Today in this country, as a result of politics and the news media, there are individuals who, by default, lead large groups of people. I’ve never completely understood why this happens. While it’s often a good thing, what happens when these unappointed leaders are misrepresenting the specific group of people they claim to represent?
Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, for example, have for some time been the unelected representatives to the media for black people in America. Another example of such representation is the National Education Association, which claims to work for the education of every child, but has long since been an outlet for liberal talking points.
In another aspect of this, for some groups, like Christians, there is a commonly held, yet flawed perception on the part of the media and elitist policy makers that Christians are widely ignorant and most have no real view of reality. I’ve often wondered why that is the case, but with the help of Pat Robertson, I think I have found one of the reasons.
Pat Robertson is the head of the Christian Broadcasting System, host of the “700 Club,” writer of many books and is frequently a guest on many cable news programs. He might as well be a reflection of the persona, mind and beliefs that many Christians might have. That perception is the problem.
Earlier this month, Robertson was on “Buchanan and Press” on MSNBC, and Pat Buchanan asked him about the California election: “Let me take another prominent candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is pro abortion, he is pro gay rights, he’s got a lifestyle we could call a bodybuilder lifestyle that you’ve been reading about. Pat Robertson, should Christians in good conscience, can they vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger?”
“Well, you know,” Robertson said, “I’m a body builder. I do some pretty heavy weightlifting, so I think the weightlifters of the world need to unite. I tell you what – those guys in California could use a big bruiser to knock some heads together … what are they gonna do? I mean, you gonna have Bustamante who is sort of the Gov. Gray Davis-lite? They don’t want anymore Davis, so who else you gonna put in?”
I don’t know which is more ridiculous: the way he said it or the fact that he’s looking to Arnold as the prime candidate. From what I’ve seen, aren’t principled leaders supposed to take stands and endorse principled candidates, whether they’re picked to win or not? Robertson is settling for mediocrity – the very thing that’s killing America.
This definitely isn’t the first time he’s lost touch with reality on national television. In early 2001, Robertson was on CNN and Wolf Blitzer asked him about China’s one-child policy.
Robertson said, “I don’t agree with it, but at the same time, they’ve got 1.2 billion people, and they don’t know what to do … if every family over there was allowed to have three or four children, the population would be completely unsustainable.” He added, “I think that right now, they’re doing what they have to do.”
Pat Robertson may have started out in tune with the rest of Christian America, and he may have had a sharp mind, but he’s changed. He’s losing touch. He’s promoting a different view than what Christian conservatives are thinking.
The perception by the media, politicians and most of society’s elite that conservatives – and, particularly, Christians – are widely ignorant can be, at least partly, laid at the feet of “Christian leaders.”
I don’t know Pat Robertson, but I’m sure he’s a fine teacher and a great man. Still, it’s come to the point where his representation of the Christian conservative community has gotten out of touch with the overall thinking of that constituency.