Re-broadcasting the True Pat Robertson Edmund S. Cohen Free Inquiry, Winter 1987/88 Vol 8
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?
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank