- Pat Robertson controversies
Pat Robertsonis outspoken in both his faith and his politics and controversies surrounding him have sometimes made the headlines. Many of these comments were made on his daily talk show, " The 700 Club".
In the 1970s and 1980s Robertson was a
faith healer, and James Randidevoted a chapter, "A World of Knowledge from Pat Robertson" on Robertson in Randi's book " The Faith Healers".cite book| last = Randi | first = James | authorlink = James Randi | year = 1989 | title = The Faith Healers| publisher = Prometheus Books | id = ISBN 0-87975-535-0 pages 197–206] Randi commented that "in 1986, soon after the full importance of the AIDSepidemic began to become evident, Robertson was attempting to cure it" by proclaiming people cured after prayer.cite book| last = Randi | first = James | authorlink = James Randi | year = 1989 | title = The Faith Healers| publisher = Prometheus Books | id = ISBN 0-87975-535-0 pages 199–200] Randi commented, "Gerry Straub, a former associate of Pat Robertson and his television producer, pointed out in his book "Salvation for Sale" the astonishing fact that God seemed to time miracles to conform with standard television format," and "God would stop speaking to Pat and stop healing exactly in time with the theme music."cite book| last = Randi | first = James | authorlink = James Randi | year = 1989 | title = The Faith Healers| publisher = Prometheus Books | id = ISBN 0-87975-535-0 page 200] Randi explained that "in 1979, it appeared to Robertson's staff that their boss had been taking lessons from Oral Roberts" and "proposed to film the Second Coming!".cite book| last = Randi | first = James | authorlink = James Randi | year = 1989 | title = The Faith Healers| publisher = Prometheus Books | id = ISBN 0-87975-535-0 page 204] The project was eventually publicly dropped, but "budget allocations [CBN] are made for their development."cite book| last = Randi | first = James | authorlink = James Randi | year = 1989 | title = The Faith Healers| publisher = Prometheus Books | id = ISBN 0-87975-535-0 page 205] Martin Gardneralso criticized Robertson's faith healing in Gardner's work "Beyond Reason".
Claim that some denominations harbor the spirit of the Antichrist
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 Presbyteriansand the Methodistsand this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist." [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,238501,00.html "'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.] He has never recanted this statement, though he has supported the election of certain Episcopalians.
Claims about the power of his prayers
Robertson prayed to God to steer hurricanes away from his companies'
Virginia Beach, Virginia, headquarters. He credited his prayers for steering the course of Hurricane Gloriain 1985, 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. [ [http://mediamatters.org/items/200505020002 "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.] Robertson later called on God to prevent Hurricane Isabelfrom hitting Virginia Beach in 2003, but the city was damaged by the storm surge despite Robertson's attempts.
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", [ [http://www.cbn.com/special/supremecourt/prayerpledge.asp Operation Supreme Court Freedom: A Letter From Pat Robertson] , Christian Broadcasting Network.] after the announced resignation of Supreme Court Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor.
Views concerning feminism, homosexuality, abortion and liberalism
Robertson is opposed to
abortionand same-sex marriage. [cite web |url=http://www.cc.org/archives/abortion/index.html |title="Abortion to Die by 1,000 Cuts After Today's Supreme Court Ruling" |date= 2007-01-18|publisher= Christian Coalition|accessdate=2007-03-31] [cite web |url=http://www.cc.org/content.cfm?id=253 |title="California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Keeps Promise and Will Veto Abominable Homosexual "Marriage" Bill Passed By Legislature Which Ignored Overwhelming Vote of California Voters in Proposition 22 Banning Homosexual "Marriage" |date= 2005-09-09|publisher= Christian Coalition|accessdate=2007-03-31]
He has described
feminismas a " socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practise witchcraft, destroy capitalismand become lesbians." ["Equal Rights Initiative in Iowa Attacked", " The Washington Post", August 23 1992.] Many of Robertson's views mirror those of the evangelical activist Jerry Falwell, who made frequent appearances on "The 700 Club". He agreed with Falwell when Falwell stated [ [http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/f/falwell-robertson-wtc.htm "Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson say immorality and anti-Christian groups should share in the blame for the Terrorist Attacks on America"] , TruthOrFiction.com.] that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were caused by "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the American Civil Liberties Unionand 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 actually agreeing with at the time.
June 8 1998edition of his show, Robertson denounced Orlando, Floridaand Disney Worldfor allowing a privately sponsored "Gay Days" weekend. Robertson stated that the acceptance of homosexualitycould result in hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist bombings and "possibly a meteor." [ [http://www.commondreams.org/pressreleases/June98/062498e.htm "TV Preacher Pat Robertson Expands On 'Gay Days' Comments"] , Common Dreams Newswire, June 24 1998.] The resulting outcry prompted Robertson to return to the topic on June 24, where he quoted the Book of Revelationto support his claims.
While discussing the
Mark Foley scandalon the October 5, 2006 broadcast of the show, Robertson condemned Foley saying he "does what gay people do". [ [http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=19453 "Right-Wing Watch"] , October 14 2006, People for the American Way.]
Charles Taylor, gold, diamonds and racehorse controversy
Robertson repeatedly supported former President of
LiberiaCharles Taylor in various episodes of his " 700 Club" program during the United States' involvement in the Liberian Civil Warin June and July 2003. Robertson accuses the U.S. State Departmentof giving President Bush bad advice in supporting Taylor's ouster as president, and of trying "as hard as they can to destabilize Liberia." [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A35786-2003Jul9 "Robertson Defends Liberia's President"] , Alan Cooperman, "The Washington Post", July 10 2003.]
Robertson was criticized for failing to mention in his broadcasts his $8,000,000 (USD) investment in a Liberian
gold mine. [ [http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A7124-2001Sep21 "Pat Robertson's Gold"] , Colbert I. King, September 22 2001, "The Washington Post".] Taylor had been indicted by the United Nationsfor war crimesat the time of Robertson's support.
Prosecutors also said that Taylor had harbored members of
Al Qaedaresponsible for the 1998 U.S. embassy bombingsin Kenyaand 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." [ [http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=98061&ran=185866 "Pat Robertson, a prophet to his believers"] , Steven G. Vegh, "The Virginian-Pilot", January 13 2006.]
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. [http://www.thenation.com/doc/20050919/blumenthal Pat Robertson's Katrina Cash] ] 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."
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 it to compete at the track. But the resulting furor over Robertson's direct participation in a gambling racket eventually caused him to sell the horse a month after the Times story broke." [http://images.trafficmp.com/tmpad/content/idmedia/kaiser/1005/scflsky.asp]
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 weaponat 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," [ [http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=35036 "Pat Robertson: Nuke State Department: Colin Powell expresses outrage over evangelist's televised remark"] , October 10, 2003, WorldNetDaily.] 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[ [http://mediamatters.org/items/200512020004 "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.] and conservative groups such as Focus on the Familyhave all contested Robertson's statements.
In a 2001 interview with
CNN's 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. [ [http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=22475 "Pat Robertson's brain abortion"] , Joel Miller, April 18, 2001, WorldNetDaily.]
Call for Hugo Chávez's assassination
wikinewshas|News related to this article section
* On the
August 22 2005broadcast of "The 700 Club," Robertson said of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez:
Robertson also said that Chávez was "going to make
Venezuelaa launching pad for communistinfiltration and Muslimextremism all over the continent" and called the leader an "out-of-control dictator... a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil that could hurt us very badly." [http://mediamatters.org/items/200508220006 "Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuela's president"] , N.C., August 22, 2005, Media Matters for America.]
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 Rumsfeldsaid that "our department doesn't do that kind of thing." Bernardo Álvarez, Venezuela's ambassadorto the U.S., demanded a stronger condemnation from the White Houseand that the United States "respect our country and its president."
August 24edition 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 forcescarry out a kidnapping. Robertson explicitly denied having used the word "assassination", though the word "assassinate" was present in his initial statement. [ [http://mediamatters.org/items/200508240005 "Robertson lies about his Chávez comments; claims he "didn't say 'assassination'"] , N.C., August 24, 2005, Media Matters for America.] 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. [ [http://www.cbn.com/about/pressrelease_hugochavez.asp "Pat Robertson Clarifies His Statement Regarding Hugo Chávez"] , August 24 2005, Christian Broadcasting Network.]
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 Nationsand the Organization of American States". [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4194108.stm "Venezuela seeks action in US row"] , August 29 2005, BBC News.]
February 2 2006edition of " Hannity and Colmes", Pat Robertson once again called for Chávez's assassination. When Colmes asked Robertson "Do you want him taken out?", Robertson replied "Not now, but one day, one day, one day." [ [http://mediamatters.org/items/200602030003 "Robertson again calls for Chávez's assassination: 'Not now, but one day'"] , S.G., February 3 2006, Media Matters for America.]
Message to Dover, Pennsylvania
November 10 2005broadcast of " The 700 Club", Robertson told citizens of Dover, Pennsylvaniathat they had rejected God by voting out of office all seven members of the school boardwho 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." [ [http://www.yorkdispatch.com/local/ci_3206058 "Robertson: 'Don't turn to God': New Dover board angry at televangelist's comments"] , Christina Kauffman, November 16, 2005, "The York Dispatch".]
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." [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4427144.stm "Evangelist says voters reject God"] , BBC News, November 11 2005.]
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 made this claim in an interview with
CNN, on October 19th, 2004. President Bush's then-press secretary Scott McClellan denied the allegation. Mike McCurry, press secretary for Democratic USA Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts, 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. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/10/19/robertson.bush.iraq/ CNN.com - No casualties? White House disputes Robertson comment - Oct 20, 2004 ] ]
Robertson also claimed numerous times on air that he had "deep misgivings" on the war, adding, "The Lord told me it was going to be a) a disaster and b) messy." However, it should be noted that when the American invasion began in 2003, Robertson said 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 Crouchon the March 21, 2003edition his Trinity Broadcasting Networkshow "Behind the Scenes".Fact|date=December 2007
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. [ [http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/01/05/robertson.sharon/ "Robertson suggests God smote Sharon: Evangelist links Israeli leader's stroke to 'dividing God's land'"] , January 6 2006, CNN.]
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." [ [http://www.seattleweekly.com/news/0602/mossback.php "In Defense of Pat Robertson: Why is it so wrong to speculate that God smote Sharon?"] , Knute Berger, January 11 2006, "Seattle Weekly".] Ted Haggard, then 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. [ [http://www.adl.org/main_Interfaith/Evangelicals.htm "What They Are Saying: Evangelicals Speak Out On Pat Robertson"] , January 9 2006, The Anti-Defamation League.] The White House called Robertson's statement "wholly inappropriate and offensive". [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4589270.stm "US attacks TV host on Sharon slur"] , Justin Webb, January 6, 2006, BBC News.] Robertson was also chastised by Israeli officials and members of the Anti-Defamation League. [ [http://www.adl.org/PresRele/IslME_62/4847_62.htm "ADL Outraged at Pat Robertson's Remarks Blaming Sharon's Stroke on the Wrath of God"] , January 5 2006, Anti-Defamation League.]
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 Galileeknown 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." [ [http://www.theocracywatch.org/cz_updates_israel_robertson_times_jan12_05.htm "Israelis' Anger at Evangelist May Delay Christian Center"] , Greg Myre, January 12 2006, "The New York Times".]
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." [ [http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1136361055228&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull "Israel rejects Pat Robertson funding"] , Avi Krawitz, January 11 2006, "The Jerusalem Post".]
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." [ [http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/columns/html/20060114T200000-0500_96581_OBS_PAT_ROBERTSON_AND_RELIGIOUS_VIOLENCE_.asp "Pat Robertson and religious violence"] , Mark Wignall, January 15, 2006, "The Jamaica Observer".] Omri and the Israeli government accepted the apology, though it remained unclear whether the deal with Robertson would be rehabilitated. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2006/01/13/robertson_apologizes_for_saying_stroke_was_a_divine_punishment/ "Robertson apologizes for saying stroke was a divine punishment"] , Brian Murphy, January 13 2006, "The Associated Press".] [ [http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/rosnerBlog.jhtml?itemNo=670661&contrassID=25&subContrassID=0&sbSubContrassID=1&listSrc=Y&art=1 "Educating Robertson: Who won the battle?"] , Shmuel Rosner, January 15 2006, "Ha'aretz".] [ [http://home.hamptonroads.com/stories/story.cfm?story=98303&ran=246793 "Israelis may let Robertson back into Galilee plan"] , Steven G. Vegh, January 19 2006, "The Virginian-Pilot".]
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. [ [http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/breaking_news/13907272.htm "Pat Robertson accused of damaging movement"] , Sonja Barisic, February 18 2006, Associated Press.]
The fallout from Robertson's comments was still visible over a month after the event; after speaking with organizers of the
National Religious BroadcastersFebruary 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." [ [http://www.news8austin.com/content/your_news/default.asp?ArID=155911 "Pat Robertson absent from religious broadcasters' convention"] , February 20 2006, Associated Press.]
In March 2006, Robertson lost a bid for re-election to the board of directors of the National Religious Broadcasters. [ [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/news/archive/2006/03/02/national/a101953S26.DTL "Robertson Loses Broadcasters' Board Seat"] , March 2 2006, Associated Press.]
Remarks against Islam and Muslims
Robertson has frequently denounced the religion of
Islamand Muslimpeople. During a 1995taping of "The 700 Club", he called the religion a "Christian heresy". [ [http://www.onlinejournal.com/artman/publish/article_117.shtml "Part 26: Dick Cheney, numbers and the metaphysics of 9/11"] , B.J. Sabri, January 28 2005, Online Journal.] During a September 19 2002episode 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." [ [http://www.counterpunch.org/wazwaz1010.html "Inexcusable Tolerance for Religious Extremism in America"] , Fedwa Wazwaz, October 10 2002, CounterPunch.] He claimed on the September 14 2004episode of "The 700 Club" that "Islam is by the gun, by the fire, by the bayonet, by the torch."Fact|date=February 2007 On the July 14 2005broadcast of the "The 700 Club", he claimed that "Islam, at its core, teaches violence." [ [http://mediamatters.org/items/200507180003 "Pat Robertson claimed that Islam 'at its core, teaches violence'"] , July 18 2005, Media Matters for America.]
March 13 2006broadcast 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 demonicpower. 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." [ [http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2006/03/14/robertson_says_islam_isnt_a_faith_of_peace/ "Robertson says Islam isn't a faith of peace: Televangelist calls radicals 'demonic'"] , Sonja Barisic, March 14 2006, Associated Press.]
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." [ [http://mediamatters.org/items/200603140008 "700 Club website scrubbed Robertson's controversial comments calling Muslims 'satanic'"] , J.M., March 14 2006, Media Matters for America.]
September 25 2006broadcast of "The 700 Club" Robertson stated "It's amazing how the Muslimsdeal with history and the truth with violence. They don't understand what reasoned dialogue is...." [ [http://mediamatters.org/items/200609250007 "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.]
Remarks about Asians
February 7, 2007edition of "The 700 Club", Robertson stated that people who have too much plastic surgery "got the eyes like they're Oriental" and stretched his eyelids in a manner stereotypical of Asians. [cite web | url = http://mediamatters.org/items/200702070009 | title = Robertson: Too much plastic surgery gives people 'Oriental' eyes | author = B.J.L. | date = 2007-02-07| work = Media Matters for America| accessdate = 2007-04-04 ]
Remarks against Hindus
Pat Robertson has been criticized by some for his insensitive remarks towards the religion of
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.'" ["The New World Order", Pat Robertson, p. 218]
These and other remarks have been repudiated by some
Hindus. [cite news |url=http://www.sullivan-county.com/news/pat_quotes/hindus.htm |title=Christian Pat Robertson Denounces Hinduism as "Demonic" |first=Valli J. |last=Rajan |date=1995-07 |work=Hinduism Today ] [ [http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/7027/htoday.html Using TV, Christian Pat Robertson Denounces Hinduism as "Demonic"] ]
March 21 2006broadcast of "The 700 Club", while reviewing "" 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." [ [http://www.pfaw.org/pfaw/general/default.aspx?oid=19453 "Right-Wing Watch"] , May 11 2006, People for the American Way.]
Leg press claims
Robertson claims on his web site that through training and his "Age-Defying energy shake", he is able to
leg press2,000 pounds while others claim he is a liar, pushing a common energy formula. [" [http://www.cbn.com/communitypublic/shake.asp Pat Robertson's Age-Defying Shake] ", CBN.com, accessed May 22 2006.] Two-thousand pounds would be an exceptional accomplishment for a world-class athlete, to say nothing of a septuagenarian 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. [cite web|title=Madeleine Albright is stronger than me|date=April 28, 2006|author=Clay Travis|publisher=CBS|url=http://cbs.sportsline.com/spin/story/9403333] Thus, Robertson's claimed achievement would add 665 pounds to the best-ever total of Kendra, a top athlete in his physical prime, who later played in the National Football Leagueand tried to become a Navy SEAL. [cite web|url=http://cbs.sportsline.com/spin/story/9454343 |title=Pat Robertson's magical protein shake|author=Clay Travis|publisher=CBS|date= May 22 2006Accessed May 25 2006] [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."]
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." [ [http://www.cbn.com/communitypublic/legpress_explanation.asp How Pat Robertson Leg Pressed 2,000 Pounds] , CBN.com.] A [http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2730623 video] has also been provided supposedly demonstrating Robertson doing several reps with a weight of 1,000 lbs (453 kg). 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 1,000 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. In contrast, actual leg press technique is allowing the weight to slide down until the hip and knee joints are at significant flexion. [http://www.exrx.net/WeightExercises/Quadriceps/SL45LegPress.html Leg press] technique discussed and illustrated from www.exrx.net. (Includes animation of correct leg press being performed.) Accessed 02/01/2008.] The video of Roberson’s lift has also been criticized because it does not appear to verify his claim that he’s lifting 1,000 pounds. Mike DeBonis of
Slatenoted “It appears as if 16 plates are loaded on the machine. Four of them look like 100-pound plates, and the rest are 45s. That adds up to 940 pounds.” DeBonis also noted that Robertson is using incorrect form as he “helps his legs by pushing on his knees with his arms. That's a no-no. He also achieves nowhere near the recommended full range of motion, which is to bring the knees to at least a 90-degree angle.” DeBonis saw the claims made by Robertson and similar claims by Madeline Albright(that she can press 400 lbs) as yet another proof of the inferiority of that particular machine in comparison to the barbell squat, “Most leg press machines are constructed as either a sled angled at 45 degrees or a lever. (There are some that use cables, too.) In all cases, some of the weight gets borne by the machine. You may be loading 400 pounds, but your muscles are feeling only 200.” [cite news|author= Mike DeBonis|title= The Lamest Exercise in the World|url= http://slate.com/id/2142567/|date= May 27, 2006|publisher=Slate]
Robertson responded to questions concerning the lift in an interview with
CBS. He maintained his claim to have done it but admitted "I didn't do it with the same form that these professional bodybuilders do, which is a full squat, and it's very difficult. But I did do it. I regularly can do 1,000 pounds and 1,200 pounds."cite news|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/06/07/health/main1692375.shtml|title=Robertson Answers Weighty Criticisms|date=June 7, 2006|publisher=CBS] He said he used an incline leg press and did "the full extension on that particular machine. They have a brake on it. I was told put the brake on. When the professionals do it, they take the brake off and let the weight come all the way down on them. And if you don't have a lot of help, you've got a Volkswagen sitting on your hips. I didn't do that."
In June 2006,
General Nutrition Center, a nutritional supplement retailer, announced without explanation that it would stop carrying Robertson's energy drink. [ [http://www.upi.com/NewsTrack/view.php?StoryID=20060605-092200-3457r "GNC drops Pat Robertson's muscle drink"] , June 5 2006, United Press International, Inc.]
In 2006 Robertson aligned himself with other evangelicals to become a
global warming"convert." One source attributes this conversion to the 2006 North American heat wave. [ [http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=12122 Heat Wave Makes Pat Robertson A Believer In Global Warming] , Austin Chronicle, August 4, 2006.] 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 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. [cite news |title=Pat Robertson converts to 'global warming' |work=WorldNetDaily |date=2006-08-03 |url=http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51379 ]
And in February 2007, as a cold front blasted most of the United States, Pat wondered aloud whatever "happened to global warming", mentioning that we should "ask Al Gore."Fact|date=November 2007
In 2008, Robertson appeared in a commercial with
Al Sharpton, urging people to join the We Can Solve It campaign against global warming. [http://www.wecansolveit.org/page/s/unlikelyalliance?source=Ad.com&subsource=SharptonandRobertson728X90]
Unflattering Facebook photograph
In mid-to-late 2007, Adam Key, a second-year law student at
Regent Universityposted an unflattering photo of Pat Robertson on November 29, 2007, Key sued Regent University after he was suspended. [cite news |first=Moriah |last=Balingit |title=Former Regent student who posted freeze-frame of Robertson sues school |work=Student Press Law Center |date=2007-12-03 |url=http://www.splc.org/newsflash.asp?id=1655&year ] [" [http://www.splc.org/pdf/KeyComplaint.pdf Adam Key v. Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson and Regent University] ", "(pdf)" United States District Court, Southern District of Texas.]
Robertson overheard during commercial break
On October 14, 2006 a video was posted on
YouTubeshowing a segment of the television show " Larry King Live" during coverage of the 1992 presidential election. The video shows a small portion of Pat Robertson's speech at the Republican Convention, and later goes on to show him responding to a caller (who referred to himself as a Republican) that called the convention "hateful". In the proceeding footage, which was shot during a commercial break, Robertson refers to the caller as a homosexual even though he had not identified himself as such.
The video can be viewed [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgKCu2oHeRY here] .
* Matthew Shepard website presents [http://www.hatecrime.org/subpages/hatespeech/robertson.html a list of Robertson's quotes regarding homosexuality.]
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