Pat Robertson

Invisible Children and the Religious Right: What’s the Deal?

Long before Kony 2012 became an Internet sensation, the film’s director, Jason Russell, was a hit with the Religious Right and the broader evangelical community. Russell, the founder of Invisible Children, has been lavished with praise on Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network and on stage at Jerry Falwell’s university. Additionally, as Bruce Wilson has explored, Invisible Children has received substantial funding from extremely conservative Christian groups and foundations. Why?

The reason is not that Invisible Children is part of the Religious Right – it’s not. And while it’s true that the organization and the Religious Right share some interests and enemies in Uganda and Sudan, that’s not the reason either.
 
Instead it’s the religious basis of the organization. Russell first went to Africa as a child missionary and formed the organization as an alternative to traditional missionary organizations, whose model he found problematic. While Russell and his staff are careful to project a strictly secular brand, Russell has projected quite a different image when speaking to evangelical and Religious Right audiences.
 
In a 2010 podcast interview with Relevant magazine (listen below), Russell discussed his reason for keeping religion out of their brand and marketing:
We just always felt really, not offended, but felt it was too delicate of a choice to put the cross on our website, or to put a fish on the website because you're honestly dealing with the truth, and the creator, and so to make a brand around that and to have money flow in and out around that idea, at least in our paradigm, felt cheap or inauthentic. … That's just me candidly speaking. […]
He said that spirituality is an inescapable part of their work, but that it’s difficult to explain to a western audience that has been “raised on science, logic, and reasoning.”
Host: What conversations have you guys had about the holistic rehabilitation of some of the children you guys have worked with, and what role their spiritual development might play in some of the rehabilitation you believe should take place in their lives.
               
Russell: For us, the mentors that are rehabilitating the children who've been affected by this for, it is not a question whether spirituality plays into it or doesn't. It is not something like a line item on an annual report or anything. It's like, of course. I've never met a Ugandan who is an atheist. […]
 
Their spiritual life is so much more engaged and involved in their day to day, that having a spiritual holistic healing element to these children who have been affected by the war is a no-brainer. It's totally a part of the healing and the message. And at the same time it's difficult to communicate that or translate to the West who has been raised on science, logic, and reasoning and not so much the spiritual realm.
He also addressed criticism from other Christians that Invisible Children isn’t doing enough to evangelize:
Host: How have you guys wrestled with the issues of faith, not only in your personal lives but in the stories of your organization, as you guys have become more and more a topic of mainstream conversation?
 
Russell: For myself, I accepted Christ into my heart when I was 5, and my first experience with Africa was on a mission trip spreading the gospel through drama. There was a disillusionment, or a distaste, for that approach to the Christendom message being spread. I felt that there was a bridge that needed to be built. […]
 
We're not afraid to say "I'm a lover of Christ and what he brought to Earth and what he's doing in the world." But there's such a delicate balance to bringing that into the work arena when it comes to the culture right now.
 
I think that, there's been a lot of criticism that we've had over the years, but when it comes down to it, we are not afraid to say "I as an individual am this." But Invisible Children, it's not its mission to bring Christ's message to the invisible children. And when people say, "well why don't you bring Christ to those children in Uganda?" And my answer has always been, because they know Christ far more than I or anyone in Western world or in the Christian church knows Christ, because it's truly all that they've ever had. […]

Listen to the highlights of the podcast interview here:

Russell touched on similar topics at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University last November:

Robertson Calls Non-Christians a 'Virus'

Televangelist Pat Robertson, who famously referred to non-Christians as “termites,” on the 700 Club today likened people who aren’t Christians to a “virus.” Following a report on the growing Muslim population in Europe, Robertson said “the antibody to these false religions have been vibrant Christianity,” lamenting that “our elites have turned against the founding principles that gave us our freedom, why? Because they don’t want to be Christian.”

Watch:

Robertson: It’s like a virus, if you have, we have, all of us have, antibodies in our system and if our system is healthy we can repel viruses, but once those antibodies breakdown then the viruses take over. The antibody to these false religions have been vibrant Christianity, it doesn’t exist any longer in Belgium, it doesn’t exist in Europe any longer.

Meeuwsen: It seems as though we are so busy enjoying the benefits and the blessings that God has given us that it’s like we’ve gone to sleep.

Robertson: We’ve not only gone to sleep, we’ve actively attacked it. We’ve attacked the founding principle of our civilization and no one can do that and survive, but that’s what happened. Our elites have turned against the founding principles that gave us our freedom. Why? Because they don’t want be Christian, they don’t want to acknowledge that they are sinners, they don’t want to come and say they need a Savior, that’s humbling, they want to be proud and in their pride they are going to lose everything.

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/14/12

  • Rick Santorum won primaries last night in Alabama and Mississippi.
  • But Newt Gingrich and his massive ego don't appear to care and so he is vowing to stay in the race.
  • Nonetheless, Richard Viguerie is, once again, calling on Gingrich to drop out and endorse Santorum in an effort to stop Mitt Romney.
  • Randy Thomas, the former executive vice president of Exodus International says Santorum is the political equivalent of Tim Tebow and Jeremy Lin.
  • Finally, Bill Bennett takes issue with Pat Robertson's recent call for the legalization of marijuana.

Awkward for Everyone: Pat Robertson Weighs in on Oral Sex

Normally, Brian is the one who watches "The 700 Club" and decides which clips we should grab for posts.  But he is out today, so the responsibility of watching Robertson weigh in on the news of the day fell to me.

And, lucky me, today is the day that Robertson decides to weigh in on the question of whether oral sex within marriage is a sin. 

Co-host Kristi Watts was absolutely mortified as Robertson rambled on, claiming that it is only a sin if the people engaging in it feel that it is a sin:

Pat Robertson Flip Flops and Denies Climate Change

Religious Right commentators from Calvin Beisner to David Barton and Bryan Fischer like to think of themselves as experts on the topic of global climate change despite their complete lack of scientific credentials. On the 700 Club today, televangelist Pat Robertson joined the debate, arguing that human-induced climate change is a myth and “hasn’t been scientifically proven”:

But like Newt Gingrich, who costarred in an ad with Nancy Pelosi for Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection, Robertson shared a couch with Al Sharpton for ACP’s “We Can Solve It” campaign to raise awareness about climate change in 2008:

Pat Robertson Implores Woman Not to Attend Sister's Same-Sex Marriage

Today on the 700 Club a woman asked Pat Robertson whether it was appropriate for her to serve as a bridesmaid or even attend her lesbian sister’s wedding to another woman. Robertson, a fierce opponent of gay rights, demanded the woman take no party in the ceremony. He cited Romans 1, without giving its cultural and historical context, to argue that God gave gays and lesbians up to do “evil things with their own bodies.” “If she doesn’t like it, if that breaks the union between you,” Robertson said, “that’s tough luck.”

Watch:

Meeuwsen: This is from Kathryn who says: ‘I’ve been asked to be a bridesmaid in my sister’s wedding. There is only one problem. My sister is gay and she’s marrying her partner. I don’t know what to do. If I don’t agree, our relationship will be ruined. I don’t even know if I should attend the wedding, much less be a part of it.’

Robertson: That is a very hard decision but you can’t add you’re—if you go what you’re doing is saying ‘I bless this union and I agree that what you’re doing is right.’ You know the Bible is so clear about homosexuality and when you read in what Paul said, he said, ‘Wherefore God gave them up,’ and having given them up they did evil things with their own bodies, men for men and women with women, defaming their bodies. Read Romans, read the Book of Romans, this isn’t something I came up with, read it in Romans. You say, ‘should I go to my sister’s wedding, should I participate,’ the answer is to tell your sister, ‘I love you but I cannot participate a ceremony that is contrary to God’s word, period.’ If she doesn’t like it, if that breaks the union between you, that’s tough luck.

Pat Robertson Weighs in on Sandra Fluke's 'Fornication'

Televangelist Pat Robertson on the 700 Club today attacked Sandra Fluke’s testimony at a Democratic hearing, after she was barred from speaking at a GOP-led committee, in support of making religiously-based institutions like universities cover contraception in their insurance plans. Robertson falsely claimed Fluke was asking for “$3,000 a year” for contraceptives, as Fluke actually said that without insurance “contraception can cost a woman over $3,000” over the course of law school, and noted that contraceptives are important not only to prevent unintended pregnancies but also matters such as ovarian cysts, hormonal disorders and early menopause. His guest Jeffrey Bell of the American Principles Project said that Fluke’s testimony was part of a larger left-wing plot from the 1790s, not the 1970s, of “imposing the values of the sexual revolution on everybody else” and trying to “attack organized religion and the traditional family.” Bell later told Robertson, a former presidential candidate and founder of the Christian Coalition who talks about social issues almost every day of his show, that social issues “keep coming up” in political debates “because it’s in the DNA of the left.”

Watch:

Robertson: You know there was a woman, the law student at Georgetown University who appeared before a congressional committee, and she said that students needed $3,000 a year for contraception and that they couldn’t afford it. As I understand, the Catholic school was supposed to pay for it. Now Catholics say that fornication, if you will, sex outside of marriage, is a sin. This woman is saying ‘I’m going to be committing sin but I want you to pay for my sin.’ Now am I overstating that? Rush Limbaugh got a little bit over the top on that thing but is that what it amounted to?

Bell: I honestly think that the left, their greatest achievement is the sexual revolution and they want to complete the job of imposing the values of the sexual revolution on everybody else, including those who have held out and disagree with some aspects of it. They’ve been this way since the 1790s, when the word ‘the left’ was invented, that was all about tearing down the existing social institutions and the political institutions, yes the royalty and nobility, but also the left from the beginning in the 1790s with the Jacobins and Robespierre wanted to attack organized religion and the traditional family and they have never changed in that regard. Every left movement has been about getting rid of traditional institutions.

Robertson: So Obama’s playing right down to that playbook, is that what you’re saying?

Bell: I think he’s being true to it, I don’t think he calculated the potential damage of doing this to the Catholic Church because it’s in the DNA of the left, that’s why the issues are unavoidable and why they’re going to keep coming up, because the left is going to insist on that.

Pastor Claims 'God Gave the Command' for the Tornadoes

In 2009, pastor and author John Piper said that God sent a tornado to Minneapolis, Minnesota to warn the country’s major Lutheran denomination not to approve the ordination of openly gay pastors at their convention. Now, Piper is telling the victims of the recent tornado storms in the South and Midwest that “God gave the command” for the tornadoes that left at least thirty-nine people dead. Piper said he disagreed with televangelist Pat Robertson, who said that the tornadoes resulted from a lack of prayer rather than being God’s doing, and maintained that God sent the tornadoes because of the sins of the region:

God's "fierce fingers" are all over the deadly storms that ripped through the Midwest and South over the past weekend, popular preacher and author John Piper said.



"We do not ascribe such independent power to Mother Nature or to the devil," he penned on his ministry's blog. "God alone has the last say in where and how the wind blows."

"If a tornado twists at 175 miles an hour and stays on the ground like a massive lawnmower for 50 miles, God gave the command," he shared, in direct opposition to Robertson, the host of "The 700 Club" who said on Monday that God that was not to be blamed for "doing something foolish" and that He did not send tornadoes to hurt people.



"This is a word to those of us who sit safely in Minneapolis or Hollywood and survey the desolation of Maryville and Henryville. 'Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish' (Luke 13:4-5)."

Every deadly wind in any town is a divine warning to every town, he emphasized.

The warning especially rings true to God's own people.

Quoting the Scriptures, Piper shared, "It is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?" The disastrous storms were calling "every person of every religion or non-religion" to turn from sin and come to Jesus Christ for forgiveness and eternal life.

"Jesus rules the wind," the Bethlehem Baptist Church preacher affirmed. "The tornadoes were his."

Pat Robertson Says People could have Stopped Deadly Tornadoes through Prayer

Pat Robertson, who earlier called tornadoes a sign of the End Times, was asked today on the 700 Club about the tornadoes that have ravaged parts the country and killed at least thirty-nine people. He said that the storms weren’t a malicious act of God and instead turned it around on the victims, asking, “why did you build houses where tornadoes were apt to happen?”

However, Robertson in 2010 did believe that God used natural disasters to hurt people, saying that Haiti’s earthquake was a result of the Haitian people’s alleged “pact to the Devil.”

Robertson continued that the tornadoes may not have happened if people had prayed for divine intervention, “If enough people were praying He would’ve intervened, you could pray, Jesus stilled the storm, you can still storms.” He also told people who live in areas prone to natural disasters that it’s “their fault, not God’s.”

Watch:

Pat Robertson Warns that the Left and Muslim-Americans 'Want Sharia Law,' Attacks Anti-Defamation League

 On the 700 Club today Pat Robertson once again went on an unhinged rant against progressives and Muslim-Americans while speaking with basketball reporter turned security “expert” Erick Stakelbeck. Robertson said that “people on the left and these Islamic groups want to undermine our freedoms, they don’t want a free society like we have here, they want Sharia law,” and Stakelbeck, who once asserted that the “Left sees Islam as an ally and Western Civilization and the Judeo-Christian tradition is the enemy” because they “have a shared hatred for this country,” claimed that Islam is inherently violent because of violence in its history and religious texts and reverence for the Prophet Mohammad. Certainly, Stakelbeck wouldn’t make the same claims about the Jewish and Christian faiths even though the Bible includes stories violence and leaders involved in wars.

Robertson later blasted the Anti-Defamation League and its leader Abraham Foxman, for decrying the televangelist’s comparison of anti-Muslim activists like himself to the opponents of Nazis. “The so-called Anti-Defamation League which is supposed to be an Israeli, a Jewish organization, jumps on me for saying unkind things about Muslims, these guys just are blinded,” Robertson said, “I’m shocked at how blinded they are.”

Watch:

Robertson: Are we throwing our country away? Are we going to give it away? These people on the left and these Islamic groups want to undermine our freedoms, they don’t want a free society like we have here, they want Sharia law. Are we giving this country away?

Stakelbeck: The Left? Absolutely, Pat. Full speed ahead, handing it over, not only in Europe but here in America. No intellectually honest individual can say Islam is a religion of peace and I say that for three reasons. Number one, Islam’s core texts, the Quran, the Hadiths, are littered with violence and calls to violence, especially against Christians and Jews; number two, the example of Islam’s Prophet Mohammad, who even Muslims will tell you was a warrior and a conqueror and not a man of peace; number three, a cursory glance at Islam’s history, both current, older, it’s littered with conquests, with bloodshed, with expansionism. No intellectually honest individual Pat could look at those three points and tell you with a straight face that Islam is a religion of peace. We are kidding ourselves and it’s not going to get better if we are trying to appease Islamists that only makes them want more and more and it makes them stronger.

Robertson: Erick I hope you’re issuing a wakeup call and so are we, but I’m listening to these talking heads on MSNBC, they just don’t have a clue and if somebody speaks out against it ‘you’re bigoted, you’re narrow-minded, you’re this that and the other.’ Oh man, Abe Foxman jumped on me for telling the truth about this, I was trying to defend our Israeli friends and the so-called Anti-Defamation League which is supposed to be an Israeli, a Jewish organization, jumps on me for saying unkind things about Muslims, these guys just are blinded. I’m shocked at how blinded they are.

Robertson says Obama's 'Role in Life is to Diminish the Power of the United States'

Televangelist Pat Robertson on the 700 Club today slammed the Obama administration’s plan to scale back Defense Department spending as a ploy to “diminish us,” even though commentators believe the department avoided deep cuts and note that significant savings resulted from withdrawing troops from Iraq. Robertson maintained that the President “is suspect” because “he has made clear that his role in life is to diminish the power of the United States, he really just wants to diminish us.” He claimed that Obama “has an agenda” that is not “in keeping with the long rage goals of the United States of America.”

Watch:

I don’t trust the motives of the President because he has made clear that his role in life is to diminish the power of the United States, he really just wants to diminish us, he wants to cut our nuclear arsenal dramatically, he wants to cut this, that and the other. If we had trusted his motives we’d say, “OK well maybe we can talk about it,” but I think I and many other Americans distrust him because he’s made clear in some of his writings and other things that he thinks the imperialist nations need to be restrained, need to be downgraded, that the great imperialist powers should no longer be allowed to roam freely on the globe. Furthermore, he does not believe in American exceptionalism. So we’ve got a President who is suspect. So when he comes out with these massive cuts, you say, ‘are you really doing something to the budget or are you really trying to just diminish us’?



That’s the problem we are dealing with here ladies and gentlemen is that we’ve got a man in charge of this country who has an agenda, and we question is that agenda in keeping with the long range goals of the United States of America? And I question it.

Robertson Warns of Looming 'Secular Atheist Dictatorship'

Pat Robertson on the 700 Club today defended Rick Santorum from criticism about his attacks on President Obama’s Christian faith and claims that Satan is attacking the United States of America, including the country’s universities and mainline Protestant churches. The televangelist claimed that denouncing Santorum’s remarks are part of a plan to “take God out of our society,” warning that freedom doesn’t exist in a “secular society.” Robertson, who last week maintained that Obama is intent on becoming a dictator, said that America may soon have a “secular atheist dictatorship.”

Watch:

Washington for Jesus Returns as the 'America for Jesus' Prayer Rally in Philadelphia

The late Virginia pastor John Gimenez founded the Washington for Jesus rally on April 29, 1980 with fellow Religious Right activists including Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, Bill Bright and Jerry Falwell to mobilize “against abortion, in favor of allowing prayer in schools, opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment and against homosexual conduct.” Bright told Ronald Reagan that his election was a result of the Washington for Jesus prayer rally, telling him: “Mr. President, you were elected April 29, 1980, not in November.”

Gimenez’s wife Anne is now planning a similar prayer rally in Philadelphia called ‘America for Jesus’ to combat “widespread moral depravity and economic meltdown,” and has the help of figures such as Jim Garlow, Cindy Jacobs, Lou Engle, Samuel Rodriguez, Doug Stringer and Harry Jackson.

The prominent role of New Apostolic Reformation leaders in the event reveals just how much the Religious Right has changed and grown even more extreme, as leaders now not only claim that they have a divine mandate to change politics but also that they are actual apostles and prophets with the same divine appointment as the apostles and prophets of the Bible and receive direct prophesies from God.

But much like Washington for Jesus, this prayer rally will be non-political in name only, as the host of far-right and partisan figures organizing the event demonstrates.

"America's soul is sick, but I believe America still has a chance; I believe in resurrection, and I believe prayer changes things--and that is what we intend to do," said Bishop Anne Gimenez, pastor of Rock Church International in Virginia Beach, Va., and chairman of America for Jesus 2012. "It's not about who will be in the White House nor our current financial crisis, it's about America needing the presence of God."



To-date, the five national and numerous regional rallies attended by several hundred thousand people have made significant impact affecting millions across the country and the national movement continues to call for a return to biblical values rather than endorsing any particular party or candidate.

"Much like the movement for independence in the 18th century, America for Jesus 2012 is a patriotic movement, not a political one," said John Blanchard, national coordinator for America for Jesus 2012. "Although the presidential election will be less than six weeks away, there will be no partisan divisions when we convene in Philadelphia. We don't need to follow the elephant or the donkey, but rather the Lamb of God."



"Forty days before the election, we will be bringing the salt of the nation to the headwaters of America to pray for an awakening and for the spiritual needs of the country," said Billy Wilson, co-chair for America for Jesus 2012 and Executive Director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal.

Pat Robertson Tells Viewer it's His Own Fault, Not Robertson's, that Healing Didn't Work

One of the most sad and telling claims of so-called ‘faith healers’ from Benny Hinn to Todd Bentley is that the reason people are not healed at their healing conferences or through their television ministries is not because the faith healer wasn’t able to cure the ailment or sickness but because of the lack of faith of the person (and often the inadequate size of their financial gifts) who sought the healing. If only the person had genuine faith, so it goes, then the healing would’ve worked, so don’t blame the healer!

Today on the 700 Club, we saw an example of that when a viewer called in wondering why it is that when he prayed with Pat Robertson during his show for a healing of his knee pain the pain came back the next day. Robertson responded that people can “give up” his healings because “you don’t believe that it’s real” and never claimed the healing, “this is mine.” He also maintained that the return of the pain “may be Satanic and the things come back on you, they come back and you need to rebuke it and command it to leave you, permanently.”

Watch:

George Allen Pays Pastor Who Blamed Haiti Earthquake on Pact with the Devil

In January of 2010 televangelist Pat Robertson notoriously blamed the deadly earthquake in Haiti on the country’s supposed “pact to the Devil.”

While Robertson’s remarks sparked outrage, the televangelist refused to back down and even found support from Rev. Joe Ellison of the Virginia Pastors Coalition, who claimed Robertson spoke the “truth” and the practice of voodoo among Haitians was responsible for the earthquake:

Today, the Washington Post reports that Ellison has been paid close to $25,000 in consulting fees from George Allen’s campaign to return to the U.S. Senate. Ironically, the delegate Ellison was introducing in the video where he endorsed Robertson’s remarks, Bob Marshall, is now running against Allen in the GOP primary:

Former governor and senator George Allen (R) is amending his campaign disclosure forms filed with the Federal Elections Commission to indicate that Richmond minister Joseph Ellison has been added to the payroll of his U.S. Senate campaign for clergy outreach.

Allen’s campaign originally wrote that it hired Ellison as a “fundraising consultant’’ but spokesman Bill Riggs said that was a “mistake” and as soon as staff learned about it they began working to fix it.

Ellison was paid $22,500 last year, according to the documents. He also received nearly $2,000 for mileage reimbursement, meals and lodging.



“Twenty five thousand dollars is a huge chunk of campaign cash, and George Allen needs to explain exactly what that money paid for,’’ said Matt Thornton, spokesman for American Bridge 21st Century. “But with his long history of not answering even the most basic questions like who his consulting clients are, Virginians shouldn’t hold their breath waiting.”

Ellison has appeared with other Republicans, including Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, and has been a long time supporter of Allen’s when he ran for governor and senator. He attended Allen’s 2006 victory party and organized a group of local black ministers to meet with Allen.

Since Allen is trying to repair the damage from his ‘macaca’ outburst in 2006, paying a pastor who believes that Haitians suffered as a result of divine punishment may not be the best way to start his 2012 campaign.

Michelle Obama's Brownshirts and the Case of the Confiscated Lunch

Whenever we see the Religious Right collectively begin to cite some new tale of government overreach and/or Christian persecution at some public school, the name "Raymond Raines" comes to mind.

As we've explained before, back in the 1990's, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Robertson and the entire conservative community were outraged about an incident in which a student named Raymond Raines had supposedly been sentenced to a week of detention for simply praying before eating his lunch in the cafeteria of an elementary school in St. Loius. 

Of course, it was entirely untrue, as Raines had actually been disciplined for fighting. 

So now, whenever we start seeing Religious Right groups cite a story like this one out of North Carolina about a four year-old preschool student who supposedly had her homemade lunch confiscated by a Department of Health and Human Services employee for not being healthy enough and was forced to eat school-approved chicken nuggets instead ... well, we get a little suspicious.

So far, the story has been promoted by the Eagle Forum and the Family Research Council, which sees it as proof that "the Left's goal is not just to control you. The goal is to control your children. And the more authority it can siphon away from parents, the better its chances are."

Gary Bauer also featured it in his daily email, declaring "welcome to Obama's brave new world. If the government can force us to buy specific products, force religious institutions to violate their values and send lunchbox inspectors to sort through our kids' food, Chinese-style 'commissars' are in our future."

And, never one to be outdone, Bryan Fischer was apoplectic that Michele Obama's army of Brownshirt/Stormtrooper/Stasi thugs are out there confiscating the lunches of little children:

Now, who among us will be surprised to learn that this whole thing is false and all of this outrage is rooted in the misunderstanding of one little girl?

School and state officials say a misunderstanding resulted in a West Hoke Elementary School preschooler's homemade lunch being replaced with chicken nuggets.

An agent from the Department of Health and Human Services' Division of Child Development and Early Education was at the school Jan. 30 assessing the pre-kindergarten program, said Bob Barnes, assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for Hoke County schools.

The agent examined the lunches for the six students in the class and believed one did not meet nutritional requirements spelled out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Barnes said.

According to the USDA, schools are required to provide lunches that include one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

The 4-year-old, whose name was not released, brought a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, potato chips and apple juice.

The Department of Health and Human Services declined to say which requirement was not provided in the child's lunch.

The girl thought she had to go through the lunch line for a new meal, Barnes said.

The Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that it is investigating. In the statement, the department denies that its employee inspected the lunch and denies instructing "any child to replace or remove any meal items."

Typically, if a teacher sees a student with a lunch that does not meet the nutritional requirements, he or she will offer the child the missing components free of charge, Barnes said.

In this instance, Barnes said, the girl misunderstood her instructor and believed she had to get a new lunch rather than receive an additional element.

Rule of thumb: The amount of outrage being generated among the Religious Right to any given story is generally inversely proportional to the truth of said story.

Pat Robertson Claims Obama is Becoming a Dictator

Conservatives just seem to love calling President Obama a dictator, as today on the 700 Club televangelist Pat Robertson repeated his claim that Obama is building a dictatorship. Robertson argued Obama “doesn’t care about the real management of the United States government” but only wants to win re-election and “impose a so-called progressive agenda upon America.” “He wants to take control of every aspect of this nation by the federal government,” Robertson said, “If you want a dictatorship, then that’s the way to get it because he’s giving it to you.”

Watch:

Pat Robertson Says You Should be Christian First and American Second, But Attacks Muslims Who Put Religion Ahead of Nationality

Today The 700 Club featured an inflammatory report about Muslims in Spain that featured interviews with members of the far-right extremist party Platform for Catalonia, a fiercely anti-Muslim and anti-Roma (gypsy) party. Later in the broadcast, Robertson was asked why he tells viewers to consider themselves Christians first and Americans second but attacks Muslims who also put their religion ahead of their nationality. Robertson tried to explain that while Christians should be commended for doing that, it isn’t appropriate for Muslims because they are “under the control of the domination mentally of the thought processes that come out of Mecca.” The right-wing televangelist, who frequently rails against the rights of women, religious minorities and the LGBT community, boldly claimed, “I don’t believe in controlling people.”

Watts: Gerald says, ‘Pat, earlier today you ran a report about Muslims in Spain. The reporter mentioned that seven out of ten Muslims there consider themselves to be Muslims first, rather than Spanish. It was presented as if it’s a bad thing. But is it wrong that they put their religion before their nationality? After all, do you consider yourself to be a Christian first, or an American?’

Robertson: That’s a good, good question. Of course I consider myself to be Christian first, American second. But this Muslim thing is a cultural matter. I don’t want to go force women to wear certain kinds of dress and to have certain dietary laws and to marry a certain way, I don’t believe in controlling people. I think good citizenship says if I’m a good Christian I’ll also be a good citizen. But if I am under control of a foreign power that’s a whole different matter and that’s what we’re talking about here; are they under the control of the domination mentally of the thought processes that come out of Mecca? If that’s the case they’re not going to be good citizens of Spain so, no being a good Christian ahead of being America is not a bad thing.

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Kristi Watts Explains Why Atheists Should Want to 'Cut Down Every Tree'

Today on The 700 Club, Pat Robertson commended the National Park Service for keeping a statue of Jesus in a Montana park, despite a challenge from the Freedom From Religion Foundation. “Isn’t it a strange thing that we would allow somebody who doesn’t believe in anything to restrict the freedom of those who do,” he said -- which is ironic since Robertson on a routine basis advocates actual restrictions on religious freedoms for Muslim-Americans. Robertson’s American Center for Law and Justice, for instance, sued to prevent the construction of the Park 51 Islamic Community Center.

Later, Robertson’s cohost Kristi Watts mockingly asked that since the Wicca religion “believes in the environment and believes that trees are there God,” then “why are these atheists not saying we should cut down every tree because it’s offensive?”

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