Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson is a uberconservative televangelist and founder of the the Virginia-based Christian Coalition. He is the host of it's television station, CBN, and fundamentalist propaganda hour, The 700 Club, which airs on many religious cable channels. His far-right views have made him the subject of controversy, especially his statements in favor of the dissolution of the separation of church and state.
Although Robertson is an ordained Southern Baptist minister, he promiscuously intermixes elements of Pentecostal theology in his preaching, a position which puts him at odds with some of his fellow Southern Baptists but permits him to successfully exploit a large niche in the fundamentalist Protestant religious market.
Life and Career
Pat Robertson was born into a wealthy Virginia family on March 22, 1930. His father, Absalom Robertson, was a conservative Democratic United States Senator with close ties to banking interests. Pat Robertson enrolled at Washington and Lee University in 1946, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1948 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. After graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950, Robertson served in the Korean War.
Robertson was promoted to first lieutenant in 1952 upon his return to the United States. Robertson then went on to receive a Juris Doctor degree from Yale University Law School in 1955 and a master of divinity degree from New York Theological Seminary in 1959.
In 1960, Robertson established the Christian Broadcasting Network. It is now seen in 180 countries and broadcast in 71 languages. Robertson also founded International Family Entertainment, Inc. in 1990, with its main business as the Family Channel, which was sold to the Fox network in 1997 and is now owned by Disney. A condition of the sale was that the station would continue airing Robertson's television program The 700 Club twice a day.
Robertson founded Regent University in Virginia Beach, in 1977 and serves as its chancellor. Robertson is also founder and president of the American Center for Law and Justice, a law firm and "education group" that advocates First Amendment cases for people of faith, holding the view that separation of church and state is superseded by an individual's right to worship as he or she chooses. The law firm, headquartered in the same building that houses Regent's law school, focuses on what it calls "pro-family, pro-liberty and pro-life" cases nationwide.
Robertson ran for the Republican nomination for President in 1988 and although he didn't win the nomination, he pulled more votes than George H.W. Bush in Iowa, and with the foundation of the Coalition in 1989, accelerated the far-right's takeover of the Republican Party. Robertson's best showing in the primaries was winning the Washington state Republican primary.
After the high point of the '94 "Republican Revolution", the Christian Coalition fell into disarray. Wunderkind Ralph Reed left in 1997 to cater to his own interests and eventually became a key player in the Republican Party's field operations. The Coalition began to suffer from serious tax burdens and staff layoffs, as well as competition from fresh hatemongers such as Gary Bauer and his Family Research Council.
In 1999, years of "non-partisan" voter guides led to the Coalition being denied non-profit status, which accelerated a hemorrhaging of revenue begun in 1996. In 2001 a number of black and white members sued for racial discrimination, with the whites alleging they were ordered to spy on black members and black members complaining of "Jim Crow" style rules. In December, 2001, Pat became president emeritus, leaving the Chairman job to Roberta Combs. The Christian Coalition changed their name to Christian Coalition of America and flouted tax-exemption rules while distributing yet more voter guides in the 2002 mid-terms.
With the same-gender marriage debate raging across America and theocratic Republicans in control of most of the federal and state governments, Robertson and his fellow zealots have been given a new lease on hate. How much longer that lasts is anyone's guess. The state chapters of the Christian Coalition, particularly in Georgia, are far more pervasive and successful than the national party these days.
Robertson mainly gets in the headlines now when he makes kooky remarks. For example, he claims to have used the power of prayer to steer hurricanes away from his companies' Virginia Beach headquarters. He took credit for steering the course in 1985 of Hurricane Gloria, which caused millions of dollars of destruction in many states along the east coast. He made a similar claim about another destructive storm, Hurricane Felix, in 1995.
Among his more controversial statements, Robertson has stated that feminism is a "socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
Robertson's views mirror those of the controversial evangelical activist Jerry Falwell, who has made frequent appearances on The 700 Club. He agreed with Falwell that the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were caused by "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU and the People for the American Way." After public outcry regarding the dialogue, which took place only days after the attacks, Robertson stated that he had not understood what Falwell was saying during the interview, which was conducted via television monitor.
Robertson's net worth is between $200 million and $1 billion dollars according to the 2002 book The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast. Through his ostensibly charitable organization, Operation Blessing International, Robertson claims to have spent $1.2 million bringing aid to refugees in Rwanda. His critics, such as Palast, however showed that the money was actually spent to bring heavy equipment for Robertson's African Development Corporation, a diamond mining operation.
Has purchased thoroughbred race horses, although has stated on many occasions he is opposed to gambling. Robertson claims he bought the horses because he is "amazed by their athleticism".
In various episodes of his 700 Club program during the United States' involvement in the Liberian Civil War in June and July of 2003, Robertson repeatedly supported Liberian President Charles Taylor. Robertson accuses the U.S. State Department of giving President Bush bad advice in supporting Taylor's ouster as president, and of trying "as hard as they can to destabilize Liberia."
Robertson failed to mention however in his broadcasts his $8 million investment in a Liberian gold mine. Taylor had been at the time of Robertson's support indicted by the United Nations for war crimes. According to Robertson, Freedom Gold, the Liberian gold mine, 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." Notwithstanding such predictions Robertson apears to ahve gotten away with this particular venture.
On his The 700 Club television program, Pat Robertson has sharply criticized elements of the United States government. 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 weapon at State Department Headquarters (nicknamed Foggy Bottom) 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," 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.
In the late 1980s, Pat Robertson sued Congressman Pete McCloskey and Representative Andy Jacobs for libel. McCloskey, who served with Robertson in Korea, made claims that Robertson was spared combat duty when his powerful father intervened on his behalf. Jacobs repeated these statements publicly. During pre-trial depositions, another veteran who had served with Robertson, Paul Brosman, Jr., spoke of rumors during the war that Robertson had been carousing with prostitutes and hassling Korean women. Brosman stated that Robertson himself talked about his exploits with prostitutes. In the end, Robertson dropped his lawsuit because of scheduling conflicts between court dates and his 1988 presidential campaign, and he was ordered to pay part of McCloskey's court costs.
In February 2007, Robertson was accused of threatening bodybuilder Phillip Busch in a dispute over the unauthorized use of Busch's image to promote a health drink. Busch asserted that on February 7, 2007, Robertson threatened: "I am going to kill you and your family." News Report
"If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer."
"I mean, you get through this [book], and you say, 'We've got to blow that thing up.'"
-on "nuking" the State Department; October 13, 2003
"[The people in the United States] have allowed rampant secularism and occult, etc. to be broadcast on television. We have permitted somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 to 40 million unborn babies to be slaughtered in our society. We have a court that has essentially stuck its finger in God's eye and said we're going to legislate you out of the schools. We're going to take your commandments from off the courthouse steps in various states. We're not going to let little children read the commandments of God. We're not going to let the Bible be read, no prayer in our schools. We have insulted God at the highest levels of our government. And, then we say "why does this happen?" Well, why its happening is that God Almighty is lifting his protection from us. And once that protection is gone, we all are vulnerable because we're a free society, and we're vulnerable. We lay naked before these terrorists who have infiltrated our country. There's probably tens of thousands of them in America right now. They've been raising money. They've been preaching their hate and overseas they've been spewing out venom against the United States for years. All over the Arab world, there is venom being poured out into people's ears and minds against America. And, the only thing that's going to sustain us is the power of the Almighty God." -- The 700 Club, Sept. 13, 2001
"The worse thing in the world for somebody who is a person of color, black, African American, whatever term is in vogue these days to hold grudges and say well 100 years ago my ancestors were in slavery, and therefore I hate you. That doesn't fly. And to live in the past is the most numbing experience because what it does is sap your energy for the future. And, what everybody's got to do is to say before God I'm going to ask God to bring forgiveness into my life. And, I am just totally against these leaders who stir up the divisions and the hatred. You've seen it - talking about all these offenses and things that happened. And, they're doing it for publicity. They're doing it to raise money. They're doing it to get a following so they'll be elected to some office, and so forth. That's wrong. To play on the hatred of people for your own personal gain is abhorrent, and there are many people who do that." — The 700 Club, February 6, 2001
"The concept that one God, "Thou shall have no other gods before me", will somehow upset a Hindu, that's tough luck! America was founded as a Christian nation. Our institutions presuppose the existence of a Supreme Being, a Being after the Bible. And we as Americans believe in the god of the Bible. And the fact that somebody comes with what amounts to an alien religion to these shores doesn't mean that we're going to give up all of our cherished religious beliefs to accommodate a few people who happen to believe in something else. You just can't do that. And that's been the thing that's been pushed over and over again. Clarence Thomas, Supreme Court Justice, said as I read the constitution, it's very clear. It says Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. It says nothing of about a school district letting bookcovers be passed out" — The 700 Club, October 5th, 2000
Pat responds to the question “Certain denominations are beginning to accept homosexual behavior in the church. Do you feel that it is for benefit, political gain or social acceptance?” sent in by a 700 Club viewer. His response was, “"I think that we have a pressure in our society right now called political correctness where it is not appropriate any longer to criticize anybody for their religion, their lifestyle, their race, their creed, their color, national origin, disabilities, or anything. You can't criticize anybody for anything. And so, if somebody has a quote lifestyle, that's their thing, and if somebody said, 'I'll make it with a duck', well, you know, who are you to criticize them. Well that isn't what the Bible says. The Bible has standards, and the standard makes it very clear that the acceptance of homosexuality in a society is the last stage after God has given a people up."… "How can a church open their arms and say 'You keep on with the lifestyle.'" — The 700 Club, October 17, 2000
"In the Old Testament and the New Testament boys and girls didn't make decisions like this, they were betrothed by their parents. We've got a couple here at Regent University whose parents arranged the marriage and they're very, very happy. I honestly think if we went back to that kind of thing you'd have a whole lot less problems--It'll help. I think it would cut down the divorce rate." — The 700 Club, February 14, 2000
"We want...as soon as possible to see a majority of the Republican Party in the hands of pro-family Christians by 1996." (Denver Post, 10/26/92)
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians." (Pat Robertson direct mail, Summer 1992)
"I believe that during the next couple of years there will be a fierce struggle between the militant leftists, secular humanists, and atheists who have dominated the power centers of American culture for the past 50 years and the Evangelical Christians, pro-family Roman Catholics, and their conservative allies. The radical left will lose its hold, and by the end of this decade control of the major institutions of society will be firmly in the hands of those who share a pro-family, religious, traditional value perspective." (Pat Robertson's Perspective, July - August/1991)
Robertson calls NSA wire-taps a "tool of oppression"
In 2006 Robertson shocked everyone when he called Bush's NSA wire-taps a "tool of oppression" and condemned the White House for "encroaching on" Americans' personal liberties. 
However cynics suspect this is just an attempt on his part to conceal how much time he spends making dirty phone calls.
- Regent University
- International Family Entertainment, Inc
- Operation Blessing International
- Freedom Gold
- African Development Corporation
- Christian Coalition of America (aka The Christian Coalition}
- Council for National Policy
- Christian Broadcasting Network — Official website
- The 700 Club
- Ignore rant... ignorant — Flash animation about Robertson's quotes, wiseass.org
- PFAW Christian Coalition 2002 update
- Christian Coalition expose
- Palast investigates...Pat Robertson: 'I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist', Observer, Greg Palast (UK), May 23, 1999.
- Pat Robertson's Gold, Colbert King, Washington Post (editorial), Sept 22, 2001.
- I hate Pat Robertson.
- Global Voices Online Blog, August 23, 2005
- Robertson's rant Hatred in religion's name Startribune.com Editorial, August 25, 2005
- Censoring Robertson? The Capital Times Editorial, September 1, 2005
- Venezuela Suspends Issuing of Missionary Permits Following Robertson Comments The Christian Post September 2, 2005