(August 2005) So I received an e-mail message from Democracy for America this morning. Instead of calling for an FCC investigation or the filing of criminal charges against Pat Robertson, Democracy for America wants to place a “Thou Shalt Not Kill” ad in Pat’s local newspaper. How effective of them.
I signed their petition, but wrote this:
The FCC fined CBS $550,000 for accidentally airing Janet Jackson's silicone breast during the Superbowl. Call for the FCC to fine Robertson’s so-called Christian Broadcasting Network for using federally licensed airwaves to call for terrorist homicide.
Call for criminal charges to be filed against him for his fatwah.
Insist that he be prosecuted for calling for the murder of a democratically elected head of state.
See US Code, Title 18, Sec 1116: “whoever kills or attempts to kill a foreign official, official guest, or internationally protected person shall be punished” and Sec 878, which makes it a crime to “knowingly and willingly threaten” to commit this crime.
Our government is obligated under international law to prevent and punish acts of terrorism against foreign heads of state when they are conceived of or planned on our soil. See the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, which makes it a crime to commit a “murder, kidnapping, or other attack upon on the liberty of an internationally protected person” [including] a “threat to commit any such attack.”
See also The OAS Convention to Prevent and Punish Acts of Terrorism Taking the Form of Crimes against Persons and Related Extortion That Are of International Significance, of which the US is a signatory. Art 8a obliges “the contracting states undertake to cooperate among themselves by taking all the measures that they may consider effective, under their own laws, and especially those established in this convention, to prevent and punish acts of terrorism, especially kidnaping [sic], murder, and other assaults against the life or physical integrity of those persons to whom the state has the duty according to international law to give special protection, as well as extortion in connection with those crimes.” This convention includes foreign heads of state as internationally protected persons.
Obviously, I didn’t do all that research myself but got most of it from Deborah James’s article on ALTERNET.
Democracy for America did make a good point though when they wrote in their plea for funds that
Robertson's fatwah, calling for the assassination of the president of Venezuela—in the name of keeping access to a "huge pool of oil," among other excuses—exposed the warped values of many religious radicals with the ear of the president of the United States. From efforts to squelch the teaching of sound science in our schools, to the "Justice Sunday" rallies trying to impose religion on the courts, to the quixotic jihad against SpongeBob SquarePants, fundamentalist power grabs make the news and have a huge impact. But they don't have the teachings of any religion we know of—and they don't have us.