Religion and the 2008 US Presidential Race, III
The Strange Case of Dr. Robertson and Mr. Giuliani
Like it or not, religion is an issue in the current US Presidential race. This issue is being raised primarily by believers rather than the agnostic and atheist community. I don't intend to endorse or to oppose any of the candidates I might mention in this series, just comment on the issue of religion in the election and invite further discussion.
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As I mentioned in the closing paragraph of Meditation 654, the big names in the Christian Right have been looking for a candidate to endorse, and have so far failed to find one. However, in early November, one of them did endorse a candidate. Pat Robertson came out for Rudy Giuliani.
It seems strange. On the social issues so dear to the American Christian right, Giuliani is on the wrong side across the board. While he claims to personally accept the teachings of the Catholic Church on abortion and on same-sex marriage, he does not think it appropriate to impose those Catholic teachings on everyone. And as for family values, it is no secret that he is both a serial monogamist and a serial adulterer.
And yet Pat Robertson has endorsed Giuliani, throwing out the whole social agenda he has promoted for better than 40 years.
According to Robertson, the issue this election is not social issues, but rather the:
"defense of our population against the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists... Our world faces deadly peril... and we need a leader with a bold vision who is not afraid to tackle the challenges ahead."
This is truly rich coming from the man, who earlier along with the late Jerry Falwell, blamed atheists and homosexuals who caused God to turn away from America for the one successful major attack on the USA by Islamic terrorists.
In my opinion, the real reason Robertson endorsed Giuliani is because, given the polling numbers at the time, Robertson expected Giuliani to walk away with the Republican nomination. He knows that his chronic foot-in-mouth disease has cost him any genuine influence. Robertson hoped that getting on the bandwagon early would allow him to claim he had pushed Giuliani's campaign over the top, and he would once again appear to be influential.
Ever since Robertson endorsed Giuliani, the polling numbers have show a slow and steady drop. So much for Robertson's claim to exercise influence!
However the 2008 US presidential election goes, the public death of Robertson's claim to political influence is a very welcome result.