Eugene Cho

pat robertson endorses giulani. huh?

I’ve got my pros and cons on all the candidates for the 2008 presidential election and I’ve honestly not made a decision on who I’m supporting and/or voting for.  And while most, from reading this blog or hearing my sermons, may think I’m inclined towards the Democratic party, I honestly have no particular affiliation.  I really do try to examine the person beyond the party lines.  I also have gone through the ebbs and flows of how I am to engage politics.  I have cursed it, embraced it, and rest now on thinking that politics is what it is.  It is important but far from being the cure-all to the ailments of society.  It is NOT the answer.

Anyway, I stumbled across Jim Wallis’ post today about his thoughts on Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giulani for President.  Honestly, I was stunned and a little confused.

Now, please don’t take this as me against Giulani or me against the Republicans.  Please, I beg you.  I love my Republican friends and blog subscribers and don’t want to lose your support when I run for President someday after Arnold Schwarchenegger changes that law!  If anything, I guess it’s basically my continual lack of understanding how Rev. Pat Roberson processes his decisions.  I’m sure he has his reasons but I guess it’s safe to say, I simply disagree.  Some of you may remember that while I can acknowledge him as a “brother in Christ” or a “long distant cousin,” I’m more often frustrated at his comments and actions.  Now, while I do have some respect for him, the “other stuff” are the reasons why I respectfully declined the 700 Club’s offer/request couple years to visit our church/cafe for a brief video shoot to highlight Quest as their “church of the week.”

I’m hijacking Wallis’ post because it summarizes much of my thoughts.  Probably the main reason why Robertson is supporting Giulani is because he thinks that Giulani might be the only Republican that can beat Hilary Clinton.  Geez, there are times I just hate politics. 

From Wallis’ God’s Politics:  Pat Robertson’s endorsement of Rudy Giuliani for president is simply astonishing. Robertson – the television preacher who founded the 700 Club and once ran for president himself – has made opposition to abortion and same sex marriage his political north star and has been a relentless champion of traditional marriage and family values.

Remember Robertson’s merciless attacks on President Bill Clinton’s lapses of sexual morality with Monica Lewinsky? Or his comments about how the 9/11 attacks were the result of America’s tolerance for homosexuals and abortion?

Now Robertson is for Rudy, a thrice married adulterous husband, who is estranged from his own children and is both pro-choice and pro-gay rights. According to Pat Robertson’s twisted moral logic, forgiving the social conservative shortcomings of Republicans is a Christian virtue, so long as the same virtue is never applied to Democrats. But Pat thinks Rudy can beat Hillary, and Pat really cares about winning for the Republicans.

What exactly goes on in Pat Robertson’s head has puzzled many of us for a long time. This endorsement ranks as one of the most unprincipled in recent political memory. Maybe principles never mattered much to Pat Robertson after all. Perhaps the pro-business economic conservatism of the Republican Party was always more important to the televangelist than saving unborn lives. Robertson’s longstanding support of murderous Liberian dictator Charles Taylor and his diamond investments thanks to Zairian dictator Mobutu Sese Seko speak louder than words when it comes to Robertson’s ethic of life. And that’s not to mention the more than $400 million Robertson’s empire made when he sold his International Family Networkto Rupert Murdoch, after building it on tax deductible contributions of thousands of CBN donors, many of modest means. He has been putting profits over principles for years.

Richard Land, spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, has taken a more consistent position. Land has clearly said that he won’t support Giuliani if he becomes the Republican nominee, explaining in a recent Newsweek interview, “I’m not willing or able to violate my moral conscience. It would be like asking an African American to choose between Strom Thurmond and George Wallace, or asking Abe Lincoln to vote for a pro-slavery candidate. I personally can’t do it.” Land predicts that many social conservatives will just sit out this election if the Republicans decide to run Rudy. That’s called standing for principle.

Pat Robertson clearly has taken another position. His endorsement of Rudy Giuliani will seem to many to be unprincipled hypocrisy.  

I don’t know.  What do you think?

Filed under: politics, , ,

23 Responses

  1. Joey says:

    Pat Robertson wants to be relevant and stay in the news. His heyday was when he ran for President and folks actually tuned in to what he said. Now, he’s just a pawn like everyone else.

  2. Jezla says:

    I recently read Chuck Colson’s book God and Government. It was published twenty years ago, but has been re-issued in a new edition. He points out that Christians should be mindful that we are part of both the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. The latter cannot bring about the former, though many Christians today seem to think that it can. We are duty bound to obey the government and its laws, but also to call it out when governments laws are in violation of God’s laws.

  3. Jezla says:

    Oh, and in regards to Pat Robertson, I’ve never really been a fan. He’s always seemed to me to be too quick to jump into the political spotlight rather than preach the Gospel.

  4. don says:

    I think Joey has it right. Robertson is fading in media influence and wants some spotlight at the price of sacrificing his integrity for a win.

  5. mcmachismo says:

    Robertson is losing relevance. He’s just latching himself onto the most hopeful soon to be President in the Republican party so that he can gain some credibility back as the “President’s Pastor.” It’s all self serving and has nothing to do with religion. It just goes to show what a sham the guy is and how he doesn’t represent anything that resembles Christianity. The loser in this case is Rudy – his face is now going to be plastered next to any craziness that comes out of Robertson’s mouth. And if its anti-gay or anti-abortion…he’ll be in some trouble then.

  6. Matt EHH says:


    You are a bold man and I love you for it.

    I’ll vote for you when you storm the polls.

  7. DH says:

    I may not agree with Pat but I give him alot of credit because he’s not afraid to endorse a candidate. The majority of pastors are chickensh*t and rather be politically correct and will never endorse anyone.

  8. Wayne Park says:

    I don’t think we pastors are chickenpoop. we just don’t endorse wackos. It’s not about political correctedness.
    I recently had a convo with one of the leading (and oldest) evangelical scholars in the West. He personally said “Pat is a blathering idiot. The only reason he can say what he says is because his daddy was a senator.” Hey I didn’t say it. But who am I to argue?

  9. patlo says:

    Eugene – I’d vote for you this year. Dang constitution!

    (And… wait… didn’t last two elections we have a metric ton of pastors endorsing a particular presidential candidate?)

  10. Raoul says:

    Ugh, give blogging a rest PE and enjoy your vacation. The world of problems will still be here when you get back. DISENGAGE!

  11. edtajchman says:

    what I don’t understand is the support that Giulani gets from the supposed conservative base. He has multiple ex-wives that hate him, his own kids will probably appear in democratic commercials bashing him, multiple corruption scandals, I mean honestly, this guy makes Bill Clinton look like a saint, does anyone really think he can withstand all the criticism coming his way? naive if you think he stands a remote chance…..

  12. d says:

    PE, I think it’s funny that you always need to “explain” yourself with a bipartisan disclaimer at the beginning of every post. Who’s sending you hate mail? I’ve got a paintball gun and lots of free time…j/k

    I’m not afraid to say that I’m not a fan of either Robertson or Giulani. I don’t know much about politics, but those two are just out there for me.

    “Eugene for President!”

  13. Let me be a curmudgeon, Eugene.

    For the life of me, I can’t understand why Jim Wallis isn’t jumping up and down claiming victory. When was the last time an evangelical, conservative neo-fundamentalist like Pat Robertson endorsed anyone who might be considered guilty of “purple politics”? I can’t remember that it happened.

    Here we have a clear conservative endorsing a Republican moderate and we’ve got the left-leaning Jim Wallis pointing fingers. If I hear Wallis aright, he’s regularly stating that he’s “independent.” If anyone is independent in this election it just might be Rudy G.

    Really, Eugene, why throw stones at the guy for being conservative when now that he’s apparently moved to the left they criticizing him for not sticking to his conservative stances.

    Sorry, but I don’t get it.

    By the way, this is not a paid political endorsement nor will I vote for Rudy G.

  14. JB says:


    Simple. Robertson’s actions prove he’s a partisan hack. You could have a modicum of respect for the guy if he stuck to his values and didn’t make an endorsement, or endorsed “the earth is 5000 years old” Mike Huckabee.

    He’s not moving toward moderation. He’s cashing in his “values” for a power chip that will have value if Rudy wins. In other words, his real values have more to do with power than Christianity.


  15. e cho says:

    raoul: thanks man. just logging in for half hour each night. family and i are having a great time. went snorkeling today with leo c.

    scot: i understand what you’re saying. i get what you’re saying about why wallis isn’t jumping up and down. he should be if he honestly felt that robertson had a genuine change of ‘view’ or heart. but, at least for me, that’s my point. i don’t see it that way. i guess i’m just questioning the motivation behind this move.

  16. Dan H says:

    Responding to Scot, I would agree with the other posters that this is a matter of Robertson’s real motivations. There is no evidence whatsoever that Robertson has actually ‘moved to the left.’ He himself is just as conservative as he ever was on the issues of abortion and gay rights. And those two issues are the only areas where Rudy could be said to be liberal, or even moderate. On every other issue–America’s use of military force in the Middle East, the preference for tax relief for the wealthiest Americans, to cite two big examples, he’s as conservative as they come.

    So, does it really constitute a ‘move to the left’ to endorse a candidate whose only ‘left leaning’ issues are precisely the issues where Robertson is still staunchly conservative? I don’t think so. Robertson himself said that the issue of the ‘war on terror’ was most important for him, actually he specifically said that “to me the overriding issue before the American people is the defense of our population from the bloodlust of Islamic terrorists.” So he believes Rudy will deliver on that particular issue, and believes he has the best shot of beating Hilary Clinton, so therefore his other ‘moral issues’ take a back seat.

    Now, pragmatic politicking is not in itself a terrible thing–everyone to a certain extent has to choose a candidate that represents them in certain areas and not in others. What smacks of cynicism in the Robertson endorsement is that he has chosen a candidate who opposes him on what were supposedly his most important issues (abortion and gay rights)–the very issues which are often the rallying cry for why Christians ought to vote Republican. If those issues are dispensible for Robertson, it begs the question of whether those issues really are the primary reason for his conservative politics, or whether his position in the Republican fold actually has more to do with his commitment to American military supremacy, and (while not stated) his commitment to the interests of the most wealthy Americans (low regulation of multinational corporations, tax relief for the wealthy, etc.)

  17. Michelle says:

    I think the big question is….”What goes thru Pat’s head?” We can guess and that can be entertaining but we are probably never going to figure it out!

  18. Dan H,
    My contention would be that Robertson is willing, against former stances, to stand with Guiliani here — that’s a change. I have no idea why he is doing this. My only point is that his willingness to stand with a moderate Republican is a major shift for conservative evangelicals who have traditionally stood for stronger rightist views.

  19. daniel says:

    I think the point in the criticism had to do with the fact that Giuliani stands for nothing that can be regarded as “moral values” – either those of the “left” or of the “right”.
    Endorsing a candidate for the purpose of “anybody but Hillary” is not an example of transcending the left/right polarity – rather, it simply serves as another example of the Religious Right being squarely in the pockets of the Republican Party.

  20. chad says:

    the devil’s-advocate/conspiracy-theorist in me wants to say that either Robertson is “taking one for the team” and is hoping to tarnish the Guiliani campaign with his considerable onus, or some mastermind has manipulated Robertson into aligning himself with Guiliani for the same reason. The former theory makes no sense as Robertson has (apparently) little if any to gain from Guiliani’s loss, but in a paranoid world, the latter does make a great deal of sense.

  21. […] Just because you can endorse Rudy G, doesn’t mean you should…or does it? Eugene Cho is the pastor of the church we’ve been attending the past few months. He has quite a lively blog – especially right now as he’s hosting a conversation on Pat Robertson’s decision to endorse Rudy Giuliani for the GOP nomination in ‘08. Is that really a good thing for Rudy? On the surface it seems like a major departure from prinicples for ol’ Pat. Jump to it here. […]

  22. Jo says:

    Just because Pat is standing on a different stance isn’t good enough for me. He’s done so much damage that it’s necessary for people to question his motives.

  23. david says:

    not to beat on pat some more, but i still don’t feel like christians should be obligated to associate with the robertson/falwells of this world as “distant cousins” just because they claim to believe in jesus. i think we can tell by their lives what they really believe in.

    what we really need to do is leave these nutjobs to the obscurity they fear. if we stop encouraging the media to cover their hysterics by making a big deal out of every ridiculous statement they make, then they will (hopefully) fade into the distance as pariahs we should have written off long ago.

    will people please stop funding the 700 club!?

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In our culture, we can be so obsessed with the "spectacular" or "glamorous." The Church often engagws in thia language and paradigm...but what if God has called many of us to small, ordinary things?

Will we still be faithful?
Will we still go about such things with great love and joy?

I recently came across this picture taken by @mattylew, one of our church staff...and I started tearing up: This is my mother; in her 70s; with realities of some disabilities that make it difficult for her to stand up and sit down...but here she is on her knees and prostate in prayer. She doesn't have any social media accounts, barely knows how to use her smartphone, doesn't have a platform, hasn't written a book, doesn't have any titles in our church, isn't listed as a leader or an expert or a consultant or a guru. But she simply seeks to do her best - by God's grace - to be faithful to God. She prays for hours every day inteceding for our family, our church, and the larger world.

Even if we're not noticed or celebrated or elevated...let's be faithful. Our greatest calling as followers of Christ is to be faithful. Not spectacular. Not glamorous. Not popular. Not relevant. And not even successful in the eyes of the world.

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We can't do it all.
Pray and choose wisely.
Then invest deeply. May our compassion not just be limited to the West or to those that look like us. Lifting up the people of Iraq, Iran, and Kurdistan in prayer after the 7.3 earthquake - including the many new friends I met on a recent trip to Iraq.

The death toll rises to over 400 and over 7,000 injured in multiple cities and hundreds of villages along the Western border with Iraq.

Lord, in your mercy... We are reminded again and again...that we are Resurrection People living in a Dark Friday world.

It's been a tough, emotional, and painful week - especially as we lament the horrible tragedy of the church shootings at Sutherland Springs. In the midst of this lament, I've been carried by the hope, beauty, and promise of our baptisms last Sunday and the raw and honest testimonies of God's mercy, love, and grace.

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on ourselves 
even as we seek 
to change the world. 
To be about the latter 
without the former 
is the great temptation 
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