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RELIGIOUSLY-BASED CONFLICTS

Notable comments by Pat Robertson:
2005 to 2007

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Sponsored link:

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About Pat Robertson:

Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson is one of the leading Fundamentalist Christian leaders in the world. He is:

"...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." 1

He is the host of the TV program 700 Club which is broadcast on the Christian Broadcasting Network and on FamilyNet via Sirius satellite radio. He is heard by over a million American viewers daily. 1

He is noted for his seemingly extemporaneous comments on his TV show which express controversial beliefs about contemporary events. A sampling is listed below. Due to copyright limitations we can only show brief excerpts. For more complete coverage, see the references at the end of this essay.

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2005-JUL-14: Islam teaches violence:

Media Matters suggested that Robertson "...blurred the distinction between radical Islamists and the Muslim community at large, claiming that Islam instructs its followers to commit acts of terrorism" They quoted him saying on the 700 Club:

....it's Muslim extremists and, ladies and gentlemen, Islam, at least at its core, teaches violence. It's there in the Qur'an in clear, bold statements. Well over 100 verses dealing with violence against infidels, and that is what they're taught. They're also taught to sacrifice themselves in jihad against infidels to gain paradise. It is part of the teaching of that faith.... it's time we recognize it and begin to deal with it." 2

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2005-AUG-22: Assassination call:

According to Media Matters, on his 700 Club TV program, Robertson discussed Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, saying:

"You know, 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....We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with." 3

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2005-DEC-15: "Evolutionists worship Atheism:"

According to Media Matters, on his 700 Club TV program, Robertson discussed the relationship between scientists who believe the theory of evolution and religion. He said:

"Evolutionists worship Atheism. I mean, that's their religion. And evolution becomes their religion. It is a matter of religion. So this is an establishment of religion contrary to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution ....But, I mean, these fanatics, I mean, it is a religion, it is a cult. It is cultish [sic] religion, and whenever you start talking about the origins of life, you now get into religious matter, and theirs is just as much religion."

The term "cult" has many conflicting definitions. Robertson is apparently using it in a derogatory fashion as a general purpose snarl word.

Science is based upon observations, and upon the assumption that events happen due to explainable causes and processes. That allows scientists to study nature and discover the laws undergirding it. This necessarily requires that scientists work under the assumption that miracles -- in which God interferes with the normal functioning of natural processes -- do not happen. Robertson has apparently concluded that scientists are Atheists because of this assumption. 4

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2006-JAN-05: God punished Sharon for his misdeeds:

Pat Robertson blamed God for Sharon's heart attack. On his TV program "The 700 Club," he said that Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for "dividing God's land." He said:

"God considers this land to be his. You read the Bible and he says, 'This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No, this is mine'. [The prophet Joel] makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who 'divide my land.' [Mr. Sharon] was dividing God's land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course..." 5

A number of anti-discrimination groups commented:

bulletAbraham H. Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League described Robertson's remarks as "un-Christian and a perversion of religion." He urged Christian leaders to "distance themselves" from Robertson.
bulletRalph G. Neas, president of the People For the American Way Foundation, criticized Robertson's comments calling them: "an implicit reference to recent steps the prime minister has taken to advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Once again, Pat Robertson leaves us speechless with his insensitivity and arrogance."
bulletThe Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, suggested that religious leaders "should not be making callous political points while a man is struggling for his life. Pat Robertson has a political agenda for the entire world, and he seems to think God is ready to take out any world leader who stands in the way of that agenda."

We have not been able to find any conservative Christian leader or agency commenting on Robertson's statements. However, President Bush's spokesperson Trent Duffy. He said:

bullet"Those comments are wholly inappropriate and offensive and really don't have a place in this or any other debate." 6

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2006-MAR-13: Robertson refers to Muslims as "Satanic:"

On his 700 Club program, Robertson discussed the anger expressed by many Muslims about the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in a Norwegian newspaper. Media Matters quoted from the program:

"The fact that this elicited this incredible outpouring of rage 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 are dealing with....the goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not, is world domination. These people are saying it over there in Europe -- world domination....And, by the way, Islam is not a religion of peace." 7

Robertson's comments were not included in the CBN web site. A spokesperson said that this was done "...out of concerns they could be misinterpreted if taken out of context." 7

Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC's Countdown program selected Robertson as runner-up in his daily "Worst Person in the World" segment. 8

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2006-MAY-8 and17: God told him of vicious hurricanes and possible tsunami:

On MAY-08, Pat Robertson warned his 700 Club viewers that:

"I go away at the end of each year to pray, and if I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms. I think we're going to see some really serious storms. And this warning from the storm center, one of the experts in Miami is just one of them. They're talking about storms up the East Coast, and there is a very real possibility of a tsunami or serious flooding and storming in the West Coast, as well. I am sure those in New Orleans are praying that such a thing has happened to them won't happen again. But one more hard hit without those levees being set up, and New Orleans may be part of history.

On MAY-17, he stated:

"Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have felt strongly that the coasts are going to be lashed by vicious hurricanes this year. Also, there may well be something as bad as a tsunami up in the Pacific Northwest....we're positioning supplies in California. We've got supplies positioned in Florida. We'll have others, and, of course, we have a major presence in the Gulf right now....When you contribute $20 a month to The 700 Club, you are saying, 'I care about people. I care about my neighbors, I care about my friends, I care about those who are suffering'." 9

On 2007-JAN-02, he claimed that the heavy rains and flooding in some sections of New England partly fulfilled this prediction, even though a tsunami never happened, 10

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2007-JAN-02: Prediction of terrorist attack:

On JAN-02, Pat delivered another of his annual predictions. He said that God told him that there would be a terrorist attack on the U.S. sometime after 2006-SEP that would result in "mass killing." He said:

"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear. The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that." 10

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2007-FEB-19: Barna Research rates religious leaders:

On FEB-19, Barna Research released a report on eleven religious leaders. Pat Robinson and Billy Graham are the only religious leaders out of a list of eleven who were recognized by most American adults. Charles Colson is unknown to 85% of Americans. Corresponding values for Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, and Andy Stanley are 83%, 96% and 95%.

Among American adults, 33% had a positive impression of Pat Robertson; 25% a negative imprint. The negative rating was the highest among the 11 religious leaders tested. 11

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Reference used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Biography: Pat Robertson," The official site of Pat Robertson, at: http://www.patrobertson.com
  2. "Pat Robertson claimed that Islam 'at its core, teaches violence'," Media Matters, at: http://mediamatters.org/
  3. "Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuela's president," Media Matters, 2005-AUG-22, at: http://mediamatters.org/
  4. "Robertson claimed 'evolutionists worship atheism,' evolutionary theory a 'cultish religion'," Media Matters, 2005-DEC-19, at: http://mediamatters.org/
  5. "Robertson Suggests Stroke Is Divine Rebuke," Associated Press, 2006-JAN-06, at: http://www.nytimes.com/
  6. "White House rebukes Robertson," CBS/Associated Press, 1005-JAN-05, at: http://www.cbsnews.com/
  7. "700 Club website scrubbed Robertson's controversial comments calling Muslims 'satanic'," Media Matters, 2006-MAR-14, at: http://mediamatters.org/
  8. "Olbermann named Robertson 'Worst Person' runner-up for for Islam 'world domination' comments," Media Matters, 2006-MAR-15, at: http://mediamatters.org/
  9. "Robertson: '[I]f I heard the Lord right about 2006...'," Media Matters, 2006-MAY-18, at: http://mediamatters.org/
  10. "Pat Robertson Predicts 'Mass Killing'," Associated Press, 2007-JAN-03, at: http://my.earthlink.net/
  11. "Billy Graham Tops Religious Leaders," Barna Research, 2007-FEB-9, at: http://www.barna.org/

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Site navigation: Home page > Religious conflicts > Specific conflicts > here

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Copyright © 2006 & 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2006-JAN-04
Latest update: 2007-FEB-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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