TV evangelist Pat Robertson’s 80th birthday is on Monday, and to mark that momentous occasion, the Virginia legislature decided to pass a resolution lauding him a great American, visionary leader and all-around swell fellow.
The resolution is full of the “whereases” and flowery language that are common in this type of thing. It lauds Robertson’s creation of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Regent University, the American Center for Law and Justice and the Christian Coalition.
The resolution celebrates Robertson as “a compelling and compassionate spiritual leader” who is “devoted to his family, his viewers who are his extended family, his community and the Commonwealth.” It expresses the legislature’s “gratitude for his steadfast service to his fellow citizens and best wishes for a joyful birthday celebration.”
Unfortunately, there are a number of things the legislature left out in this resolution. Had they added them, the document might have been less cloying and more interesting. I wish they had consulted me, because I wrote a book about Robertson in 1996 titled The Most Dangerous Man in America?: Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition and have continued to monitor his career since then. I believe I could have spiced things up.
I would have added a dose of reality to the resolution like this:
-- Whereas Robertson in 1990 said of homosexuality, “It is a sickness, and it needs to be treated” and added, “Many of those people involved with Adolf Hitler were Satanists; many of them were homosexuals. The two things seem to go together”;
-- Whereas in 1991 Robertson said, “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. I can love the people who hold false opinions, but I don’t have to be nice to them”
-- Whereas Robertson wrote in a 1992 fund-raising letter, “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”;
-- Whereas in 1995 Robertson said, “Demons work behind the Hindu and other Oriential religions, as well as behind the teaching of mind control”;
-- Whereas in 1998 Robertson said, “I want to state very clearly, ladies and gentlemen, there’s no such thing in the Constituton as, quote, separation of church and state. That term does not exist in the United States Constitution. It existed in the former Soviet Union’s constitution but not America”;
-- Whereas in 1998 Robertson warned the city of Orlando not to fly rainbow flags from light poles, noting, “[I]f a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation, if it’ll bring about terrorist bombs; [if] it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor, it isn’t necessarily something we ought to open our arms to. And I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you.”;
-- Whereas in 2001 Robertson responded to the Sept. 11 attacks by saying, “We have insulted God at the highest levels of our government. And, then we say, ‘Why does this happen?’ Well, why it’s happening is that God Almighty is lifting his protection from us”;
-- Whereas in 2003, Robertson called for lobbing “a very small nuke” at the U.S. State Department;
-- Whereas in 2005 Robertson told ABC News that federal judges pose a “more serious [threat] than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings”;
-- Whereas in October of 2009 Robertson’s CBN Web site warned Halloween trick-or-treaters that most “of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches”;
-- Whereas in January of 2010 Robertson said the devastating earthquake in Haiti was due to the fact that the country “swore a pact to the devil”;
I would have made some other changes as well. For example, instead of lauding Robertson in the resolution, I would have condemned him as an intolerant, bigoted and dangerous extremist and called for all right-thinking Americans to reject his views.
But like I said, they didn’t ask me.