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Greg P

Upcoming Documentary About the Reverend Pat Robertson

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There's an upcoming documentary about his mid-90's "relief" efforts in Rwanda. (read: diamond mining) I decided to post here, rather than the Film Forum, so that Robertson's tactics and beliefs could be discussed in more detail.

 

On one hand I'm not totally surprised by the details-- I'd read a few things in the past about the dicey nature of Operation Blessing-- but if even half is true, it takes the whole televangelist thing to a whole new level of despicable. 

 

 

 

 

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Link to our dedicated thread on the film (which is called Mission Congo).

 

Also, links to our now-locked threads on looney statements by televangelists (Aug 2005 - Feb 2008) and Bono vs Pat Robertson (Jan-Feb 2006, after which "topic drift" took the thread in other directions).

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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The love of money is the root of all kinds of evils, the Bible says. Those who desire to be rich run away from the faith and pierce themselves with many pains. But as for you, man of God, flee these things.

What hits me the most in all of this is the utter lack of humility. Humility - in even the smallest degree - would lead someone to be ashamed when their sins come to light, and to turn from them. Instead, we see that Robertson continues to use these claims to raise money, has never acknowledged his sin in this matter, and just brazenly pushes forward, smiling as if nothing had ever happened. Maybe that's not surprising to anyone but me, but *I'm* ashamed of his sins. I am resolved never to covet money ever again because of what I've read. If the exposure of his sins has that effect on my heart, why does it have no effect on his?

And please, I don't say this in a "Denes is such a good person" sense. But in a "Denes can't fathom what is going on behind Robertson's face" sense.

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If this is true.  Then I'm utterly shocked that one (or many) could have such hardened over consciences to do such things.  We don't just find appalling  the selfish use of money when it aught to help the downtrodden.  He's using hard earned money that probably thousands of people have entrusted to him, to do good with.

 

Then, in the midst of this, he gets on his T.V. show and says that God's judgment is going to (or has) fall(en) upon others.

 

 

It's bizarre where a person's mind can go.  

 

 

If this is true, then people aught to be outraged.  He's already had many people turned off by his tactics, but this aught to be considered criminal before the courts.

 

 

Is it just me, or does there appear to be some sort of pattern with these types of folks?  Like Crimsonline, I'm not trying to pull the I'm better than thou card.  I just also can't quite get my head around why this could happen, especially when he would be surrounded by guidance from others throughout the years.  One would think that his amount of involvement in the Christian community would have some sort of affect in this area.  Including a connection to those who have been on the front lines where people were suffering.  Also seeing pictures and film footage of this.

Edited by Attica

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This is so much potential for this to generate extreme and thoughtless reactions that worry it might do more harm than good.

 

I don't want to see those I respect defending Robertson from this.  I don't want to see those who have legitimate criticisms of Robertson gleeful over this.  And I don't want to see this discredit criticisms of Robertson if it turns out to be exaggerated or overly one-sided.

 

The narrative here makes Robertson into an almost cartoonish villain.  It seems unbelievable - the type of thing a bad screenwriter would come up for a caricatured villain.

 

When it comes down to it, I believe Robertson has already proved himself to be both loony and dishonest.  We don't need to rely on something like this to claim that Robertson does damage and takes advantage of people.  If it's true, I suppose it's worth telling.  But if it's not true, Robertson's proved that he's a snake-oil-salesman already.  So, however it turns out should not change the fact that respectable leaders in the church should be (and have been) denouncing both Robertson's theology and irresponsible public statements for decades now.  He's already been anathema for a long time, and should remain so regardless.

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So, however it turns out should not change the fact that respectable leaders in the church should be (and have been) denouncing both Robertson's theology and irresponsible public statements for decades now.  He's already been anathema for a long time, and should remain so regardless.

I haven't heard much denouncing over the years from mainstream Evangelicals. And that's my biggest problem with him-- he's such an obvious charlatan and wingnut and yet the only people I hear calling him out are liberals and "fringe" A&F-er types like us. I find most right-leaning Evangelicals have trouble confronting these type of people for superstitious fear of "touching God's annointed" or because they feel doing so would somehow betray the Team.

 

Are you aware of any mainstream Evangelical leaders who have come out and publicly denounced his lies or hate-filled, bigoted statements? I'm not aware of any.

 

 

We don't need to rely on something like this to claim that Robertson does damage and takes advantage of people.  

 

 Oh man, I disagree. I think Evangelicals have been in denial for half a century about what televangelism is really all about. It's certainly not about God, and everyone on the planet seems to know this except Evangelicals. The depth of the moral degradation and the heartless abuse of the "widow's mite" needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

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I don't know about Evangelical "leaders," but I'll say this - I'm a Biblically and politically conservative evangelical pastor, and I've been pointing out Robertson's shenanigans - what I know of them - for a decade and a half. 

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Are you aware of any mainstream Evangelical leaders who have come out and publicly denounced his lies or hate-filled, bigoted statements? I'm not aware of any.

 

 

Ted Haggard did:  http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jan/07/world/fg-robertson7

Quote:

 

Evangelical leaders said Friday that they were embarrassed and incensed by televangelist Pat Robertson's assertion that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who had suffered a massive stroke, was stricken by God as punishment for ceding the Gaza Strip and a portion of the West Bank to Palestinians last summer.

Officials of conservative Christian churches and organizations suggested that Robertson was losing religious and political influence as a result of his remarks on Sharon and other recent controversial comments

 

Depends on what you mean by "criticism" from Evangelical leaders.  I'll let you clickthrough to see other names criticizing Robertson, but a simple Google search of "evangelical leaders criticize Pat Robertson" brings up a number of instances from a wide range of "leaders". 

Edited by Buckeye Jones

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Depends on what you mean by "criticism" from Evangelical leaders.  I'll let you clickthrough to see other names criticizing Robertson, but a simple Google search of "evangelical leaders criticize Pat Robertson" brings up a number of instances from a wide range of "leaders". 

 

I suppose Ted Haggard counted in 2006, when that article came out. Still, what they quoted certainly wasn't much of a denunciation. 

 

I often feel like waiting for Evangelical leaders to loudly denounce Robertson is like waiting for moderate Muslim clerics to denounce their extremist counterparts-- the condemnation so greatly deserved never quite seems to happen. And by condemnation (i know Christians are often averse to the term) I mean something on the order of, "Pat Robertson is a manipulative con artist and false prophet and no sensible person-- religious or otherwise-- should be listening to his advice... on anything, ever.

Edited by Greg P

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I think one barrier to this type of denunciation you look for is the decentralized nature of the evangelical church. Which us why I put "leader" in quotation marks. I originally googled Colson condemns Robertson, because I couldn't think of a leader. Billy graham maybe?

I think one barrier to this type of denunciation you look for is the decentralized nature of the evangelical church. Which us why I put "leader" in quotation marks. I originally googled Colson condemns Robertson, because I couldn't think of a leader. Billy graham maybe?

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Plus, as Terry Mattingly asks occasionally at GetReligion.org, how many people outside the media even regard Pat Robertson as a person worth listening to these days?

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Plus, as Terry Mattingly asks occasionally at GetReligion.org, how many people outside the media even regard Pat Robertson as a person worth listening to these days?

  It is not like he doesn't still get money from viewer donations.  People are sending him questions.  Somebody other than the media and religion watchdogs are listening to him.

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Thom--sure there are; and folks like my step-dad are his target audience.  Hard-right conservative, wonders why America has abandoned Jesus because there's no prayer in schools, fears that Obama is a communist plant from Nigeria, that the wine in John 2 was non-alcoholic, that we are under God's judgment because of the gays, and that the border needs a wall.

 

And he doesn't care what any seminary president or Christianity Today editor says, the media's just out to get Christians and stuff.  So, to the point earlier, evangelicalism is not a group that maintains hierarchical leadership--and one of the downsides of this from a formal structural standpoint is that sycophancy abounds.

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Plus, as Terry Mattingly asks occasionally at GetReligion.org, how many people outside the media even regard Pat Robertson as a person worth listening to these days?

  It is not like he doesn't still get money from viewer donations.  People are sending him questions.  Somebody other than the media and religion watchdogs are listening to him.

 

Absolutely. According the CBN's site, the 700 Club is aired on "ABC Family cable network, FamilyNet, Trinity Broadcasting Network, plus numerous local U.S. television stations, and is seen daily by approximately one million viewers." It's also broadcast in 139 countries, so I would say, the man has quite a little TV empire. Granted, I think his audience is mostly shut-ins and pentecostal/charismatic stay-at-home mom's, but it's undeniably a sizable audience. 

 

 

I think one barrier to this type of denunciation you look for is the decentralized nature of the evangelical church. Which us why I put "leader" in quotation marks.

Partly true. Also, I think Evangelicals (especially the large right-wing contingency) are averse to condemning televangelists like Robertson by name for fear of "friendly fire" in the midst of the cultural war they perceive themselves engaged in. "Sure he's an old crank, and sure he says some nutty stuff, but at least he's on our side of the homosexuality debate,..." etc... By and large, conservative evangelicals never condemn other conservative evangelicals. It's religious, partisan politics in a time of "war".   

 

But if even half of this documentary is true, this guy is one narcissistic, sociopathic SOB. If the documentary is not true, he's actually still a narcissistic, sociopathic SOB. Either way, Evangelical silence on this guy is unforgivable.    

Edited by Greg P

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Greg, who do you think should be condemning Robertson?

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:But if even half of this documentary is true, this guy is one narcissistic, sociopathic SOB. If the documentary is not true, he's actually still a narcissistic, sociopathic SOB.

 

 

That's a great line.   smile.png    But your right.  Even if the documentary isn't true, hopefully it would still have the ability to cause some to think about this guys other actions a little more.  I really have my doubts that there isn't anything true to this documentary.  Why would anybody set themselves up for such a potential firestorm.

Edited by Attica

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I think one barrier to this type of denunciation you look for is the decentralized nature of the evangelical church. Which us why I put "leader" in quotation marks.

Partly true. Also, I think Evangelicals (especially the large right-wing contingency) are averse to condemning televangelists like Robertson by name for fear of "friendly fire" in the midst of the cultural war they perceive themselves engaged in. "Sure he's an old crank, and sure he says some nutty stuff, but at least he's on our side of the homosexuality debate,..." etc... By and large, conservative evangelicals never condemn other conservative evangelicals. It's religious, partisan politics in a time of "war".

Edited by CrimsonLine

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Greg, who do you think should be condemning Robertson?

Anyone with even a hobbyest interest in morality or truth should be denouncing this man. One would think Evangelicals would be protective of their own movement and would publicly encourage people to stay far away from him, not donate, etc...  (Btw, I wonder the same for other televangelists as well, particularly those of the "healing crusade" variety like Benny Hinn , who might well be the biggest charlatan and deceiver that religious TV has ever produced)

 

Robertson's public shenanigans are almost as egregious as Hinn's and yet few speak out against him by name, because of his conservative political power. 

 

EDIT: CBN and Robertson lost their fight to keep this fecal matter off YouTube

Edited by Greg P

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Plus, as Terry Mattingly asks occasionally at GetReligion.org, how many people outside the media even regard Pat Robertson as a person worth listening to these days?

  It is not like he doesn't still get money from viewer donations.  People are sending him questions.  Somebody other than the media and religion watchdogs are listening to him.

 

Absolutely. According the CBN's site, the 700 Club is aired on "ABC Family cable network, FamilyNet, Trinity Broadcasting Network, plus numerous local U.S. television stations, and is seen daily by approximately one million viewers." It's also broadcast in 139 countries, so I would say, the man has quite a little TV empire. Granted, I think his audience is mostly shut-ins and pentecostal/charismatic stay-at-home mom's, but it's undeniably a sizable audience.

I'll sometimes watch clips of those question segments just to be haunted by how what they ask Pat and the regard in which they hold his input in makes him look like an almost Pope-like authority, which I find a little ironic due to the SBC being, well, a Protestant denomination. It seems that Martin Luther's philosophical and theological opposition to putting one on such a pedestal may have seeped into the various denominations he opened the door for, but televangelism, in my agnostic view, appears to have overridden that notion.

 

 

If this is really all false, defamatory brouhaha, than I'm glad they apologized. However, I haven't seen the documentary or read much on the affair, so it makes me feel a little cynical, as if this retraction is signalling the activation of that apparently impenetrable deflector shield on Robertson's part.

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