Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pat Robertson: Still Preaching Idiocy

For more than 30 years, Republicans have been kowtowing to Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson, the host of the ultraconservative religious show called The 700 Club.  He’s a former Southern Baptist minister who also serves as Chancellor of Regent University, which he founded, and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network.  Son of a U.S. Senator, he is also credited with creating the ABC Family Channel, the American Center for Law & Justice, and the Christian Coalition.

The Kentucky native who graduated from Yale Law School was once a credible, although ultimately unsuccessful, presidential candidate.  He has power, authority and millions of followers.  For decades, he has been the voice and face of conservative Christians.

He also must have a taste for shoe leather given how often he sticks his foot in his mouth. 

About 4.5 billion years old
Not that long ago, he ran afoul of the religious fanatics in his audience by conceding that science has proved that the Earth is really billions of years old and not the few thousand they fervently believe.  That seemingly simply agreement with hard data created a strange situation for him:  it essentially undercut claims of Bible accuracy, the bedrock of his beliefs and those of his followers.

Now, he’s taking on another fundamental Christian belief after receiving the following question from a viewer of his show.  Even conceding that anyone watching his program has to be mortally stupid, this question touched new depth:

A woman said, “I buy a lot of clothes and other items at Goodwill and other secondhand shops. Recently, my mom told me that I need to pray over the items, bind familiar spirits, and bless the items before I bring them into the house. Is my mother correct? Can demons attach themselves to material items?”

Robertson’s answer was somehow even more moronic:

Demonic Goodwill clothing
“Can demonic spirits attach themselves to inanimate objects? The answer is yes. But I don't think every sweater you get from Goodwill has demons in it. But in a sense, your mother's just being super cautious so, hey, it isn't gonna hurt you any to rebuke any spirits that happen to have attached themselves to those clothes.”

Evil spirits attach to clothes?  That sounds familiar, but not in Christian beliefs.  In modern Wicca, which Christian fundamentalists dismiss as witchcraft, all objects contain spirits.  Ancient Druids thought the same thing.  So did ancient Greeks and Romans.

Of course.  In Robertson’s view, modern, conservative Christians, so condescending and smug, apparently are nothing more than pagans in sheep’s clothing. 

Even granting that Robertson is 82 and may not be thinking as clearly, this is breathtakingly imbecilic.  In fact, his view is so inane that it almost reaches the depths of other things he has said over the years. 

Here are a few gems:

1)      "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."

Caused by gays?
2)      "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."

3)      "If the widespread practice of homosexuality will bring about the destruction of your nation… it'll bring about earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor.”

He’s not fond of Islam either, calling the world’s fastest-growing faith with more than 1 billion adherents a “religion of chaos” that is almost “demonic.”  It’s not really a religion, he also said, but “an economic and political system with a religious veneer.”

Maybe viewers turn on his show because they think it’s a comedy.  Or, maybe, fundamentalists really are the imbeciles that Robertson takes them for.  In that case, he's the perfect mirror.

Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history.  He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida.  You can reach him at  He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion.  His books are available on, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers.  He can also be followed on Twitter.

You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at

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