Pat Robertson: God is punishing Ariel Sharon

When Robertson dies, who will tell us why?

Published January 5, 2006 9:13PM (EST)

Pat Robertson will die some day. When he does, we'll all be at a loss -- not because we'll miss him, necessarily, but because we won't have him around to explain why God took him.

On his television show today, the Christian conservative suggested that Ariel Sharon's dire medical condition -- as well as the 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin -- should be seen as a sign of God's displeasure with those who would "divide" Israel.

"I am sad to see him in this condition," Robertson said of Sharon. "But I think we need to look at the Bible and the Book of Joel. The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who 'divide my land.' God considers this land to be his. You read the Bible, he says, 'This is my land.' And for any prime minister of Israel who decides he going carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No. This is mine.'"

Although Robertson insisted that Sharon is a "delightful person to be with," he said that God is sending a clear message by striking him down. "He was dividing God's land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or United States of America. God said, 'This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.'"

Maybe we're just insufficiently religious to understand things the way that Robertson does. We can understand why people look to God for answers and explanations when a child dies in a freak accident, when a young mother or father is killed in a war started on false pretenses, or when a tsunami wipes out entire parts of the world. Say what you will about his politics, Ariel Sharon is a 77-year-old man with a recent history of medical problems. His death, if it comes, will not be any great metaphysical mystery. What is a mystery is why anyone takes Pat Robertson seriously anymore.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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