Religious Right leader Pat Robertson argued on ABC's This Week that the "runaway" federal judiciary constitutes the gravest threat to American life. According to Robertson, the "tyranny" of the federal judiciary is a bigger threat to America than the Nazis during World War II and the Civil War and poses a "more serious [threat] than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings," referring to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in which nearly 3,000 Americans were killed.
Roberson was interviewed by "This Week" cohost George Stephanopoulos, who asked Robertson if federal judges are really the biggest threat facing America.
"George, I really believe that," Robertson said. "I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together. There is an assault on marriage. There's an assault on human sexuality, as Judge Scalia said, they've taken sides in the culture war and on top of that if we have a democracy, the democratic processes should be that we can elect representatives who will share our point of view and vote those things into law."
Stephanopoulos interjected, "But, sir, let me just stop you there. How can you say that these judges are a more serious threat than Islamic terrorists who slammed into the World Trade Center?"
Robertson never blanched. He replied, "It depends on how you look at culture. If you look over the course of a hundred years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious..."
Although he feels that terrorism isn't a serious threat to America, Robertson is concerned about Hindus and Muslims being granted full access to American political life.
Stephanopoulos confronted Robertson with a passage from his book The New World Order where the volatile TV preacher wrote, "How dare you maintain that those who believe in Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims? My simple answer is, 'Yes, they are.'" Stephanopoulos asked if Robertson still believes that.
Robertson asserted that "the Islamic people...divide the world into two spheres: Dar al-Islam and Daral-Harb. The Dar al-Islam are those submitted to Islam. Dar al-Harb are those who are at the land of war. And they have said in the Koran there's a war against all the infidels. Do you want somebody like that sitting as a judge? I wouldn't."
Pressing further, Stephanopoulos asked Robertson if he believes only Christians and Jews are qualified to serve in the federal judiciary.
"I'm not sure I'd make such a broad sweeping statement," Robertson replied. "But I just feel that those who share the philosophy of the founders of this nation, who assent to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, who assent to the principles that underlie the Constitution: Such people are the ones that should be judges."
But Robertson didn't stop there. He went on to assail Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, implying that she has communist sympathies because she once worked for the American Civil Liberties Union, a group Robertson asserts was founded by communists.
These remarks cannot be dismissed as the mutterings of a disenfranchised zealot. Although his public profile has dropped a bit lately, powerful people still take Robertson seriously. The TV preacher met with President George W. Bush prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and he remains well connected to the Republican power base in Washington. Jay Sekulow, who runs Robertson's legal activities through the American Center for Law and Justice, is one of three strategists entrusted by the White House with the job of helping Bush's judicial nominees navigate the Senate process.
Robertson's influence remains strong in American life and his appearance on "This Week" lays bare how extreme his views actually are. Full video of his appearance can be downloaded as a Windows Media file from the blog Crooks and Liars.