For those who may misunderstand, let us be clear: "Thou shalt not kill" is still on God's Top Ten list. Although not all Christians are strict pacifists, there is a pretty general consensus against murder. Which is why it comes as a shock to hear Pat Robertson call for the US to assassinate Hugo Chavez, the democratically elected president of Venezuela.
He did this on the ABC Family cable network, by the way. If this is "family" broadcasting, I'd love to know what ABC considers "demented raving" or "incitement to violence." (These days, Muslim clerics can be deported from Tony Blair's Britain for precisely this sort of incitement. )
Robertson has a history of bizarre fatwas . In 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device. On another occasion, he said that feminism encourages women to "kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
Robertson's opposite number, Jesse Jackson, was moved to a rare display of genuine irony. Calling for an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission, like the one that followed l'affaire Janet, he said, "This is even more threatening to hemispheric stability than the flash of a breast on television during a ball game."
Televangelist, failed presidential candidate and diet-shake salesman -- Robertson will do anything to avoid making an honest living. What he won't do, sadly, is keep his mouth shut.