Pat Robertson Doesn’t Speak For Me
I don’t particularly like televangelists. I’m a Christian, but when I’m flipping through channels and see someone preaching away at a pulpit on TV I usually just keep on flipping. Maybe I judge televangelists too broadly. I’m sure that there are excellent, bible believing, televangelists out there who are filled with the Holy Spirit. But it’s hard to believe that with people like Pat Robertson hanging around.
Pat Robertson is famous for being one of the most successful evangelical Christian television personalities, and for making controversial statements. Lately those statements have become increasingly, well, nuts. He claims God showed him who would win this years presidential election (though he conveniently hasn’t revealed who that victor will be), has said things like “If I’m hearing [God] right, gold will go to about $1900 an ounce and oil to $300 a barrel”, and publicly stated that Hurricane Katrina was God’s judgement on the US and that the earthquake in Haiti, which killed over 300,000 people, happened because they had made a “pact with the devil”.
In other words, Pat Robertson is evangelical Christianity’s crazy uncle who you’re embarrassed to introduce to others. I know that I am embarrassed to think that many people might mistake his mixed up ideas and statements as being representative of Christianity. Pat Robertson is the last person I’d point out to someone as an excellent example of the Christian walk.
Why do I bring this up? Mostly just as background so I can share this in some context.
This video is an excerpt from his popular show, The 700 Club. If you can’t watch the video, the basic situation is that a woman has written in asking for some advice. She’s a single mother who has three adopted children from three different countries. She’s noticed that the men she dates are lose interest after they find our her kids are adopted, and she wanted some insight as to why. Robertson’s cohost immediately calls the men “dogs” saying “That’s just wrong on every level!” Pat Robertson responds thusly:
“No, it’s not wrong. I mean, a man doesn’t want to take on the United Nations, and this women has all these various children, and, blended family, I mean, what is it? And you don’t know what problems–I”m serious, I’ve got a dear friend, adopted a son, a little kid from an orphanage down in Columbia, and the child had brain damage. You know, grew up weird, and you just never know what’s been done to a child before you get that child, what kind of sexual abuse there’s been, what kind of cruelty, food deprivation, etc., etc., etc. So you’re not a ‘dog’ because you don’t want to take on that responsibility. You don’t have to take on somebody else’s problems. I mean you really don’t. You can go help people, you can minister to people, we minister to orphans all over the world! Thousands of them, we love orphans, we love helping people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m going to take all of the orphans around the world into my home, and I think…well okay, lets get the next question, I’m in trouble.”
Now in all fairness (and this isn’t in the video clip) he later followed up by saying that “it didn’t come out the way I intended.” But I still think that his remarks are self-absorbed and unbecoming of a Christian leader on the national stage. We are called to look out for orphans, for the oppressed, the abused, and the damaged. Human life is human life, and it doesn’t make a difference whether a child is “weird” or foreign.
Funnily enough, just about this same time last year Robertson made a similar callous statement on his show, advising a man whose wife is suffering from Alzheimers that it would be all right for him to get a divorce. Randy Alcorn wrote two blog posts about it, comparing Pat Robertson’s approach to the actions of Robertson McQuilkin, a man who gave up his career to care for his wife with Alzheimers. It’s an incredible read, and you can find the posts here and here.