Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Pat Robertson: When You Need Ignorance Fast.....

The world has produced several “big-league morons” over the years, but I fear that many of them will be eclipsed by the tour de force that is Pat Robertson. Ordained in 1961 as a Southern Baptist Minister, Mr. Robertson later went on to start the CBN (Christian Broadcast Network) cable channel.  Over the past few decades the channel became wildly successful and in the 90’s it was rebranded as simply the Family Channel. Following the realization that the network’s profit margin endangered the CBN Corporation’s tax exempt status, he sold it for 1.9 billion in 1997 and it was re-named Fox Family. It was later sold to Disney and currently operates under the banner of ABC Family, with the iron-clad contractual obligation that the station must always carry Robertson’s 700 Club.
In 1988, Robertson launched an unsuccessful bid for the Republican presidential nomination and has since kept himself busy with his various media holdings, increasingly erratic behavior, and his unmatched ability to offend anyone within earshot.
A sampling of his greatest hits:
·         In the 70’s and 80’s he dabbled in faith healing claiming that he was able to cure AIDS through prayer.

·         On January 14, 1991, on The 700 Club, he 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.”

·         On two occasions he has claimed that his prayers altered the course of major hurricanes, presumably to spare the Hampton Roads, Virginia headquarters of his CBN network.

·         In 1992, Robertson wrote a letter opposing an amendment to the Iowa State Constitution that would ensure equal protection under the state constitution for women. Identifying supporters of the bill as part of the feminist movement, he declared that feminism was a “socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."

·         In 1994, Robertson used his television program to solicit donations for Operation Blessing, a charitable organization that was supposed to use the money to rescue Rwandan refugees and airlift them to Zaire to escape the ongoing genocide. An investigation by The Virginia Pilot newspaper later revealed that the money and planes were used to transport diamond-mining equipment for the African Development Corporation, a business venture Robertson established with Zaire’s ruling Dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The Commonwealth of Virginia's Office of Consumer Affairs investigated the story and recommended criminal charges, but prosecution was dropped by Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley (whose largest financial contributor just so happened to be Robertson).

·         In 1999, Pat Robertson deep-sixed his own investment venture with the Bank of Scotland after he remarked that Scotland was a “dark land” overrun by homosexuals.

·         Days after the September 11th terror attacks, Robertson had Jerry Falwell as a guest on his show who blamed the tragedy on "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the People for the American Way." Robertson immediately stated "I totally concur,” but later claimed that his agreement was due to a malfunctioning earpiece.

·         Robertson indicated on air that someone detonating a nuclear weapon at the US State Department would be good for the country saying, “"What we need is for somebody to place a small nuke at Foggy Bottom," (the official site of the US State Department).

·         In a 2001 television interview with Wolf Blitzer regarding China’s “one child per couple policy,” Robertson stated that the Chinese government was “doing what they have to do.” Even though he clarified that he did not personally agree with the practice, it created a firestorm of controversy since the Chinese policy was often enforced through compulsory abortions.

·         In the summer of 2003, Robertson publically criticized the US government for supporting the removal of current Liberian President Charles Taylor stating that it was bad for the country and would “destabilize Liberia.” Robertson neglected to mention the eight million dollars he had personally invested in a Liberian gold-mine was at stake. For the record, President Taylor was accused of harboring Al Qaeda operatives and was later indicted by the UN for war crimes.

·         In 2005, he launched "Operation Supreme Court Freedom" a campaign to pray for vacancies on the Supreme Court. He declared the operation a success following the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor.

·         Also in 2005, he advocated the assassination of Hugo Chavez on the 700 Club saying, “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.”

·         On January 5, 2006, Robertson told his 700 Club viewers that the recent stroke suffered by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was divine retribution for his attempts to give more land to Palestinians. The statement was so offensive that Ted Haggard felt that something must be said….

·         In February 7, 2007, while eloquently expressing his displeasure at the nation’s overuse of plastic surgery, Mr. Robertson stated that people who had too much plastic surgery “got the eyes like they're Oriental.” He followed this by stretching out his eyes into slits in a mocking Asian gesture.

·         Robertson has his own “Age-Defying energy shake” that he claims has allowed him to leg press 2,000 pounds even into his 70’s.

·         In 2010, Robertson blamed the Haitian earthquake on the Haitian people’s "pact to the Devil" that allowed them to break free from the French in 1791. Referencing the people’s use of voodoo during that time, Robertson indicated that this had caused citizens of the country to be “cursed.”
His behavior has been denounced by fellow evangelists, other conservative Christians, and even the denomination that ordained him. I would even venture to say that a Mariah Carey acceptance speech contains more eloquence and intellectual stimulation than Pat Robertson’s commentary on current events. Just think if he had been elected president…….

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