TV preacher and Christian Coalition President Pat Robertson has called for a change in U.S. foreign policy to include assassination of foreign leaders.
On today's episode of his nationally televised "700 Club," the religious broadcaster explained his views that assassinations and first-strike military attacks are "practical" strategies.
"I know it sounds somewhat Machiavellian and evil, to think that you could send a squad in to take out somebody like Osama bin Laden, or to take out the head of North Korea," Robertson said. "But isn't better to do something like that, to take out Milosevic, to take out Saddam Hussein, rather than to spend billions and billions of dollars on a war that harms innocent civilians and destroys the infrastructure of a country? It would just seem so much more practical to have that flexibility...."
Robertson's critics view this is another example of Robertson's remarkably unusual theories.
"As a Christian, Pat should ask himself, what would Jesus do?" said Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United. "In my Bible, Jesus never said anything about assassinating heads of state. Forget schools and courthouses, maybe we should post the Ten Commandments in Robertson's office."
Robertson added that he sees no inconsistency between his Christian beliefs and his desire to see the U.S. kill leaders he doesn't like.
Referring to North Korea President Kim Jong Il and others, Robertson concluded, "They have killed numerous people over there, and the idea that you would take one of them, you know, dispatch him, is not the most horrible thing in the world, Christian or otherwise. I mean, there's such a thing as balancing the good versus the evil and the evil that he can bring about.... I just think it's the intelligent thing to do and I don't see anything un-Christian about it."
In addition to his assassination recommendations, Robertson today also called for military strikes against North Korea to destroy nuclear installations the TV preacher says exist there.
Despite his bizarre views, Robertson is a major political figure in American life. As part of the Christian Coalition's "Victory 21" project, Robertson plans to distribute 70 million voter guides in the 2000 elections.
"I wonder if support for assassinating world leaders will be a question on the next round of Coalition voter guides," Lynn added. "A religious leader is recommending the killing of world leaders, and justifying it with a cost-benefit analysis? Now I've heard everything."
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.