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By Bill Gallagher

DETROIT -- Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson is on a "prayer offensive" to urge God to use divine influence to get three Supreme Court justices to throw in the towel.

On his political-religious talk show, "The 700 Club," Robertson said, "We ask for miracles in regard to the Supreme Court. ... One justice is 83 years old, another has cancer and another has a heart condition. Would it not be possible for God to put it in their minds that the time has come to retire?"

What got Robertson so enraged was the court's 6-to-3 decision striking down state laws prohibiting sodomy and decriminalizing the behavior of consenting adults in the privacy of their own bedrooms. Imagine that! Robertson is convinced society will crumble as a result.

Robertson and his ilk give Christianity a bad name. Their intolerance knows no bounds. What's troubling to the wider public, however, is that the Bush administration treats them as its single most important constituency, and the president's "brain" and chief political operative, Karl Rove, plays to the extreme right-wing evangelicals to such an extent that they have become one and the same with the modern Republican Party.

Bush's people won't publicly join Robertson's cause, but you can bet Rove's little army of religious radicals holed up in the White House sit in pious sympathy at their prayer meetings and Bible study sessions, whispering to God to grant Pat's wishes.

San Francisco Gate columnist Mark Morford urges us to turn away from all religious fundamentalism -- Robertson's variety, Osama bin Laden's murderous, Saudi-nurtured Wahhabism or the fanaticism of many on both sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Morford sees Robertson's rant as a "sanctimonious little roadblock to the progress of the human soul," and encourages channel surfers to ride the wave of dignity and intelligence when they encounter Robertson's terribly misnamed "Christian Broadcasting Network."

But Robertson's prayer offensive did get me thinking. Maybe others could petition God to help influence much-needed retirements from government service.

Dear Lord, please rid the White House of Karl Rove and his reptiles, who tried to discredit ABC correspondent Jeffrey Kofman. His sin was producing a compelling report about the plummeting morale of U.S. troops in Iraq. Kofman is openly gay, although that irrelevant fact was unknown to most of his viewers. His report included enlisted people from the 3rd Infantry Division questioning the Army's credibility, and one brave soldier called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to resign. That sent the White House spin doctors into a tizzy.

First of all, the Pentagon made sure the soldiers were punished for daring to speak the truth.

Then someone from the White House communications office alerted cyber-gossip Matt Drudge that, not only was Kofman a godless gay but -- brace yourself, it's worse -- he's Canadian! Drudge ran a screaming banner headline on his Web site, "ABC REPORTER WHO FILED TROOP COMPLAINT STORY IS A CANADIAN."

The message Rove's slimy serpents wanted out there was simple: How can you possibly trust a gay man to tell the truth? And not just gay. He's from that tolerant, peace-loving and progressive nation, Canada.

So pray to God that Karl Rove and all his chest-thumping, Bible-beating crew leave the White House and take their sleaze acts elsewhere. Some revival tent in the Texas heat would be fine, and they and the nation would be much better as a result.

Let us pray that Dr. Condoleezza Rice leaves government and returns to academia. She is a third-rate player on the world stage, a first-rate sycophant and the worst national security adviser in American history. She politicizes everything she touches, and her designer shoe prints are all over the lies and misrepresentation about Iraq's bogus enriched uranium buys and other myths about Saddam's weapons programs.

Perhaps the Harvard Business School, which actually gave an MBA to George W. Bush, could use her services. She could conduct a seminar on "How to use public office to serve the international oil industry, make yourself fabulously wealthy and pretend you are respectable in the process."

Dear Lord, while she's leaving, please have Dr. Rice take Vice President Dick Cheney and Field Marshall Rumsfeld with her. They could join her at Harvard for a seminar on "Power, arrogance, money and mendacity: a new world order."

Let us all pray for the departure of the Bush economic team, who would be more at home directing the economy of Argentina. They have brought us the highest unemployment rate in 20 years, a record $455 billion deficit and the red ink that will flow indefinitely and burden our children with unconscionable debt.

The president's State of the Union address had many more lies than just the Iraq-Niger deal. Here are 24 more false words the president uttered about rising deficits: "We will not deny, we will not ignore, we will not pass along our problems to other congresses, to other presidents and other generations." No sane person, who is not on the Bush payroll, believes that lie. The president is doing nothing to curtail the debt, and his spend-and-borrow polices are adding to it. So finally, our prayers come to the man whom five Supreme Court justices selected to be president -- the ones Pat Robertson prays will live long.

The president should have a sign on his desk in the Oval Office, saying, "The buck stops anywhere but here."

He does everything he can to insulate and isolate himself from the deceptions used to lead the nation to war and fiscal ruin.

Bush has already made his fortune. His daddy's influence, some tricky stock manipulations, and the corporate welfare his Texas Rangers baseball team received have made him very wealthy.

Bush likes the title, and the power he can wield for his rich friends, but he really doesn't have all that much interest in governing. He'd much rather chop wood, play video games and watch war movies down on his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Dear Lord, we pray you send him there, where he can live long and prosper, and the nation and world will be safer.

Hear our prayers, oh Lord, and forgive me for the friendships and love I've had for gay people and Canadians. Amen.

Bill Gallagher, a Peabody Award winner, is a former Niagara Falls city councilman who now covers Detroit for Fox2 News. His e-mail address is gallaghernewsman@aol.com.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com July 22 2003