November 18th, 2009
09:52 PM ET
4 years ago

McDonnell won’t disavow Robertson’s Islam remarks

Republican Bob McDonnell captured the Virginia governor's mansion back from Democrats earlier this month.
Republican Bob McDonnell captured the Virginia governor's mansion back from Democrats earlier this month.

CEDAR CREEK, Texas (CNN) – Virginia Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell on Wednesday would not disavow Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson’s recent claim that Islam is not a religion, but “a violent political system.”

McDonnell, though, stressed that he reached out to Muslims and visited mosques in Virginia throughout the governor’s race and will continue to do so when he takes office in January.

Muslim groups have called on McDonnell to condemn the remark because Robertson is a longtime political benefactor of the Republican, who won a blowout victory in this year’s closely-watched gubernatorial election.

McDonnell attended law school at CBN University (now Regent University), founded by Robertson, and has accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the televangelist along with appearing on his show, “The 700 Club.”

“I’ve got probably 15,000 donors to the campaign and I can’t stand and defend or support every comment that any donor might make,” McDonnell said in response to a question from CNN at the Republican Governors Association annual meeting near Austin. “I think people are entitled under the First Amendment to express whatever opinions that they may have, but I can only say that as governor of Virginia, I intend to have an inclusive administration where we bring people across the political and religious system to help us govern.”

Robertson made the comments on his show on November 9 after the shooting rampage at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas. The suspected gunman, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is a Muslim who was critical of U.S. military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan

“Islam is a violent, I was going to say religion, but it's not a religion. It's a political system,” Robertson said. “It's a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination. That is the ultimate aim.”

When asked if he believes Islam is “a violent political system,” McDonnell said no, but he did not condemn Robertson.

“I think that there are people in various religions that do some violent things and they should be judged according to their acts,” he explained. “But I have believed that there are people of all the great religions, that can be enormously helpful in our multicultural Virginia to help them to benefit us in the state.”


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Extra • Pat Robertson • Virginia
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. marcus2

    Islam is a major religion, but "Islamic" fundamentalist extremists have their own twisted and perverse interpretation.

    People like Bob McDonnel and Pat Robertson make a mockery of Christianity with their warped views as well. Religious fundamentalists can't help but screw things up – no matter what religion.

    November 18, 2009 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  2. Joe Berson

    What Robertson said about Islam being a violent society was what Pope Benedict mentioned from a saying attributed to a churchman back in the middle ages. The Pope's reference to that old remark caused such commotion in the Islamic world that eventually the pope apologized.
    Robertson (as w/ our new VP) has a knack for stirring up controversy.
    There seems to be no current cure for diarrhea of the mouth!

    November 18, 2009 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  3. Robin in Tampa, FL

    Pat Robertson speaks only for his own clergy, if they believe his crap then I feel sorry for them, but know this he is not the emperor of all Christians.

    November 18, 2009 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  4. That one guy

    "I’ve got probably 15,000 donors to the campaign and I can’t stand and defend or support every comment that any donor might
    make"
    well said!!!

    November 18, 2009 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  5. Rosebud

    Yep VA, see what you got now, a Robertson puppet... Congratulations! You should have paid more attention to that college paper.

    November 18, 2009 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  6. Jeremy-Dallas-Tx

    Sorry Virginians. You got what you wanted. Right from the start he is a "TYPICAL RIGHT WINGER". Wait until Rush, Palin, Beck, Hannity and the Congress woman from Mn come for his swearing in ceremony for more destruction to start. After 5yrs,be assured to be in more debt and middle class to be poorer than you are today. It is called the trickle down Economics or THE REPUBLICAN SONG. Here in Tx, the middle class (below 50k) pays more taxes than lets say someone like me above 80k. Hope you read State by State Tax report out today. It is all over Republican governed States except La.
    GOOD LUCK VIRGINIA.

    November 19, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  7. Chris greer

    Im curious why most news agencies lean so far left these days. Kudos to this guy, he shouldnt need to disavow any opinion any american says. Its easily seen that along with the left comes limited free speech, limited reward for hard work, even intimidation at voting booths (think black panthers). But for some odd reason the msm isnt commenting on the obvious loss of rights we are seeing.

    November 19, 2009 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  8. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Especially coming from Robertson that statement seems very ironic. He is the very embodiment of aggressively misusing christianity for political ends.

    November 19, 2009 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  9. Peter E

    Republicans think that everyone views the world as they do. They confuse religion and politics constantly, and therefore assume everyone else does too. Republicans have really washed away the separation of church and state. (and YES, it IS in the Constitution!)

    November 19, 2009 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  10. J.V.Hodgson

    Appalling, free speech or not it exemplifies why America is seen by Islam as attacking its faith and therefore justifies Jihad. He is frankly just as extreme as those he criticises.
    He needs lesson in the Tolerance of Intolerance just as the islamic extremists do and approach the issues from the point of view of understanding, not ignorrance.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    November 19, 2009 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  11. Zion

    If America is dumb enough to give power back to the party that created this mess, I do not want to hear one complaint. Eat whatever meal they dishup, including intolerance.

    November 19, 2009 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
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