Friday, August 26, 2005

Onward Christian Soldiers IV

A follow-up story to Pat Robertson's shot (from the hip) heard 'round the news networks. It seems other evangelicals are reaching out in fellowship and cooperation to Chavez:

US evangelical seeks Chavez talks

By Justin Webb
BBC News, Caracas

A senior representative of America's evangelical Christians is to make an attempt to set up a meeting with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The Rev Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, wants to distance American Christians from the remarks of a tele-evangelist.

Pat Robertson earlier this week called for Mr Chavez to be "taken out".

The remark was interpreted as a demand for his assassination. Mr Robertson has apologised for his choice of words.

Mr Haggard says he wants to meet Mr Chavez face to face and apologise for Mr Robertson's remarks.

He also wants to secure assurances about the safety of American evangelical missionaries working in Venezuela.

Mr Haggard is in Mexico, where he is meeting a friend of Mr Chavez.

If that encounter goes well, the leader of America's evangelical churches will travel on to Caracas for a meeting which is bound to embarrass the White House.

Political rivalry

Mr Chavez is locked in an acrimonious dispute with Mr Bush.

Washington regards the Venezuelan leader as a dangerous left-winger with ambitions to dominate South America.

Mr Chavez - a friend of Cuban leader Fidel Castro - equally dislikes Mr Bush, and regularly suggests to his people that the Bush administration provides a military threat to Venezuela.

The two nations have recently broken off co-operation on combating illegal drugs, though America still buys Venezuelan oil.

The nation is the world's fifth-largest producer.

The Venezuelan government is adamant that it has no quarrel with individual Americans, and certainly not with the Christian community.

A meeting with a senior evangelical would provide a stage for Mr Chavez to reach out to Americans and poke the White House in the eye - an opportunity he is unlikely to pass up.

Article at BBCWorldNews

And who knows? Maybe Robertson's comments will have been a catalyst to get public attention on this international dispute and even lead to some kind of peaceful resolution.

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