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. Bubba

    You could actually say the same thing about Christianity with more justice, since we've got a network of related denominations working together. Islam has three major branches that all fight each other.

    Pat Robertson is now officially senile, ok? Let's stop reporting his sad babble. He'll see the nine-hundred-foot Jesus pretty soon.

    November 19, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  2. Tate

    Good for him that is what I am talking about. How many times has people question Owhiner when his mentor and preacher and advisor spouts off about jews every other week.

    November 19, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. Beka

    Hmmmm I wonder if VA Dems and Independents who stayed home because they choose the wrong Candidate will start having buyers remorse?

    November 19, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    A codicil, by the way, to the foregoing: I'm not a Muslim, nor am I a Christian nor a Jew. Religion, qua religion, has always struck me as a bit silly, however admirable the culture with which it's associated may be.

    November 19, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  5. David

    Anyone with any intelligence should have known that McDonald reinvented himself just to gain power. He was, is, and always will be tied to Pat Robinson at the hip. We'll rue the day McDonald ever was elected. He has no sense of principles and will say whatever he need to for that moment.

    November 19, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  6. Truthiswhatweneed

    These self righteous hypocrites are so silly. Christianity as it is practiced today by many people is not even Christ-like. Jesus would disavow these so-called Christians. Christianity has been hijacked by these right wingers and racists. That’s why when Jesus returns he will tell these so-called Christians, "depart from me you workers of iniquity for I know you not". Jesus himself knew nothing about Christianity. None of the prophets even said that they were Christians. Do your research and think for yourself.

    November 19, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  7. FEDFL

    It won't be long until Robertson and the politicians he influences begin to talk about "modifying" laws that prevent profiling, discrimination and persecution of Muslims.

    Who says history doesn't repeat itself.


    November 19, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  8. Pete

    So, the good Governor can't bring it upon himself to criticize the bigoted comments of the founder of his own alma mater? It's curious that the First Amendment is being invoked, because this "Islam's not really a religion" talking point that conservatives have been putting out there is part of a deliberate campaign to get around our country's First Amendment guarantee of Freedom of Religion. These people are just ITCHING for internment camps.

    November 19, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  9. DennisG

    Unless he comes out and disavows the evil of statements of Robertson,and really means it, he's just another in a list of extreme right-wing hypocritcal Republican governors. Robertson is dangerous and people who really care about this country need to distance themselves from him.

    November 19, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  10. Francisco Cardenas

    McDonnell is not responsible for Robertson's remarks. It is that simple.

    November 19, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. lhaj

    McDonnell won't disavow Robertson's Islam view because he shared that same view. His visits to the Mosque is purely political and nothing else. However, he is the governor and we as Virginians (Muslim or not) should helped him to succeed. Although personally, I would have love to see him distance himself from such distateful remarks, the good thing about this country is one have the right to their own view point. However, if that same remarks was made against Christinians, the U.S. Congress will have stepped up to criticize that person or group.

    November 19, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. Julia - Native American from Idaho

    Robertson and McDonnell truly believe that being a right wing evangelical nut case is a religion. What a joke, NOT a religion by any stretch of the imagination, the only thing they worship is the almight ydollar , everybody else can go to hell.

    November 19, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. AEK

    This is the face of the ugly American the world sees every day. This the reason the world community embraced the election of President Obama so enthusiastically. This is why the right wing "so called Christians" are the most divisive and dangerous segment of our society. It's their philosophy that has cost us thousands of lives in Iraq and Afghanistan in their modern version of the Crusades. Big oil+Neocons, not a healthy combination for our country.

    November 19, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. Joe

    Yes Islam is a violent political system, as much as the Jewish state of Israel is another violent political system. Some countries use religion as a political system to ensure that their subjects are control through a supernatural being rather than one of their own. It is a cowardly way to enforce the law and blame it on religion.

    November 19, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. Richard

    The failure of the Governor to repudiate and dissociate himself from Pat Robertson pseudo-religious "agit-prop" is deplorable. The anger we justifiably feel towrds those fanatic adherents of Islam who devote themselves to the destruction of everything America stands for is misdirected against the remainder of the one billion believers of Islam. The last thing America needs is a new crusade against one billion enemies. Instead, Americans need to focus on driving a wedge between the Islamic fanatics and their supporters who seek to destroy us and the overwhelming number of Muslims prepared to live peacefully with us and among us.

    November 19, 2009 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  16. Rafael VA

    Bob for Prez 2012

    November 19, 2009 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. Mark

    well you have to think about it....

    November 19, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  18. ange1

    Pat Robertson unfortunately is his own worst enemy. The VAST VAST majority of those who follow the Islamic faith are not fact, Islam preaches tolerance of all faiths. You could make the case some far right conservative catholic aren't much better...just look to Ireland and the tactics of the Sinn Fein. It may not be suicide bombing, but its violent as hell. Robertson is the least tolerant evangelist around and why any of us should care what his views about life are is beyond me. Just one more reason why the original intent of our founding fathers to separate church and state was a master stroke of brilliance.

    November 19, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  19. rick

    We have to live with this guy for the next 4 years, what were the voter's thinking? Virginia just elected 3 bums.

    November 19, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. Eric Corcoran

    That he wouldn't outright deny the claim that Islam is not a religion is one of the more offensive things I have heard come out of any politician, and I live in Minnesota with Michelle Bachman.

    November 19, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  21. blf

    I cannot imagine why anyone would go to Regent U unless already brainwashed in the manner of the crazed narcissist Pat Robertson. So years later McDonnell doesn't want to disavow crazy Pat's remarks. Both are wrong, but should we be surprised.

    November 19, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  22. Michael M, Phoenix AZ

    Religous nuts both of them. If these idiots will think about it, most wars and killings are done in the name of some religion anyway.

    November 19, 2009 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  23. sharon

    It is a very sad day when people gladly jump on bard a "Hate Wagon".
    No matter who the person is.
    But the spotlight is worse when they have put themselves in a leadership role and want a spotlight.

    so now "they" have it.

    November 19, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  24. GOP = "I hope he fails"

    Pat Robertson can say "Islam is nothing but a violent political system." But don't you dare accuse him of being prejudice or racist.

    Islam has the same problem Christianity has: literalist-fundamentalists. No Christian extremist don't commit acts of terrorism, so Islam does have a bigger problem. But their issues stem from the same problem thing as with all religions: people who want to make religeous texts into the "the word of God."

    November 19, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  25. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    The only thing worst than ignornace is an ignorant bigot.

    November 19, 2009 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
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