After a less than enthusiastic response to his suggestion that America should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (the editorial pages of virtually every major newspaper in the country condemned him yeserday morning), Robertson claimed that his comments were “misinterpreted.” Now that this has been shown to be blatantly untrue, Robertson has apologized. Sort of. At least that’s what you’d think if you read the headlines this morning:
The New York Times: “Broadcaster Offers Apology for Calling for Assassination”
USA Today: “Robertson issues a denial, then an apology”
The Wall Street Journal: “Robertson Apologizes For Chavez Remarks”
The Washington Post: “Robertson Apologizes for Calling for Assassination”
The LA Times: “Robertson Apologizes for Chavez Remarks”
But what the papers fail to note (or note only in passing), is that Robertson’s apology statement (read the whole thing) concluded with an argument that attempts to shore up his original call for assassination:
The brilliant Protestant theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who lived under the hellish conditions of Nazi Germany, is reported to have said:
“If I see a madman driving a car into a group of innocent bystanders, then I can’t, as a Christian, simply wait for the catastrophe and then comfort the wounded and bury the dead. I must try to wrestle the steering wheel out of the hands of the driver.”
On the strength of this reasoning, Bonhoeffer decided to lend his support to those in Germany who had joined together in an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Bonhoeffer was imprisoned and killed by the Nazis, but his example deserves our respect and consideration today.
There are many who disagree with my comments, and I respect their opinions. There are others who think that stopping a dictator is the appropriate course of action.
This contradicts his apology. Indeed, Robertson seems to be raising the stakes: he cites as an analogy a “brilliant” man who tried to kill Hitler, believing it to be the Christian thing to do.
Still, I’m sure Robertson will clarify his comments. Again. For the third time.