The Christian Broadcasting Network has filed a report after the swearing in of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez who was re-elected last month. Perhaps unsurprisingly, CBN correspondent Dale Hurd seems pre-occupied with Chavez’s religious beliefs.
“Chavez is a syncretist (fusing different religions) and a neo-pagan, according to a conversation I had in Caracas with a Danish cultural anthropologist, himself a non-christian, who was studying Chavez’ beliefs from an academic standpoint. He told me that for Hugo Chavez, the only value of Christ and Christianity are as sources of Marxist imagery. He also said that Chavez views himself as a type of Christ.”
The report then goes on to mention Chavez’s expulsion of New Tribes Ministry (whom he portrays as innocent victims) and anti-Catholic statements made by the Socialist president. The piece ends with some red-baiting.
“Meanwhile, Chavez, as a self-depicted type of Christ, continues to establish his Marxist kingdom in Venezuela.”
While I think that Chavez’s religious views are an interesting topic of reporting, I don’t think a news agency founded by Pat Robertson (who publicly called for the assassination of Chavez) should be taken seriously on any topic regarding Venezuela or Hugo Chavez. Sadly it seems that most reporting on Chavez can’t move past his outlandish statements to investigate his unique blend of socialism, Christianity, and indigenous beliefs. Chavez is neither the savior he would like to be seen as, or the demon many right-wing critics paint him as. It would be great to see more nuanced reporting on this issue.