THE TWO FACES OF PAT ROBERTSON
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THE TRUTH ABOUT REPUBLICANS BY GEORGE CARLIN
Pat Robertson is one of the most thoroughly amoral individuals in today's religious right movement. Pat has made "traditional values" and "faith" into a very lucrative franchise for himself, and with his television program "The 700 Club", he gets suckers to send him their hard-earned money. It is understood that doing so will earn you a place in heaven. That is hardly an original business model, just a modern version of the Catholic indulgences - the very practice that, as we all know, lead to the rise of protestantism.
Pat's business empire is vast, and most of it has nothing to do with "The Lord", and everything with making Pat richer and richer. Read the article below to learn how Pat used his "Operation Blessing" planes to ship diamonds from his African mining operation.
FLASH!: PAT SAYS IT'S OK FOR THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT TO FORCE WOMEN TO HAVE AN ABORTION!!
April 16, 2001 - Robertson Comments on China Abortions
HMMMMMM. In other words, as long as Pat has a
financial interest in doing business with a country, it's ok to force women to kill unborn
children, but if his business empire has no interests in a country, then if they have a
pro-abortion stance, they are "Godless". We think that Pat Robertson does
not really believe in anything except his own self interest. Such a shame to have
such a hypocrit as head of any religious organization. He is disgusting!!!
One of Pat Robertson's Biggest Lies
By James Still (2/22/00)
Background & Broadcasting
Is Pat Robertson really as dangerous as some people claim? He is one of the most influential and powerful religious figures in America today. Between his media empire and his control of the Christian Coalition, he can reach more people directly than most elected politicians. His reach and influence are not constrained by US national borders, either. His business dealings involve many countries, and his media broadcasts extend across the world. When one also then takes into account his religious extremism and his mania for conspiracy theories, the possibility that he is dangerous looms large.
In this article, we will examine his religious background and his earliest forays into religious broadcasting. We will also take a look at the many lies and extremist positions he has adopted over the years.
Anyone who wishes to get a more complete picture of what Pat Robertson does and who he is should find the book The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition by Robert Boston. Boston is the assistant director of communication for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State and an assistant editor of Church and State magazine. He and his organization are very active in monitoring the Religious Right, providing people with a great deal of information not otherwise available. He himself has written extensively about the true motivations underlying their rhetoric. I will be using information from his book extensively here, but I encourage everyone to go directly to the source.
Writing critically about someone as hugely popular as Robertson is no easy task. There are great numbers of people who look up to him and who regard anything tinged with critique as a hateful attack. We regularly get mail from readers who are incensed that we would have the gall to raise critiques of Christianity in any form. Although Robertson himself is no longer an ordained minister, people still regard him as a "Man of God." He and his organization give the appearance of operating under some sort of divine favor, and so any criticism of them can be construed as a criticism of God. Personally, we won't hesitate to do either when we find that the criticism is deserved. We've been accused of helping Satan before, and we wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be no exception.
Just Who Is Pat Robertson Anyway?
Pat Robertson was Chairman of the Board of the cable
network, "The Family Channel" (TFC), which was founded by the Christian
Broadcasting Network (CBN) of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Robertson is the son of a United
States senator. He graduated from the Yale University Law School and the New York
Theological Seminary, and briefly attended the University of London. He is also Chairman
of United States Media Corporation, Chairman of Northstar Entertainment Group, President
of the American Center For Law and Justice, President of Operation Blessing International
Relief and Development Corporation, and Chancellor of Regent University (formerly CBN
In 1990, Robertson started the American Center For Law
and Justice (ACLJ), a law group providing free legal counsel for Christians in battle with
"anti-God, anti-family groups." (ACLJ had a $3 million 1992 budget with 11
full-time attorneys in four cities.) Executive director of the ACLJ is former Ohio
prosecutor Keith Fournier, currently a charismatic Catholic activist, Dean of Evangelism
and legal counsel at the Roman Catholic (Franciscan) University of Steubenville in Ohio,
and author of Evangelical Catholics (a book which is a plea for Protestants
to join Catholics in a joint evangelization effort; i.e., an "evangelistic
endeavor" that will "evangelize" the world by the year 2000). Fournier,
speaking of Robertson and others in Evangelical Catholics : "I found not
only a tremendous openness to my presence but also a growing respect for my church and a
thawing in what had been hard ice in the past."
The 700 Club has often given New Age interests a
significant platform. (Robertson himself sometimes calls God "The Initiator" and
teaches the doctrines of "God Immanent" and "God Transcendent,". Some
of the prominent New Agers who have appeared on the 700 Club include Norman Cousins,
Jeremy Rifkin, Herbert Benson, John Naisbitt, Alvin Toffler, Amory and Hunter Lovins,
Curtis Sliwa, the Buckminster Fuller Institute, and Mother Earth News. [Also appearing
have been promoters of questionable, even obviously New Age-oriented theologies, including
Richard Foster (of Renovarč), Bruce Larson (who claims Carl Jung, an occultist and
anti-Christian, is one of his heros), Robert Schuller, and Denis Waitley.] Holistic health
doctors have been featured. They in turn promoted "Wellness Centers." A 7/82
program gave advice on what one could do until he or she could reach the "Wellness
Center"--"adopt a technique of visualization."
Origins & History
Pat Robertson wasn't always the political animal he is today. When he first entered the arena of religious broadcasting in the 1960s, he hoped to change the world through spiritual rather than political means. Even as late as 1980, when the Moral Majority was still active, he wrote in his newsletter Pat Roberton's Perspective that "Christians should be wary of placing their hopes in non-Christian men and in programs of secular political parties."
It is interesting that many former leaders of the Moral Majority, the religious right organization in the 1980s which was later replaced by Robertson's Christian Coalition, have come full circle and are advocating just that. In numerous public statements and even a new book, they explain that they were wrong to try and push their morality upon others via political means and that the country can only be changed one person at a time.
It appears that such things run in cycles, and we may yet see Robertson joining this chorus in a few years. Interestingly, none of the leaders of the religious right are rejecting political activism because they agree with critics that church and state should be kept separate. They are not changing because they found their tactics to be unethical, but because their tactics simply didn't work well enough. The American political and cultural climate is more resilient than they realized.
Robertson wasn't always interested in religion. As an undergraduate at Washington & Lee University, he had quite a reputation for indulging in drinking, gambling and chasing women - a reputation which continued while he studied law at Yale. He was never able to pass the bar exam after graduating, so was forced to pursue various business interests in New York City. His involvement with religious fundamentalism was brought about by his intensely religious mother who got him into contact with charismatic Christians speaking in tongues and advocating faith healing.
His wife Adelia, a nurse, thought that he was sick and recognized schizoid tendencies in his behavior. This was especially true when he decided to leave her to go on a month-long religious retreat even though they were desperately poor and she was seven months pregnant. As far as he was concerned, God would provide. Fortunately for her, she too eventually had a charismatic conversion experience. It's a shame, though, that she didn't pursue her original diagnosis and seek treatment for him. I think that this treatment of his wife is instructive of how Robertson thinks women should be treated.
In 1960 he purchased his first TV station in Virginia and his broadcasting career, along with the Christian Broadcasting Network, was born. It's tough to fully understand what Robertson is about without also understanding that first and foremost, he is a religious broadcaster and a televangelist. Whatever else happens to his political aspirations, whatever else happens to the fortunes of his Christian Coalition, he'll still have his broadcasting network and his television shows to reach and influence people.
It's worth noting that he's updated his style a bit on his television shows, but not necessarily changed in substance. Whereas before he would claim that God helped him heal viewers across the country through the television, he will currently claim that God has been instrumental in the development of his huge fortune. Whereas before he would claim to exorcise demons from a viewer with the help of God, now God is giving him hints that Florida will suffer hurricanes because of allowing homosexuals to engage in too much openly sinful behavior there.
Sex, Lies and Videotapes
It's taken Robertson a long time to clean up his act, but he's finally begun to learn that words matter. When you become a public figure, people notice what you say and a few will actually remember what you've said. Video and audio records can even come back to haunt you. This means first that Robertson has rued, although not retracted, his religious extremism and oddities which were once open, but have since become more hidden. Secondly, it means that his regular flip-flops on positions and even deliberate lies are more easily caught.
One of the more interesting, and certainly ironic, examples of this involves sex. Naturally.
Very shortly after he announced that he would be seeking the presidency in 1988, the Wall Street Journal reported that he had been lying for many years about the date of his wedding in order to hide the fact that his wife was very pregnant during the ceremony. And he was still lying about it to the press as late as 1987. It might not have mattered much had he been honest about it earlier, but the fact that he was deliberately courting the votes of a moralistic and self-righteous crowd prevented honesty in such matters. It's his own fault, really - snake handlers get bitten from time to time, and have no one to blame but their selves.
His reaction to all of this was quite illuminating. He told reporters in Philadelphia that:
The obvious question raised by this is: why didn't he come to the defense of President Clinton when he was savaged by the media for reports of sexual impropriety? Unless, of course, Pat Robertson believes in double standards.
Just Plain Lies
If that had been the only instance of Robertson misleading the press and public, perhaps it wouldn't really matter so much. Instead of being an isolated instance, however, it was actually part of a wider pattern of attempt to cover up uncomfortable or unpleasant facts. Of particular note was his war record. Campaign literature claimed that he as a combat veteran of the Korean war, but witnesses came forward to report that his father used political influence to get him out of combat duty. Robertson sued for libel, but later dropped the charges
Unfortunately, the damage had been done - publicity over this issue led reporters to take a much closer look at his claims and found an incredible number of inconsistencies. He had at various times claimed his IQ to be 159, 139 and 137, all of which would qualify him as "genius." A book of his describes him as a "Yale-educated tax lawyer," even though he didn't pass the bar. He claimed to be on the board of directors of the United Virginia Bank, but he really only served on an advisory board. He claimed to have done graduate study at the University of London, but he only took a summer introductory course for visiting Americans.
More serious was his claim that CBN's financial affairs had always been "completely open and on the record," but in truth CBN had refused to join the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. This is an oversight group which provides voluntary standards of financial conduct and disclosure. CBN had not released any public financial statements, even though Robertson publicly insisted that it had. Even his salary was questionable, with him claiming much less than he really received. Excessive financial irregularities such as these are not laudable in a person seeking high office.
None of that exhausts the degree to which he has mislead people, but it's time to move on to the other matter which Robertson learned the hard way: extremists statements aren't always forgotten. He has a habit of opening his mouth and saying some of the most bizarre things - not bizarre for members of the far religious right, but certainly bizarre for anyone who actually expects to run for public office. No wonder he always lost
He has often been accused of wishing to enforce his extremist theology upon the American public, and every time he has vehemently denied this. Unfortunately, many of his public positions belie such denials. In 1986, for example, he quite openly declared that "a Supreme Court ruling is not law." He has at other times been quite clear that neither the President nor the Congress have any duty to pay attention to anything the Court says or does. He has also stated that the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, does not limit the actions of the states, but only of the federal government. This sounds amazingly inept for someone who went got a law degree from Yale, but perhaps that is why he failed his bar exam. This is the sort of person who wanted to be president? This is the sort of person who wants to play a role in choosing the president?
Basic Constitutional law isn't the only issue where he's an inept extremist. In 1985, he stated on an edition of his 700 Club television program that:
World of Conspiracy
Pat Robertson's oddities don't stop with misleading people and religious extremism. To put it bluntly, he's something of a conspiracy nut, peddling old and insulting conspiracy theories to people who should probably know better, but are willing to believe the tripe because it comes from someone who is respected. But however respected he may be, many of his ideas can only be described as loony. The best source to see this is his book The New World Order. I don't suggest giving him royalties by buying it new - you should be able to find a used copy, as I did.
In his book Robertson tries to convince readers that there is a secret international conspiracy of anti-Christian forces which manipulates both governments and financial markets in an effort to control all of humanity. The ultimate goal is a one-world government centered around the United Nations which will eventually be controlled by the Antichrist and leading to Armageddon.
Leading the cast of characters in betraying America to Satan are the usual suspects from centuries of conspiracy-mongering: Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, the Federal Reserve, mysterious "European bankers" (all Jewish, coincidentally?), and more. The anti-semitic undertones are not at all coincidental - many of his sources for his conspiracy ideas are virulently anti-semitic, and all Robertson did in some cases was repackage the anti-semitism in vague terminology.
It's useful to see here the worldview that Robertson has been using for so many years. Everywhere around him he sees layered conspiracies of "establishment" figures and organizations directed against Christianity, America, God and, by extension, himself personally. There is a chance that he didn't write all of the book himself, and Robert Boston discusses the possibility that much or all was ghost-written by someone else; but even if that were true, he definitely endorses all of the ideas therein and has never indicated that he would reject any of it.
Theory and Practice
Naturally, his book is more than just an unemotional observation of what is happening in the world. Robertson has no hesitation in calling people to arms in an effort to fight the conspiracies arrayed against America and Christianity. The cure he has in mind amounts to a theocracy, where religious liberties are curtailed, religious tests for public office are imposed, and various other freedoms, like freedom of the press, are restricted.
Does anyone care about this? Some people got around to explaining just what Robertson wrote and what it meant, but the American Right was deafening in its silence. No one thought that the an ideology of conspiracies and anti-semitism in a major political figure was all that important. Saddest perhaps was the speed with which conservative Jews rushed to defend him. Norman Podhoretz even admitted that Robertson was guilty of anti-semitism, but indicated that that wasn't so bad since Robertson has such a long history of supporting Israel.
This alliance between Evangelical Christians and Conservative Jews is very odd. Although they share similar moral views and social goals, their theologies couldn't be more divergent. The Jews imagine that the evangelical support for Israel implies approval and support of Judaism itself, but they either ignore or are inexcusably unaware of the fact that for conservative evangelicals like Robertson, the Jews only have meaning in the role they will play in Jesus' Second Coming. For Jesus' return it was first necessary to have a state of Israel so that, at the appointed time, there can be a mass conversion of Jews in Israel.
The Long Road
We have to face facts: Pat Robertson is a nut. Worse than that, he is a powerful nut. But the fact that he is so powerful prevents people from openly admitting that he is a nut. If he were still a minor religious broadcaster, people would quickly dismiss his lies, conspiracies and anti-semitism as the work of just one more extremist who had a dim and irrational view of the world. No one would have much interest either in refuting him or in defending him.
But right now he is amazingly powerful, and he appears to consider himself untouchable. The fact that he is so powerful means that his claims and ideas warrant close scrutiny. Unfortunately, this power brings people to defending the indefensible merely because they either fear him or need his help. Critique comes at a price - those who dare to even raise questions about Robertson's views, not to mention those who label them for them for what they are, are quickly accused of engaging in bigotry, discrimination and persecution. In America today, anyone who criticizes Christianity, Christian theology, Christian morals or Christian leaders is automatically regarded as being part of systematic persecution of Christians.
That is the primary danger of Pat Robertson and other extremist groups - they stiffle religious freedom to worship and the freedom to believe the way we wish.
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