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SBC president underscores prayer versus assassination

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Pat Robertson’s call for the assassination of Venezuela’s president has prompted the president of the Southern Baptist Convention to distance the SBC from remarks Robertson made on his Aug. 22 “700 Club” telecast.

Bobby Welch, SBC president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., said, “The Southern Baptist Convention does not support or endorse public statements concerning assassinations of persons, even if they are despicable despots of foreign countries, and neither do I.

“Everyone is aware that the United Stares has a military and government agencies to deal with our foreign threats in a forceful combative way,” Welch said in an Aug. 23 statement. “The Christian’s responsibility,” he noted, “is to pray for our leaders as well as the extremists around the world. Jesus Christ can save these people and change their lives.”

Robertson, on his Aug. 22 telecast, said the United States has the ability to “take out” Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, whom Robertson accused of supporting communism and Muslim extremism. Killing Chavez would be a “whole lot cheaper” than starting a war, Robertson said.

Robertson’s comments come at a time of rising U.S.-Venezuelan tensions. Chavez has accused the Bush administration of plotting his demise and has threatened to shut off oil exports. U.S. officials have dismissed Chavez’s accusations as ridiculous.
Based in part on reporting by the Voice of America.

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