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Evangelical Leaders Criticize Pat Robertson

January 07, 2006|Larry B. Stammer | Times Staff Writer

"Ariel Sharon is 77 years old. He's grossly overweight. He's been under pressure his whole life. So I think any doctor could have predicted he was going to have health problems," Haggard said. "I doubt that God sovereignly is punishing him."

He called Sharon "a wonderful friend" of evangelicals.

Alan Wisdom, interim president of the conservative Institute on Religion and Democracy, a Washington political action group, said he was embarrassed by Robertson.

He said Robertson should have carefully weighed his words, if only because he was viewed by many non-evangelicals as the face of evangelical Christianity in America.

"In some of these remarks and incidents, he's not speaking for the rest of us, particularly overseas in places like Venezuela and the Middle East where evangelicals have a lot of mission work," Wisdom said. "Statements like these make that mission work more difficult. In Venezuela he may have done serious damage."

Wisdom added: "I do want to say that other evangelicals appreciate the role that Robertson had as an evangelist bringing people to faith in Jesus Christ. There were numbers of evangelicals who came into the political process through his influence, but being responsible parts of the political process requires prudence, and a number of the statements he's made have not been prudent, to say the least."

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