discomfort (2006-05)

Leaders Without Rules

Who enforces Christianity on Robertson?

by Steve Dupree

In the sports world, we frequently hear about a young man or woman stepping up and becoming a leader. Of course, the coach is hired to be a leader.

First and foremost, those leaders must know the rules. They must know the capabilities of each member who makes up the team. They must know when to cajole, and when to demand, to elicit the absolute best from the rest of the team. They must also be as fully aware as possible of the current situation in the contest so as to be able to effectively deal with opposing strategies and/or changes.

The military isn’t so different. My description of the leaders in the sports world would easily apply to commissioned officers (coaches) and non-commissioned officers (on-field leaders). As a matter of fact, that description is apt for scout troops. It is apt, and utilized, in business. In a truly effective classroom setting, you can probably identify that leadership structure. I’ve certainly experienced it in corporate America, where it was used to good effect. Unfortunately, where it doesn’t appear to be used is somewhere it is perhaps most needed.

A few weeks ago, Pat Robertson—an alleged Christian and Christian leader, a man with a politico-religious TV show with a respectably large viewership, a man who gets God-only-knows how much money sent to him whenever he begs for it on his TV show—this man, this face of Christianity in America—called for the assassination of the leader of Venezuela. I was struck temporarily speechless. Two of Christ’s most basic admonitions, two pillars of the foundation of Christianity, came immediately to mind: “Thou shalt not kill,” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” as they were taught to me as a child. 

Now, in my reading of the New Testament, it seems to expect some common sense. I don’t know that it spells out all the permutations and variations like some latter-day legal document. I haven’t read where it said “to include suggesting, advocating, or in any way facilitating actions that would knowingly result in the killing of another human.” But I don’t have to read that. I know that is what the spirit of any rule against killing in any doctrine means. If it didn’t mean that, it would require a separate clause that stated just what was allowed. I suspect that most of you know that as well.

I have been criticized for some of my previous writings on the subject of alleged Christianity. Some of my siblings have accused me of unfairly attacking their faith and its followers. I, of course, do not see how they could have actually read the things I have written and still come to that conclusion. I don’t know of one single thing that Christ is alleged to have said that upsets me. I cannot even imagine having a problem with someone who is truly attempting to follow the rules for life that Christ is said to have lain out.

As I’ve said before, when someone claims to be a Christian, what I hear is that they have a desire and intent to be like Christ, to the best of their ability. Surely that would involve doing as he suggested you must do if you want to be like him? I’m not the first one to have such a feeling. Gandhi said, “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Others have made similar or related statements. They appear to have had no noticeable effect on those who deem themselves leaders of the religion.

All leaders lead with the permission of those being led.The reason one gives such permission is a belief that the leader is more capable of ensuring that one achieves whatever the stated goal is than is the follower, and possibly than other would-be leaders are. Throughout history we have seen incidents of mutiny. Politically, we refer to mutiny as “recall” or “impeachment,” but the effect is still the same, which is to let an individual know that he or she no longer has permission of the led to lead. 

It is past time for Pat Robertson and several other faux Christian leaders to experience such an uprising. Pat Robertson suggested in October 2003 that the State Department should be blown up with a small nuclear device.

Rather obviously, that suggestion violates Christian concepts of forgiveness. It flaunts disobedience of the admonition against killing. I rather doubt that he wants such a device to demolish him and his house, so I must conclude that for him, the Golden Rule is out the window as well. You don’t have to kick him off the team, but clearly, he does not need to be a leader.

This all seems very odd to me. A football coach (leader) would be fired in a hurry if he clearly didn’t know, or apparently didn’t care about, the rules. In corporate America, having a boss (leader) who casually and openly flaunted laws or rules would have you seeking alternate employment because you would doubt the long-term viability of the company. But when it comes to your spiritual well being, when it comes to your eternal soul, you are willing to take the risk? Damn, I’m speechless again.