Only Pat Robertson could manage to transform a question about why bad things happen to children into a rant about gay marriage, and the right-wing televangelist managed to do just that today on “The 700 Club.”
When a viewer wrote in to ask why God would allow tragedies like child abuse to occur, Robertson responded by whipping up fears that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision will pave the way for the legalization of pedophilia.
“The time is going to come in America, the Supreme Court said homosexuality is a constitutional right, now they’ve said homosexual marriage is a right, then they’re going to say polygamy is a constitutional right, then they’re going to say polyamory is a constitutional right, then they’re going to say pedophile [sic] is a constitutional right,” he said. “You mark my word. They’re talking about transgender and sex change and all of this stuff. We have lost our mind, collectively, and it’s going to get worse and worse and worse and worse. Trust me.”
He went on to say that “sex with little babies” is widely encouraged in Islam: “There is no such thing as pedophilia in that religion.”
Tomorrow, the city of Houston will vote on the future of its nondiscrimination measure, also known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
The way anti-LGBT activists see it, the law will destroy religious freedom and jeopardize the safety of women and children, dramatic events that haven’t occurred in the hundreds of cities and counties with similar nondiscrimination measures. Of course, regularly telling outright falsehoods about the supposed threats of the LGBT community has never held back the Religious Right.
We’ve compiled a list of just a few of the most absurd attacks used by right-wing activists who hope to lie their way to victory tomorrow.
5) Josh Duggar Weighs In
Before resigning from his post at the Family Research Council following revelations about child sexual abuse and, later, extramarital affairs, Josh Duggar was an outspoken opponent of nondiscrimination ordinances, which he said would harm women and children. Duggar told one FRC event that the HERO ordinance represents “injustice and evil” as it reveals an effort to “put us behind bars.”
4) ‘The Country’s Gone’
Televangelist Pat Robertson has also promoted baseless claims that Houstonians will no longer have religious freedom if HERO survives tomorrow’s referendum, railing against its supporters as “terrorists” and warning that nondiscrimination measures could bring about God’s wrath.
“If people are having all these sex changes, what do you do with them?” he asked. “You’ve got Bruce Jenner, he was the guy on the Wheaties box, and he gets ‘Woman of the Year’ after a sex change operation?”
A “700 Club” reporter then spoke with Houston pastor Ed Young, who said that if Christians do not defeat the ordinance, “we are gone in the 21st century.”
“We are being discriminated against, not the other way around,” he said.
Steven Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas added: “If Houston falls and Texas falls to the homosexual political movement on this issue, the country’s gone.”
3) HERO Activists Like ISIS
Another televangelist targeting the measure, Donnie Swaggart, said that Houstonians need to rise up before they find out that the Bible has been banned in the city.
“The war on the church and Christianity and our beliefs and the war on God, all of this is to shut the Bible up, they want the Bible gone,” he said. “These people that are trying to do this in Houston, the only difference between them and ISIS, those thugs in Iraq, is those here cannot chop our heads off. That’s the only difference. The heart is the same. The heart is the same. If they could silence us that way to intimidate others, that’s exactly what they would do.”
2) Don’t Vote For Satan
Colorado state legislator and televangelist Gordon Klingenschmitt believes that HERO will be defeated, in part because people will stand up to the transgender women who he says seek to “expose themselves to little girls” in restrooms and are possessed by “a demonic spirit.”
“Father, save the children from the perverts in Houston,” he prayed.
1) ‘Appalling’ That ‘We Have A Homosexual Mayor’
Rafael Cruz, Texas senator Ted Cruz’s father and campaign surrogate, has traveled around the country warning about the supposed dangers of the HERO ordinance, which he called “absolutely crazy.” His son’s own denouncement of the equal rights measure, he said, was proof that “the hand of God” is working in the anti-HERO campaign.
He also revealed that much of the Religious Right’s work is driven by contempt for Houston Mayor Annise Parker, a lesbian. “It is appalling that in a city like Houston, right in the middle of the Bible Belt, we have a homosexual mayor,” he said.
One Houston pastor, Dave Welch, similarly declared that Mayor Parker is a sinister figure who is waging a spiritual war against Christians.
“We allowed a lesbian mayor to be elected because most of the churches were asleep and just didn’t care.” he said. “They didn’t understand the consequences of putting somebody in political power, with the authority of the sword, who has literally rejected every element of the created order of God and his word and his moral truths. Why would we expect somebody to act lawfully when they are living lawlessly?”
He claimed that the U.S. is turning into Sodom now that it has “enshrined sodomy into the United States Constitution” and cities like Houston are trying to “force women to go into men’s bathrooms and men to go into women’s bathrooms.”
“Now it’s a constitutional right for sodomites to marry each other,” he lamented, warning that “the wrath of God is revealed against this stuff.” He explained: “I don’t want the wrath of God to hit this country, it’s a great country, I’d like to see America continue strong, but this is one way of weakening it. First of all, we’re going to have this financial collapse. We’re setting up for a massive financial collapse and I think if God is going to hurt this country that’s probably the way he’d do it.”
Today on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson issued his annualwarning about Halloween, this time in the introduction to a story about a Ugandan woman who blamed her frequent nightmares on her family’s relationship with a witchdoctor.
Robertson said that the woman's story was a cautionary tale to all the children dressing up in costumes this Halloween, whom he believes unwittingly “celebrate Satan” during the holiday.
Following a Christian Broadcasting Network report today about the victory of comedian Jimmy Morales in Guatemala’s presidential election, televangelist Pat Robertson praised one former Guatemalan president: Efraín Ríos Montt.
Unlike Morales, Ríos Montt came to power in a coup, although his military regime was overthrown in another coup just one year later.
“At the height of the bloodshed under Ríos Montt, reports put the number of killings and disappearances at more than 3,000 per month,” Patrick Daniels of the Guatemala Solidarity Network noted. “Such was the extent of the violence that in 1999 the UN commission concluded that it constituted acts of genocide.”
Today, Robertson gushed over Ríos Montt, claiming that he was the real victim because he was targeted by liberals just for being a good Christian.
“I know Efraín Ríos Montt, who was the president there,” Robertson said. “He’s a terrific guy, he was with the El Verbo Church and they had a marvelous government but the left got after him and he couldn’t survive. They just went after him and attacked him and attacked him, the United States State Department went after him, it was terrible.”
And today, he advised a “The 700 Club” viewer to respond to gay marriage supporters by making the case that the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling is only an opinion that can only impact the “couple of people” directly involved in the case. The ruling would only have a wider impact if Congress or state legislatures pass gay marriage bills, Robertson claimed, making the same specious argument made by other Religious Right leaders such as Mike Huckabee.
“In the legal system, party A sues party B over marriage, ‘I want to get married to them,’ and the court says, ‘Okay, you can get married,’” he explained. “That doesn’t mean that I’ve got to get married to homosexuals, it doesn’t mean that you have to nor does it mean that it’s the law of the land. Congress didn’t pass any law. Your state legislature didn’t pass a law. So you’re not under anything, it’s a decision of the court having to do with a couple of people. Now they would like to make it bigger than that but, in terms of the Constitution, it isn’t.”
While Robertson is correct that no one will be forced to “get married to homosexuals,” the Obergefell ruling has struck down bans on same-sex marriage nationwide.
Today on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson fielded a question from a man who wanted to know whether he should pay tithes on his entire paycheck or just half of it, since he shares assets with his wife who is opposed to tithing.
Robertson, unsurprisingly, said that he must tithe on the whole paycheck, since “like it or not, you’re the head of the household and God has made you the high priest of the family.”
“What comes into your paycheck is yours,” he said, so “you don’t have to split it.”
The two had an amiable chat about tax policy and foreign policy with little discussion of the polarizing social issue stances that have helped turn Robertson into a notorious political figure — although apparently not toxic enough for the GOP establishment favorite. Towards the end of the interview, Robertson turned to the news that Bush’s presidential campaign is cutting staff and salaries amid declining poll numbers.
Bush put a positive spin on the news, insisting that he wanted to create a “lean and mean” campaign and send staffers “to beautiful states like Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.”
He also placed some of the blame on Donald Trump: “The circumstances when we started the election were different. I have not met a person who thought Donald Trump would be the front-running candidate at this point. God bless him for his success in that regard, we’ll see how long that lasts, but you have to adapt.”
Adding that fundraising is “hard work” and “not as easy as people might think it is,” Bush quipped to the televangelist: “I know you guys do great but your product is a time-tested product, it’s been around a long time.”
“You don’t have all the controversy,” Robertson replied.
Televangelist Pat Robertson advised a “700 Club” viewer today to leave his church if it approves of same-sex marriage, warning that such a church is satanic as homosexuality represents the “last phase in human rebellion against God.”
“You got two of these people and you’re going to marry them and you somehow going to think that’s in the church?” he asked. “If I were you, I’d complain bitterly and I’d get out of that church as fast as I could. I mean, what fellowship has Christ with Belial? You don’t want to have fellowship with those people.”
Irony died a little bit today on “The 700 Club” when televangelist Pat Robertson defended Ben Carson’s statement he would never vote for a Muslim candidate for president unless that candidate renounced their religion, warning that a Muslim president would be dangerous because any “committed Muslim” would try to impose religious law on America.
Hailing Carson for “telling the truth” about Islam, Robertson said that “a committed Muslim would do exactly what ISIS is doing” and “put in Sharia law.”
Like the late Jerry Falwell, Robertson was a pioneer in the use of television to build a Christian ministry, and Robertson joined Falwell and other televangelists who teamed up in the late 1970s to create the Religious Right political movement. Falwell was a fundamentalist Baptist and Robertson a charismatic Pentecostal, but they found common ground in promoting a sustained, religion-based attack on separation of church and state, feminism, gay rights, unions, and other enemies of the right-wing political strategists, like Paul Weyrich, who recruited them into politics.
Robertson actually ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988. He didn't get very far as a candidate, but he built a huge list of supporters. Political operative Ralph Reed turned that list into the Christian Coalition, which at the beginning of the 1990s set itself the goal of taking working control of the Republican Party.
Pat Robertson, in other words, helped create today's polarized politics -- a Republican Party that is much further to the right than Ronald Reagan's and far less willing to engage in the compromises required to govern, and a Religious Right movement that continues to poison our political climate by treating politics as spiritual warfare and political opponents as demonic enemies of faith and freedom.
A memorable example of that attitude came just after the 9/11 attacks, in which Robertson joined Jerry Falwell in blaming the attacks on gays, feminists, defenders of church-state separation, and People For the American Way. But we can hear the same attitude from GOP candidates and right-wing activists every day.
Regent University, where Jeb Bush will speak on Friday, is part of the massive cultural and political infrastructure that Religious Right leaders like Robertson have built in recent decades. Religious Right schools of government and law produce people like Michele Bachmann and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who see public office as a way to make America conform to their "biblical worldview."
Another part of Robertson's infrastructure is the American Center for Law and Justice, which he created to be a Religious Right counterpart to the ACLU. The ACLJ has undermined church-state separation in the U.S. and promotes a global culture war through offices in Europe, Russia, and Africa. While it portrays itself as a champion of religious freedom, the ACLJ fought bitterly against the building of a Muslim community center that was falsely dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque."
Jordan Sekulow's hiring was seen as a signal that the Bush campaign was serious about competing for conservative evangelical voters who might initially be more excited about other candidates. Bush's pilgrimage to Regent University is another sign that even "establishment" Republican candidates are dependent on the Religious Right activists who make up a big part of the party's base.
At Right Wing Watch – a project of People For the American Way – we know we’ve done our job when we’ve made the Right Wing really, really mad. So if the coverage we’ve been seeing in the right-wing media is any indication, we’ve been doing our job especially well lately. Here’s a roundup of some recent anti-endorsements:
The conservative blog Newsbusters calls Right Wing Watch PFAW’s “hit squad” in an article we couldn’t have written better ourselves. In addition to crediting PFAW with “destroying Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s reputation in the 1980s,” the article touts some of Right Wing Watch’s greatest successes – including its coverage of the anti-choice and anti-gay HGTV stars David and Jason Benham. Newsbusters correctly notes that Right Wing Watch broke the news when then-presidential candidate Scott Walker defended mandatory and medically unnecessary ultrasounds as “a cool thing out there” (though they incorrectly allege that the reporting “twisted” Walker’s words). And while the Newsbusters article fails to achieve its goal of discrediting Right Wing Watch, it does provide many great examples of Right Wing Watch’s reporting appearing in major news outlets like USA Today, MSNBC, Salon, Slate, and the Huffington Post.
Despite messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s doomsday prophecy, the United States didn’t experience a cataclysmic disaster this past September, which must have rattled right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson who have spent months anticipating it. Right Wing Watch pointed out that the prophecy didn’t come true -- much to the frustration of WND, a Religious Right news site that Right Wing Watch has been reading and covering for years. WND took specific issue with Right Wing Watch blogger Brian Tashman, who had reported on the Cahn prophecy, for his “slander” and “lack of truthfulness.” It’s not clear how pointing out that the world didn’t end last month qualifies as slanderous, but you can read the rest of WND’s criticism here.
Right Wing Watch might consider outlandish criticism from the Radical Right to be a sign of a job well done, but many on the Right feel the same way about a mention on Right Wing Watch. Ann Corcoran, an anti-refugee resettlement advocate, has made several appearances on Right Wing Watch for her xenophobic remarks about Syrian refugees, posted on her blog that she considered the coverage to be “a great honor” and “a goal to work toward” for other right-wing activists.
Right Wing Watch is as committed as ever to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement – no matter what they might say about us. Read more Right Wing Watch coverage.
"The 700 Club" ran a story today about American Christians who are supposedly suffering persecution by being forced to violate their religious beliefs in order to maintain their jobs.
Citing figures like Kim Davis and Barronelle Stutzman, CBN insisted that Christians are being bullied, intimidated and persecuted by not being allowed to impose their beliefs on others or discriminate against gay customers while doing their jobs.
Pat Robertson was, of course, outraged by this "tyranny."
"Believers should not be forced to do something they don't believe in," he said. "It is tyrannical to force somebody to give money and pay taxes for something they abhor ... The homosexuals don't just want to be left alone, now they want to come out and stick it to the Christians. They have made it clear and it's an organized thrust throughout this nation to force conformity."
"This used to be considered perversion, it used to be considered an abomination," he continued. "The Bible says it's an abomination, the Bible says it's a sin and these people say, 'Not only do we want to practice our sinful ways like Sodom and Gomorrah, we're going to make you like it and we're going to make you participate whether you like it or not.'"
"That is absolute tyranny and it's high time we call it what it is and we stand up for freedom," Robertson concluded.
On "The 700 Club" today, Pat Robertson praised a man who banned his gay grandson from bringing a "friend" to Thanksgiving dinner because "there's a real good chance that he might come out of that so-called lifestyle" as long as the family does not condone his behavior.
Fielding a question from a grandfather who had told his grandson that "the presence of his sex partners would not be welcome in our home," especially on Thanksgiving, Robertson praised him for "taking the right stand."
"Otherwise you become an enabler," he said, "and you're condoning that. The chances are there's a real good chance that he might come out of that so-called lifestyle, but if you're going along with it, he says, 'Well, mom likes it, so it's okay.'"
"He's trying to get you to affirmatively accept what he's doing," Robertson continued. "He's trying to force you to do something."
Comparing the situation to one in which someone tries to bring a stripper to Thanksgiving dinner, Robertson said "it's outrageous that he would do that, but that's what's happening ... Let's push people to see how far they'll bend and what you're doing is exactly right, saying, 'I'm not going to let it happen.'"
On "The 700 Club" today, Pat Robertson fielded a logical question from a viewer who wanted to know why Robertson has had to undergovarioussurgeries if faith is all that it takes to heal any medical condition.
"Why have you undergone surgeries if your faith would be enough?" asked the viewer, prompting Robertson to struggle to provide a coherent answer.
"I don't think that religion, faith and medicine are necessarily enemies," he said, arguing that sometimes the answer to prayer is found in a doctor's office.
"I don't know what else to say," Robertson finally admitted. "If you have enough faith ... maybe I don't have enough, but I have enough for other people."
During today's broadcast, "The 700 Club" featured a story about the wrongful termination lawsuit filed by former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran after he was fired for having distributed an anti-gay book he had written to several coworkers.
Pat Robertson, of course, was outraged by the story and demanded to know why Black Lives Matter activists were not rallying to Cochran's defense.
"This is a shocking thing," Robertson said. "He is a black man. Where are the black people? Black Lives Matter, why don't they stand up and talk about Chief Cochran? It's time that they stand for one of their own."
Robertson went on to fume that "surveys show one percent of the American people are lesbian and perhaps four percent, maybe five percent, are homosexual. That's it! Are we going to allow this tiny minority to take away the jobs of people who believe contrary to their beliefs? What kind of a nation do we have?"
"Don't let this country turn into Russia," he warned.
Televangelist Pat Robertson has invited presidential candidates to a series of candidate forums at Regent University, the school he founded and for which he still serves as dean.
The first to take him up on the invitation is Jeb Bush, who will speak later this month at a forum that will include an interview with Robertson and a session moderated by Jay Sekulow, the head of the Regent-affiliated American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Jay’s son, Jordan Sekulow, is the former executive director the ACLJ and is Bush’s liaison to the Religious Right.
While Robertson has said that he believes Bush and John Kasich should team up for a “dream ticket” in 2016, the former Florida governor should perhaps be wary of Robertson’s support, as the televangelist once assured Mitt Romney that God told him that he would defeat President Obama and have a successful two-term presidency.
There are also other reasons to be wary, as Robertson has built a career out of being one of the mostintolerantvoices in America.
Today on “The 700 Club,” Christian Broadcasting Network correspondent David Brody sat down with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman, who both became right-wing heroes after they lost legal battles in their attempts to justify anti-gay discrimination. Stutzman told Brody that their cases are paving the way for the censorship of journalists and the stripping of law licenses from attorneys who defend people accused of hate crimes.
Pat Robertson, host of “The 700 Club,” naturally agreed, warning that gay people seek to “persecute anybody who disagrees with them” in order to see them “bankrupted” and “put in jail.”
“We’re not talking about having rights from the ‘poor, oppressed gays,’ we’re taking away the freedoms of everybody who disagrees with them,” he said, adding: “They’re taking away the rights of everybody.”
After predicting for the entire last year that “The Shemitah” on Sunday, September 13, would usher in some cataclysmic event in America — possibly an economic crash, inclement weather, war or terrorist attacks — messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn appeared on “The 700 Club” today to save face (and sell more books) after September 13 came and went without anything out of the ordinary happening.
When host Pat Robertson asked him if anything noteworthy happened on the 13th, Cahn first tried to avoid the question but eventually told the televangelist that “you can’t put God in a box or He’ll get out of it,” saying that God doesn’t work in exact dates.
Of course, Cahn himself declared that this potential disaster would occur on an “exact date … in accordance with the ancient mystery” of the Shemitah, a day when the land is left fallow and debts are forgiven. “The coming Shemitah will end September 2015. Its final climatic day, Elul 29, the Day of Remission, will fall on Sunday, September 13,” he wrote in “The Mystery of the Shemitah.”
Cahn, however, said that the stock market selloff that occurred on August 18 of this year came close enough to the September 13 date to count as a fulfillment of his prophecy. “It started in the summer,” he said. He also pointed to Sunday’s relatively minor earthquake off the Gulf of California, which is actually located in Mexico and doesn’t even touch the U.S. As if Cahn couldn’t get any more vague, he also said that the Shemitah period marked America’s decline from the world’s leading economic power.
Moving the goalposts even further, Cahn went on to claim that his prophecy would be proven correct as long as something bad happens anytime between now and September 2016:“That’s the period.”
So once something, anything, bad happens within the year, Cahn will take credit for predicting it!
The preacher went on to allege that the construction of a new skyscraper at Ground Zero, the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality and the White House’s rainbow light display celebrating LGBT Pride Month are all bringing God’s wrath upon America.
Cahn then presented the most conclusive proof of all: He once spoke to a man who said he had a dream before the 9/11 attacks of an angel telling him that the Twin Towers would collapse, but he didn’t tell anybody, and now this unnamed prophet who failed to warn everyone about 9/11 is having similar dreams of something bad happening in the future!