View Full Version : The Religious Right Versus Pat Robertson

02-18-2006, 06:58 PM
Pat Robertson Accused of Damaging Movement


(Gold9472: Sorry guys... but it's not just Pat.)

By SONJA BARISIC, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 54 minutes ago

NORFOLK, Va. - Fellow conservative religious leaders have expressed concern and even open criticism over Pat Robertson's habit of shooting from the hip on his daily religious news-and-talk television program, "The 700 Club."

The Christian Coalition founder and former GOP presidential candidate has said American agents should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for pulling Israel out of the Gaza Strip.

Some observers say Robertson, who'll turn 76 next month, courts controversy as a strategy to stay recognizable and keep his followers mobilized. Others say he remains important to the evangelical movement that he helped create when he established the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network in 1960 — but he needs to stop damaging it with his words.

He canceled a speech planned for this coming Tuesday at the closing banquet of the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Dallas after NRB leaders said they were concerned that his appearance could detract from the event.

"He is in a very visible leadership position and comments such as recent ones related to Mr. Sharon and so many others are misinformed and presumptuous and border on arrogance," said David Dockery, president of Union University, a private college affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

Dockery suggested Robertson might want to consult other theologians "before making these pronouncements so quickly."

"It puts the evangelical movement in a bad light when that happens because people make broad generalizations, rightly or wrongly, all the time," said Dockery, who also is chairman of the board for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

Robertson, through a spokesman, declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press.

He recently said on ABC's "Good Morning America" that he ad-libs his comments after watching news segments.

He later told the Christian magazine "World" that he's being more careful and reviewing news stories before going on the air because "I have seen an intensity of attack against me that is unparalleled in the 40-some years of the broadcast."

He apologized after facing swift condemnation for his Jan. 5 statement that Sharon was punished for "dividing God's land."

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics and religious liberty commission, has said he was "stunned and appalled that Pat Robertson would claim to know the mind of God concerning whether particular tragic events ... were the judgments of God."

Robertson cited other demands on his time when he canceled his speech to the National Religious Broadcasters convention. NRB President Frank Wright told Associated Press Radio that Robertson was not asked to cancel, but he said NRB leaders did worry that the firestorm over his Sharon comments would detract media attention from the convention's focus. Robertson is on the group's board of directors.

Robertson started out as a Southern Baptist, but today he is a charismatic evangelical and believes that God is involved in guiding world events, said Barry Hankins, professor of history and church-state studies at Baylor University. He tries to interpret contemporary events as "being part of the drama of God's activity in the world."

"He puts the most fantastic spin on things to have a gripping quality about them to keep the ground troops alert," Hankins said.

On the other hand, Brian Britt, director of the Religious Studies Program at Virginia Tech, said Robertson's remarks aren't just "off-the-wall, crazy uncle stuff" but part of a strategy that earns him headlines.

When people attack Robertson, he wins sympathy for appearing to be an underdog, Britt said.

"It reinforces an image of Christianity as a persecuted religion, a religion that is being hounded by the secularists out of the public square, rather than a dominant and hegemonic force," Britt said.

02-19-2006, 02:04 AM
The religious right are the hypocrites of all hypocrites. They always talk about God, and how they're so morally superior, but at the same time they're the first ones defending war.