Saturday, January 16, 2010

In His Own Words: Pat Robertson on Haiti (And Almost Everybody Else)

Photo illustration by Anthony DeVito

There are no shortage of bad guys in US politics at the moment, any one of whom I could write about at length. Sarah Palin, whose arrogant stupidity makes her the perfect post-W political celebrity; Dick Cheney, whose spotted hands are busy re-writing history every moment, even as it happens; Liz Cheney, whose entire qualification as a conservative pundit seems to be sharing her father's surname and easy gift for lying; Rudy Giuliani, who seemed to forget that 9/11 happened at all-- let alone that it happened during the Bush presidency... ironically negating the entire justification for his political second (third?) act; etc. etc. etc.

But even in my worst moment I could not have guessed at the smug cruelty displayed by Pat Robertson this week when he attributed the devastating earthquake in Haiti to a pact with the devil made by Haitian slaves to free themselves from French colonization. Robertson said,

"Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it... 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'll get us free from the French.' True story ... And the devil said, 'OK, it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after another."

In other words, he blamed the Haitian people for their own tragic misfortune and used Haiti's checkered political history as proof of its "original sin", a tautology that only the most serpentine brain could conceive. And he did it at the moment of Haiti's greatest suffering, when children are still trapped beneath rubble and people are dying in the streets from broken bones because there are no antibiotics anywhere.

The Haiti/Devil story is an apocryphal legend, like George Washington's cherry tree, which says more about the character of the person who repeats it than of Haiti itself. But what might pass for stunning tone-deafness in another person emerges as a pattern of willful, hateful comments (that are incitements to violence as often as not) in Pat Robertson. This man is a human cancer-- and the fact that he clothes his racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia and assorted other hatreds in a perverse, fun house mirror version of "Christianity" is sick-making. There is nothing of Christ in him.

The most effective way to make my point is simply to let Robertson speak for himself...

On Hurricane Katrina [Which Robertson suggested was divine retribution for abortion]:

"I was reading… a book that was very interesting about what God has to say in the Old Testament about those who shed innocent blood… Have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected?"

On New Year's 2010 [ After God told Robertson He would not bless the United States because of abortion and homosexuality]:

"You can't have legislation that is anti-God. You can't foster in your midst things that I call an abomination… If you do, sooner or later judgment's going to come."

On a bomb attack on the United States he prophesied in January 2007:

"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear. The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."

On Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke in 2006, which he blamed on Sharon's stated intention to make peace with Palestinians and give them land (Yeah, he shouldn't have worried):

"He was dividing God's land and I would say woe unto any Prime Minister of Israel who takes a similar course…God says 'this land belongs to me. You'd better leave it alone.'"

On Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2005:

"(Chavez) thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don’t think any oil shipments will stop… We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability."

On Jews:

"The Antichrist is probably a Jew alive in Israel today."

On Muslims:

"I want to say it again, and again, and again: Islam is not a religion, it's a political system meant on -- bent on world domination, not a religion. It masquerades as a religion, but the religion covers a worldwide attempt to exercise power and to subjugate the world into their way of thinking."

On Hindus:

"We're importing Hinduism into America. The whole thought of your karma, of meditation, of the fact that there's no end of life and there's this endless wheel of life, this is all Hinduism. Chanting too. Many of those chants are to Hindu Gods -- Vishnu, Hare Krishna. The origin of it is all demonic. We can't let that stuff come into America. We've got the best defense, if you will -- a good offense."

On Hindus and Muslims:

"The media challenged me. `You're not going to bring atheists into the government? How dare you maintain that those who believe the Judeo-Christian values are better qualified to govern America than Hindus and Muslims?' My simple answer is, `Yes, they are.'"

On Episcopalians, Presbyterians and Methodists:

"You say you're supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense, I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the Antichrist."

On women [in a 1992 fundraising letter]:

"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 post-Apartheid South Africa:

"I think 'one man, one vote,' just unrestricted democracy, would not be wise. There needs to be some kind of protection for the minority which the white people represent now, a minority, and they need and have a right to demand a protection of their rights."

On Planned Parenthood in 1991:

"(Planned Parenthood) is teaching kids to fornicate, teaching people to have adultery, every kind of bestiality, homosexuality, lesbianism – everything that the Bible condemns."

On 9/11, in conversation with Jerry Falwell:

JERRY FALWELL: "And I agree totally with you that the Lord has protected us so wonderfully these 225 years. And since 1812, this is the first time that we've been attacked on our soil and by far the worst results. And I fear, as Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense, said yesterday, that this is only the beginning. And with biological warfare available to these monsters - the Husseins, the Bin Ladens, the Arafats--what we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact--if, in fact--God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve."

PAT ROBERTSON: "Jerry, that's my feeling. I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population."

JERRY FALWELL: "The ACLU's got to take a lot of blame for this."

PAT ROBERTSON: "Well, yes."

JERRY FALWELL: "And, I know that I'll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way--all of them who have tried to secularize America--I point the finger in their face and say 'you helped this happen.'"

PAT ROBERTSON: "Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we're responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system."

JERRY FALWELL: "Pat, did you notice yesterday the ACLU, and all the Christ-haters, People For the American Way, NOW, etc. were totally disregarded by the Democrats and the Republicans in both houses of Congress as they went out on the steps and called out on to God in prayer and sang "God Bless America" and said "let the ACLU be hanged"? In other words, when the nation is on its knees, the only normal and natural and spiritual thing to do is what we ought to be doing all the time--calling upon God."



  1. he would fit right in with the Taliban if they were white, Christian, and American. Oh wait, we already have that here-- the Republican party.

  2. I believe God speaks to Pat Robertson the same way I believed the Son of Sam had chats with a dog about his career goals. To say things like "Robertson will burn in Hell" might feel good, (actually it feels great) but ultimately it's the same bullshit rhetoric he uses.

    I prefer to think God put Robertson here as a constant, insane lesson about the dangers/ temptations of twisting Christianity to inspire fear and gain worldly power.

    My wish for him is that everyone in his life would suddenly ignore him completely. That would be his Hell.

  3. I know I probably shouldn't have been... but some of these quotes shocked me. I mean, you had to figure he'd be Islamophobic but, the Hindus? The Presbyterians? Who isn't this guy against?

    I am still angry over the Haiti comments. Why won't someone famous have the nuts to stand up and say Fuck you Pat Robertson"?

  4. Oh, I'd love you to post this on Open Salon. Or move it around as much as possible. I haven't seen such a collection of idiocy in a long time. Comprehensive idiocy that you wrangled together in a solid piece displaying...well, the idiocy that is that man.

    The first paragraph alone is a gem.

  5. Thanks Beth.

    Maybe I will join Open Salon--I know you've had a good experience there. (Click on Beth's link to read her amazing work there)

    Anyone else post there?

  6. Since 1812? I guess Pearl Harbor never happened then -what a joke.

  7. @otowi: Not to nitpick because I totally see where you're coming from and absolutely agree with you. But the sovereign nation of Hawaii was not a state in December 1941. This was one of the few places where Robertson did have his facts straight. Sure he's very grateful to that research intern.