Ummm, hello?

In remarks that might be considered distinctly un-Christian, Pat Robertson, the evangelist, has landed himself in new controversy after calling on his television show for the United States government to assassinate the president of Venezuela.

Mr Robertson - a failed Republican presidential candidate, self-described "humanitarian" and outspoken founder of the right-wing Christian Coalition - said that killing Hugo Chavez, the left-wing South American leader who has a prickly relationship with the US, would be "a whole lot cheaper than starting a war".

"We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability," the 75-year-old preacher told viewers of The 700 Club, his daily programme on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."

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