Televangelist Pat Robertson has a flair for making sweeping judgments about people simply by reading the short questions they submit to the 700 Club’s Bring It On segment. Just today, Robertson seemed to be able to uncover intimate details about a the life of a twice-divorced woman who was wondering if she would go to hell if she married again.
“You’ve got a serious problem and I don’t think marriage is for you,” Robertson said. “You have picked a selection of losers, there is something in your character that draws you to these men who are indigent or abusive. I don’t think you’re marriage material.”
The viewer never referenced abuse in her question.
“Just for now, forget marriage, work out a life for yourself, get close to the Lord,” Robertson advised.
Pat Robertson says he wants to vomit when he sees photos of gay couples, but advised one 700 Club viewer today that homosexuality is a “very delicate situation.” He suggested to a viewer, Teresa, that she could help her openly gay nephew by making him realize the Bible is “explicit” in its condemnation of homosexuality. Robertson added that “many, many people are into this lifestyle because they have been abused as a child and so forth; I don’t know why it’s there.”
“A few years ago psychiatrists and psychologists used to say that homosexuality was a mental illness, now the Supreme Court has said that it is a protected right,” Robertson said. “So what’s he going to pray about? Is he going to say something is wrong and he’s unhappy? And if he’s unhappy and realizes he is doing something that makes him miserable, you might help him.”
Robertson urged Teresa to “pray that the Lord will show him his love and his truth and out of that he will find an acceptance of where God has for him.”
On today’s 700 Club, Pat Robertson defended a viewer who told him that she asked a neighbor who was staying with her to leave her house after finding out he was a Muslim. “Kimberly” said that after she took in a neighbor who was kicked out of his house by his father, she “felt an evil presence while cooking in my kitchen” and “heard him praying to Allah in my home.” She asked Robertson if she undermined Jesus’ teaching that “just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me” by asking the neighbor to leave.
The televangelist agreed that while she shouldn’t just limit her charity to other Christians, “that doesn’t mean you have to bring an unclean spirit into your home.”
“If somebody in truth is worshiping some sort of a demonic presence then that will pervade your home and no you don’t offer hospitality to something like that,” Robertson said today on the 700 Club, while admitting that he doesn’t understand the circumstances. “You don’t have to offer hospitality to a coven of witches, for example.”
Today on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson shared with viewers his fitness “secret.” The octogenarian televangelist boasted of regularly doing thirty 1,000 lbs. leg presses as part of his exercise routine: “A few years ago I did some pretty heavy stuffy, I used to, my leg presses, warm up with 500 lbs. and I went up from there, I did 30 reps of 1,000 lbs.”
Back in 2006, Robertson said he could leg press 2,000 lbs. The New York Times wrote at the time: “According to a related news release and photographs on the network's Web site (www.cbn.com), Mr. Robertson has leg-pressed 2,000 pounds, even though (as many online commentators have pointed out) he is 76 years old and the current world record is 1,335 pounds.”
GNC eventually pulled its Robertson-branded protein smoothie, “Pat’s Diet Shake,” but not before the episode raised questions about, as the Virginian-Pilot put it, “the fuzzy line between his tax-exempt operations and his profit-making ventures.” Slate’s Mike DeBonis commented at the time:
Let's get Pat Robertson's bonkers claims out of the way right now. As CBS Sportsline's Clay Travis reported earlier this week, there's no way the 76-year-old Robertson broke the leg press record—by more than 600 pounds—of a former Florida State quarterback.
Even when doing (what he claims to be) 1,000 pounds, Robertson's form is wack. First, he helps his legs by pushing on his knees with his arms. That's a no-no. He also achieves nowhere near the recommended full range of motion, which is to bring the knees to at least a 90-degree angle. And if he's going to double the weight, where's it going to fit? Neither Andrew Sullivan nor I have seen a machine capable of holding 20 plates of 100 pounds each.
Most telling is that Robertson has two staffers loading the machine for him. A big knock against the leg press is that it's inefficient. Most leg press machines are constructed as either a sled angled at 45 degrees or a lever. (There are some that use cables, too.) In all cases, some of the weight gets borne by the machine. You may be loading 400 pounds, but your muscles are feeling only 200. In other words, eight plates on the machine are only four plates worth of effective weight. And by the time you're finished loading and unloading, you could have done an extra set or two of squats.
Betsy McCaughey, who has built a career around disseminating misinformation about the health care reform law — even launching the “death panels” smear — joined Pat Robertson on the 700 Club today, where she was inaccurately labeled as a “health policy expert.”
McCaughey agreed with Robertson when he warned that “people will die” as a result of the Affordabe Care Act. “Some people may even die,” she added.
The televangelist, in turn, was awestruck by the “amazing” McCaughey, who he said “knows what she is talking about.” Co-host Wendy Griffith agreed, saying, “She was amazing, that was the best interview I’ve heard on Obamacare.”
Televangelist Pat Robertson today told a parent who asked him how to talk to her gay son “to be understanding,” but also to ask her son if he was molested by his coach. “Is there a biological thing going on or has he been influenced, has a coach molested him?” Robertson asked, a comment based on the anti-gay myth that children are “recruited” into homosexuality.
“They don’t know what they’re doing, they’re teenagers,” Robertson said of gay youth.
Last week, we reported that National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown had just gotten back from a Moscow planning meeting for the 2014 World Congress of Families gathering in Russia. Brown confirmed his participation to Rachel Maddow, telling her “we are proud to work with our allies in Russia and around the world to protect marriage as the union as one man and one woman.”
We now have a clearer idea of who those allies are. In a press release yesterday, the World Congress listed many of the participants in last week’s planning meeting. They included leaders of several major American religious right groups including Brown, Benjamin Bull of the Alliance Defending Freedom, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, Justin Murff of the Christian Broadcasting Network, and Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM).
Also on the list is Fabrice Sorlin, the far-right French activist who led a delegation joined by Brown to testify before the Russian parliament in May in favor of a broad ban on the adoption of Russian orphans by gay couples and single people living in countries that allow same-sex marriage. Sorlin is the one who told members of the Duma that Russia’s efforts to repel advances in gay rights (or “the suicide of our civilization”) was just like its role protecting Europe from the “the Mongol hordes of Genghis Khan” in the 13th century.
Also attending the meeting was Jack Hanick, the former Fox News employee who has surfaced as an activist and “consultant” in Russia.
According to the World Congress’ press release, these activists not only discussed topics for the upcoming summit (including “declining fertility and the origins of the sexual revolution, the ideological roots of the anti-family lobby, the protection and promotion of marriage [and] countering the radical sexual rights agenda”) but also met with Russian legislator Yelena Mizulina to discuss a “WCF parliamentary forum” for September 2014.
Mizulina is the head of the Duma’s committee for family, women and children and coauthor of Russia’s new ban on speech in favor of gay rights to minors. The World Congress has been one of the most vocal international defenders of that law. The fact that the World Congress and its members are working directly with her to plan an exchange with members of the Russian parliament shows that the summit’s location in Moscow isn’t just an accident of geography.
In fact, as we have reported, WCF has built up a structure of activists in Russia to push anti-gay, anti-choice policies throughout Eastern Europe in the year’s leading up to the 2014 summit, and it was “activists working with the World Congress of Families” who invited Brown to speak to the Duma in favor of the adoption ban.
WCF’s managing director went so far as to say, shortly before Russia’s parliament passed the “gay propaganda” bill, that “the Russians might be the Christian saviors of the world.” As Political Research Associates has noted, the very idea for the World Congress of Families came from a meeting of the group's founder with Russian Orthodox activists, so the upcoming events in Moscow are something of a homecoming for the group.
Pat Robertson says you must be doing something wrong if you can’t “heal” your son of deafness. After all, Robertson himself has healed deafness before, he said on the 700 Club today. Responding to a question from a mother who asked why her hearing impaired son hasn’t been healed despite her prayers, Robertson said that her son may be hindered by a “spirit of deafness.”
“I have dealt with people who are deaf and you rebuke the spirit of deafness and they get healed,” Robertson said. “I don’t know what you’re doing wrong.”
“Why don’t you try that and if it doesn’t work, try something else,” he said.
Pat Robertson said today on the 700 Club that liberal policies inevitably lead to mass deaths, arguing that modern Europe is little different from the Nazi era or the French Revolution. The televangelist was commenting on a story about a bill in Belgium’s parliament that would broaden the country’s euthanasia law to include minors, as long as they have the consent of their parents, a psychologist and two doctors.
He said that liberals have “moved away from God” and “as a result of humanity and rejecting God, you have the orgy of the French Revolution, you have the guillotine cutting off the heads of thousands of people, you have the same thing going on now in Europe, you had it under the Nazis.”
You know the liberals, the so called socialists, the progressives, they’ve moved away from God and when you move away from God then you say, ‘were humanists.’ Then as a result of humanity and rejecting God, you have the orgy of the French Revolution, you have the guillotine cutting off the heads of thousands of people, you have the same thing going on now in Europe, you had it under the Nazis. Why can’t we come back to the fact that God loves people?
When Pat Robertson thinks you’ve moved too far to the right, you know you’re in trouble.
Today, for the second time this week, the televangelist criticized Republicans for staking out such an extreme position that they forced a government shutdown and threatening the country with a default. Robertson said that while he loves the Tea Party, he thinks the movement’s leaders need to “grow up and work to make the system successful.”
“Unfortunately, the Tea Party is not going along and if they don’t go along in another few hours our government defaults and that is a catastrophic thing for the finances for this great nation,” Robertson said. “So what’s happened is, instead of John Boehner being a hero and leading a vast army, he is now demoralized, unable to lead his troops and the game has gone back to the Senate.”
Boehner will now need to “let the Democrats come in and save his bacon” to prevent a default, the 700 Club host continued. “It’s not a pleasant day for the Republicans.”
Yesterday, Robertson said that the Republicans should “wave the white flag” and concede defeat to the Democrats.
Republicans are too extreme and need to put a stop to their dogmatic anti-Obamacare campaign, according to televangelist Pat Robertson — that’s right, Pat Robertson. In remarks made today on the 700 Club, Robertson said that if the GOP continues its crusade to derail Obamacare, it would lead to a default that “would be devastating economically to every human being.”
The Republicans have got to wave the white flag and say, ‘We fought a good fight and now it’s over. They cannot shut the government down and then bring about a default. We can’t do it. I mean, it would be devastating economically to every human being and the Republicans just can’t get tarred with that. So they tried and if they go to the electorate and say, ‘We tried, Obamacare was awful, we tried to get it underway and we weren’t successful, the Democrats wanted it, they fought for it and they wouldn’t let go so it’s their bill, their program.’
Amazingly enough, this isn’t the first time that Robertson has called out the GOP for being too extreme.
Today on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson pushed a discredited conspiracy theory about HIV/AIDS. Robertson, who earlier insisted that gay people use special rings to spread AIDS, claimed that AIDS was a result of a polio experiment gone wrong:
“I think the World Health Organization was doing some experiment in the Congo on a monkey virus, a monkey injection to fight polio and it wasn’t an injection, they put it in sugar cubes and they gave it to these Africans, a couple hundred thousand in the test,” Robertson said.
“This is the first time when monkey diseases crossed into the human condition and out of that has come this terrible thing. It seems to be transmitted so often through sexual contact and it was rife in the homosexual community but has then jumped into the heterosexual community.”
However, David Oshinsky writes in Polio: An American Story:
The charge that humans acquired HIV from these [polio] trials remains, for most experts, an empty accusation, made more improbably by recent studies that found no detectable traces of chimpanzee DNA in frozen stocks of [Hilary] Koprowski’s vaccine. The results, said one group of researchers, “should finally lay the OPV/AIDS theory to rest.”
Edward Hooper, a British journalist, argued in his 1999 book, The River, that Dr. Hilary Koprowski of the Wistar Research Institute unintentionally caused the AIDS epidemic by using chimp kidneys to produce an oral polio vaccine. The chimps, says Hooper, were infected with SIV (the simian precursor to AIDS). Then, via an experimental mass-vaccination program in the Belgian Congo, SIV made the jump from monkey to man.
Hooper's contaminated polio vaccine thesis sounds less wacky than most conspiracy theories and has attracted support from a few notable academics—including late Oxford professor W.D. Hamilton. But it's definitely wrong. Hooper says Koprowski got his kidney samples from chimps in the Congo. The problem is that the SIV strain endemic to chimps from that region is phylogenetically distinct from HIV. The offending chimps probably came from Cameroon.
Thomas Maugh II of the Los Angeles Times wrote back in 2001 that four separate research groups found no evidence to back up the conspiracy theory:
The controversial idea that a contaminated polio vaccine was responsible for the spread of AIDS in Africa has been discredited by new research released today.
"The new data may not convince the hardened conspiracy theorist who thinks that contamination of [the vaccine] was subsequently and deliberately covered up," he said. "But those of us who were formerly willing to give some credence to the . . . hypothesis will now consider that the matter has been laid to rest." Dr. Hilary Koprowski, who conducted the tests on behalf of the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, said he was very happy with the findings.
"I never believed one word of the accusations because there were no facts," he said. "What bothered me was that somehow this may have created a difficulty in eradicating polio" because some people would refuse to be immunized for fear of contracting AIDS.
"With these articles putting an end to any possibility that vaccination had anything to do with AIDS, I hope that the [polio] eradication campaign will be [successfully completed] in two to three years."
Koprowski and others have said all along that the vaccines were prepared using only the cells of monkeys, which do not carry HIV, and that chimpanzee cells were not used. The new findings, appearing in today's Nature and Friday's Science, confirm their claim.
The new studies show that "all the viruses were grown on monkey cells, which is what was claimed initially," said Clayton Buck, chief executive and acting director of Wistar. "As far as I am concerned, the issue is really put to rest for all practical purposes."
Four separate groups in England, France, Germany and Sweden have now examined vaccine samples removed from freezers at Wistar, looking at the DNA of the viruses and the cells in which they were grown. In all cases, the cells were found to be only from rhesus or macaque monkeys and the only virus present was the polio virus.
Wistar no longer had samples of one vaccine preparation, called CHAT 10A-11 that Hooper thought to be the most suspect. But an original vial of the batch was found at Britain's National Institute for Biological Standards and Control. It too was found to contain only monkey cells and polio virus.
Earlier this year, Pat Robertson told 700 Club viewers that it wasn’t a bad idea to pray over clothes, and even rings, just in case they have a demon attached to them. When a viewer asked him today how she could manage to pray over everything in her house every day, Robertson said not to worry too much… unless God is telling you that there are in fact demons in your house.
“What is important is: were these objects actually used in some kind of Satanic ritual? Some occult practice? If that’s the case, then there might be some demonic force that attaches to that which was used in pagan worship,” Robertson said. “In terms of going around and saying this is cursed and that’s cursed, you can drive yourself crazy doing that.”
Co-host Wendy Griffith claimed that she knew of cases where God told a preacher to remove certain paintings from his house “because they have something attached to them,” and Robertson agreed: “I’ve heard of people who had headaches, they get something from overseas and it looks so beautiful yet it’s actually a deity, a demonic force has attached itself to that.”
“I may be an old fuddy-duddy, what is transgender?” Robertson asked co-host Wendy Griffith.
Despite Robertson’s admission that he doesn’t know what it means to be transgender, that didn’t stop him from criticizing the law. Robertson said that while he is “not opposed” to gender reassignment surgery, “but this whole business about transgenders, you’re saying they’ve got boy parts but they want to go to the girls’ restroom, that’s absurd.”
Robertson said he is sticking up for “the normal people” against the “insane” LGBT rights movement:
Why are we exposed to this stuff? They are driving the agenda, driving everybody crazy, all this sexual identity, sexual politics, ‘Mommy Has Two Mommies’ [sic] and all that stuff, it’s a tiny fringe but they seem to have control of the levers of power in the media and especially in Hollywood. But it’s insane. I just cannot believe that the normal people in America, the people who want to just live their lives can’t be allowed to do it without having this stuff imposed on them constantly. You’ve explained to me, I’m not sure we know yet.
Later in the broadcast, Robertson said: “now, we talk about transgender, I have a former stallion who is now a gelding.”
Pat Robertson got a bit defensive in answering a question from a viewer today about why he does not “ever pray for God to replace limbs” during the show’s prayer segment. In the segment, Robertson and his co-host announce various medical healings and financial gifts that they claim God is giving out “like Santa Claus.”
Robertson told the viewer that he knows stories of people who have had an eyeball “recreated,” grown new teeth and regenerated a leg, but he insisted that he does not pray on the show for limbs to grow back because “these are all creative miracles and what we’re praying for is healing,” whatever that means.
“It’s a different level of faith,” Robertson said, “Don’t sit on your couch and give us grief because we’re not praying for legs to grow for Heaven’s sakes. If we can ask God to heal your cancer, thank Him for that, please.”
In 2011, Robertson led a faith healing which he said would help people bring their dead baby back to life.
Today’s edition of the 700 Club began with a story about the beneficial effects of a low-carb, high-fat diet. But host Pat Robertson explained that he didn’t believe the positive coverage, arguing that such a diet is not only bad for your health but also “violates the principles that God set down.”
But that wasn’t the only food-related issue that required Robertson’s wisdom today.
The televangelist later in the program advised against eating halal food, warning that proceeds from such foods go to funding terrorist groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Today on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson told an elderly viewer who has been tithing since childhood that she wouldn’t have health issues, and therefore medical expenses, if she was tithing properly. The viewer said that she and her husband are “retired and living on a small pension and Social Security income” and “barely have any money” because of her husband’s medical expenses.
She asked Robertson if it would be “wrong to use [tithe] money towards medical expenses instead?”
Seeing that Robertson insisted that even people about to fall into bankruptcy must continue to tithe, we were not surprised that Robertson told the viewer no. In fact, Robertson went as far as to say that as long as she tithes she will stay healthy and as a result not even encounter medical bills.
Citing Malachi, Robertson said: “Your husband has all these medical problems because the ‘devour’ has not been rebuked. You need to rebuke him. You give your tithes faithfully and God said, ‘I will rebuke the devour,’ the person that is eating up your money and eating up your health. So you want to be healthy? That’s a promise in the Word.”
Ron Paul appeared on the 700 Club today to promote his new curriculum for homeschoolers, of which televangelist Pat Robertson is a big fan. Robertson said that Paul’s curriculum, which includes instructions on “the Biblical principles of self-government” and “a thorough understanding of Austrian school economics,” is necessary to stop “indoctrination” in public education.
“Don’t the so-called progressives and whatever, don’t they really want education to indoctrinate children. It’s not just a question of educating they want to indoctrinate them in their philosophy, don’t they?” Robertson inquired.
“I think that’s the whole purpose, it’s indoctrination; it’s compulsory; it’s conformity; destroy creativity; destroy individuality,” Paul maintained. “They don’t want kids to be curious, they have to conform and mold it and then they are obedient to the state.”
Paul said that the NSA surveillance program, government spending and militarism are all the consequences of the public schools’ efforts to “condition” children “to say the government knows best, they’ll take care of it.”
Pat Robertson and his Christian Broadcasting Network filed a report today that falsely claimed that having a “biblical view” on sexuality has been “criminalized” in San Antonio, Texas. Robertson said San Antonio “has gone off the rails” by adopting a non-discrimination ordinance [PDF] which includes protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, and claimed that the new law would lead to Christians being thrown in prison: “This means that if you speak out about your deeply held religious beliefs they will put you in jail or brand you some kind of a class 3 felon.”
“This whole thing is outrageous and that city council should be replaced,” Robertson charged.
The segment quoted Christian Right activists arguing that gay people are seeking “special rights” while taking away the rights to religious freedom and speech of Christians. CBN reporter Heather Sells even said the new policy “criminalizes those with a biblical view of sexuality.”
Of course, the ordinance neither curtails free speech nor bars anti-LGBT politicians from servicing in office.
And no Pat Robertson, it does not put Christians in jail or turn them into felons.
Watch highlights here: