Venzuelan vice president Jose Vicente Rangel is now calling Pat Robertson a terrorist and saying his statement that the United States should assassinate neo-communist, neo-Mohammedan Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is “very Christian.”

I’m not comfortable with the evangelical Christian label, but people frequently make me wear it. Statements like this are a big reason why I don’t like the label.

Most Christians will say they know Christianity when they see it. And this isn’t it.Hugo Chavez isn’t the reason gas costs $2.61. He’s part of the problem, but so is George Walker Bush. And it’s not right to kill someone just because he doesn’t want to lower his price on something you want. By that logic, it would be right to kill every store owner that isn’t Wal-Mart.

The problem is there’s something wrong with every major source of oil in the world right now. There’s instability in Saudi Arabia. The problems with Iraq should be self-explanatory. The rest of the Middle East is torqued off about Iraq. Russia is pumping the oil out as fast as it can. Our offshore operations have been pounded by the weather. Venezuela is mad because, well, Hugo Chavez looks at history and sees that the United States has a bad track record with Latin American countries. It also has a bad track record with oil-producing countries. Then he realized that Venezuela is both. If I were Hugo Chavez, I might be a little bit scared too.

Meanwhile, China is sucking down oil as quickly as it can because we outsourced all of our manufacturing there so we could pay 10 cents less for trinkets at Wal-Mart. It takes energy to make that stuff and ship it over here. The same energy we put into our gas guzzlers.

It’s not Chavez’s fault the entire Middle East hates us. Chavez didn’t cause the hurricanes, and Chavez didn’t sabotage the Russians. Chavez didn’t make us empty our factories and ship everything to China, and Chavez didn’t hold a gun to our heads and make us buy cars that get 9 miles to the gallon, and he doesn’t hold a gun to our heads and make us drive 15 miles per hour over the speed limit every day. We did (and do) those last three things on our own accord, and now we’re paying for it.

Most of these problems are beyond our control. We can’t control the war in Iraq. To a certain degree Bush can, but there’s little reason for him to do so. He wanted this war; he doesn’t have to buy his own gas, and he doesn’t have to worry about re-election. He has what he wants. Nobody can do anything about the weather, and while the war rages, nobody can do anything about the Middle East.

The only factor you and I can control is our fuel consumption. Sales of Toyota Corollas are at record highs, which is a step in the right direction. Not everyone can afford a hybrid, and not everyone who can afford one can get one. The next-best thing to do is to buy Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics.

The Bible very clearly says that killing outside of war is wrong. Pat Robertson needs to read Exodus and Deuteronomy a bit more carefully before he opens his mouth next time.

I’m not sure what the Venezuelan government wants us to do about Pat Robertson. Our laws allow him to say whatever he wants to say. So there isn’t a lot that we can do about him.

Except we can stop listening to him. And, come to think of it, that is an awful lot.