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.”
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.
“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.”
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.”
Today on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson reacted to a David Brody report on a new California law protecting transgender students by blasting the law as “insane.”
“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.”
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.”
Erick Stakelbeck, the former sports reporter who fashions himself to be an expert on terrorism, regularly argues that progressives and Islamic extremists are working together to establish some sort of communist, Islamic state. While appearing on It’s Supernatural!, host Sid Roth said he couldn’t understand his assertion since the “political left is not going to be aligned with someone who wants to kill homosexuals.”
But as the Christian Broadcasting Network reporter explained, even though “the left would be the first ones with their heads on the chopping block if Islamic Sharia law came into power,” both liberals and radical Islamists “hate traditional America” and “hate the name of Yeshua (Jesus) so much that they will work together, at least in the short term, to chip away at traditional America and traditional western civilization.”
The 700 Club regularly features a segment where Pat Robertson and his co-host read prayer request letters they have received and then pray for their authors and call out visions of God healing certain ailments (or shelling out a cool million). All viewers have to do is “claim” their particular healing and their maladies will be gone. During today’s broadcast, a viewer named Clark asked Robertson to defend the practice, which is common among Word-Faith preachers and faith healers:
I watched your son [Gordon] and a woman on TV telling people that God was healing a certain condition that people in the audience were suffering from. Then they discussed cases where viewers had written in to say that they had been healed, thus apparently proving that they have the ability to get God to heal people during the show. Is that power only available to them during the show? If not, are they spending every waking moment healing people? If not, that is just plain wrong.
Robertson tried to laugh off the question and explained that when the 700 Club hosts are praying together they receive a “Word of knowledge” and “the Lord just shows us what he is doing at some point of time, not what we are doing, it is his do.”
He insisted that he is not a healer: “I do not believe in a resident gift to heal” — just in “gifts of healing.”
Then, the televangelist likened the whole shtick to Santa Claus passing out gifts.
“It’s plural ‘gifts of healing.’” Robertson said. “It’s like Santa Claus. He has a pack on his back and he has gifts and he’s passing these gifts out but they come from God.”
“The word of knowledge says we are merely reciting what God himself is doing, okay?”
This isn’t the first time Robertson has defended the practice. Last year, Robertson said that failed healings are not the result of the pastors (like Robertson) who conduct them but due to a lack of faith among people asking for a healing.
Two days following 9/11 terrorist attacks, televangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell blamed the attacks on “the pagans, the abortions, the feminists and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way.”
Today, Robertson remembered 9/11 by attacking former president George W. Bush for calling Islam a “religion of peace.”
“They believe that anybody who doesn’t submit is at war with them and they are prime targets, and for the Western nations to welcome this fifth column into their midst is just committing suicide,” Robertson claimed.
“The reason is they have lost their faith in God, they have lost their faith in Jesus Christ, they don’t believe in what the Bible says and the core values of our society have gone away,” Robertson continued. “We’ve done it here in America, we’ve abolished prayer in the schools, we’ve taken out Bible-reading in the schools and little by little by little we’ve eroded the rights—we keep talking about separation and this that and the other.”
Robertson made the remarks following a report by Dale Hurd which linked radical Islamic groups to liberals. “Muslims and the European left continue their strange political partnership; while they’re polar opposites when it comes to women’s rights, abortions and homosexuality, Muslims vote for the left while the left grows its constituency by encouraging Muslim immigration and the spread of Islamic values,” Hurd claimed. “America too has been knowingly trying to advance the cause of Muslim radicals in Syria and Egypt.”
Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network is already weighing legal action against two filmmakers over their documentary depicting the televangelist’s egregious misrepresentations of the activities of his charity, Operation Blessing.
An Operation Blessing spokesman toldThe Virginian-Pilot that they are “considering legal action” against Lara Zizic and David Turner, whose film “Mission Congo” will hold its premier at the Toronto International Film Festival, over the film’s supposed “false and defamatory” content.
CBN has a history of going after Robertson’s critics; for example, they recently embarked on an unsuccessful push to cover up a video of Robertson — first posted here on Right Wing Watch —arguing that gay men wear special rings that they use to infect random people they meet with HIV/AIDS.
Chris McGreal of The Guardianreports that the film depicts how Robertson diverted charitable activities to help mining projects that he owned and grossly exaggerated the work of Operation Blessing among Rwandan refugees.
The bulk of the thousands of doctors and nurses struggling to save lives – as about 40,000 people died of cholera – were volunteers for the international medical charity Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). The Bible readers were hired by the American televangelist and former religious right presidential candidate, Pat Robertson, and his aid organisation, Operation Blessing International.
But on Robertson's US television station, the Christian Broadcasting Network, that reality was reversed, as he raised millions of dollars from loyal followers by claiming Operation Blessing was at the forefront of the international response to the biggest refugee crisis of the decade. It's a claim he continues to make, even though an official investigation into Robertson's operation in Virginia accused him of "fraudulent and deceptive" claims when he was running an almost non-existent aid operation.
Mission Congo, by David Turner and Lara Zizic, opens at the Toronto film festival on Friday. It describes how claims about the scale of aid to Rwandan refugees were among a number of exaggerated or false assertions about the activities of Operation Blessing which pulls in hundreds of millions of dollars a year in donations, much of it through Robertson's televangelism. They include characterising a failed large-scale farming project as a huge success, and claims about providing schools and other infrastructure.
But some of the most damaging criticism of Robertson comes from former aid workers at Operation Blessing, who describe how mercy flights to save refugees were diverted hundreds of miles from the crisis to deliver equipment to a diamond mining concession run by the televangelist.
The documentary describes how dredges, used to suck up diamonds from river beds, were delivered hundreds of miles from the crisis in Goma to a private commercial firm, African Development Company, registered in Bermuda and wholly owned by Robertson. ADC held a mining concession near the town of Kamonia on the far side of the country.
The pilot said he joined Operation Blessing to help people. Of the 40 flights he flew into Congo, just two delivered aid. The others were associated with the diamond mining. "We're not doing anything for those people," he said. "After several months I was embarrassed to have Operation Blessing on the airplane's tail." He had the lettering removed.
Robertson's activities in Congo were initially exposed by a Virginia newspaper, the Virginian Pilot, in the 1990s. The investigation by Bill Sizemore prompted the attorney general in Virginia, where Operation Blessing is registered, to order a probe by the state's office of consumer affairs.
Its report concluded that Robertson made "fraudulent and deceptive" statements with claims to be ferrying doctors and medical aid to Goma when he was delivering diamond-mining equipment. It accused Operation Blessing of "misrepresenting" what its flights were doing, and of saying that the airstrip at Kamonia was part of the aid operation when it was "for the benefit of ADC's mining operation".
It also said Robertson had falsely portrayed the Dumi farm as hugely successful when it had already failed.
"Pat Robertson made material claims, via television appeals, regarding the relief efforts. These statements are refuted by the evidence in this case," the report said.
Robertson has been embroiled in mining controversies elsewhere in Africa. He supported the then president of Liberia, Charles Taylor, during that country's civil war without revealing at the time that he had an $8m investment in a Liberian gold mine. Taylor was already indicted by a UN war crimes tribunal at the time and was later convicted of crimes against humanity.
Full disclosure: The filmmakers conducted research in People For the American Way's archives.
Christian Broadcasting Network host Charlene Israel interviewed Dr. Linda Mintle yesterday about a Pennsylvania bill geared at preventing anti-LGBT discrimination, which Mintle warned would turn Christians into “bigots” by turning “issues of morality” into “civil rights issues.” “No one has tolerance for the view of the Christian who has a different approach,” Mintle lamented.
She even asserted that the bill would harm survivors of rape and sexual abuse.
That’s right, CBN is going out of its way to get rid of all evidence of comments made by CBN’s own founder, who even released a statement defending his assertions and insisted that he was once a target of a malicious gay AIDS ring plot. We have uploaded the video to Vimeo which you can watch here, unless CBN tries to take it down (UPDATE: Vimeo pulled the video, but you can now watch it on DailyMotion. UPDATE II: A third party [we wonder who!] complained to DailyMotion and pulled the video, which you can find, for now, at Flickr.com):
This isn’t the first time that CBN has manipulated comments Robertson has made on the channel’s flagship show, The 700 Club. Last year, the network unsuccessfully attempted to edit out Robertson’s call for a man to move to Saudi Arabia in order to beat his wife.
As Steve Benen notes, “Robertson really shouldn’t say things on national television if he doesn’t want people to see them.”
While Robertson’s gay AIDS ring conspiracy theory is outrageous and absurd, it is also ridiculous that the television network Robertson leads is now on a mission to suppress comments that Robertson himself believes are accurate and truthful.
UPDATE: Robertson's CBN yanked our video off YouTube, but you can still watch it here on Daily Motion. It was also taken down by Vimeo:
UPDATE II: A third party (we wonder who!) flagged the Dailymotion video for "infringing upon [their] intellectual property rights." It is now available on Flickr.com.
UPDATE III: YouTube has restored the video in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Today on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson told co-host Terry Meeuwsen that gay men in cities like San Francisco attempt to spread HIV/AIDS to others by cutting them with a special ring when shaking hands. However, one could not hear Robertson make the remarks on the episode his Christian Broadcasting Network posted online, as the company once again appears to have edited Robertson’s comments after they aired.
While responding to a question from a woman who wondered if it was wrong for the church not to inform her that a man she was driving to worship services is “dying of AIDS,” Robertson admitted that he “used to think it was transmitted by saliva and other things, now they say it may be sexual contact.”
“What to say if you’re driving an elderly man whose got AIDS? Don’t have sex with them,” Robertson said, “unless there’s a cut or some bodily fluid transmission, I think you’re not going to catch it.”
But Robertson didn’t stop there.
“There are laws now, I think the homosexual community has put these draconian laws on the books that prohibit people from discussing this particular affliction, you can tell somebody you had a heart attack, you can tell them they’ve got high blood pressure, but you can’t tell anybody you’ve got AIDS,” he continued.
Despite Meeuwsen’s best attempts to steer the conversation away from Robertson’s anti-gay paranoia, Robertson insisted that gay people use special rings to transmit the virus.
“You know what they do in San Francisco, some in the gay community there they want to get people so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” Robertson said. “Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder.”
At the 39:00 mark, you can see that CBN clearly edited out Robertson’s comments.
UPDATE: CBN has also removed the YouTube video of the exchange.
UPDATE II: Robertson issued a non-apology to The Atlantic, saying that he "regret[s] that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said."
Of course, unlike CBN, we provided the entire exchange:
I was asked by a viewer whether she had a right to leave her church because she had been asked to transport an elderly man who had AIDS and about whose condition she had not been informed. My advice was that the risk of contagion in those circumstances was quite low and that she should continue to attend the church and not worry about the incident.
In my own experience, our organization sponsored a meeting years ago in San Francisco where trained security officers warned me about shaking hands because, in those days, certain AIDS-infected activists were deliberately trying to infect people like me by virtue of rings which would cut fingers and transfer blood.
I regret that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said. In no wise [sic] were my remarks meant as an indictment of the homosexual community or, for that fact, to those infected with this dreadful disease.
Pat Robertson’s 700 Club today featured the story of Debra Gauthier, a Nevada police officer who “bought the lie” about homosexuality until she became a Christian and renounced her identity as a lesbian. Gauthier explained that she regretted her “choice” to be a lesbian because “there was a lot of inner turmoil going on, there was something about that that is not right, it’s not natural.”
Gauthier writes in her book, Bright Lights, Dark Places, that she became attracted to men after attending an Exodus International conference. Gauthier claims that while living “the homosexual lifestyle” she made a “covenant with Satan” during a same-sex wedding ceremony and also dated a “practicing witch,” until she “saw the demon in her” during an intimate moment:
Our ceremony was led by a gay male priest and a women priestess. We lit candles and performed cultic rituals, and I sensed the darkness around us. I had no idea that I had just entered into covenant with Satan and opened my life up to the demonic realm.
In my pursuit of spirituality, I became more aware of the demonic realm and began to struggle with fear. I found myself blinded by my own darkness as I opened my soul up more and more to Satan, who masquerades as an angel of light.
As I got deeper into spiritualism, a gift of discerning spirits was activated in me. At the time I was dating Diana, a practicing witch whom I had met at a New Age conference. Diana introduced me to demon worship and a new level of darkness. One evening as she began to seduce me, my spiritual eyes were opened, and I saw the demon in her sneering back at me. It horrified me! I jumped up, quickly got dressed, and ran out of there. This was the beginning of the blinders coming off my eyes and the exposure of the present dark kingdom of which I was very much a part.
This is, of course, far from the first ex-gay segment featured on the 700 Club.
Pat Robertson today, while discussing the shooting of an Australian baseball player in Oklahoma by three teenagers, two of them black and one white, accused President Obama of inciting anti-white violence. The 700 Club host said, “We are having a tremendous amount of this black-on-white violence and I have a feeling that instead of bringing racial harmony, having an African-American president has exacerbated the problem.”
“He seems to be wanting to bring division among people instead of bringing them together; he is one of the most divisive leaders this country has ever had,” Robertson continued. “It just seems he wants to rub the edges raw every chance he gets.” Robertson argued that Obama is trying to divide people by race and class: “There’s always something there to stir up controversy.”