Goodness me, I don't suppose that I'll make a lot of friends with this post. As a matter of conscience, I feel obligated to defend Pat Robertson for his remarks of yesterday.
Robertson, on his famous (or notorious) 700 Club show, said that Ariel Sharon's medical condition was the result of his dividing God's land "and I say woe unto any Israeli prime minister who takes a similar course..."
A range of criticisms has been advanced. 1) How can he presume to know the mind of God? 2) This is the wrong time to say this, while a man is fighting for his life. 3) Mr. Sharon is 5 foot 7 and weighs 260 pounds in a high-stress job; if anything he has lived longer and more effectively than actuarial tables would predict.
None of these points is without a degree of validity. However, it is eminently within the province of a minister to interpret events in a Biblical light and to share his conclusions with his flock. That is the very definition of spiritual leadership in the Judeo-Christian sense.
Robertson believes, as do many practitioners of Judaism and Christianity, that it is not only possible to know the mind of God in many instances (perhaps most), but it is a human duty to see if He has left clues to the message of His handiwork. For a man to be stricken immediately after giving up a part of the land, complete with evictions of devoted Jewish settlers, suggests to this minister that there is spiritual causation present. To say that he has no right to communicate such a view to his students or parishioners is the height of absurdity.
Is Robertson right? I don't know. Is he wrong? I don't know. But I believe that he has every right to that view; that once he holds it he has a right to promulgate it; that once he has those rights he may well have a spiritual imperative to speak.