It 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