Friday, January 06, 2006

Memo to Pat Robertson: Shut Up

Sounds hard to believe, but Pat Robertson really is a smart guy. He's a Yale Law grad who transformed a single UHF TV station in Virginia Beach into a televangelism empire. Along the way, he started the 700 Club, founded a major Christian university, and made a smart bet against conventional wisdom in the broadcast business, founding a family-oriented channel that he sold to Fox for almost $400 million.

That's why it's hard to believe that Robertson routinely makes such incredibly stupid statements. A few months back, he advocated the assassination of Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez (good idea, Pat, but not exactly something that should be broached publicly, just in case we're cooking up a coup, or Chavez uses your comments for a preemptive purge, and tightens his security detail).

Now, Robertson says that Ariel Sharon's stroke was a "punishment" from the Lord for dividing God's land, aka the State of Israel. Based on Pat's reading of the Bible, Sharon incurred God's wrath by handing the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, just as Israel's ancident kings were punished by the Almightly for various sins.

By that logic, former Prime Minister Begin should have been struck down for reaching a peace accord with Egypt. Afterall, Begin gave back the entire Sinai Peninsula (land that has been a part of Israel at various times), and the site of some of the most important events in Judaism, including Moses's receipt of the 10 Commandments.

According to Robertson's theology, former Prime Minister (Ehud Barak) would be another candidate for a bolt from above. During the Wye River summit with the Palestinians, Barak offered to give back both the Gaza and the West Bank, "dividing" God's land on a scale that was absolutely mind-boggling. At last report, Mr. Barak was alive and well, and Prime Minister Begin lived to a ripe old age. So much for that theory.

Pat Robertson is a classic example of a bright guy whose mouth tends to overload his brain. And, unfortunately, he has a global platform to spout his views, which are most unhelpful at a difficult time in the Middle East. Dr. Robertson would be well advised to think before he opens his mouth, or just keep it shut.


Ontario Emperor said...

Or perhaps God is in Rambo mode. Dick Clark promoted dancing, come to think of it.

Wanderlust said...

spook86, I attended the then CBN University very briefly back in 1987 (grad school, one semester). To this day, I recall two things regarding the school and Dr. Robertson from back then:

* CBN University (now Regent University), at the time a very young school - only ten years old - was very well run, and had an exemplary list of grants and endowments upon which for the school and students to draw (can't say about it now, but back then, the school's philosophy was strictly against borrowing money for educational purposes, especially if the borrowed funds had any strings attached by the Govt)

* Administration officials I spoke with back then were actively working to separate the school from the twin shadows of Dr. Robertson and the Christian Broadcasting Network, as Dr. Robertson had a proclivity to making public statements that those officials considered embarrassing to the school and its administration.

I personally find it a shame that Dr. Robertson continues to forget, or perhaps to disregard, the amount of weight his words carry - at least when he says something that lands him in hot water with the press. Like it or not, he is considered by many to be a very public figure, and one can only wish that someday, he will begin to weigh his words like one, BEFORE opening his mouth.

Spook86 said...

When Pat sold the "Family Channel" to Fox back in '97, a lot of the money was donated to Regent University, further enhancing its financial stability.

I get the impression that the "separation" movement you spoke of is continuing. The leadership team at Regent has made some real strides in recent years. For example, their law school is now fully accredited, and does well in student competitions. When Oral Roberts "gave" the school to CBN, it was unaccredited, and viewed as a joke in the legal education community. There are still a few snickers about "God's law school" from the secularists, but the school is doing well, and it benefits from maintaining a healthy distance from CBN and Pat.