In the wake of American mass shootings, of which there are many, some on the right are quick to look for politically convenient scapegoats. We should blame Hollywood. And video games. And the mental-health system. And so on.As Right Wing Watch noted yesterday, however, TV preacher Pat Robertson told his "700 Club" audience yesterday that he has his own explanation for the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
"Violence in the streets, ladies and gentlemen. Why is it happening?" he asked. "The fact that we have disrespect for authority; there is profound disrespect for our president, all across this nation they say terrible things about him. It's in the news, it's in other places. There is disrespect now for our national anthem, disrespect for our veterans, disrespect for the institutions of our government, disrespect for the court system. All the way up and down the line, disrespect."
"Until there is biblical authority," Robertson continued, "there has to be some controlling authority in our society and there is none. And when there is no vision of God, the people run amok ... and we have taken from the American people the vision of God, the whole idea of reward and punishment, an ultimate judge of all our actions, we've taken that away. When there is no vision of God, the people run amok."
There's obviously no point in trying to make sense of such an argument, and it's certainly tempting not to care what an outrageous televangelist has to say about major national tragedies. (Immediately after 9/11, you'll recall, Robertson endorsed the idea that Americans were to blame for the attacks.)
But Donald Trump's associations with Robertson complicate matters a bit.
And when Trump assembled a legal team to defend his interests in the Russia scandal, he turned to Jay Sekulow, who leads the right-wing legal group created by ... Pat Roberson.
In other words, the American mainstream may dismiss Robertson as a ridiculous crank, and scoff when he suggests "disrespect" is to blame for mass murders, but then we're reminded that the sitting president of the United States takes this guy seriously.
Given the circumstances, I'm afraid that says more about Trump than Robertson.