Pat Robertson Backs Giuliani

WASHINGTON (Associated Press) — Televangelist Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, endorsed Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Wednesday.

"It is my pleasure to announce my support for America's Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, a proven leader who is not afraid of what lies ahead and who will cast a hopeful vision for all Americans," Robertson said during a news conference with Giuliani in Washington.

The former New York mayor backs abortion rights and gay rights, positions that put him in conflict with conservative GOP orthodoxy, and has been trying to persuade evangelical conservatives like Robertson to overlook their differences on those issues.

Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post’s “The Fix” writes,

While Robertson has been heavily courted by a number of presidential candidates -- most notably Mitt Romney -- in recent months, he decided to cast his lot with Giuliani in order to counter a movement among some evangelicals to support a third party candidate if the former New York City Mayor becomes the Republican nominee.

"I thought it was important for me to make it clear that Rudy Giuliani is more than acceptable to people of faith," said Robertson. "Given the fractured nature of the process, I thought it was time to solidify around one candidate."

He insisted that while some on the "fringe" of the social conservative movement may see Giuliani as an unacceptable nominee, the "core know better."

Robertson said although he and Giuliani disagree on social issues, those disagreements "pale into insignificance" when measured against the import of the fight against global terrorism and radical Islam. "We need a man who sees clearly how to deal with that issue," said Robertson.

The Wall Street Journal reports,

The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showed that white voters who identified themselves as evangelicals are divided evenly among Mr. Giuliani, Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came in fourth.

Recent endorsements underscore the divide. On Tuesday, conservative activist Paul Weyrich, another influential religious-right leader, said he backed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination. But Mr. Weyrich made it clear his motivation is to keep the nomination from going to Mr. Giuliani. Mr. Romney faces opposition from some Christian conservatives wary of his Mormon faith. But that didn't stop Bob Jones III, head of the evangelical Bob Jones University in South Carolina, from endorsing Mr. Romney in October.
This election is forcing the evangelical community to decide whether it is more important to choose a candidate who shares their views or someone who can beat Democratic front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York…

…Other influential conservative leaders, including James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, have declined to pick a candidate but he has made it clear he opposes a Giuliani nomination. In an online column in May, Mr. Dobson said backing an abortion-rights supporter like Mr. Giuliani would violate "my conscience and my moral convictions."

His moderate stances on immigration and a cash-strapped campaign have worked against Mr. Huckabee -- a Baptist minister with a record against gay marriage and abortion -- with conservative activists. Questions about electability might explain why Mr. Thompson, who is positioning himself as the only true conservative candidate with a 100% voting record against abortion, has yet to receive a significant endorsement from the evangelical community.

I find it interesting (and quite disturbing) that it was on Pat Robertson’s TV show "The 700 Club," two days after 9/11, that Jerry Falwell blamed the attack on "the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians," and Pat Robertson said, "Well, I totally concur."

Writing about evangelicals and their confusion as to who to endorse among the Republicans, David D. Kirkpatrick in The New York Times Magazine recently wrote,

The current Republican front-runner in national polls, Rudolph W. Giuliani, could hardly be less like their kind of guy: twice divorced, thrice married, estranged from his children and church and a supporter of legalized abortion and gay rights. Alarmed at the continued strength of his candidacy, (Focus on the Family’s James) Dobson and a group of about 50 evangelical Christian leaders agreed last month to back a third party if Giuliani becomes the Republican nominee. But polls show that Giuliani is the most popular candidate among white evangelical voters. He has the support, so far, of a plurality if not a majority of conservative Christians. If Giuliani captures the nomination despite the threat of an evangelical revolt, it will be a long time before Republican strategists pay attention to the demands of conservative Christian leaders again. And if the Democrats capitalize on the current demoralization to capture a larger share of evangelical votes, the credibility damage could be just as severe.

It certainly is an interesting time in politics for us evangelicals. What do you think?

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Byron Harvey said...

What do I think?

1. Pat Robertson is a loon.

2. Mike Huckabee is the only Republican that makes sense.

3. Jerry Falwell said something very stupid, APOLOGIZED, and is dead. It's high time to leave the man alone.

joe said...

I know we don't necessarily see eye to eye on this bob, and that's ok. my first thought was "sell out".

Robertson is so afraid of a democrat winning the white house that he is willing to do whatever to get a republican in. even if he is going against his own convictions.

now, i agree with the above. Robertson is a loon (harsh, sorry). but see what happens when you sell yourself out to one party or another? you have to compromise the kingdom of god. i am not talking about abortion, gay rights and such. i am talking about beinig a peacemaker, loving neighbors and enemies as we love god.

joe said...

ps - when i said we dont necessarily see eye to eye on this, i could have been wrong. i just know i am speaking as an anabaptist, and everything runs through that filter first.


Ted M. Gossard said...

I don't know about all of this. Pat Robertson is certainly being inconsistent it seems.

I have to respect James Dobson's position as well as evangelicals who insist on voting only for a candidate who is true to their core convictions.

I do like Huckabee and could possibly vote for him in a general election.

While for me abortion is the taking of human life and is therefore an important consideration -and not just whether or not the candidate says they're pro-life or pro-choice, I want to hear more from either- so is the need to provide better health care for people who have fallen through the cracks on that. As well as policies that better help the poor.

Just my two cents. I really lack enthusiasm, but as Christians I believe we should care about the problems in the world, pray and do good works that are helpful to others.

Anonymous said...

The fact that Robertson sees radical Islam and terrorism as the major issues are disturbing. What part of those two issues plays into the call to help the poor, the orphan, and the widow?

This is where I think, as Joe stated above, we've got to think about 2 kingdoms here: the kingdom of this world and the Kingdom of our God. The latter's values are very different from the former. For his major focus to be cast on war and conflict and not loving our neighbor AND our enemy is a sorry use for his platform and a poor representation of evangelicalism and Jesus.

If you take the focus off of Pat Robertson then you should look at the larger picture of who can handle the issues beyond terrorism and war to those of healthcare, poverty, the Medicare/Medicaide crisis etc.

I, too, read through a pacifist lens and would rather concern myself more with what can help our fellow brothers and sisters in their humanity rather than living in constant fear of wars that might be and looking to kill our enemies. Therein lies the limitations of politics and politicians.

Those are my 2...perhaps 3 cents.

Anonymous said...

One last thing as I watch the video...I know it's a time of war. I fully realize I don't understand all the issues and implications of the war. However, when nearly every description of the 'issues' of our day describe living in fear I become concerned. This isn't anything new. It comes generation after generation. If it's not terrorism it's the cold war. If not the Cold War then Vietnam. If not Vietnam than the World Wars...the Great Depression...and the list goes on.

The issue for followers of Jesus is to bring hope, peace, and security to a world who focuses on fear after fear. That's my hope anyway. God hasn't given us a spirit of fear, but of LOVE, POWER, and a SOUND MIND.