“I was taken out of context.” Yeah, right.
From the Rachel Maddow blog:
Radical TV preacher Pat Robertson has made a career out of making ridiculous comments, but yesterday, the televangelist broke new ground on his own Christian Broadcasting Network.
For those who can’t watch clips online (or if this clip is removed from YouTube before I can find a replacement), Right Wing Watch spotted a doozy: Robertson told his viewers that that gay men in cities like San Francisco attempt to spread HIV/AIDS to others by cutting them with a special ring when shaking hands.
Co-host Terry Meeuwsen seemed to want to move the conversation along, but Robertson stuck to his crazy guns. “You know what they do in San Francisco, some in the gay community there they want to get people so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” the TV preacher said.
“Really?” Meeuwsen asked, incredulously. “Yes, really,” Robertson replied.
And while the televangelist’s over-the-top rhetoric is painfully common, this one was especially interesting because of what happened next.
After Robertson’s comments were aired, the Christian Broadcasting Network posted the episode online — but edited out this portion of the program.
In other words, Robertson’s anti-gay hysteria was so ridiculous, even his own network was reluctant to allow people to see it. Indeed, CBN even forced YouTube to take down the clip posted by Right Wing Watch. (It was re-posted by many others, including the version included above.)
Robertson really shouldn’t say things on national television if he doesn’t want people to see them.
When The Atlantic asked for comment, Robertson said he “regret[s] that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said.” He added, “In no wise [sic] were my remarks meant as an indictment of the homosexual community or, for that fact, to those infected with this dreadful disease.”
There is no context in which it makes sense to accuse gay people in San Francisco of deliberately cutting others in the hopes of deliberately spreading the AIDS virus.
Robertson’s remarkably active imagination notwithstanding, there is no evidence to bolster his assertions.
Senile? Barmy? Waste of useful oxygen? You tell us, Dear Reader. What is MOST worrying is people listen to this nonsense every day, and repeat it as if it is fact. In a week when a transgender woman was beaten to death outside a police station merely for wanting to be who she is, provoking the usual wail of ‘why are people like this?’ the answer is ‘people are like this because they are constantly fed rubbish from those who should know better’.
Rubbish? Spend a moment and consider some of Robertson’s other equally cautiously considered statements:
He wishes, for example, that Facebook had a ‘vomit’ button, so that he could click on it every time he came across a photograph of a gay couple kissing. (Why is he looking? Ed.) Anyhow, a viewer wanted to know how to address images of same-sex couples on social media sites, such as Facebook.
Robertson commented “You’ve got a couple of same-sex guys kissing, do you like that? Well that makes me want to throw up,” he said.
“To me I would punch ‘Vomit;’ not ‘Like,'” he added “But they don’t give you that option on Facebook.”
That was not the first time Robertson, 83, has used vomit to express his sentiments on homosexuality.
Robertson has also said the land would “vomit out” those who disobeyed the commandments of the Old Testament.
Here are some more controversial and colorful comments the “evangelist” has made that have gone viral:
To a man whose wife does not respect him as ‘head of the household”
Robertson answered a question from a viewer named Michael about how to repair his marriage.
Robertson’s response: “Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her.”
Think I’m kidding?
In case you cant see the video, bizarrely, this comment elicits laughter from Robertson’s co-host, Terry Meeuwsen.
Unfortunately, Robertson didn’t stop there.
“I don’t think we condone wife-beating these days but something has got to be done to make her.”
He also called the woman a “rebellious child” who doesn’t want to “submit to any authority.” However, since the Scripture doesn’t allow for divorce, Robertson urged the husband to “move to Saudi Arabia,” where, ostensibly, presumably, beating the woman would be permissible.
To a woman whose husband committed adultery
“Males have a tendency to wander a little bit. And what you want to do is make a home so wonderful he doesn’t want to wander.”
(Hang on, no stoning? Ed.)
On a man with an Alzheimer’s-stricken wife
“I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but to make sure she has custodial care and somebody (is) looking after her.”
Asked what about the “Till death do us part” part of the marriage vow, he said Alzheimer’s is “a kind of death.”
On Walt Disney World’s “Gay Days”
“I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you. It’ll bring about terrorist bombs; it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor.”
On the role of a man and a woman
“I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household, and the husband is the head of the wife, and that’s the way it is, period.”
“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.”
On why Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had a stroke
“God considers this land to be his. You read the Bible and he says ‘This is my land,’ and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, ‘No, this is mine.’ He was dividing God’s land. And I would say, ‘Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the E.U., the United Nations, or the United States of America.’ God says, ‘This land belongs to me. You better leave it alone.'”
(Not because he was a fat old guy under considerable stress, of course. Ed.)
On the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake
“They were under the heel of the French, you know, Napoleon the third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the prince.’ True story.
And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal.’ And they kicked the French out. The Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by one thing after another.”
“Many of those people involved in Adolf Hitler were Satanists. Many were homosexuals. The two things seem to go together.”
On assassinating Hugo Chavez
“You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”
On the tornadoes that ravaged the Midwest in 2012
“If enough people were praying, (God) would’ve intervened. You could pray. Jesus stilled the storm. You can still storms.”
In my opinion this man is about as Christian as a housebrick, and as soon as he is gathered unto his Maker, which really can’t be all that far way now now, thank goodness, he will be going straight to his eternal reward, which, incidentally, will be to a loud and persistent soundtrack of wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Robertson is in mo way a minor person, so far on the fringe that he can be idly ignored. In September 1986, Robertson announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for President of the United States.
He said he would pursue the nomination only if three million people signed up to volunteer for his campaign by September 1987. Somewhat astoundingly 9and worryingly) three million responded, and by the time Robertson announced he would be running in September 1987, he also had raised millions of dollars for his campaign fund. He surrendered his ministerial credentials and turned leadership of CBN over to his son, Tim.
Robertson ran on a oft-adopted radical right platform. Among his policies, he wanted to ban pornography, reform the education system, and eliminate departments such as the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. He also supported a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.
His campaign got off to a strong second-place finish in the Iowa caucus, ahead of George Bush Snr. He did poorly in the subsequent New Hampshire primary, however, and was unable to be competitive once the multiple-state primaries began. Subjected to the oxygen of publicity, Robertson ended his campaign before the primaries were finished. His best finish was in Washington, winning the majority of caucus delegates. He later spoke at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans and told his remaining supporters to cast their votes for Bush, who ended up winning the nomination and the election. He then returned to CBN and has remained there.
He appears to be – on many levels – a thoroughly horrible individual.
Of the time he spent at Washington and Lee University, where he received a B.A. in History, graduating magna cum laude. Robertson has said, “Although I worked hard at my studies, my real major centered around lovely young ladies who attended the nearby girls schools.” Ah yes, the gals. Nice.
In 1948, the draft was reinstated and Robertson was given the option of joining the Marine Corps or being drafted into the army; he opted for the first.
In his words, “We did long, gruelling marches to toughen the men, plus refresher training in firearms and bayonet combat.” In the same year, he transferred to Korea.
“I ended up at the headquarters command of the First Marine Division,” said Robertson. “The Division was in combat in the hot and dusty, then bitterly cold portion of North Korea just above the 38th Parallel later identified as the ‘Punchbowl’ and ‘Heartbreak Ridge.’ For that service in the Korean War, the Marine Corps awarded me three battle stars for ‘action against the enemy.'”
However, former Republican Congressman Paul “Pete” McCloskey, Jr., who served with Robertson in Korea, wrote a public letter which said that Robertson was actually spared combat duty when his powerful father, a conservative Democrat U.S. Senator, intervened on his behalf, and that Robertson spent most of his time in an office in Japan.
According to McCloskey, his time in the service was not in combat but as the “liquor officer” responsible for keeping the officers’ clubs supplied with liquor. Robertson filed a $35 million libel suit against McCloskey in 1986.* He dropped the case in 1988, before it came to trial and paid McCloskey’s court costs.
*”Evangelist sues over combat story”. The Globe and Mail. (Toronto, Ont.). October 23, 1986. p. A.16.
**”Rpbertson’s libel suit by judge ex congressman ruled the legal victor” Philadelphia Daily News. March 7, 1988. p. 14.
By the way, McClosky is himself an interesting man, warranting more than a footnote in American political history. One of McCloskey’s enduring legacies is his co-authorship of the 1973 Endangered Species Act. A highly decorated war veteran and one-time moderate Republican turned Democrat, he was the first member of Congress to publicly call for the impeachment of President Nixon after the Watergate scandal and the Saturday Night Massacre. He was also the first lawmaker to call for a repeal of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that allowed for the War in Vietnam.
He had sought the 1972 Republican Presidential nomination on a pro-peace/anti-Vietnam War platform, and obtained 11% of the vote against incumbent President Richard M. Nixon in the New Hampshire primary. At the Republican National Convention in Miami Beach, Florida, Rep. McCloskey received one vote (out of 1324) from a New Mexico delegate. All other votes cast went to President Nixon, thus McCloskey technically finished in second place in the race for the Presidential nomination that year.
Anyway. Never did two more more vividly demonstrate the ‘broad church’ that is the American Republican Party. Or as I prefer to categorise it, the divide between those worth listening to, and those who should be flung into the outer darkness by some avenging angel.