Pat Robertson

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Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson (born March 22 1930) is a televangelist from the United States. He is the founder of numerous organizations and corporations, including the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the Christian Coalition, Flying Hospital, International Family Entertainment, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation, and Regent University. He is the host of The 700 Club, a Christian TV program airing on channels throughout the United States and on CBN affiliates worldwide.

He is opposed to abortion and gay rights. Robertson is a supporter of the Republican Party and campaigned unsuccessfully to become the party's nominee in the 1988 presidential election.

He is a Southern Baptist and was active as an ordained minister with that denomination for many years, but holds to a Charismatic theology not traditionally common among Southern Baptists. As a result of his seeking political office, he no longer serves in an official role for any church. Despite this, his media and financial resources make him a recognized and influential, albeit controversial, public voice for conservative Christianity in the United States.


[edit] Life and career

[edit] Family

Robertson was born in Lexington, Virginia, into a prominent political family. His parents were Absalom Willis Robertson, a conservative Democratic United States Senator, and his wife Gladys Churchill Robertson. He married Adelia "Dede" Elmer in 1954. His family includes four children, among them Gordon P. Robertson, and at the time of writing (mid-2005) fourteen grandchildren.

At a young age, Robertson was given the nickname of Pat by his six-year-old brother, Willis Robertson, Jr., who enjoyed patting him on the cheeks when he was a baby while saying "pat, pat, pat". As he got older, Robertson thought about which first name he would like people to use. He considered "Marion" to be effeminate, and "M. Gordon" to be affected, so he opted for his childhood nickname "Pat". His strong awareness for the importance of names in the creation of a public image showed itself again during his presidential run when he threatened to sue NBC news for calling him a "television evangelist", which later became "televangelist", at a time when Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker were objects of scandal. He insisted upon being called a "religious broadcaster".

Pat Robertson is a distant relative of the 9th US President, William Henry Harrison, as well as his grandson, the 23rd US President, Benjamin Harrison.

(According to Pat Robertson's website, his father, Absalom Willis Robertson, is 8-generation direct female line from Colonel Armisted Churchill, whose sister, Elizabeth Churchill, was William Henry Harrison's grandmother from his mother's side.)

[edit] Education and military service

When he was eleven, Robertson was enrolled in the military preparatory McDonogh School outside Baltimore, Maryland. From 1940 until 1946 he attended the McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee. McCallie, now a college preparatory school, was at the time a military school. He graduated with honors and enrolled at Washington and Lee University, where he majored in history and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious national honor society. He also joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Robertson has said, "Although I worked hard at my studies, my real major centered around lovely young ladies who attended the nearby girls schools."<ref>"Education", The Official Site of Pat Robertson.</ref>

In 1948 the draft was reinstated, and Robertson was given the option of joining the Marine Corps or being drafted into the army. He opted for the former, which allowed him to finish college under the condition that he attend OCS during the summer at Quantico, Virginia. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree and was the first person to be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at a graduation ceremony at the university. In January 1951, Robertson served four months in Japan, "doing rehabilitation training for Marines wounded in Korea".

In his words, "We did long, grueling marches to toughen the men, plus refresher training in firearms and bayonet combat." In the same year he transferred to Korea, "I ended up at the headquarters command of the First Marine Division," says Robertson. "The Division was in combat in the hot and dusty, then bitterly cold portion of North Korea just above the 38th Parallel later identified as the 'Punchbowl' and 'Heartbreak Ridge.' For that service in the Korean War, the Marine Corps awarded me three battle stars for 'action against the enemy.'"<ref>"Military Service", The Official Site of Pat Robertson.</ref>

However, former Republican Congressman Paul "Pete" McCloskey, Jr., who served with Robertson in Korea, claimed that Robertson was actually spared combat duty when his powerful father, a U.S. Senator, intervened on his behalf, claiming that instead Robertson spent most of his time in an office in Japan. According to McCloskey, his time in the service was not in combat but as the "liquor officer" responsible for keeping the officers' clubs supplied with liquor.

Paul Brosman, Jr., another veteran who had served with Robertson, claimed in a deposition that Robertson had sexual relations with prostitutes and sexually harassed a cleaning girl. Robertson has described these allegations as "an attack by liberals to discredit me."

Robertson was promoted to First Lieutenant in 1952 upon his return to the United States. He then went on to receive a Bachelor of Legal Letters degree from Yale University Law School in 1955. However, he failed to pass the bar exam,<ref>"Spiritual Journey", The Official Site of Pat Robertson.</ref> shortly thereafter underwent his religious conversion, and decided against pursuing a career in law. Instead Robertson went to the New York Theological Seminary, and was awarded a Master of Divinity degree in 1959.

[edit] Religious career

The staff of Robertson's television show, The 700 Club

In 1956 Robertson found his faith through Dutch missionary Cornelius Vanderbreggen, who impressed Robertson both by his lifestyle and his message. Vanderbreggen quoted Proverbs (3:5, 6), "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths", which Robertson considers to be the "guiding principle" of his life. Soon afterwards, he 'spoke in tongues' for the first time. He was ordained as a minister of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1961.

In 1960, Robertson established the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He started it by buying a small UHF station in nearby Portsmouth. It is now seen in 180 countries and broadcast in 71 languages. In 1977, he founded the CBN Cable Network, which was renamed the CBN Family Channel in 1988 and later simply the Family Channel. When the Family Channel became too profitable for Robertson to keep it under the CBN umbrella without endangering CBN's nonprofit status, he formed International Family Entertainment, Inc. in 1990 with the Family Channel as its main subsidiary. Robertson sold the Family Channel to the News Corporation in 1997, which renamed it Fox Family. A condition of the sale was that the station would continue airing Robertson's television program, The 700 Club, twice a day in perpetuity, regardless of any changes of ownership. The channel is now owned by Disney and run under the ABC Family title.

Robertson founded CBN University in 1977 on CBN's Virginia Beach campus. It was renamed Regent University in 1989. Robertson serves as its chancellor. He is also founder and president of the American Center for Law and Justice, a public interest law firm that defends Christians whose First Amendment rights have allegedly been violated. The law firm, headquartered in the same building that houses Regent's law school, focuses on "pro-family, pro-liberty and pro-life" cases nationwide.

[edit] 1988 presidential bid

In September, 1986, Robertson announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States. Robertson said he would pursue the nomination only if three million people signed up to volunteer for his campaign by September, 1987. Three million responded, and by the time Robertson announced he'd be running in September 1987, he also had raised millions of dollars for his campaign fund. He surrendered his ministerial credentials and turned leadership of CBN over to his son, Tim. However, his campaign against incumbent Vice President George H. W. Bush was seen as a longshot.

Robertson ran on a very conservative platform. Among his policies, he wanted to ban pornography, reform the education system, eliminate Conrail and Amtrak, and eliminate departments such as the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. He also supported a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.

During the presidential primary election season started in early 1988, Robertson's campaign was attacked because of a statement he had made about his military service. In his campaign literature, he stated he was a combat Marine who served in the Korean War. Other Marines in his battalion contradicted Robertson's version, claiming he had never spent a day in a combat environment. Instead of fighting in the war, Robertson's primary responsibility was supplying alcoholic beverages for his officers. (see Education and military service)

Robertson's campaign got off to a strong second-place finish in the Iowa caucus, ahead of Bush.<ref>"About the caucuses: Meaningful test", Johan Bergenas, Iowa Presidential</ref>

Robertson did poorly in the subsequent New Hampshire primary, however, and was unable to be competitive once the multiple-state primaries began. Robertson ended his campaign before the primaries were finished; his best finish was in Washington. He later spoke at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans and told his remaining supporters to cast their votes for Bush, who ended up winning the nomination and the election. He then returned to CBN and has remained there as a religious broadcaster.

[edit] Books

Robertson's books have been both successful and controversial. The Secret Kingdom, Answers to 100 of Life's Most Probing Questions, and The New World Order were each in their respective year of publication the number one religious book in America. [citation needed]

Robertson's tome The New World Order was described as a 'catch all for conspiracy theories' by Christian academic Don Wilkey [1] :

Pat Robertson’s work, NEW WORLD ORDER, is a catch all for conspiracy theories. It combines the paranoia of the Old Right with modern versions. A summary of Robertson’s book is found on page 177 in which Pat says a conspiracy has existed in the world working through Freemasonry and a secret Order of the Illumaniti, a group combining Masons and Jewish Bankers.

Ephraim Radner also accuses Robertson of esposing anti-semitic beliefs in the same book [2] :

In his published writings, especially his 1991 book The New World Order, Pat Robertson has propagated theories about a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Michael Land raised the issue in February in the New York Times Book Review, and in April Jacob Heilbrun, writing in the New York Review of Books, cited chapter and verse of Robertson's borrowings from well-known anti-Semitic works.

[edit] Business interests

He is the founder and chairman of The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Inc., and founder of International Family Entertainment Inc., Regent University, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation, American Center for Law and Justice, The Flying Hospital, Inc. and several other organizations and broadcast entities. Robertson was the founder and co-chairman of International Family Entertainment Inc. (IFE).

Formed in 1990, IFE produced and distributed family entertainment and information programming worldwide. IFE's principal business was The Family Channel, a satellite delivered cable-television network with 63 million U.S. subscribers. IFE, a publicly held company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, was sold in 1997 to Fox Kids Worldwide, Inc. for $1.9 billion. Disney acquired the Fox Family Channel in 2001 and named it ABC Family.

He is a global businessman with media holdings in Asia, the United Kingdom, and Africa. He is the nation's number three cable operator, behind Ted Turner and HBO [verification needed]. Politicians know him as the founder of the 1.7 million member Christian Coalition, one of the largest and most powerful lobbying groups in the United States. He struck a deal with Pittsburgh, PA-based GNC to produce and market a weight-loss shake he created and promoted on the 700 Club TV show.

In 1999, Robertson entered into a joint venture with the Bank of Scotland to provide financial services in the United States. However, the move was met with criticsm in the UK due to Robertson's views on homosexuality. After Robertson commented that Scotland was "a dark land overrun by homosexuals", the Bank of Scotland cancelled the venture [3].

[edit] Global Warming

In 2006 Robertson became a global warming "convert." One source attributes this conversion to the 2006 North American heat wave.<ref>Heat Wave Makes Pat Robertson A Believer In Global Warming, Austin Chronicle, August 4, 2006.</ref> On August 3, 2006, he said on his 700 Club show:

"But I tell you stay in doors ladies and gentleman. Stay cool. Get fans or whatever. And the poor, they need emergency fans and ice to cool down — the number of people dead. I have not been one who believed in the global warming. But I tell you, they are making a convert out of me as these blistering summers. They have broken heat records in a number of cities already this year and broken all-time records and it is getting hotter and the ice caps are melting and there is a build up of carbon dioxide in the air. We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels. If we are contributing to the destruction of the planet we need to do [something] about it."

As recently as October of 2005, Robertson (then a disbeliever in global warming), accused the National Association of Evangelicals of teaming up with "far left environmentalists" in stating that global warming was caused by humans and needed to be mitigated.[4]

Now, however, Robertson's current position on global warming puts him at odds with President George Bush who pulled out of the international Kyoto Protocol in 2001, which sets limits on emissions to curb global warming.[5] Robertson is viewed by one million viewers and often sets the conservative political agenda on national issues[citation needed].

[edit] Political activism

After his unsuccessful presidential campaign, Robertson used his campaign organization to start the Christian Coalition, a political organization which campaigned mostly for conservative candidates. It became, almost instantly, one of the most influential organizations in American politics [citation needed]. However, the organization's popularity has faded somewhat [citation needed]. It was sued by the Federal Election Commission "for coordinating its activities with Republican candidates for office in 1990, 1992 and 1994 and failing to report its expenditures"<ref>"In Closed-Door Session with Christian Coalition State Leaders, Pat Robertson Unveils Plan to Control GOP Presidential Nomination", September 18 1997, Americans United for Separation of Church and State.</ref>

In 1994, the Coalition was fined for "improperly [aiding] then Representative Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Oliver North, who was then the Republican Senate nominee in Virginia."<ref>"Christian Coalition wins on voter guides - allowed to distribute guides, but can not support candidates", Rns, Christian Century, August 11 1999.</ref> Robertson left the Coalition in 2001.

While Robertson is primarily popular among evangelical Christians, his support extends beyond the Christian community. In 2002, he received the State of Israel Friendship Award from the Zionist Organization of America for his consistent support for a Greater Israel. In that year the Coalition for Jewish Concerns also expressed its gratitude to Robertson for "unwavering support for Israel" and "standing up to evil".

Robertson has also been a governing member of the powerful conservative, controversial and secretive CNP or Council for National Policy. This site listed him on the CNP Board of Governors 1982, President Executive Committee 1985-86, member, 1984, 1988, 1998 also see [6].

[edit] Controversies and Criticisms

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Robertson is outspoken in both his faith and his politics and controversies surrounding him have often made headlines.

[edit] Claim that some denominations harbor the spirit of the Antichrist

On January 14 1991, on The 700 Club, Pat Robertson attacked a number of Protestant denominations when he declared: "You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist."<ref>"'I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist: Right-wing TV evangelist and former Presidential candidate Pat Robertson is the man Bank of Scotland has chosen to spearhead its US subsidiary. Why?", by Greg Palast, Guardian Unlimited, May 23 1999.</ref> He has never recanted this statement, though he has supported the election of certain Episcopalians.

[edit] Claims about the power of his prayers

Robertson prayed to God to steer hurricanes away from his companies' Virginia Beach, Virginia, headquarters. He took credit for steering the course in 1985 of Hurricane Gloria, which caused billions of dollars of destruction in many states along the U.S. east coast. He made a similar claim about another destructive storm, Hurricane Felix, in 1995.<ref>"Pat Robertson's contradictory theology: God won't stop a tsunami -- but might respond to Gay Days with an earthquake", N.C., May 2, 2005, Media Matters for America.</ref>

Robertson later called on God to prevent Hurricane Isabel from hitting Virginia Beach in 2003. In 2005, Robertson launched Operation Supreme Court Freedom, a televised nationwide 21-day prayer campaign asking people to pray for vacancies on the Supreme Court, where "black-robed tyrants have pushed a radical agenda." Robertson declared that "God heard those prayers",<ref>Operation Supreme Court Freedom: A Letter From Pat Robertson, Christian Broadcasting Network.</ref> after the announced resignation of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

[edit] Remarks concerning feminism, homosexuality, and liberalism

Among his more controversial statements, Robertson has described feminism as a "socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."<ref>"Equal Rights Initiative in Iowa Attacked", The Washington Post, August 23 1992.</ref> Many of Robertson's views mirror those of the evangelical activist Jerry Falwell, who has made frequent appearances on The 700 Club. He agreed with Falwell when Falwell stated<ref>"Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson say immorality and anti-Christian groups should share in the blame for the Terrorist Attacks on America",</ref> that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were caused by "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU and the People for the American Way."

After public outcry regarding the dialogue, which was conducted via television monitor and took place only days after the attacks, Robertson claimed that his earpiece was malfunctioning, and that he was unaware of what he was agreeing with at the time.

On the June 8 1998 edition of his show, Robertson denounced Orlando, Florida and Disney World for allowing a privately sponsored "Gay Days" weekend. Robertson stated that the acceptance of homosexuality could result in hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist bombings and "possibly a meteor."<ref>"TV Preacher Pat Robertson Expands On 'Gay Days' Comments", Common Dreams Newswire, June 24 1998.</ref> The resulting outcry prompted Robertson to return to the topic on June 24, where he quoted the Book of Revelation to support his claims.

While discussing the Mark Foley scandal on the October 5, 2006 broadcast of the show, Robertson condemned Foley saying he "does what gay people do".<ref>"Right-Wing Watch", October 14 2006, People for the American Way.</ref>

[edit] Charles Taylor, Gold, Diamonds and Racehorse Controversy

Robertson repeatedly supported former President of Liberia Charles Taylor in various episodes of his 700 Club program during the United States' involvement in the Liberian Civil War in June and July of 2003. Robertson accuses the U.S. State Department of giving President Bush bad advice in supporting Taylor's ouster as president, and of trying "as hard as they can to destabilize Liberia."<ref>"Robertson Defends Liberia's President", Alan Cooperman, The Washington Post, July 10 2003.</ref>

Robertson was criticized for failing to mention in his broadcasts his $8,000,000 (USD) investment in a Liberian gold mine.<ref>"Pat Robertson's Gold", Colbert I. King, September 22 2001, The Washington Post.</ref> Taylor had been indicted by the United Nations for war crimes at the time of Robertson's support.

Prosecutors also said that Taylor had harbored members of Al Qaeda responsible for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. According to Robertson, the Liberian gold mine Freedom Gold was intended to help pay for humanitarian and evangelical efforts in Liberia, when in fact the company was allowed to fail leaving many debts both in Liberia and in the international mining service sector. Regarding this controversy, Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention's public policy said, "I would say that Pat Robertson is way out on his own, in a leaking life raft, on this one."<ref>"Pat Robertson, a prophet to his believers", Steven G. Vegh, The Virginian-Pilot, January 13 2006.</ref>

Robertson has also been accused of using his tax-exempt, nonprofit organization, Operation Blessing, as a front for his own financial gain, and then using his influence in the Republican Party to cover his tracks. After making emotional pleas in 1994 on The 700 Club for cash donations to Operation Blessing to support airlifts of refugees from Rwanda to Zaire, it was later discovered, by a reporter from The Virginian-Pilot, that Operation Blessing's planes were transporting diamond-mining equipment for the Robertson-owned African Development Corporation, a venture Robertson had established in cooperation with Zaire's dictator, Mobutu Sese Seko, whom Robertson had befriended earlier in 1993. According to Operation Blessing documents, Robertson personally owned the planes used for Operation Blessing airlifts.

In 1993, Mobutu was denied a visa by the U.S. State Department after he sought to visit Washington, D.C. Shortly after this, Robertson tried to get the State Department to lift its ban on the African leader.

An investigation by the Commonwealth of Virginia's Office of Consumer Affairs determined that Robertson "willfully induced contributions from the public through the use of misleading statements and other implications" and called for a criminal prosecution against Robertson in 1999. However, Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley, a Republican whose largest campaign contributor two years earlier was Robertson himself, intervened, accepting that Robertson had made deceptive appeals but overruling the recommendation for his prosecution.<ref name="nationkatrinacash"/> No charges were ever brought against Robertson. "Two years earlier, while Virginia's investigation was gathering steam, Robertson donated $35,000 to Earley's campaign--Earley's largest contribution." Pat Robertson's Katrina Cash

"In April 2002, Robertson acknowledged owning a race horse, named "Mr. Pat." He told a New York Times reporter that his interest in the horse was based purely on its aesthetics. "I don't bet and I don't gamble. I just enjoy watching horses running and performing." Harder to explain was why he spent $520,000 on the horse and intended the beast to compete at the track. But the resulting furor over Pat's direct participation in a gambling racket eventually caused him to sell the horse a month after the Times story broke" [7] [8].

[edit] Political statements

On his The 700 Club television program, Pat Robertson has sharply criticized elements of the United States government and "special interest" groups that don't share his views. In interviews with the author of a book critical of the United States Department of State, Robertson made suggestions that the explosion of a nuclear weapon at State Department Headquarters would be good for the country, and repeated those comments on the air. "What we need is for somebody to place a small nuke at Foggy Bottom,"<ref>"Pat Robertson: Nuke State Department: Colin Powell expresses outrage over evangelist's televised remark", October 10, 2003, WorldNetDaily.</ref> Robertson said during his television program, referring to the location of the State Department headquarters. State Department officials said they believed the comments to be in extremely bad taste, and have lodged official complaints against Robertson for his remarks.

Robertson has repeatedly claimed that Barry Lynn has stated that fire departments cannot put out fires in churches because it would be a violation of separation of church and state. Lynn, progressive organizations like Media Matters for America<ref>"Robertson falsely claims Americans United's Lynn has said Constitution prohibits fire department from saving a burning church", J.M., December 2 2005, Media Matters for America.</ref> and conservative groups such as Focus on the Family have all contested Robertson's statements.

[edit] Chinese abortions

In a 2001 interview with Wolf Blitzer, he said that the Chinese were "doing what they have to do", regarding China's one child policy, sometimes enforced with compulsory abortions, though he said that he did not personally agree with the practice. His comments drew criticism from both sides of the political spectrum.<ref>"Pat Robertson's brain abortion", Joel Miller, April 18, 2001, WorldNetDaily.</ref>

[edit] Hugo Chávez

On the August 22 2005 broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson said of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, "I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war, and I don’t think any oil shipments will stop." Robertson also said that Chávez was "going to make Venezuela a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent" and called the elected leader an "out-of-control dictator... a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil that could hurt us very badly."<ref name="mediamattersassass">"Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuela's president", N.C., August 22, 2005, Media Matters for America.</ref>

Assassinations of heads of state have been against U.S. policy since an executive order against them was issued in 1976; in response, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said that "our department doesn't do that kind of thing." Bernardo Álvarez, Venezuela's ambassador to the U.S., demanded a stronger condemnation from the White House and that the United States "respect our country and its president."

On the August 24 edition of The 700 Club, Robertson asserted that he hadn't actually called for Chávez's assassination, but that there were other ways of "taking him out", such as having special forces carry out a kidnapping. Robertson explicitly denied having used the word "assassination", though the word "assassinate" was present in his initial statement.<ref>"Robertson lies about his Chavez comments; claims he "didn't say 'assassination'", N.C., August 24, 2005, Media Matters for America.</ref><ref name="mediamattersassass"/> Later that day, he issued a written statement in which he said, "Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him". However, he continued to justify his original stance on the potential threat Chávez posed to U.S. interests.<ref>"Pat Robertson Clarifies His Statement Regarding Hugo Chávez", August 24 2005, Christian Broadcasting Network.</ref>

On Sunday, August 28 2005, Chávez called on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the matter: "My government is going to take legal action in the United States," he said in a televised speech. "If the U.S. government does not take the necessary steps, we will denounce the U.S. government at the United Nations and the Organization of American States".<ref>"Venezuela seeks action in US row", August 29 2005, BBC News.</ref>

On February 2 2006 edition of Hannity and Colmes, Pat Robertson once again called for Chavez's assassination. When Colmes asked Robertson "Do you want him taken out?", Robertson replied "Not now, but one day, one day, one day."<ref>"Robertson again calls for Chavez's assassination: 'Not now, but one day'", S.G., February 3 2006, Media Matters for America.</ref>

[edit] Message to Dover, Pennsylvania

On his November 10 2005 broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson told citizens of Dover, Pennsylvania that they had rejected God by voting out of office all seven members of the school board who support intelligent design.

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected him from your city", Robertson said on his broadcast.

"And don't wonder why he hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for his help because he might not be there."<ref>"Robertson: 'Don't turn to God': New Dover board angry at televangelist's comments", Christina Kauffman, November 16, 2005, The York Dispatch.</ref>

In a written statement, Robertson later clarified his comments:

"God is tolerant and loving, but we can't keep sticking our finger in his eye forever. If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them."<ref>"Evangelist says voters reject God", BBC News, November 11 2005.</ref>

[edit] Remarks About Iraq War

Pat Robertson claimed in 2004 that President Bush told him before he led the United States into war with Iraq, that he expected there to be no casualties. He claimed it in an interview with CNN. President Bush's then-press secretary Scott McClellan denied the allegation. Mike McCurry, press secretary for Democratic USA Senator John F. Kerry of Massachussets, who was Bush's opponent for the presidency in the 2004 election, said that Bush deserved the benefit of the doubt, but he should say whether or not Robertson was telling the truth or lying. [9]

Robertson also claimed that he had "deep misgivings" on the war, adding, "The Lord told me it was going to be a:) a disaster and b:) messy." It should be noted that when the American invasion began in 2003, Robertson claimed on his show that the war was in fact "a righteous cause out of the Bible." His statements were supported on-air by fellow televangelist Paul Crouch on the March 21, 2003 edition his Trinity Broadcasting Network show Behind the Scenes.

[edit] Remarks concerning Ariel Sharon

The lead story on the January 5 2006, edition of The 700 Club was Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's hospitalization for a severe stroke. After the story, Robertson said that Sharon's illness was possibly retribution from God for his recent drive to give more land to the Palestinians. He also claimed former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin's 1995 assassination may have occurred for the same reason.<ref>"Robertson suggests God smote Sharon: Evangelist links Israeli leader's stroke to 'dividing God's land'", January 6 2006, CNN.</ref>

The remarks drew criticism from all sides, even from among other evangelicals. For instance, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said that Robertson "ought to know better" than to say such things. He added, "...the arrogance of the statement shocks me almost as much as the insensitivity of it."<ref>"In Defense of Pat Robertson: Why is it so wrong to speculate that God smote Sharon?", Knute Berger, January 11 2006, Seattle Weekly.</ref> Ted Haggard, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, said that "any doctor could have predicted (Sharon's) going to have health problems" and that his illness was medical, not divine retribution.<ref>"What They Are Saying: Evangelicals Speak Out On Pat Robertson", January 9 2006, The Anti-Defamation League.</ref> The White House called Robertson's statement "wholly inappropriate and offensive".<ref>"US attacks TV host on Sharon slur", Justin Webb, January 6, 2006, BBC News.</ref> Robertson was also chastised by Israeli officials and members of the Anti-Defamation League.<ref>"ADL Outraged at Pat Robertson's Remarks Blaming Sharon's Stroke on the Wrath of God", January 5 2006, Anti-Defamation League.</ref>

On January 11, Israel responded by announcing that Robertson would be banned from involvement in a project to build a Christian tourist attraction and pilgrimage site near the Sea of Galilee known as the Christian Heritage Center. The plan had called for Israel leasing 35 acres of land to a group of evangelicals (including Robertson) for free to create several tourist attractions and pilgrimage sites in exchange for the evangelicals raising 50 million dollars in funding. A spokesman for the Tourism Ministry commented, "We cannot accept these statements, and we will not sign any contracts with Mr. Robertson."<ref>"Israelis' Anger at Evangelist May Delay Christian Center", Greg Myre, January 12 2006, The New York Times.</ref>

He added that the decision would not apply to all members of the evangelical community: "We want to see who in the group supports his (Robertson's) statements. Those who support the statements cannot do business with us. Those that publicly support Ariel Sharon's recovery ... are welcome to do business with us."<ref> "Israel rejects Pat Robertson funding", Avi Krawitz, January 11 2006, The Jerusalem Post.</ref>

On January 12, Robertson sent a letter to Sharon's son Omri, apologizing for his comments. In the letter, Robertson called Ariel Sharon a "kind, gracious and gentle man" who was "carrying an almost insurmountable burden of making decisions for his nation." He added that his "concern for the future safety of your nation led me to make remarks which I can now view in retrospect as inappropriate and insensitive in light of a national grief experienced because of your father's illness...I ask your forgiveness and the forgiveness of the people of Israel."<ref>"Pat Robertson and religious violence", Mark Wignall, January 15, 2006, The Jamaica Observer.</ref> Omri and the Israeli government accepted the apology, though it remained unclear whether the deal with Robertson would be rehabilitated.<ref> "Robertson apologizes for saying stroke was a divine punishment", Brian Murphy, January 13 2006, The Associated Press.</ref><ref> "Educating Robertson: Who won the battle?", Shmuel Rosner, January 15 2006, Ha'aretz.</ref><ref> "Israelis may let Robertson back into Galilee plan", Steven G. Vegh, January 19 2006, The Virginian-Pilot.</ref>

While some observers were satisfied by the gesture, some reporters also accused Robertson of using the apology as a tactic allowing him to make such statements while promoting a public image among evangelicals as a leader who does not compromise on his values. Surprisingly, some of the harsher criticism of Robertson did not come from American or Israeli Jews, but from his fellow evangelicals and conservative Christians, who charged that Robertson's behavior did serious harm to evangelicals' image, and led to unfair generalizations and criticism of them.<ref>"Pat Robertson accused of damaging movement", Sonja Barisic, February 18 2006, Associated Press.</ref>

The fallout from Robertson's comments was still visible over a month after the event; after speaking with organizers of the National Religious Broadcasters February 2006 convention, Robertson wound up cancelling his planned keynote speech.

A representative from Israel's Tourism Ministry diplomatically commented, "Pat Robertson has been a long-term friend of the state of Israel, and continues to be so."<ref>"Pat Robertson absent from religious broadcasters' convention", February 20 2006, Associated Press.</ref>

In March 2006, Robertson lost a bid for re-election to the board of directors of the National Religious Broadcasters.<ref>"Robertson Loses Broadcasters' Board Seat", March 2 2006, Associated Press.</ref>

[edit] Remarks against Islam and Muslims

Robertson has frequently denounced the religion of Islam and Muslim people. During a 1995 taping of The 700 Club, he called the religion a "Christian heresy".<ref>"Part 26: Dick Cheney, numbers and the metaphysics of 9/11", B.J. Sabri, January 28 2005, Online Journal.</ref> During a September 19 2002 episode of FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, Robertson claimed that the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, was "an absolute wild-eyed fanatic … a robber and a brigand."<ref>"Inexcusable Tolerance for Religious Extremism in America", Fedwa Wazwaz, October 10 2002, CounterPunch.</ref> He claimed on the September 14 2004 episode of The 700 Club that "Islam is by the gun, by the fire, by the bayonet, by the torch."[citation needed] On the July 14 2005 broadcast of the The 700 Club, he claimed that "Islam, at its core, teaches violence."<ref>"Pat Robertson claimed that Islam 'at its core, teaches violence'", July 18 2005, Media Matters for America.</ref>

On the March 13 2006 broadcast of The 700 Club Robertson stated that Muslims want global domination and that the outpouring of rage elicited by cartoon drawings of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad "just shows the kind of people we're dealing with. These people are crazed fanatics, and I want to say it now: I believe it's motivated by demonic power. It is Satanic and it's time we recognize what we're dealing with." He finished by stating "by the way, Islam is not a religion of peace."<ref>"Robertson says Islam isn't a faith of peace: Televangelist calls radicals 'demonic'", Sonja Barisic, March 14 2006, Associated Press.</ref>

The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called Robertson's new comments "grossly irresponsible". He went on to say, "At a time when inter-religious tensions around the world are at an all-time high, Robertson seems determined to throw gasoline on the fire."<ref>"700 Club website scrubbed Robertson's controversial comments calling Muslims 'satanic'", J.M., March 14 2006, Media Matters for America.</ref>

On the September 25 2006 broadcast of The 700 Club Robertson stated "It's amazing how the Muslims deal with history and the truth with violence. They don't understand what reasoned dialogue is..."<ref>"Robertson: "Muslims deal with history and the truth with violence. They don't understand what reasoned dialogue is"", K.D., September 25 2006, Media Matters for America.</ref>

[edit] Remarks Against Hindus

Pat Robertson has been harshly criticized for his numerous insensitive and brash remarks towards the religion of Hinduism.

On March 23 1995, Pat Robertson led a television programme in which he attacked the religion of Hinduism. He called it "demonic" and said that Hindus should be barred from entering the United States. He said that they worship "idols" and "hundreds of millions of deities," which "has put a nation in bondage to spiritual forces that have deceived many for thousands of years." He spoke against the doctrines of karma and reincarnation.<ref>"'Secularism', Colonial Hegemony and Hindu 'Fanaticism'", Arjun Bhagat, January 31 2003.</ref>

Later in his book The New World Order he wrote: "When I said during my presidential bid that I would bring only Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. 'What do you mean?' the media challenged me. 'You're not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe in Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?' My simple answer is, 'Yes, they are.'"<ref>The New World Order, Pat Robertson, p. 218</ref>

These and other remarks were vociferously condemned by many Indian Americans.<ref>CHRISTIAN PAT ROBERTSON DENOUNCES HINDUISM AS "DEMONIC"</ref><ref>Using TV, Christian Pat Robertson Denounces Hinduism as "Demonic"</ref>

[edit] Liberal professors

On the March 21 2006 broadcast of The 700 Club, while reviewing The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America by David Horowitz, the subject of which is radical academics in American universities, Robertson went on to say that the 101 professors named in the book are only but a few of "thirty to forty thousand" left-wing professors in the United States, all of whom he accused of being "racists, murderers, sexual deviants and supporters of Al-Qaeda", further labeling them as "termites that have worked into the woodwork of our academic society".

Later in the broadcast, he went on to say, "these guys are out and out communists, they are radicals, they are, you know, some of them killers, and they are propagandists of the first order... you don’t want your child to be brainwashed by these radicals, you just don’t want it to happen. Not only brainwashed but also beat up, they beat these people up, cower them into submission."<ref>"Right-Wing Watch", May 11 2006, People for the American Way.</ref>

[edit] Predictions of Pacific Northwestern tsunami

In May 2006, Robertson declared that storms and possibly a tsunami would hit America's coastline sometime in 2006. Robertson supposedly received this revelation from God during an annual personal prayer retreat in January. The claim was repeated four times on The 700 Club.

On May 8 2006 Robertson said, "If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms." On May 17 2006 he elaborated, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest."<ref>"God is warning of big storms, Robertson says", May 19, 2006, The Associated Press.</ref> While this claim didn't garner the same level of controversy as some of his other statements, it was generally received with mild amusement by the Pacific Northwest media. It should also be noted that the History Channel's initial airing of its new series, Mega Disasters: West Coast Tsunami, was broadcast the first week of May.

[edit] Leg press claims

Robertson claims on his web site that through training and his "Age-Defying energy shake", he is able to leg press 2,000 pounds while others claim he is a liar, pushing a common energy formula.<ref>"Pat Robertson's Age-Defying Shake",, accessed May 22 2006.</ref> 2,000 pounds would be an exceptional accomplishment for a world-class athlete, to say nothing of a 76-year-old man like Robertson. For comparative purposes, when Dan Kendra set the Florida State University record of 1,335 pounds, the leg press machine required extensive modifications to hold the proper amount of weight, and the capillaries in both of Kendra's eyes burst during his successful attempt. Thus, Robertson's claimed achievement would add 665 pounds to the best-ever total of Kendra, a top athlete in his physical prime, who would go on to play professional football in the National Football League and become a Navy SEAL.<ref>"ClayNation: Pat Robertson's magical protein shake", Clay Travis, CBS, posted May 22 2006, accessed May 25 2006.</ref><ref>Los Angeles Times, Feb 12, 2006, A Wholly Controversial Holy Man, Faye Fiore. According to the article "... Robertson projects a youthful vitality and a larger-than-life image -- clasping hands on-air with a co-host to pray for a miraculous healing."</ref>

In response to the skepticism of this claim, Robertson's website has claimed that his doctor is able to leg press 2,700 pounds, and that "It is not nearly as hard as the authors of these reports make it out to be."<ref>How Pat Robertson Leg Pressed 2,000 Pounds,</ref>

A video has also been provided supposedly demonstrating Robertson doing several reps with a weight of 1,000. In the video Pat Robertson is seen using a 45 degree sled type leg press machine, which reduces the effective weight to 707 lbs (sin(45°) x 1000 lbs). He keeps the safety locks in place at the second step which severely limits the range of possible motion. The seat is positioned to allow approximately six inches of travel after the lock. This setup gives Pat Robertson the maximum mechanical advantage at the last few inches of travel. This is generally regarded to be improper leg press technique, and is significantly easier than a proper leg press. The proper technique is to load the weight, place hands on the release levers and then to press the weight from the stops and then to rotate the stops out. Then, the weight is allowed to slide down until the hip and knee joints are at significant flexion. At this point, the person executing the leg press has minimal mechanical advantage and can press the least amount of weight. In the video, Robertson also uses his arms to push on his thighs, which is also regarded as improper technique.

In June 2006, General Nutrition Center, a nutritional supplement retailer, announced without explanation that it would stop carrying Robertson's energy drink.<ref>"GNC drops Pat Robertson's muscle drink", June 5 2006, United Press International, Inc.</ref>

[edit] Books

  • The New Millennium
  • Answers to 200 of Life's Most Probing Questions
  • The Secret Kingdom (1982)
  • America's Dates with Destiny
  • The Plan
  • Beyond Reason: How Miracles can Change your Life
  • Turning Tide: The Fall of Liberalism and the Rise of Common Sense
  • Shout it from the Housetops an autobiography
  • The End of the Age
  • The New World Order (1991)
  • Bring It On
  • The Ten Offenses
  • Courting Disaster (book)

[edit] Honors

  • 1975 The Distinguished Merit Citation from The National Conference of Christians and Jews.
  • 1976 Faith and Freedom Award in the field of broadcasting.
  • 1978 Department of Justice Award from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 25th FBI Vesper Service.
  • 1979 National Conference of Christians and Jews - Distinguished Merit Citation.
  • 1982 Humanitarian of the Year by Food for the Hungry.
  • 1984 Man of the Year Award from the Women's National Republican Club.
  • 1984 Citation from the National Organization for the Advancement of Hispanics.
  • 1985 National Association of United Methodist Evangelists.
  • 1988 Man of the Year by Students for America.
  • 1989 Christian Broadcaster of the Year by the National Religious Broadcasters.
  • 1992 One of America's 100 Cultural Elite by Newsweek Magazine.
  • 1994 Omega Fellowship Award by Food for the Hungry for Operation Blessing's fight against worldwide hunger.
  • 1994 Defender of Israel Award from the Christians' Israel Public Action Campaign for those who have made major contributions in strengthening U.S.-Israel relations.
  • 1994 John Connor Humanitarian Service Award from Operation Smile International.
  • 2000 Cross of Nails award for his vision, inspiration, and humanitarian work with The Flying Hospital.
  • 2002 State of Israel Friendship Award from the Zionist Organization of America.

[edit] See also

[edit] References


[edit] External links

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