BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
You’d think that after all these years of demonizing gays and lesbians, goofy weather predictions, the raising of millions of dollars from the hapless viewers of his television programs, the charitably challenged practices of his charities, and an all-purpose never-ending stream of mean-spirited and loopy statements, that at least in presidential election years, Pat Robertson would have been relegated to the outer reaches of Hageeville. Yet there he was on stage with Mitt Romney, the Republican Party’s presidential nominee, recently in a rally in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Ironically, shortly after endorsing Iowa’s Steve King – one of the most strident anti-immigrant voices in Congress – for re-election, Romney pivoted towards Robertson. In his Virginia Beach speech, Romney, who declared that he would “not divide this nation,” ripped into Obama and then played the God card.
According to BuzzFeed’s McKay Coppins, “Romney launched into a riff designed to needle the Democratic Party for initially removing the word ‘God’ from its 2012 platform, and then adding it back in despite protests from many delegates. ‘That pledge says 'under God.' I will not take God out of our platform. I will not take God off our coins. And I will not take God out of my heart,’ Romney declared.”
Seeing Robertson directly behind the podium – now a little grayer and more stoop shouldered – a few days before the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, one couldn’t help but flash back on one of his, and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell’s, most shameful, divisive and ignominious moments.
Robertson’s most shameful moment
On September 13, 2001, Falwell appeared on Robertson’s television program “The 700 Club.” A partial transcript of the telecast reads:
JERRY FALWELL: And I agree totally with you that the Lord has protected us so wonderfully these 225 years. And since 1812, this is the first time that we've been attacked on our soil and by far the worst results. And I fear, as Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, said yesterday, that this is only the beginning. And with biological warfare available to these monsters -- the Husseins, the Bin Ladens, the Arafats -- what we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact -- if, in fact -- God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.
PAT ROBERTSON: Jerry, that's my feeling. I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population.
JERRY FALWELL: The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this.
PAT ROBERTSON: Well yes.
JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say "you helped this happen."
PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course is the court system.
JERRY FALWELL: Pat, did you notice yesterday the ACLU and all the Christ-haters, People For the American Way, NOW, etc. were totally disregarded by the Democrats and the Republicans in both houses of Congress as they went out on the steps and called out on to God in prayer and sang "God Bless America" and said "let the ACLU be hanged." In other words, when the nation is on its knees, the only normal and natural and spiritual thing to do is what we ought to be doing all the time - calling upon God.
PAT ROBERTSON: Amen
Under pressure, both Falwell and Robertson later apologized.
Hagee’s Hitler sent by God sermon had him dumped by McCain
You will be forgiven if you don’t remember that Pastor John Hagee, he of the multi-million Texas-based mega-church and the founder of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) – the biggest evangelical-inhabited Israeli support group on the planet – was an up close and visible supporter of John McCain’s run for the presidency in 2008 for about a minute. Then, Hagee had a run-in with his sermonic hits.
After being hotly pursued by Team McCain, a tape was discovered by Bruce Wilson, the co-founder of the religious blog Talk2Action, (full disclosure: I often write for T2A) that had Hagee bellowing his belief that Hitler and the Nazis were sent by God to chase Europe’s Jews to Israel. Team McCain was forced to drop Hagee like a hot knish.
In Pat Robertson’s case, the man who was labeled a political kingmaker in Rob Boston’s book titled, “The Most Dangerous Man in America?: Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition” (Prometheus Books, 1996), has been more comic relief than hard-hitting political powerhouse.
It’s not that Robertson has moderated his rhetoric; he still can provide the knuckle-headed observation with the best of them.
People for the American Way’s Right Wing Watch recently pointed out that during a segment on a recent broadcast called “Bring It On,” where viewers ask Robertson questions, “one man wondered how he should go about repairing his marriage with a wife who ‘insults’ him and once tried to attack him.
“’Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her,” Robertson said. “This man’s got to stand up to her and he can’t let her get away with this stuff,” Robertson continued. “I don’t think we condone wife-beating these days but something has got to be done.”
Right Wing Watch noted that Robertson “later said the woman is a ‘rebellious child’ and pondered if she has psychological problems. Robertson told the viewer that since he ‘can’t divorce her according to the Scripture, so I say: move to Saudi Arabia.’”
During the Democratic Party’s convention, Robertson maintained that the Dems are a Party that represents only “gays, godlessness, and whatever else.” Lord knows what that “whatever else” consists of!