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Diamonds Are Forever (But Coal Will Always Burn)

by Paul Heller Wednesday, Jul. 16, 2003 at 11:07 PM

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone"... That excludes Pat Robertson

I'm praying that televangelist Pat Robertson will hang himself sometime soon. Not nice? I know, but it's really no different than what Robertson said recently on his own TV show, The 700 Club, when he prayed for the removal of one-third of our Supreme Court, I suppose for being too "liberal". By name, he mentioned Justices John Paul Stevens and Ruth Bader Ginsburg as targets for his "prayer offensive" (I guess God can randomly remove the third Justice from the bench as He sees fit... my money's on Anthony Kennedy).

I've heard of people launching massive missives to a higher power in order to achieve a collective purpose, although it is usually something right and good, like curing cancer in a child or something along those lines. It was never in order to influence the politics of the day, or to disrupt a centuries-old system of checks and balances designed to keep government out of our lives as much as possible. But then, we are talking about Christian conservatism here.

Since Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life, meaning they get to decide when they retire, what Robertson is really asking God to do with these wayward Justices is to kill them, to happily dash their heads against the rocks. Then, that wonderful Christian man George W. Bush (who barely adheres to four of the Ten Commandments himself) would be able to appoint new Justices, who would be more in line with what Robertson and his wacky followers consider to be "good".

But there's no need for this writer to gripe to God about Robertson's galling stupidity. He's just another sinner, another greedy Republican out to line his pockets at our expense, without a care for who suffers as long as he profits, not unlike another infamous conservative finger-wagger, the ever-virtuous (except at the slots) William Bennett. Those are qualifications enough to send his sorry soul down the everlasting elevator shaft, so when he babbles like a sick person on his TV show, to the delight of those weak enough to follow him, all he does is expose another dark and wormy side of conservatism. In that, he does a favor for his country.

If you ever find yourself in the presence of this partisan poser, you might ask him how much dirty money he made on African diamonds, back when he was buddy-buddy with the brutal dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. Ask him how ripping off the government for religious tax breaks, and then using his "missionary" resources to position himself for a mountain of cash when he was supposed to be helping humanity, squares with The Man Upstairs. Well, don't ask him. His god wouldn't allow him to answer the question. The man would start speaking in tongues.

So I'll give you the skinny (you deserve it, having read this far - most people see the name "Pat Robertson" and automatically stop reading). According to a lengthy investigation by the Virginian-Pilot, Robertson used his "Operation Blessing" charity to front a private firm called the African Development Company, and made numerous trips in "Operation Blessing" airplanes loaded with equipment and slaves - excuse me, workers - to the diamond mines of Zaire in the mid-'90s.

According to private pilot Robert Hinkle, only two of the 40 flights he personally made actually provided humanitarian relief to the African people. "We got over there and we had 'Operation Blessing' painted on the tails of the airplanes, but we were doing no humanitarian relief at all. We were just supplying the miners and flying the dredges from Kinshasa out to Tdshikapa."

Because he was operating a profiteering racket under the ruse of good will, Operation Blessing made all of those flights with the benefit of charity, receiving breaks from Virginia's 4.5% retail sales tax, as well as a break from the 3% motor vehicle tax and the 2% aircraft sales tax. When you're talking airplanes and diamond profits it adds up to a bit more than thirty pieces of silver, which used to be standard pay for guys like Robertson.

None of this will have any future effect on Fat Pat's ripping off of the taxpayer, since his exempt status keeps getting renewed. That might have something to do with the ,000 he contributed to Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, or the ,000 that was given to Virginia's Governor, Jim Gilmore - he was also a member of Gilmore's "transition team". And things were going swimmingly for him in Africa, where he was given control of a 50,000-acre farm outside of Kinshasa, until Mobutu had to flee the country he had ruined.

All in all, it looks pretty bad... being linked to a monster like Mobutu, whose record as a leader includes the use of torture, murder, censorship and religious persecution... using airplanes that were supposed to be "flying hospitals" to further the cause of a corporation that was founded solely by Robertson in 1992 (chartered in Bermuda, of course, to avoid those pesky taxes)... and now openly praying for the deaths of three Supreme Court Justices, two of them by name?

These are hardly the actions of a Christian... until you tack the word "conservative" on there. With their kind in control, God help us all.

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