Pretty much everyone knows who Pat Robertson is, the TV Evangelist and host of the “700 club”. I always knew him to be right wing conservative and I remember seeing him on TV when I was growing up, but never really paid much attention to him. I’m sure over the years he’s made plenty of comments about what he feels is sin and the need for repentance and the grace of God. But more recently I feel like he’s gone off the deep end. And no matter how much good he’s done in his life for the ministry of Christ, someone needs to help Pat Robertson realize its time to quit. I believe that Pat Robertson is starting to do more harm than good for Christianity anymore.
I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with him and it would be unfair to dismiss him as a senile old man. But the claims he makes anymore are bordering on the absurd. In a world increasingly hostile and skeptical of organized religion, outrageous claims about God’s wrath and judgment every time something happens is ridiculous.
In a media saturated age, he can’t make little offhand comments on TV that only his most devoted followers see. Those comments go viral instantly. And as they do, they add fodder to a growing anti-christian sentiment. What brought it to a head for me was last week after Peyton Manning signed with the Denver Bronco’s and Tim Tebow was subsequently traded. He made a comment that if Manning were injured it would “serve them (the Bronco’s) right” for mistreating Tebow. This comes after comments that the people who lost their homes in Indiana due to the tornadoes could have prevented it if they prayed harder. That homosexuality is a form of demonic possession. And don’t forget Haiti’s “pact with the devil” he claimed the country made that resulted in an earthquake that has left the country a wasteland 2 years later.
By Pat Robertson’s rationale we should be able to make the following assumptions:
1. There’s no such thing as starving people. If they prayed and believed hard enough they could turn all their rocks into bread
2. Bad things don’t happen to good people. If something bad happens to you, it’s your fault for lack of faith.
3. Children sold as slaves are being punished by God. Spare the rod and spoil the child.
Can you see how absurd these sound? I believe in the power of prayer and faith in a living God. But my question would be, if Pat Robertson died of a car accident would his followers see it as an act of condemnation from God?
Christians shouldn’t let individuals like Pat Robertson represent them while making statements like that. Someone close to him needs to ask “Mr. Robertson, do you really believe that or are you just saying it for ratings?” Where is the outrage from Christian communities saying he doesn’t speak for us? Where is someone like Billy Graham making a statement saying “Pat is a great person who has done great things for God’s kingdom, but he’s out of line on this one”.
All this does is place a greater divide between those within the church’s walls and those still seeking to understand God. It feeds the fire of anti-theism by pointing out a God no better than Zeus, Odin, and Ra. It doesn’t share the “Good News” of a savior who died for the salvation of the world. And that’s not how I want my faith and Christianity to be shared with an unbelieving world.
I don’t think it’s good for Pat Robertson anymore and people who not only care about the message of Christianity that is being shared by him, but also those who just care about him as a person need to do something. Otherwise, a new generation will dismiss him as a crazy old man who says crazy things and really doesn’t get it. And along with him, they’ll tune out the message of grace that anyone else talking about the same God might have to say.