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Pat Robertson is Not Just Sensationalist, He's Dangerous

Pat Robertson Right on the MoneyIt is easy to dislike Pat Robertson. One of my favorite responses to his abhorrent remarks about the Haiti earthquake was a message that popped up on Twitter: “Text ‘666’ to donate $10 to buy a hand basket big enough for Pat Robertson.

Over at Religion Dispatches, Mark Hulsether has assembled a list of the Top Five (Less Sensational But More Dangerous) Things to Remember About Pat Robertson. Among them:

Robertson plays his part in the Iran-Contra scandal.

During the Central American civil wars of the 1980s, Robertson helped fund “cities of refuge” in Guatemala (what were called “strategic hamlets” in Vietnam), and camps for Nicaraguan Contras. Though trivial in scale compared to the policies of Bush and Cheney, allies of Reagan, funded illegally through the Iran-Contra connection and related schemes, were carrying out sadistic massacres in parts of countries they considered to be too leftist. Congressional Democrats were trying to stop the violence; which is what led Reagan, Oliver North, and others to develop illegal channels. Robertson cheerfully presented his piece of this puzzle as an opportunity for Christian mission. He even appeared on camera, with no apparent shame, to pray with Contra troops.

Robertson publishes an anti-Semitic screed and neo-conservative allies yawn.

Robertson’s 1991 book, The New World Order, recycled anti-Semitic conspiracy theories reminiscent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and stated that George Bush Sr. was part of a conspiracy to institute “an occult-inspired world socialist dictatorship” (through his work with the United Nations in the first Gulf War). This caused few of Robertson’s neoconservative allies to break with him in any decisive way—although one former neocon, Michael Lind, denounced him in a major exposé in the New York Review of Books.

It goes on and on, just like Robertson himself. “Even if we discount Robertson’s extreme expressions… as harmless free speech, are these not remarkable simply at the level of imagination and hate speech?” Hulsether writes. “What if secular leftists or radical Muslims were to advocate similar scenarios of armed struggle or to use similar hate speech? What if they controlled television networks and were leading presidential candidates? Would federal prosecutors and mainstream news networks tolerate such behavior? Is it not remarkable that we take such things for granted from Robertson? As a wise media critic once said, ‘it’s a joke, but it’s not that funny.’”

Source: Religion Dispatches

larry linn_2
1/26/2010 6:37:39 PM

George Carlin summed it up, "Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever ’til the end of time! But He loves you. He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit"


tod colby
1/26/2010 5:10:23 PM

I agree with faultroy: Pat Robertson is a quack and serious thinkers don't take quacks seriously. Only extremists fall for people like Robertson and they are dangerous regardless of who jerks the chain to get the dog barking. Conversely, word tailors like Guntzel (apparently) ARE taken as serious purveyors of thought, even when their rendition of facts is overly embellished. Having first-hand experience in Central America in the early 80's, I take exception to being labeled as someone who commits "sadistic massacres." Those Death Squads in El Salvador were just as dangerous to U.S. personnel as they were to everyone else (and never based themselves in Guatemala). Crafting stories based on fragments that fit your own rendition of history is an art much more dangerous than venom or rhetoric being spewed from a pulpit to a bunch of like-minded sheeple.


eric solstein
1/26/2010 2:38:03 PM

No shortage of problems, and Pat Robertson is very much one of them. He, like his spiritual brothers - Islamic fundamentalists, are looking at the sky as they dig a hole in the ground and fill it with the toxic mix of faith, ignorance and intolerance. These people make no bones about their desire to toss the rest of us into that hole. As for bloggers, yes, the loudest mouths with the least hands-on experience, find links to "prove" any fantasy, whence some errant brain-wave manages to penetrate their all too porous craniums. Present company excepted. We have too much information and self-expression combined with too little thinking and compassion.


pe_5
1/26/2010 2:00:02 PM

So the last election (of Obama) was one of "massive swings" to, one guesses, the Left? Sounds like one of the wingnuts the author decries. An interesting defense of Robertson-- let's be quiet and maybe he'll go away. Those not quiet are only in it for the money (unlike poor Pat). The little that's left (right?) of US democracy is poorly served by voices of silence.


faultroy_2
1/26/2010 1:56:39 PM

I don't think that Pat Robertson is dangerous. I certainly have no love of Robertson. But the people that I do think are dangerous are people like this author that seem to make their money on words--other peoples words--like Pat Robertson. In the last 10 years there has been an explosion of Bloggers. Bloggers on the Right and Left wring hands, pontificate, become self appointed Pundits and vie for media exposure in order to generate income--for themselves. The problem is that they are not held to the old Journalism Standards of fairness,honesty and balance. We have always had fringe personalities like Robertson. Politics is about consensus. The real problem is that both the Left and the Right are trying to persuade the majority Middle. When you keep giving exposure to either extremes, you develop what we have today--massive swings to the Right and Left (consider the election of Barack Obama)that actually destabilizes a country and its electorate. These far left/right policy swings are what actually undermines a society since policies cannot be left in place long enough to either prove or disprove their efficacy. People like Roberston are not the problem--the authors that give exposure to Right and Left Wingnuts are the real problem--and they are usually bloggers that sit around like Spiders waiting for a fly to bounce into their webs to feed on.


faultroy_2
1/26/2010 1:44:47 PM

I don't think that Pat Robertson is dangerous. I certainly have no love of Robertson. But the people that I do think are dangerous are people like this author that seem to make their money on words--other peoples words--like Pat Robertson. In the last 10 years there has been an explosion of Bloggers. Bloggers on the Right and Left wring hands, pontificate, become self appointed Pundits and vie for media exposure in order to generate income--for themselves. The problem is that they are not held to the old Journalism Standards of fairness,honesty and balance. We have always had fringe personalities like Robertson. Politics is about consensus. The real problem is that both the Left and the Right are trying to persuade the majority Middle. When you keep giving exposure to either extremes, you develop what we have today--massive swings to the Right and Left (consider the election of Barack Obama)that actually destabilizes a country and its electorate. These far left/right policy swings are what actually undermines a society since policies cannot be left in place long enough to either prove or disprove their efficacy. People like Roberston are not the problem--the authors that give exposure to Right and Left Wingnuts are the real problem--and they are usually bloggers that sit around like Spiders waiting for a fly to bounce into their webs to feed on.