Saturday, September 24, 2005

Robertson's Fatwa A Gift For Chavez

 Robertson’s Fatwa A Gift For Chavez

Editor:

September 23, 2005 — No greater gift could have been bestowed on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez than the assassination fatwa declared against him by Rev. Pat Robertson, host of “The 700 Club” television program. That same Christian leader, who alleged that the Quran establishes Islam as a violent religion, also issued his own terrorist death threat, presumably with the blessing of his “God.”

Robertson’s fatwa elicited an “official” negative response from even the Bush administration, which has already made numerous failed attempts to isolate Chavez from his Latin American neighbors and from his own people who have supported him through elections, referendums and coups. But most of all, Robertson’s attack was so roundly condemned by other Christian leaders that it cast a brighter light on Chavez and more attention on the reform policies his government has attempted to realize which can be easily characterized as “Christian.”

Last summer the Chavez government launched a five-year plan to expand and revive oil production through the oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela. What makes this effort notable is that up to $2 billion a year will be budgeted for antipoverty programs that provide for a range of vital needs including education, health care, clean water and literacy.

That Jesus Christ himself fed, enlightened and defended the poor is a core Christian belief. Certainly, Robertson’s organization engages in considerable charity work. However, all the charity in the world has not and will not resolve the profound problem of poverty in Venezuela, Latin America or the Third World. It is not charitable generosity but ample justice that is required to change the economic structures that keep enriching the wealthy while further depriving the poor.

The gap between rich and poor nations has only increased in the last few decades, as has that gap within every nation. Chavez and his party want the poor, long-exploited segments of Venezuelan society to also share in the natural petroleum wealth of their country. Sharing the wealth sounds more like democracy to me than dictatorship. It is also clearly more just, humane and Christian to care for the less fortunate than to issue death threats against those who do.

Dr. Julio Noboa
Rancho Viejo
Via the Internet

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