White House, Kerry criticizes comments made by televangelist Pat Robertson

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and outspoken televangelist, has once again created political waves after saying that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke because he tried to "divide God’s land."

The comment was made during Robertson’s 700 Club program last week. Robertson said that Sharon’s stroke was a punishment from God.

The White House quickly blasted the comment, and distanced itself from Robertson.

"I think [Robertson’s] comments were wholly inappropriate and offensive, and really don't have a place in this or any other debate," said Deputy Press Secretary Trent Duffy during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One on Friday.

Duffy also said that President Bush continues to pray for the Israeli leader, who many say is the region’s best chance for peace.

"The President spoke about him yesterday and what a historic figure he is, as far as bringing peace to the Middle Eastern region. And our thoughts and prayers continue to be with him," said Duffy.

Numerous religious figures around the world spoke out against Robertson’s comments, saying that the comments are not consistent with Christian beliefs.

Former US Presidential Candidate John Kerry also criticized Robertson, saying that the commentator ignored the risks Sharon took to bring peace to Israel.

"It is beyond shocking to think that as Prime Minister Sharon fights for his life, Pat Robertson would attack his character," said Kerry. "Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised to hear such venom from someone who claimed Hurricane Katrina was punishment for the people of New Orleans."