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. Tammy Porter

    I find it interesting that when President Obama had all of the controversy with Reverend Wright and his enflaming comments, the right were insistant that President Obama distance himself and condemn what was said. However, when someone like Mr Robertson, who is as far right and crazy in my opinion as one can be, makes a statement like this, his political representative and friend gets a pass. If the Republican/right wing zeolots get any more hippocitical, and by chance gain power once more, I truly don't know what is going to happen to this country. I am so tired of the right screaming less government, more freedom, but only as long it is according to their beliefs and agendas.

    November 19, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. John Sullivan

    Of course he reached out to Muslims. A vote is a vote come election day. But I would really like to see when his first scheduled visit to a mosque is. Come 'on Bob you are elected now, tell us what you really think.

    November 19, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  3. John in Tampa

    Robertson is wrong only in denying that Islam is a religion as well as a violent political system. History hath shown these have often been one and the same, at the same time. It's one of those mysteries you hear about.

    November 19, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Matt

    Obama hasn't disavowed any of the crazy statements made by: SEIU's Stern, Anita Dunn, Van Jones, Rev. Wright, ACORN,.... and they are influencing his policies and the direction of our wonderful country.

    (Come on CNN, please report on things that actually matter)

    November 19, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. Pragmatic

    Hypocrite that wants it both ways .... will "reach out" to Muslims (wants their votes) but no backbone or real inclination to distance himself from his mentor. Have fun VA!

    November 19, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. soak these corks

    and neoconservatism isn't a violent political system?

    November 19, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. semple

    These two losers deserve one another. The rightwing lunatics (Palin etc.) a diversion to help downplay how Obama is trying to rebuilt an world wide economic system that was destroyed under Bush.

    November 19, 2009 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  8. Justin

    Here we go – you can't win over the GOP base without aligning yourself with Christian radical nutjobs.

    Robertson doesn't like Islamic terrorists? Great. Let him put the blame where it belongs – on the terrorists, not impugn an entire religion.

    Oklahoma City bomber Tim McVeigh was an avowed Christian – does that make Robertson a violent criminal for being one, too?

    These guilt-by-association proclamations are not helpful. Any responsible politician should distance himself/herself from them, period.

    November 19, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  9. Reformed Republican

    You asked for it you got it VA...

    This Talibangelical McDonnell takes his first step towards making VA the laughing stock of the country with his Stone Age thought processes on "freedom" and Neanderthal attitudes towards women. Beleive me, you'll soon be able to by burkas, hajibs, AR-15s and bibles he's autographed on his web site...

    To the citizens of VA, don't come bleating and braying about this guy when he starts trying to turn your state into a Robertson/Falwell mind-controlled Sunday school instead of a Commonwealth. Just wait till he starts replacing your laws with quotes from scriptures.

    You were dumb enough to have bought into this religous grifter's "vision" of 19th century life and voted for this jeezuz freak, now deal with it...

    November 19, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Jeff - Austin, TX

    What's next – condoning acts of violence against minorities, illegal search and seizure of those the governor dislikes, the suspension of the protection in both Virginia's laws and the U.S. Constitution when it comes to those he deems not to be "real Americans?"

    Mr. McDonnell has joined the many Republicans in their march back to the 19th century.

    November 19, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Nick , California

    You gotta love those hateful "Christians". What happened to love thy enemy, or John 8:7.. "He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone".

    November 19, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. the southern progressive

    Pat Robertson = leader of America's Christian Taliban = not good for democracy

    November 19, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. gt

    bid deal.... what it is , is what it is,,,, american people know ,, there just not saying it out loud....get over it cnn,,,, its true,,,

    November 19, 2009 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. Silence Dogoode

    Why should McDonnell have to denounce Robertson? Obama is buddies with a known terrorist and went to the church of a racist....

    Robertson is correct. Muslims are allowing radcial Islamofacists to high jack their religion and turn it into a totatalitarian political machine. Robertson has just as much right to his opionion as anyone else does.

    November 19, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. John Hucul

    And Robertson isn't a Christian Brodcaster but an inflamatory political gadfly.

    November 19, 2009 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  16. SAI

    The Reverend's logic is inspirational; by this logic, we now have a wonderful way to peg all religions!

    Thanks to Bernie Madhoff – shall we say Judaism is the religion of financial swindlers?

    Thanks to scores of devout Chirstians, including reverential men of the cloth – is it fair to call Christianity the religion – no, not religion, a system – that breeds pedophiles? And then there are the Christian serial killers, rapists, and so on – are these also the additional outcomes of the faith?

    I am not a Moslem and not an apologist for Islam – no faith should need one, if it is practised with universal love and brotherhood as its goals – but such self-righteous pontificates (of any faith) make me question their piety and their motives.

    God bless America.

    November 19, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  17. Emma

    Who did Virginia think they were getting as governor? Don't cry foul now that he has been heard his views and still you voted for hi now deal with it.

    November 19, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  18. kd

    guess I'll steer clear of Virginia. Sounds like a crazy place if that's who they elect governor.

    (I live in crazy Utah but even the kooks in government here don't hang with such crazies as the new gov of Virginia.)

    November 19, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  19. please

    Virginia must be so proud. Way to move back towards the stone age.

    For some reason, Pat likes to forget the millions of people killed in the name of Christianity. So is it a religion?

    November 19, 2009 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. T'SAH from Virginia

    AND, there is more to come..... Voters who will complain NOW and until the end of his term – who DID NOT vote to keep him out of office – should have NOTHING to say NOW!!!!

    His true nature is emerging and if you are RAISED in a certain way and THINK a certain and then change that personality just to get elected – it will NOT be long before your true nature is EXPOSED!!

    ronald McDonnell knows good and well he has the same views of Robertson if he cannot denounce him................. President Obama was BEAT UP over Rev. Wright – and still is TODAY according to PALIN – even after Obama admitted he did share his views!!!!

    I tried to get people to the polls but they felt this election was NOT important – maybe in 2010-2012, they will WAKE UP!!!

    November 19, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. Sandra,Atlanta

    Now if a Democrat had said something like that, the Republicans would be hammering them to 'disavow'. My major issue with political parties in general is their hypochrisy. However, Republicans take it to a new level.

    November 19, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  22. MikeFdez

    You wanted it Virginia, and now you got it! While Deeds wasn't the best candidate, I'm sure he wouldn't have been outed as a bigot within a couple of weeks of being elected. Disgusting.

    November 19, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. Audrey in Georgia

    I do not believe McDonnell's attempt to reach out to Muslims in Virginia
    was a genuine effort. If it was, then he should have condemned the vile
    statements of one of his major contributors. But, that would be biting
    the hand thats feeding him, right?!?

    November 19, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. PJ

    When the Muslim community as a whole comes together to put an end to the violence, I will condemn any statements such as the Robertson made. Until then, I support what Robertson said. Yeah, I know, "look what has been done throughout history by the Christians".
    Christians at one time were no better than Muslims are now. I feel sure that if a Catholic today committed the atrocities against innocent people that Muslim extremists are doing, the Catholic would be excomminicated from the Catholic Church. So, there you have it. When Bin Laden is excommunicated from Islam, I will denounce what Robertson has to say.

    November 19, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. Keeth in California

    “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.”

    The same can be said for American Evangelical Christianity.

    "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." ~ Mohandas Gandhi

    November 19, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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