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Pat Robertson’s latest verbal blunder

That’s the nicest way of putting this. Of course, the headline exaggerates what he said, but what he appears actually to have said is bad enough. To be clear: he didn’t quite say God would retaliate for what the Dover (PA) voters did this week, just that if something did happen, God might not listen to their prayers. First of all, this ignores the possibility that people of faith can reasonably disagree about what can and should be taught in public schools. The Bible says nothing about the First Amendment. Second, God is merciful, as well as just. Robertson seems not to consider that possibility. If anyone is committing a theological error here, it just might be Pat Robertson. He should shut up before he discredits every institution associated with him.

Update: Terry Mattingly says almost everything that needs to be said about Pat Robertson. Hat tip: Get Religion.

Discussions - 13 Comments

To be clear: he didn’t quite say God would retaliate for what the Dover (PA) voters did this week, just that if something did happen, God might not listen to their prayers.

So, the voting citizens of Dover "rejected God" by voting out the creationism-in-biology-class school board members, and now God "might not be there" for them in the event of a disaster, the presumption and implication being that He would have been there for them had they voted otherwise. That definitely sounds like a type of retaliation (and a warning!) to me. Would this make God passive-aggressive? (Perhaps Fung could answer that; I know that’s an oft-abused term in pop-psych, and I don’t wish to do that myself)
Also, considering that it probably wasn’t a 100%-0% vote and that all Dover residents/citizens/Christians likely didn’t vote, he’s also implying God is happy to step aside and allow disasters to hit those who voted the "right" (Right) way.

Second, God is merciful, as well as just. Robertson seems not to consider that possibility.

Headline: "Politics Prof. Knippenberg Assures Errant Dover Citizens: God May Forgive Your Collective Blunder"

He should shut up before he discredits every institution associated with him.

BEFORE??? Are you kidding, merely uninformed, or worse?? Just a few gems from Marion "Pat" Robertson:

Referring to the U.S. State Department in an interview w/ Joel Mowbray of National Review, who’s also a "critic" of the State Dept - "’If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that’s the answer." Hmmm...wouldn’t that be sort of like...terrorism?

But then, perhaps surprisingly to Karl Rove, with his shameless assessment of conservative and liberal responses to 9/11, Pat (who’s probably a conservative, no?) has taken a keep-things-in-perspective approach to 9/11:

"If you look over the course of a hundred years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that’s held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings." (ABC’s "This Week" - 4/30/05) But maybe you agree, as he was referring to (cue Satanic voice) judicial activism.

"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." - "700 Club" - 1/14/91 I’ve forgotten if you’re a member of one of these "Antichrist" religions, Mr. Knippenberg. For your sake, I hope not!

Robertson denounced Orlando and Disney World for allowing a privately sponsored "Gay Days" weekend. Robertson claimed that the acceptance of homosexuality could result in hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorist bombs and "possibly a meteor." - "700 Club" - 6/8/98

Let’s not forget that he has called the feminist movement "a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians," that 9/11 was caused by "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU and the People for the American Way," and that he has claimed to steer hurricanes away from his broadcasting empire in Virginia Beach through the power of his prayer.

But let’s not even get into Charles Taylor and Robertson’s dealings in Liberia, ok? So, do you really think that Robertson has yet to discredit every institution he’s associated with? I’d say he did that a long, long time ago.

Nobody takes Pat Robinson seriously except leftists who need a fundamentalist villain.

So Charles, the 700 Club’s million viewers all think the show is a comedy?

I take Pat Robinson seriously, and not just because I like having a fundamentalist villain in my pocket.

The feminist movement in its most extreme examples is socialist, anti-familly, and encourages lesbianism. Since the feminist movement is pro-choice it is easy to see how according to Robinson, this translates into killing children.

Robinson isn’t alone in believing that prayer might be able to change the path of a hurricane or tornado.

At least he speaks his mind.

The problem I have is that he seeks out the most explosive and offensive views to his world view, and then makes money by scaring folk into believing that the Apocalypse is surely comming.

After all, lets put things in perspective, if the end times are really upon us, what difference does it make if he discredits institutions that aren’t going to arrange perspective to account for this(the second comming)?

...but I don’t think Robertson should shut up. If the groups that he’s associated with are reasonable, respectable, mainstream, theologically and intellectually serious in the first place, then they should have cast him off a long time ago. Not only is he quite amusing, but he serves as a fairly reliable gauge to evaluate organizations by. He’s an abysmal cretin, and I think he and his 700 Club followers are a dark stain on American Christianity, but I respect his right to spew verbal hatred, garbage and supernatural nonsense so, on the contrary, let him speak!

(And no one should kid themselves into thinking that Karl Rove hasn’t taken Robertson and his minions seriously, at least around election time!)

His name is Robertson, not Robinson.

And no one should kid themselves into thinking that Karl Rove hasn’t taken Robertson and his minions seriously, at least around election time

Of course he has. And why shouldn’t he? They form a substantial voting block. Any intelligent political operative would try to win them over. Believe me, if the Democrats thought there was any way that these people could be wooed away from the GOP, they’d be all over them.

Yes, that’s quite likely true about the Dems, which speaks to their lack of principle. At the same time, the fact that the GOP not only went after them (when there were some other voting blocs which they could have pursued and opted not to), but has won them over and attracts them like flies to dung, speaks to not only their lack of principle but the depths to which their "intelligent political operative(s)" (amoral strategists like Rove) are willing to scrape for votes. Any party (note: ANY) that reaches out (down) to people who think that gays and non-believers ("pagans") caused 9/11, or that God guides hurricanes to punish those who sin more is not a party I’m really interested in. Guess I’m screwed, eh?

Let’s all remember that this man is a finite being who is referring to what he believes to be an infinite being... How can Mr. Robertson predict with any certainty what God would or would not do? Hello, Jonah.

I guess I don’t take him seriously enough to get his name right.

That said I know people who tend to believe that God could still act (in 2005) as he did towards Soddom and Gomorrah. In other words there is a group of Christians that believe that God still acts in the world. That God didn’t just set the world in motion and then give it up. Stories of miracles and angels abound, why not stories of God’s wrath? Have you ever heard people say that taking the Lords name in vain could bring down lighting?

In other words while a lot of good christians may cringe when they hear Pat Robertson say that New Orleans was struck by Katrina because of the sin they indulge in and represent, they are cringing because they feel the media will be making them look foolish, not because for them it is a Metaphysical impossibility that God could act that way.

In other words for the Atheist New Orleans was destroyed because it was in the way of a Hurricane. There is no possible Ontological reason, no higher reason or plan, it wasn’t the voodoo or the sex or the burbon. It was a huge storm that ran over a city, it was rain and high winds, end of story.

Yet some people may say that Katrina happened for a reason, that everything happens for a reason, that it somehow fits into God’s plan for their lives. To say or believe this puts you in the same group as Pat Robertson or Pat Robinson, or Billy or Kevin or the person you see interviewed after the storm, who says that the faith they have in God will get them through, that everything happens for a reason, that God has a plan for your life that he uses Hurricanes to get your attention...exct...

You could perhaps attack Pat Robertson, but on what grounds do you do so if you believe that God acts through natural disasters?

Even if the Right wants to insist on saying that Robertson isn’t relevant anymore (and perhaps, relatively speaking, he’s not as influential as he was some time back), plenty of his pals, kindred spirits, and "intellectual" offspring are up to the same transparent, cynical, crass b.s., using the name of God to enrich themselves and attempt to impose their extremely narrow theocratic vision on the entire country. Frequent 700 Club guest and Robertson acolyte Jay Sekulow is a fine example. He basically promotes the raw and rude version of the same stuff that the bloggers here push for all the time. There’s a fun analysis of him here in Legal Times.

Unfortunately, it appears that the Ashbrook Scholars are still treating Robertson seriously, and with some reverence. Can we please see a last word on this matter from Prof. Knippenberg or Prof. Schramm?

Guess we won’t be hearing from them...

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