VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (AP)--Viewers watching the 700 Club on TV were confounded on Tuesday when they witnessed TV evangelist Pat Robertson embraced by the Devil and carried bodily off to Hell because of his recent call for the United States Government to murder Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
"Pat, you are an anti-Christ just like me!" exclaimed Lucifer, who suddenly materialized on the live program complete with his traditional red and black cape and sporting horns and a goatee.
Satan then proceeded to give viewers a brief explanation for his decision to acquire Robertson's soul as the televangelist recoiled in horror.
"Pat Robertson has no Christian principles at all, like a lot of other rich and powerful American Republicans I know," Satan said in the studio of the "Christian Broadcasting Network" in Virginia Beach, Virginia. "His comments urging the murder of Chavez prove this."
Lucifer also noted that Pat Robertson's anti-Chavez remarks had disrupted the financial markets and made quite a bit of money for the religious hypocrite.
"Robertson's comments caused a flight to quality in both the September long bonds and dollar contracts," noted the Prince of Darkness. "He's so good at this sort of thing that I may just put him in charge of account management and investment for Hades."
Lucifer explained that Robertson is a large investor in one of the so-called deep offshore "Smart Republican Money" trading pools, and was a substantial purchaser of the September long bond and dollar contract indexes the night before he made his Satanic remarks.
"Robertson made quite a bit of money by roiling the market. I really hope the SEC investigates his market manipulation," he added, as they disappeared in a sulfurous cloud of fire and brimstone on their way back to Hell.
The US government has already tried to assassinate Chavez and also orchestrated a military coup which nearly ousted him from office. Chavez is a populist leader immensely favored by the Venezuelan lower classes and his socialist Bolivarian revolution has greatly improved the health, education, employment and living standards of the masses.
Yet Chavez has also imposed higher and fairer taxes and royalties on American oil companies extracting oil from his country, has signed oil supply deals with China and other countries, and has also threatened to cut off the supply of oil to the US. These are the real reasons for Robertson's remarks.
The Venezuelan Ambassador Bernardo Alvarez said support has poured in by email and telephone to the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington from thousands of Americans who were outraged by the televangelist's comments urging the assassination of Chavez.
The Venezuelan government also condemned Robertson, saying he committed a crime that is punishable in the United States. Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said Venezuela was considering legal action against Robertson for saying U.S. agents should "take out" Chavez, an outspoken critic of President Bush and close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
"There is a legal measure in the United States that condemns and punishes statements of this nature," Rangel said, referring to laws dealing with television broadcasts.
To see the related story "Satan Appears At White House" click here.