Reading the Aug. 10 news story "Robertson Espouses Assassin Solution," outlining Christian Coalition President Pat Robertson's advocacy of murdering foreign dignitaries in pursuit of legitimate U.S. foreign policy objectives, made for a chilling moment. It is frightening to speculate how many others might subscribe to Mr. Robertson's pistol-packing approach to international politics and his demonstrable hypocrisy when it comes to the application of religious creed. By spreading such outlandish views over his television program, Mr. Robertson and his organization cross the line separating church and state and endanger whatever tax-exempt status his group may possess.

Mr. Robertson ignores numerous factors that make the assassination of foreign heads of even pariah states unacceptable. Not only would such terroristic policies violate international law, they would invite justified retaliatory action.

In the past, the United States has orchestrated successful covert assassinations of leaders it saw as stained or those whom it saw as having outlived their usefulness, as in the Dominican Republic and Vietnam, and failed ones against Fidel Castro and Guatemala's Jacobo Arbenz. However, today even the hint of being involved in some assassination plot would further defame the name of the United States in the evolving international community.

If Washington is to promote human rights and democracy, it must lead by example. We can only pray that the foreign policy recommendations of the Christian Coalition's leader will be self-discrediting to its membership and be dismissed by the general public.