Pat Robertson

Robertson: Tea Party Politicians Need To 'Grow Up'

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.”

Watch:

Yesterday, Robertson said that the Republicans should “wave the white flag” and concede defeat to the Democrats.

Pat Robertson Calls On GOP To End Shutdown, Warns Default Would Be Catastrophic

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.”

Watch:

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.

Robertson Pushes Discredited Conspiracy Theory To Blame WHO Polio Experiment For AIDS

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.”

A report published in Nature, cited by Slate’s Juliet Lapidos, also refuted the allegation:

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.

Robertson: Secret Demonic Objects In Your House Could Give You Headaches

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.”

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Pat Robertson, Who Admits He Doesn't Know What Transgender Means, Compares Transgender People To His Castrated Horse

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.”

Robertson Gets Defensive About Ability To Miraculously Regrow Limbs

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.

Watch:

Rod Parsley's Religious Right Allies Hail New Book

Religious Right leaders are lining up to endorse Rod Parsley’s new book, The Cross, which is about how American culture and even Christian churches have “degraded the significance of the cross.” Parsley, who has also authored works such as Silent No More, Culturally Incorrect and Living On Our Heads, is best known for his Prosperity Gospel preaching, opulent living and right-wing politics.

The flamboyant Ohio-based televangelist was highly involved in organizing pastors and evangelical voters in 2004 to back George W. Bush’s re-election (an effort that drew IRS scrutiny). The anti-gay pastor also was a critical player in the campaign to pass Ohio’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions.

After he endorsed John McCain in the 2008 election, McCain ended up disavowing the endorsement due to Parsley’s extremist rhetoric.

But while McCain may have renounced Parsley, few others on the right have.

Mike Huckabee recorded a video promoting Parsley’s new book, and interviewed him on his radio show:

Harry Jackson said Parsley’s book is a rebuke to churches that approve of “loose lifestyles”:

Parsley also received an endorsement from Pat Robertson, who said Parsley speaks through the “post-modern clamor” to issue a “call for a return to the discarded values of the past”:

Pat Robertson Reveals How Low-Carb Diets Violate God's Principles, Halal Foods Fund Terrorism

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.

Robertson: If You Tithe You Won't Have Health Or Financial Problems

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.”

Watch:

Pat Robertson And Ron Paul Agree Progressives Use Public Schools To 'Indoctrinate Children'

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.”

Watch:

Robertson: San Antonio Will Put Christians In Jail Over Anti-Discrimination Policy

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:

Pat Robertson Explains Faith Healing: It's Just Like Santa Claus

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.

Watch:

Pat Robertson Loses Fight To Keep 'Gay AIDS Ring' Video Off The Internet

Two weeks ago, the Christian Broadcasting Network tried to cover up remarks made by Pat Robertson, the founder of CBN and host of its flagship show the 700 Club, about how he believes gay men wear special rings that cut the hands of people they meet in order to infect them with HIV/AIDS.

CBN not only had the video we posted of Robertson’s comments removed from YouTube by complaining that it violated copyright laws, but also edited the comments out of its own broadcast of the show.

We reposted our video elsewhere, but CBN also had it removed from websites such as Vimeo and Dailymotion.

We filed a counterclaim with YouTube asserting that our video was protected by Fair Use and yesterday we finally received word that our video had been restored:

But the episode reveals the lengths CBN will go to hide and censor the statements made by its own leader. Now, the network is even considering legal action against a documentary critical of Robertson.

Pat Robertson Marks 9/11 By Blaming Separation Of Church And State For Inviting Radical Muslim 'Fifth Column' Into America

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.”

Watch:

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 Threatens Legal Action Against Filmmakers For Exposing Charity Scam

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 told The 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 Guardian reports 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.

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/5/13

Pat Robertson’s AIDS Ring Theory Makes Anderson Cooper’s RidicuList

Cross-posted from Right Wing Watch

Pat Robertson’s theory that gay men in San Francisco intentionally infect other people with HIV/AIDS using special sharp rings earned Robertson a spot on Anderson Cooper’s RidicuList last night.

Robertson made the comment on Tuesday’s broadcast of the 700 Club, which his producers then edited out of the version of the show posted online. Luckily, Right Wing Watch found the missing section of the video on the 700 Club’s YouTube account before the network yanked that as well. Since then, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network has been trying desperately to remove our copies of the video from YouTube – an effort that has just brought more attention to Robertson’s comments.

In his RidicuList segment last night, Cooper played our video of Robertson’s comments, and for context added our clips of Robertson speculating that homosexuality is “related to demonic possession,” wishing for a Facebook “vomit” button to use on pictures of gay couples kissing; advising a man to “move to Saudi Arabia” so he can beat his wife; telling a woman whose husband cheated on her to not worry about it because “he’s a man”; and marveling at the popularity of “50 Shades of Gray” among women.

In a video posted today, Slate also explores CBN’s attempted cover-up of Robertson’s theory:

Sadly, we’re sure that we will have collected many more of Robertson’s unique insights by the time his next turn on the RidicuList  rolls around.

PFAW

Pat Robertson's AIDS Ring Theory Makes Anderson Cooper's RidicuList

Pat Robertson’s theory that gay men in San Francisco intentionally infect other people with HIV/AIDS using special sharp rings earned Robertson a spot on Anderson Cooper’s RidicuList last night.

Robertson made the comment on Tuesday’s broadcast of the 700 Club, which his producers then edited out of the version of the show posted online. Luckily, Right Wing Watch found the missing section of the video on the 700 Club’s YouTube account before the network yanked that as well. Since then, Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network has been trying desperately to remove our copies of the video from YouTube – an effort that has just brought more attention to Robertson’s comments.

In his RidicuList segment last night, Cooper played our video of Robertson’s comments, and for context added our clips of Robertson speculating that homosexuality is “related to demonic possession,” wishing for a Facebook “vomit” button to use on pictures of gay couples kissing; advising a man to “move to Saudi Arabia” so he can beat his wife; telling a woman whose husband cheated on her to not worry about it because “he’s a man”; and marveling at the popularity of “50 Shades of Gray” among women.

In a video posted today, Slate also explores CBN’s attempted cover-up of Robertson’s theory:

Sadly, we’re sure that we will have collected many more of Robertson’s unique insights by the time his next turn on the RidicuList  rolls around.

The Gay AIDS Ring Video Pat Robertson Doesn't Want You To See

The Christian Broadcasting Network has embarked on a total and frankly embarrassing cover-up of Pat Robertson’s statement yesterday that gay people in San Francisco try to cut people’s fingers with special rings in order to infect them with AIDS. After editing Robertson’s comments out of their online broadcast of the 700 Club and taking down their own YouTube video featuring the claims, CBN has now filed with a flimsy copyright complaint against Right Wing Watch’s copy of the video on YouTube, causing it to be temporarily removed.

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.

It’s ironic that Robertson believes that gay people are trying to censor him with hate speech laws, when it appears that the only people trying to censor Robertson are his own staff at CBN.

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.

Flashback: When Pat Robertson Opposed AIDS Research To Help Those With 'Aberrant Lifestyle'

Brian’s post today about Pat Robertson’s absurd theory of AIDS transmission – that gay men wear sharp rings in order to cut people they shake hands with and deliberately infect them with HIV – seems like something out of another era.

In fact, it seems like something out of Robertson’s own past.

The early days of the AIDS epidemic coincided with the high point of Robertson’s career, as he ran for the Republican nomination for the presidency. In the late 1980s and into the early 1990s, Robertson was an outspoken opponent of the federal funding of AIDS research, which he claimed was unnecessary because if gay men simply ceased their “aberrant lifestyle” then “there wouldn’t be any more AIDS epidemic.”

In a 1987 interview with the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Robertson, who had just won the Republican presidential straw polls in Iowa and Michigan and was preparing for the one in Florida, claimed that the answer to the AIDS epidemic was “the self-restraint of the people” rather than research into a cure for AIDS. "The homosexuals are saying, 'Spend more government money, find a cure so we can continue our aberrant lifestyle.' And I don`t think that is a proper request," he said.

The candidate, affably parrying questions and occasionally leaning back to roar with laughter, turned serious and offered his toughest comments when asked about the subject of AIDS.

"The answer is the self-restraint of the people," Robertson said. "The homosexuals are saying, 'Spend more government money, find a cure so we can continue our aberrant lifestyle.' And I don't think that is a proper request."

About 92 percent of AIDS victims are male homosexuals or intravenous drug users, he said. "If those two groups would stop that type of conduct there wouldn't be any more AIDs epidemic."

Spending more than the half-billion dollars devoted to research would be a futile way of throwing money at a medical problem, he said.

"And to tell people there's safe sex if they use this kind of device and that kind of device to continue this kind of conduct, that's an illusion, because there is no such thing as safe sex."

"I would focus my attention on the blood supply,"  he said, to try to prevent the spread of AIDS through transfusions.

In a 1993 speech, Robertson expanded on this claim, urging President Clinton to drop federal funding for AIDS research:

And now a new plague is stalking our land, because the people have cast aside the sexual morals of The Holy Bible

Instead of compelling the Armed Forces to accept homosexuals into their ranks, I would like to call on the President to take a stand against the ungodly lifestyle that destroys all it touches. Instead of seeking billions of dollars for AIDS research, let him demand that we treat AIDS as any other communicable disease -- not as a virus with civil rights.

As early as 1985, Robertson was painting AIDS as a threat to the “rights” of straight people, in rhetoric that echoes today’s Religious Right line that Christians are being persecuted by gay rights:

It is one of the most horrible things that is sweeping through our society. The blood supply is being polluted with this awful virus. And we're saying it's a civil rights matter. Those of us who do not engage in certain practices, such as intravenous drug use, etc., don't we have any rights? Don't we have any rights in America?

Of course you have compassion for those who are sick. One of our staff sent me a memo just yesterday which said, in San Francisco, the victims of AIDS in the hospital who happen to be homosexual are given visiting rights in the hospital for their "lovers" to come into the hospital. They don't even let the heterosexuals do that.

But Robertson did have a plan to cure AIDS, at least for some people. James Randi, in his 1987 book The Faith Healers, describes Robertson’s attempt to cure a man with AIDS through faith healing:

In 1986, soon after the full importance of the AIDS epidemic began to become evident, Robertson was attempting to cure it. Viewers of his program saw him pray over a man who had the dreaded disease. He invoked God’s power: We rebuke this virus and we command your immune system to function in the name of Jesus.

One of the most remarkable things about Robertson’s comments today is that even in 2013 he doesn’t seem to have a clear idea of how HIV/AIDS is transmitted, saying that he “used to think it was transmitted by saliva and other things, now they say it may be sexual contact” and fretting that someone who drives in a car with a person with AIDS may get into an accident in which they would exchange large amounts of blood.

Robertson’s weird fear of gay men in San Francisco sabotaging handshakes with sharp, infected jewelry comes right out of this mindset of ignorance and fearmongering, all too common in the early days of AIDS, which decades later Robertson doesn’t seem to have shaken.
 

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