Friday, July 18, 2003

I was at Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network website looking for something else when I saw this. According to Roberston, Liberia's indicted war criminal dictator Charles Taylor may or may not be great but at least he's Christian, unlike the Muslim rebels who are trying to overthrow him.


Pat Robertson Explains His Position on Liberia and President Charles Taylor
July 16, 2003
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA -- As you may know, Liberia was founded by the United States as a homeland for freed African slaves. The word Liberia is a derivation of the Latin for "free" or "freedom," and the capital, Monrovia, was named after President James Monroe.

Liberia had as its first president a Baptist minister from Norfolk, Virginia. It modeled its constitution after the United States and attempted to follow us in establishing its government. Liberia considers itself a "little brother" of the United States, and has always looked to the United States as its founder, friend, ally, and protector.

In the early 1980s, there was a military coup in Liberia led by Master Sergeant Doe. The Liberian President Tolbert was hacked to pieces by machetes. Then all of the top members of his government were taken from the capital city and butchered. Doe began a reign of terror in Liberia, which resulted in civil war. Among those who fought Doe was Charles Taylor whose militia ultimately defeated Doe. Subsequently, Taylor was elected president of Liberia in what I understand to be a free election.

Shortly thereafter, a rebellion broke out in neighboring Sierra Leone. Charles Taylor backed the rebels, whose teenage soldiers were guilty of extreme brutality. Since Sierra Leone was a former British colony, first the United Nations and then the British sent troops in to establish order and put down the rebellion. From all I can gather, they were successful.

Because of Taylor’s role in assisting the rebels of Sierra Leone, the State Department of Bill Clinton urged the United Nations to place economic sanctions on Liberia. The government of Charles Taylor denied any further involvement with the rebels in Sierra Leone, but to no avail. As a result of the pressure brought on by the United States through the United Nations, Liberia was squeezed unbearably and the people suffered.

With Taylor weakened, a group of rebels, who were principally Muslim, began a civil war using neighboring Guinea as a staging area. The United States gave $3 million to help the army of Guinea, and I have on good authority that at least two containers of arms were sent by the United States to the port of Monrovia in Liberia to be used by the rebels against Taylor.

Guinea is a Muslim country ruled by a capricious and ruthless dictator. If the Taylor government falls, the Muslim rebels are hoping to overrun Liberia, which is a predominantly Christian nation. If they do so, it is feared that a vicious civil war will result, leaving the nation bleeding and in chaos.

My question to the United States State Department is very simple, "If you are successful in taking down the government of Charles Taylor, what plan do you have to establish stability in Liberia, the rule of law, free elections, and representative government? What appropriation has been made by the United States Congress to back up the actions that you have taken to bring down the freely elected government of a sovereign and friendly nation?"

These questions and my concern in no way indicated that I was supporting Charles Taylor. I merely asked the State Department how much African blood would have to be spilled before they were satisfied.

The Christian nations of Africa are right now under assault by Muslims funded either by Saudi Arabia or Libya. This fact is well known to the CIA. Regrettably, the State Department seems to be indifferent to this emerging tragedy.

I regret that my sentiments in support of the suffering Liberian people were misinterpreted by The Washington Post as unqualified support for Charles Taylor, a man who I have never met, and about whose actions a decade ago I have no firsthand knowledge.

Thank you for writing, I remain…

Cordially yours,
Pat Robertson

Some of what Roberston said is true, especially in the dry historical part of the beginning. He also rightly points out the nefarious activities of Saudi Arabia and Libya in sub-Saharan Africa. Though there's little evidence to suggest that the State Department (the new favorite scapegoat of conservatives) is indifferent to this.

Guinea is indeed a predominantly (85%) Muslim country ruled by a capricious and ruthless dictator (General Lansana Conté). But Charles Taylor makes Gen. Conté look like Santa Claus! Conté actually allows opposition, he actually allows civil society and his government doesn't harass Christians (as such) at all. Muslims and Christians pretty much get along in Guinea... probably because none of them watch Roberston's show.

Furthermore, to say that Charles Taylor's government was "freely elected" is a bit like saying Saddam Hussein or the Supreme Soviet were "freely elected." No one dared do otherwise.

Robertson fears that in the case of a rebel victory, "it is feared that a vicious civil war will result, leaving the nation bleeding and in chaos."

NEWSFLASH: Liberia IS in the midst of a vicious civil war that has left the nation bleeding and in chaos.

If Roberston is, by his own admission, ignorant of Charles Taylor's history, perhaps he should inform himself so as to make himself look less foolish. To cite Taylor's alleged Christianity as somehow proof of virtue is an insult to those of us Christians who believe things like murder and rape are wrong. Is his next piece going to be entitled "Adolf Hitler: Misunderstood Christian"?


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