November 19th, 2009
06:03 PM ET
13 years ago

McDonnell won’t disavow Robertson’s Islam remarks

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
soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. Ben in Texas

    McDonnell, like all politicians, would like to have it both ways. This is what people hate about politicians. It gives rise to sayings like "he speaks out of both sides of his mouth".

    For his evangelical base, he agrees that Islam is not a religion but a "violent political system". When he's in the larger spotlight, he claims to reach out to those in this violent political system. When these statements are taken together, his stance appears totally contradictory. If he believed that Islam was a violent political system, he would be an utter fool, or a baldfaced liar, to reach out to them and visit their mosques.

    Do politicians not know that we understand this, and that we can have no respect for them because of it?

    November 19, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. Marguerite

    Spineless. I guess political contributions take precedent over what's right and correct.

    I guess he won't disavow the nutcases with the Psalms 109:8 bumperstickers either.


    November 19, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. Royster

    Bob McDonnell is not even IN office yet, and the controversy begins! The people of VA will soon find out that the far right wing zealot they elected has no tolerance for other religions, other points of view (including women's), and Bob McDonnell would rather offend millions of people than disawow radical right Pat Robertson.

    Contrast this exact situation with Barack Obama distancing himself from his own pastor when that person made inflammatory remarks offending others. Funny how the GOP screamed and yelled about that, yet when McDonnell offends millions of Muslims....nothing.

    November 19, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  4. Dean

    I think we have growen to expect Pat Robertson to say stupid stuff the man has lost his mind.

    November 19, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Oh Virginia, what have you done??? You put this joke in the governor's office. Luckily I got my clemency paperwork in prior to him getting elected.

    November 19, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  6. Lee

    Yeah, whatever. When they're this in-your-face about their Christianity, and have their head up Pat Robertson's rear end to boot, all we're really doing is counting down the days till their big sex scandal.

    November 19, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  7. All the news that is fit to omit

    Tell you what Muslims, YOU become a little more forceful WHEN YOUR comrades actually KILL MY PEOPLE and I will think about repudiating mere WORDS from someone who is speaking the truth here.

    All Muslims are not terorists, but most terrorists are Muslims.

    Until you change that parameter, SHUT YOUR PIE HOLE.

    Not a fan of McDonnell, BUT GOOD FOR HIM, the PC garbage has fed these people and it MUST END.

    November 19, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  8. Triatomic Tortoise

    McDonnell is a staunch racist. I am not a Muslim btw and I think he is pure evil to our society where rational people live.

    November 19, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. No More Parties

    Memory is a little fuzzy, but didn't Obama get ridiculed by pretty much every one on the right for not vehemently condemning the stuff Wright was saying?

    November 19, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. Jim

    "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. : Ghandi"

    November 19, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Abby

    Pat Robertson is the furthest thing humanly possible from a true Christian. Christ wants us to be nothing like Pat! Pat is full of hate.

    November 19, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. Chip

    Good. He shouldn't. Islam IS a violent political system that oppresses women, kills dissenters, and wants to take over the whole world. Of course, none of the liberals at CNN have probably ever read the Koran or the Hadith, or actually taken the time to study the history of Islam, so they wouldn't know that. They just drink the "Islam is a religion of peace" kool-aid. Yeah, Islam is a religion of peace alright, you either convert or die, and when everyone is either converted or killed, then there will indeed be peace. Those Muslims who are not overtly violent are either heretical, or just biding their time (Al-Takeyya).

    November 19, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. ran

    See the kind of gov. you picked VA. I am glad you have to live with him and not me. Thanks for allowing another far right nut case to obstruct getting things done for the people; but hopefully all he'll screw up are the people of VA who voted for him and I am sorrow for the other people of VA who will have to suffer under this guy for the next 4 yrs.

    November 19, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. Jon

    Pat Robertson is a scum bag.

    November 19, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. VelvetElvis

    Guarantee you that he will not renounce Robertson's comments.

    In the GOP, snuggling-up with uber-Conservative Christrian Right is essential to moving ahead in the party - just ask John McCain: He called them "Agents of Intolerance" back in 2004 campaign and didn't get GOP nomination for Pres; But in 2008 he became "a true conservative" and courted them - and VOILA! he gets GOP nomination.

    November 19, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Luke Brown

    Pat's boy is now the sheriff in town. Good luck, Virginia. You are getting exactly what you deserve with this idiot.

    November 19, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. cjr

    this is one creepy guy – he's from a 4th rate law school, hates women and on and on. What is wrong with VA that they would elect someone so unfit?

    November 19, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. susanj

    Racist pigs – all of them.

    November 19, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  19. Mike in NJ

    Great. A lack of understanding (or tolerance) of other religions... to inevitably promote fear, leading to "Anger, then hate, then suffering," to paraphrase one of out great phiosophers, Yoda.

    If it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, then it's a DUCK. Mr. Robertson is a BIGOT. Call them like you see them, sir.

    November 19, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Jay1975

    He should disavow the comments as soon as the Muslims start condeming all of the evils that are done in the name of Islam. I am not going to hold my breath.

    November 19, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. katie

    I just love those Christian values! I just know Jesus said stuff like this all the time.

    November 19, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  22. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Pat Robertson seems to miss no opportunity to exhibit simultaneously his own bigotry, intolerance, and ignorance. He needs to read a little history–Western culture is alive today because Islam rescued it from the so-called "Dark Ages," half a millennium of European misery, poverty, violence, and chaos following the collapse of the Roman Empire. It was Islamic scholars who re-introduced the West to the long-lost Greek and Roman cultures–Rome itself had been reduced to decaying rubble inhabited only by a handful of ignorant barbarians–and Islamic philosophers who gave rise to the Renaissance of Italy. The Islam of that era was a tolerant religion, perfectly willing to co-exist with the thorough barbarism of Christianity.

    Christians themselves, starting with the Crusades, began the process of the alienation of Islam from Christianity–a process people like Robertson continue to this day, a thousand years later.

    November 19, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  23. Steve in Denver

    ooh, the news is big today. Robertson said something stupid (you can tell because his lips were moving), and somebody is supposed to disavow it? If there were an obligation to disavow all that somebody says who is on your side of the aisle, wouldn't neocons spend all their time disavowing Limbaugh, Beck, and the coward Hannity?

    Really, seeing the R's self destruct is great in my book, but just because somebody who is conservative, like Robertson (or liberal, like Obama, think Wright), says something you don't agree with, you're supposed to disavow it?

    How 'bout we just report Robertson's stupid remarks, and leave it at that, CNN?

    November 19, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Dean

    A religion is a system of human thought which usually includes a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power, deity or deities, or ultimate truth.

    I have never understood how this kind of thinking pertains to bombings of a bus or a restaurant with innocent people inside or the beheading of a non-believer. Or why a mother should hate non-believers more than they love their own children.

    Maybe it is because the presence of people of other faiths prove their own faith false.

    November 19, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. Joe

    who owns you Bob? (I agree with the comment, but that's not the point...)

    November 19, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
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