Rev. Pat Robertson: Crazy but Influential

Rev. Pat Robertson: Crazy but Influential

by Sheila Musaji


The Rev. Pat Robertson is a controversial figure who has made bigoted comments about many groups, most particularly Muslims.

Our original entry for Robertson in our article collection of such statements by Christian Clergy has now grown to the point that Robertson requires a separate entry.

Robertson is the founder of the Christian Coalition of America.  He is also the founder and chairman of The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) Inc. which hosts Robertson’s “700 Club” television program.  Robertson is the founder of International Family Entertainment Inc., Regent University, of which he is president and chancellor, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation, and the American Center for Law and Justice.  The American Center for Law and Justice was launched to counter the ACLU. 

Here are a few of Robertson’s “Christian” positions:

Robertson called for the assassination of Hugo Chavez.

Robertson said “You say you’re supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don’t have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don’t have to be nice to them.”

Robertson said The Constitution of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by the Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian people and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society. And that’s what’s been happening.

Robertson said [about apartheid South Africa] I think “one man, one vote” just unrestricted democracy, would not be wise. There needs to be some kind of protection for the minority which the white people represent now, a minority, and they need and have a right to demand a protection of their rights.

Robertson on the Sean Hannity radio program said about the Prophet Muhammad: “This man was an absolute wild-eyed fanatic. He was a robber and a brigand. And to say that these terrorists distort Islam, they’re carrying out Islam.” In the program’s second segment, Robertson said: “[The Quran, Islam’s revealed text] is strictly a theft of Jewish theology. I mean, this man [Muhammad] was a killer. And to think that this is a peaceful religion is fraudulent.”&nbsp. 2002.

Robertson’s group, the American Center for Law & Justice filed a petition with a court to stop the building of the planned Cordoba House Islamic Center in NYC.  8/10

Robertson said that Islam is “a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination.  You’re dealing with not a religion, you’re dealing with a political system, and I think we should treat it as such, and treat its adherents as such as we would members of the communist party, members of some fascist group.

Robertson on a “700 Club” TV broadcast said that he disagreed with President Bush: ”I have taken issue with our esteemed president in regard to his stand in saying Islam is a peaceful religion. It’s just not. And the Koran makes it very clear, if you see an infidel, you kill him.” Co-host Lee Webb asked Robertson why he thought Muslim immigrants would want to live in the United States “if they have such contempt for our foreign policy.” Robertson replied: “Well, as missionaries possibly to spread the doctrine of Islam.” He went on to say that Islam “is not a peaceful religion that wants to coexist. They want to coexist until they can control, dominate and then, if need be, destroy.

Robertson said: “When I said during my presidential bid that I would only bring Christians and Jews into the government, I hit a firestorm. `What do you mean?’ the media challenged me. `You’re not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe in the Judeo Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?’ My simple answer is, `Yes, they are.’&#8221.  From Pat Robertson’s “The New World Order,” page 218.  &#8221.

If anybody understood what Hindus really believe, there would be no doubt that they have no business administering government policies in a country that favors freedom and equality. ... Can you imagine having the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini as defense minister, or Mahatma Gandhi as minister of health, education, and welfare? The Hindu and Buddhist idea of karma and the Muslim idea of kismet, or fate condemn the poor and the disabled to their suffering. ... It’s the will of Allah. These beliefs are nothing but abject fatalism, and they would devastate the social gains this nation has made if they were ever put into practice.”—Pat Robertson’s “The New World Order,” page 219.  2002.

Robertson expressed concern that Americans, “especially the American left,” need to “wake up” to the “danger” that Islam presents. Robertson continued: “Who ever heard of such a bloody, bloody, brutal type of religion? But that’s what it is. It is not a religion of peace.” 2006

Robertson Says All Other Religions Worship “Demonic Powers” 2006.

Robertson told his 700 Club co-host Terry Meeuwsen that Islam is the Antichrist which will usher in the end of the world.

Robertson said “Islam is essentially a Christian heresy” that “picked up snippets of the gospels,” and other Biblical texts and is now taking “everything that Jesus said” and “transport[ing it] into this fictional Mahdi.”

Robertson also perpetuated Jewish stereotypes in a discussion about the need for Israeli soup kitchens, stating that When you think of Jewish people, you think of successful businessmen” who are “very wise in finance and who are prosperous.2006

Robertson said that the election of Muslims like Rep. Keith Ellison and local officials in Houston pose a threat to America.  “The curse of God is to bring in people who don’t share your point of view and then ultimately destroy your civilization,” Robertson said March 20 on his “700 Club” TV program. “Well, that’s what we’re facing for our children and grandchildren.” Robertson said Islam’s agenda is to “take over the government and that everybody else is a second-class citizen.” “That is the primary doctrine of Islam, and when Islamic people take over before long they want to institute Sharia, or the law according to the Quran, which has to do with cutting off the hands of thieves and stoning adulterous women to death and all the rest of it.”  3/07.

Robertson said “Ladies and gentlemen, we have to recognize that Islam is not a religion. It is a worldwide political movement meant on domination of the world. And it is meant to subjugate all people under Islamic law.” He characterized the American Muslim community as “Islam light” and went on to say Muslims “want to take over and we want to impose Sharia on you. And before long, ladies are going to be dressed in burqas and whatever garments they would put on them, and next thing you know, men are going to be allowed to have wife-beating and you’ll be beheading adulterers and so on and so forth.” 6/07.

Robertson called Buddha a demonic, false idol.  2010.

Robertson encouraged the destruction of statues of Budha.  When a viewer asked if it was OK that her Christian friend had a Buddha statue, Robertson advised her to “break it.” 

Robertson made a number of inflammatory statements about Muslims to which the ADL responded May 2011

Pat Robertson suggested on air that a nuclear device should be used to wipe out the State Department of the United States.

After the Haiti earthquate, Robertson said that the nation of Haiti has been cursed ever since it “swore a pact to the Devil.”

Robertson said regarding the National Day of Prayer: “I don’t care what the liberals have to say about this, America started as a Christian nation, it didn’t start as a heathen nation, it belongs to Jesus Christ, it’s his, it’s his country…What we need to do on a day like this is to reaffirm his claim over this land.”


Opposition to Robertson’s views:

The Religious Action of Reform Judaism published this press release in 2002:

WASHINGTON, November 15, 2002 - In response to Reverend Pat Robertson’s rejection of President Bush’s call for greater religious tolerance, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Director of the Commission on Interreligious Affairs of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

Rev. Robertson’s opposition to the President’s message is more than a simple “disagreement.” Religious tolerance and diversity are central to the character of our nation.

Immediately following the President’s recent denunciation of intolerant remarks about Islam, in a November 14th interview on The 700 Club (Christian Broadcasting Network), Rev. Pat Robertson once again voiced shrill, bigoted remarks, as he called on “Jewish friends in America …[to] read the Koran, and see what it says…and when you get through, do us a favor, and don’t criticize your friends, but see who your real enemies are.”

Rev. Robertson’s askew and narrow-minded interpretation of Islam is offensive, not only to the majority of peace-loving Muslims worldwide, but to all who cherish the fabric of cultural and religious diversity that defines our nation. In the current climate of xenophobia, responsible religious and political leaders must denounce such bigotry. There is a palpable need for the kind of interfaith dialogue that fosters tolerance and understanding across cultural differences, and, yes, which allows us to ardently challenge each other when we think a partner is wrong and has failed to squelch religious bigotry and intolerance.

In this spirit, we welcome President Bush’s recent remarks. Rev. Robertson’s opposition to the President’s message is more than a simple “disagreement.” Religious tolerance and diversity are central to the character of our nation. We call on Rev. Robertson - and all religious leaders who have engaged in similar hateful speech - to honor the words of President Bush with an immediate apology, for the sake of religious decency.

In 2011, Abraham Foxman of the ADL sent the following letter to Rev. Robertson

Dear Mr. Robertson:

We were deeply disturbed by your remarks on the May 31 edition of The 700 Club concerning Muslims in Europe and America following a segment on the growing construction of mosques on the European Continent.  You asked the question, why is it bigoted if one speaks out “against an institution that is intent on dominating us and imposing Sharia law and making us all part of a universal Caliphate?  That is the goal of some of these people.  Why is that bigoted?  Why is it bigoted to resist Adolf Hitler and the Nazis and to say that we don’t want to live under Nazi Germany?”

Your statements here were troubling on several levels.  For one, the suggestion that Muslims who, as you put it, “come into Europe and build their mosques” and “come into America and set up their schools and madrassas” are doing so in an effort to “exercise domination over the world” is a false notion based on hateful stereotypes of Islam.  While you did qualify your statement with “some of these people,” you then pre-empted it with a series of generalizations.  In fact, many if not most Muslims in Europe and in America immigrated to find a better life for themselves and to freely practice their faith.  Sure, there is a minority of Muslims with extreme views. But the overwhelming majority of Muslims rejects these views and wants little more than the ability to practice their faith openly and freely and to be accepted as contributing members of society.  It is wrong to paint all Muslims with such a broad brush, or to portray all Muslims as extremists as you have done here.

Second, the notion that Islam is something that needs to be opposed in the same manner as people resisted Adolf Hitler and the Nazis is outrageous and offensive.  Nazism was a racist and genocidal political movement unlike any other in history, responsible for the massacre of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust.  One simply cannot and should not lump Muslims into the same category as Hitler.

So in response to your question about why is it bigoted for people to “oppose Muslims,” to me the answer is clear:  It is bigoted when one assumes the worst about an entire faith based on the beliefs of a few; it is bigoted to paint all Muslims (or for that matter, Christians or Jews) with the broadest of brushes when in fact you are talking about a many-faceted and culturally diverse belief system; it is bigoted to suggest that the Islamic faith has nefarious and sinister plans to take over majority Christian nations when this is false at its core.  Sadly, the answer to your question may be found within your own statements, which I believe should be categorically rejected by all reasonable people.

In 2011, CAIR issued this press release calling on U.S. leaders to repudiate Pat Robertson’s anti-Muslim remarks

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/14/2006) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on mainstream American political and religious leaders to repudiate the most recent Islamophibic remarks by televangelist Pat Robertson, who claimed yesterday that the goal of Islam “is world domination.”

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says Robertson made that claim and other anti-Muslim remarks on his Christian Broadcasting Network “700 Club” program. He told his audience: “Islam is not a religion of peace,” and “The goal of Islam, ladies and gentlemen whether you like it or not, is world domination.” He also referred to some Muslims as being motivated by “demonic power.” SEE: Top US Evangelist Targets Islam (BBC)

In the past, Robertson has repeatedly defamed Islam and Muslims on the “700 Club” program. He called Islam the “religion of the slavers” and said Americans who converted to Islam exhibited “insanity.” Robertson once said he would be wary of appointing Muslims to positions in the U.S. government, including judgeships.

During a 2002 appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes” program, Robertson smeared both Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. About Muhammad, Robertson said: “This man was an absolute wild-eyed fanatic. He was a robber and a brigand. And to say that these terrorists distort Islam, they’re carrying out Islam. . .I mean, this man (Muhammad) was a killer. And to think that this is a peaceful religion is fraudulent.” Robertson also called Islam “a monumental scam.”

“The failure by mainstream religious and political leaders to challenge Mr. Robertson’s Islamophobic remarks will send the false message to Muslims worldwide that the majority of Americans agree with his hate-filled views,” said CAIR executive Director Nihad Awad. “The constant, and largely unchallenged, drumbeat of anti-Muslim rhetoric is poisoning the public’s attitude toward ordinary American Muslims.”

He cited two recent polls showing that almost half of Americans have a negative perception of Islam and that one in four of those surveyed have “extreme” anti-Muslim views. The Washington Post’s report on the poll findings quoted experts who say negative attitudes about Islam are “fueled in part by political statements and media reports that focus almost solely on the actions of Muslim extremists.” SEE: Two New Polls Show Negative Image of Islam in U.S.

Awad noted that just today, a commentator regarded by many Muslims as one of the nation’s leading Islamophobes published a syndicated column stating that all Muslims should be considered “potential killers.” Daniel Pipes wrote in today’s New York Sun newspaper that “normal-appearing Muslims” may become violent at any time, leading to the “legitimate consequence of casting suspicion on all Muslims.”

Those claims promoted readers of a virulent anti-Muslim Internet hate site to write comments such as: “Until the leadership of the West accepts ‘reality’ that Islam is a totalitarian regime that must be exterminated (if we are to live free) then we will continue to get the atrocity of the day. . .Is genocide in the name of freedom wrong or just the law of nature red in tooth and claw.”

“Islamophobic rhetoric inevitably translates into acts of bias, discrimination and even violence against Muslims,” said Awad. He cited recent bombings at an Ohio mosque, the sentencing of a New York man for e-mailed death threats targeting Michigan Muslims and hate attacks on Muslim students at a Canadian University.

There have many condemnations and repudiations of Robertson’s remarks on many subjects, but apart from the ADL, those condemning his anti-Muslim remarks seem to come primarily from the American Muslim community itself.


Regent University

Looking at Robertson’s positions and statements, it is tempting to just write him off as a marginal bigot.  That would however be a mistake as he does have a great deal of influence in the government and among our elected representatives and law enforcement.  This influence seems to come primarily from his Regent University

There’s a web ad out from Pat Robertson’s Regent University Law School that openly promotes their theocratic agenda. The main purpose of the Law School is to “use the law to further the kingdom of God.”

During the recent scandals about government agencies and law enforcement receiving biased anti-Muslim training on Islam and Muslims, Spencer Ackerman reported that a Regent document was one of those purged

Another is a Regent University master’s thesis called “Devoutly Violent or Nominally Peaceful? The Justification for Violence in Islam.” It asks: “[S]eeing as the foremost goal of Islam (which literally means ‘submission’) is to subject the entire world to Shari’a law and Allah’s guidance, can a devout Muslim who witnesses to a Christian (who rejects his invitation to Islam) really not become violent? … In conclusion, this thesis demonstrates the inherently violent nature of Islam.”

Mitt Romney spoke at Regent University graduation in 2007.  Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani have spoken glowingly about the University. 

In 2007, Think Progress reported that:

“Regent is ranked a “tier four” school by US News & World Report, “the lowest score and essentially a tie for 136th place.” Yet approximately one in six Regent graduates are employed in government work, and 150 serve in the Bush administration.”

  It would be interesting to see what those numbers are today.

At the same time, the Boston Globe reported on how this high number of Regent graduates might have been achieved:

One of those graduates is Monica Goodling , the former top aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who is at the center of the storm over the firing of US attorneys. Goodling, who resigned on Friday, has become the face of Regent overnight—and drawn a harsh spotlight to the administration’s hiring of officials educated at smaller, conservative schools with sometimes marginal academic reputations.

Documents show that Goodling, who has asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying before Congress, was one of a handful of officials overseeing the firings. She helped install Timothy Griffin , the Karl Rove aide and her former boss at the Republican National Committee, as a replacement US attorney in Arkansas.

Because Goodling graduated from Regent in 1999 and has scant prosecutorial experience, her qualifications to evaluate the performance of US attorneys have come under fire. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, asked at a hearing: “Should we be concerned with the experience level of the people who are making these highly significant decisions?”

SEE ALSO

ADL Outraged at Pat Robertson’s Remarks Blaming Sharon’s Stroke on the Wrath of God http://www.adl.org/PresRele/IslME_62/4847_62.htm

Drawing U.S. Crowds With Anti-Islam Message, Laurie Goodstein http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/us/08gabriel.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

Evangelical Christians take aim at Islam, Dan Harris http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/Beliefs/story?id=130008&page=1

Evangelicals Speak Out On Pat Robertson’s comments on Sharon’s stroke http://www.adl.org/main_Interfaith/Evangelicals.htm

Ignoring history, Pat Robertson says America ‘belongs to Jesus’, Robert Sobel http://www.examiner.com/article/ignoring-history-pat-robertson-says-america-belongs-to-jesus

Islamophobia’s Unholy Trinity: Peter King, Dick Armey, and Pat Robertson http://www.politicususa.com/islamophobia-unholy-trinity.html

Rev. Jesse Jackson Condemns Pat Robertson’s Calls to Kill Venezuela President http://venezuelanalysis.com/news/1308

Jewish leader condemns Pat Robertson’s anti-Muslim remarks, Loonwatch http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/11/jewish-leader-condemns-pat-robertsons-anti-muslim-remarks/

REGENT UNIVERSITY
- Regent University Using the Law to ‘Further the Kingdom of God’ http://www.republicaffair.com/pat-robertsons-regent-university-using-the-law-to-further-the-kingdom-of-god.html
- New Evidence of Anti-Islam Bias Underscores Deep Challenges for FBI’s Reform Pledge, Spencer Ackerman http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/09/fbi-islam-domination/all/1
- Regent U: Pat Robertson’s Sorbonne http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/organizations/regent-university
- Gingrich Intends to Pack Courts with Judges from Regent and Liberty University, Federalist Society http://www.rightwingwatch.org/category/organizations/regent-university
- Bill Moyers Jurnal on Regent University http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/05112007/transcript1.html
- Romney reaches out to Christian right http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/05/AR2007050501081.html
- Giuliani To Regent University: ‘The Amount Of Influence You Have Is Really, Really Terrific’ http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2007/06/26/14284/giuliani-regent/
- Scandal puts spotlight on Christian law school: Grads influential in Justice Dept.  http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2007/04/08/scandal_puts_spotlight_on_christian_law_school/?page=1
- The Press Discovers Pat Robertson’s Real Influence (Thanks to the Other Monica), Max Blumenthal http://www.huffingtonpost.com/max-blumenthal/the-press-discovers-pat-r_b_45322.html

Making Islamophobia Mainstream: How Muslim-bashers broadcast their bigotry http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3648

Not to be outdone by Robertson, Mohler claimed that Buddhism, Hinduism, and Marxism are “demonstration[s] of satanic power”  http://mediamatters.org/research/200603200013

PFAW Condemns Pat Robertson’s Comments on Haiti Earthquake http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/01/13-14

Msgr. Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington condemns Robertson’s Haiti remarks http://blog.adw.org/2010/01/pat-robertson-gets-it-wrong/

Colin Powell expresses outrage over Robertson’s “nuke the state department” comments http://www.wnd.com/2003/10/21224/

Pat Robertson Calling For Divine Intervention Against The Broncos For Ditching Tim Tebow http://www.radaronline.com/exclusives/2012/03/pat-robertson-peyton-manning-tim-tebow-televangelist

Pat Robertson: Fighting Muslims Is Just Like Fighting Nazis, Loonwatch   http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/06/pat-robertson-fighting-muslims-is-just-like-figthing-nazis/ 

Pat Robertson: Islam isn’t a Religion; treat Muslims like Fascists http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/11/pat-robertson-islam-isnt-a-religion-treat-muslims-like-fascists/

Pat Robertson: Fueling the Mosque Arson in Murfreesboro, Liam Fox   http://www.secularnewsdaily.com/2010/09/pat-robertson-fueling-the-mosque-arson/ 

Pat Robertson continues the fight against halal food http://www.islamophobiatoday.com/2011/01/05/pat-robertson-continues-the-fight-against-halal-food/

Pat Robertson: If Your Wife Has Alzheimer’s, Divorce Her and Move On http://fromtheleft.wordpress.com/2011/09/16/pat-robertson-if-your-wife-has-alzheimers-divorce-her-and-move-on/

Robertson’s 700 Club features story of phony ex-terrorist Kamal Saleem http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/11/700-club-features-story-of-phony-ex-terrorist/

Pat Robertson, the Taliban, and destruction of “idols”, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/destroying-idols/0019143

Robertson And Spencer Agree: Media Love Islam ‘Cult’ Because They Hate America http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/08/robertson-and-spencer-agree-media-love-islam-%E2%80%98cult%E2%80%99-because-they-hate-america/

Pat Robertson on Ft. Hood: Islam is ‘not a religion’ and Muslims should be treated like ‘some fascist group.’  http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2009/11/10/68673/robertson-muslim-fascist/

Pat Robertson QUOTES http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0149408/quotes

Pat Robertson Warns that the Left and Muslim-Americans ‘Want Sharia Law,’ Attacks Anti-Defamation League http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/pat-robertson-warns-left-and-muslim-americans-want-sharia-law-attacks-anti-defamation-league

Pat Robertson: The Anti-Christ Is Islam http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/pat-robertson-the-anti-christ-is-islam/news/2011/08/22/25682

Pat Robertson backgrounder http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Pat_Robertson

Pat Robertson Says You Should be Christian First and American Second, But Attacks Muslims Who Put Religion Ahead of Nationality http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/pat-robertson-says-you-should-be-christian-first-and-american-second-attacks-muslims-who-put

Robert Spencer Joins Pat Robertson: The Media Loves Radical Islam, Charles Johnson http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/38968_Robert_Spencer_Joins_Pat_Robertson-_The_Media_Loves_Radical_Islam/comments/

Televangelist condemns Pennsylvania town for anti-creationism policy http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2005/nov/12/usa.julianborger2

Virginia Governor-elect Bob McDonnell refuses to disavow Pat Robertson’s anti-Islam comments.  http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2009/11/19/70224/robertson-mcdonnell-islam/

What if a Muslim had said that?, Hesham Hassaballa http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/what_if_a_muslim_had_said_that

Where is the U.S. Government Getting It’s Information on Islam and Muslims?, Sheila Musaji http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/where_is_the_u.s._government_getting_its_information_on_islam_and_musl

While Condemning Religious Bigotry, Romney Aligns Himself With Anti-Muslim Activists http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/while-condemning-religious-bigotry-romney-aligns-himself-anti-muslim-activists

Why do we condemn Anti-Semitism, but not Anti-Islam?, Mohamed Elmasry http://www.mediamonitors.net/elmasry38.html

Why Pat Robertson isn’t treated as a terrorist, John Chuckman http://theamericanmuslim.org/tam.php/features/articles/why_pat_robertson_isnt_treated_as_a_terrorist


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