may not believe in evolution, but he is evidence of it
Descends From Whom?
Pat Robertson's allegation that the devastating earthquake in Haiti was a
direct result of a "pact with the devil" made by the people of that
island nation in the early 19th century was just another example in a long
series of wacko comments about world events, in several cases including specific
prognostications about the future. Some would call this "prophecy,"
others see the politics showing through.
Shortly after the 2008 presidential election, Robertson was off and running in the New Year
with a prophecy of impending doom. Apparently reacting to the Democratic takeover of the Congress, the great prognosticator told his 700 Club audience on Tuesday, January 2nd, that a terrorist attack on this country would cause "mass killing" later in the year. "I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he told he eager listeners.
"The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."
He said further that God told him about the impending tragedy during a recent prayer retreat. God also said that major cities and possibly millions of people
would be affected by the attack, which should have taken place sometime
before the end of Obama's first year in office. Not.
shrill descriptions of how God is punishing people around the world, whether heads
of state or ordinary citizens, begs an explanation and response. It is clear that
Robertson sees events like the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, hurricane Katrina, and
Prime Minister Sharon's stroke, as acts of an angry and punishing God. In this
he blames both God and the victims of such retribution in one voice. Quite a feat
for one who professes to worship a God who is both just and loving!
One could, of
course, respond to Roberston in kind. And there may be some biblical warrant for
this, even in the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do
unto you." Can we assume that as Robertson blames others for their own woes
and troubles, that this is fair indication he would have others do the same unto
him? It seems to me that Robertson's habit of invoking the wrath of God wherever
and whenever tragedy occurs has become more pronounced in recent years. An addiction
perhaps? Or, could this be a sign of dementia? And if he is slipping, inexorably,
toward senility, could that be an indication of God's anger against Robertson's
own false prophecies? Or are his fading mental powers simply a sign of advancing
age, one of the characteristics of the aging process that has evolved over time
according the processes of natural selection?
Since I don't believe God
wishes Alzheimer's disease or senility on anyone, while I do believe in evolution,
I am included to take the later view. Tragically, at some point in life, various
parts of the body begin to break down, including the brain. That is simply a fact
resulting from the ways we have evolved. Ironically, then, Robertson's intemperate
words do not reflect the judgments of the God he professes, but rather the one
he denies: Charles Darwin's God who established the rules by which we live and
die in the first place. Pat Robertson may not believe that our destinies are bound
by the genetic structures of our own minds and bodies, but his own words provide
strong evidence that they are.
Who is Pat Robertson?
Gordon "Pat" Robertson (born March 22, 1930) is an influential Christian
televangelist, entrepreneur, and political activist. He is the founder of numerous
organizations and corporations including: the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN),
the Christian Coalition, International Family Entertainment, Operation Blessing
International, and Regent University. He is the host of The 700 Club, a TV program
which airs on many channels in the United States and on CBN affiliates worldwide.
strong views have often provoked controversy, especially his condemnation of groups
and individuals he believes to be in a state of sin. Robertson is active in the
Republican Party and ran in the party's presidential primary in 1988. He is a
Robertson was born in Lexington, Virginia, into a prominent
political family. His father was Absalom Willis Robertson, a United States Senator.
He married Adelia "Dede" Elmer in 1954. the Robertsons have four children,
among them Gordon P. Robertson, and fourteen grandchildren (as of early 2006).
Caused Israeli Prime Minister's Stroke -- January 2006
On the January
5 edition of Christian Broadcasting Network's (CBN) The 700 Club, host Pat Robertson
suggested that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's recent stroke was the result
of Sharon's policy, which he claimed is "dividing God's land." Robertson
admonished: "I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes
a similar course to appease the EU [European Union], the United Nations, or United
States of America." Although Robertson professed that "Sharon was personally
a very likeable person," he nonetheless declared that "God has enmity
against those who, quote, 'divide my land.' "
told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their
school board out of office for supporting "Intelligent Design".
like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area,
don't turn to God, you just rejected Him from your city," Robertson said
on his "The 700 Club" TV show.
"And don't wonder why He hasn't
helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if
they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the
case, don't ask for His help because he might not be there," he said.
Urges Assassination of Venezuelan President
-- August 2005
In August 2005, Robertson suggested that the U.S.
should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez: "We have the ability
to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.
We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm
dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the
job and then get it over with."
"You know, I don't know about
this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him,
I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than
starting a war ... and I don't think any oil shipments will stop," Associated
Press reported. Asked about the comments at a Pentagon media conference, Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said "our department doesn't do that kind of thing.
It's against the law. He's a private citizen. Private citizens say all kinds of
things all the time."
Prays for Removal of Supreme Court justices -- July
In July 2003, Robertson urged the 700 Club audience to pray for
God to remove three justices from the Supreme Court so they could be replaced
by conservatives. "We ask for miracles in regard to the Supreme Court,"
Robertson said as he launched a 21-day "prayer offensive" directed at
the Supreme Court. Robertson is quoted in a letter on the CBN website that the
court "has opened the door to homosexual marriage, bigamy, legalized prostitution
and even incest." The same letter targeted three justices in particular:
"One justice is 83-years-old, another has cancer and another has a heart
condition. Would it not be possible for God to put it in the minds of these three
judges that the time has come to retire?"
have allowed rampant pornography on the Internet, and rampant secularism and the
occult, etc. to be broadcast on television. We have permitted somewhere in the
neighborhood of 35-40 million unborn babies to be slaughtered by our society.
We have a court that has essentially stuck its finger in God's eye and
said, "We are going to legislate You out of the schools and take Your commandments
from the courthouses in various states. We are not going to let little children
read the commandments of God. We are not going to allow the Bible or prayer in
We have insulted God at the highest level of our government.
Then, we say, "Why does this happen?" It is happening because God Almighty
is lifting His protection from us. Once that protection is gone, we are vulnerable
because we are a free society.
Warns God May Strike Orlando
with Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tornadoes -- June, 1998
Florida, city officials voted in 1998 to fly rainbow flags from city lampposts
during the annual Gay Days event at Disney World, Robertson issued the city a
warning: "I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were
you. ... [A] condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation.
It'll bring about terrorist bombs, it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly
If you want to talk with someone in person, please feel free to call 212-864-5436
The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and
Executive Director of CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here. God and Science (Hypertext Edition,
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion: Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).
Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.