Re-broadcasting the True Pat Robertson

Edmund S. Cohen
Free Inquiry, Winter 1987/88 Vol 8. No. 1

[Some introductory material omitted]

In the late 1970s, Robertson was obsessed with an end-of-the-world scenario involving ten Common Market nations ruled by a charismatic leader who would turn out to be the antichrist in disguise. He became convinced that the battle of Armageddon, consisting of Russia invading Israel but being miraculously demolished by the Israel Defense Forces, would take place in 1982. Gerry [Straub] was then involved in earnest plans for CBN to televise the Second Coming. Robertson and his CBN staff imagined that Christ would return and preside for a thousand years over the only _right_ kind of government--a theocracy. Robertson's presidential aspirations came in the wake of his disappointment that this prophecy went unfulfilled.

Recent statements I have videotaped indicate that Robertson still believes that the world will end in a cataclysm where the forces of evil will be pitted against the forces of good. For Robertson, the forces of evil consist of Communism, socialism, one-worldism, secular humanism, liberalism, false religions (ie, all those other than Christianity and Orthodox Judaism), feminism, and homosexuality, all of which conspire malignantly against God's people. On the campaign trail, he calls again and again for the "eradication of Communism." Yet he says it so smoothly that his followers never think to ask what that "eradication" might really entail.

The most extreme of Robertson's utterances that we hope to get widely aired (ones that do not require long explanations of his convoluted theology to bring out their obscene implications) are:

1. his recommendation that there be special Christian courts to rule on the validity of "spirit-filled" Christians' claims that direct instructions from God induced them to break the law. If the Christian judges rule that the message from God was authentic, the accused will become immune from prosecution for illegal acts committed in obedience to that message.

2. His proposal that there be prophetic Christian police authorized to arrest those whom God says will commit crimes in the future. It seems that in Robertson's utopia divine revelations can be used against dissidents much as psychiatric diagnoses are used in the Soviet Union--or as "spectral evidence" was used in the Salem Witch Trials.

3. Robertson's stated belief that sometimes God, through a prophet, instructs his chosen people to exterminate an unregenerate human group completely, to "kill them all" in order to stop that group from procreating additional generations who would ultimately overpopulate Hell. Remember, Robertson proclaims himself a prophet, receiving and obeying divine marching orders just as Moses did. Coming from him, such a statement is no mere exercise in theoretical theology.

The "bottom line" of all this? Robertson's beliefs and past statements necessarily imply that he could delude himself that God has instructed him to start a nuclear war in order to bring about the events described in 2 Peter 3:10-13. Just as readily, he could delude himself into thinking that God has instructed him to carry out exterminations of vulnerable minorities. Can anybody imagine worse proclivities than these for a potential president of the United States?