now associate with the United States.
We face the anathema of a world policeman who is unjust, unfair, uncouth, impolite, garrulous and undisciplined.
Goodness is now a matter of degrees rather than the virtue of being good in itself. The countries listed below just show how inconsistency rules in policy - China, Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Pakistan.
If Mr Pat Robertson had made those comments in the UK, he would have been subject to the immediate deportation litmus test of preaching hate and incitement to terrorism such that he would have been bundled out in the first plane to the United States and there are quite a few.
Leaders Untouchable
Conversely, Mr Pat Robertson being a religious leader of a big following put the government in a desperately difficult situation, I emphasise, but no religious leader is above the law, something must be done and be seen to be done.
References
CNN.com - U.S. dismisses call for Chavez's killing - Aug 23, 2005
http://edition.cnn.com/2005/US/08/23/robertson.chavez/index.html
Murder on their minds: Robertson not alone... [Media Matters]
http://mediamatters.org/items/200508230007
The 700 Club with Pat Robertson -- CBN.com -- The Christian Broadcasting Network
http://www.cbn.com/700club/
Fatwa - Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatwa

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