Friday, February 28, 2014

If Your Grandparent Was a Fortune-Teller, You're Probably Cursed (And Other Pat Robertson Tales)

Pat Robertson has said something noteworthily extremist every day of his four-day workweek—I was right to want Hugo Ch├ívez assassinated! It's un-American to force a business to serve gay people if they don't want to! Impeach Eric Holder!—but the more influential Robertson monitors, Right Wing Watch and The Raw Story, must have gotten tired of covering his shenanigans because they left all of Thursday's ridiculousness on the table.  So allow me to fill in for them.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 Doesn't Exist, Apparently

Thursday's top story was Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's veto of Senate Bill 1062, which would have allowed business owners to deny services to whomever their religion tells them they shouldn't have to serve.  But really we're just talking about gays and lesbians and gay/lesbian marriages, because that's still "acceptable" discrimination in some quarters.  So here's how Pat Robertson kicked off the show:
“If you're in New York and you're a homosexual and you're a bartender, you can refuse service to a Republican or a born-again Christian, or somebody you don't like, with impunity!  No problem.  If you happen to live in California, and you run a bakery, and you happen to be a born-again Christian, and you say, 'I don't want to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding,' you can go to jail.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act.  You know, the law that says,
All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services…and accommodations of any place of public accommodation…without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.
So, no, that gay bartender in gay New York can not refuse service to a born-again Christian with impunity.  (Republicans? They're fair game, I guess.)  Also, no one goes to jail for discrimination.  It's a civil violation.  That's Pat Robertson, Yale Law School graduate, everybody!

This tale also includes the Fall of America:

“Well…what's happening in America is we have changed the fundamental way we view morality.  We've gone away from a Biblically based standard to a standard based on what Hollywood has to say or Madison Avenue or whoever.  And it looks like there was overwhelming opposition to gay marriage, and that has now shifted, so probably a majority of Americans say, ‘It's okay if gays want to get married, that's their business.’ ”

If Your Grandparent Was a Witch or Fortune-Teller, You're Probably Cursed

A viewer asks Pat if he believes in generational curses, like how families have histories of cancer and diabetes.  Well, Pat responds, cancer and diabetes, that's probably more genetic than spiritual. (Probably.)  But spiritual generational curses are real:
“I do believe that there are such things as generational curses.  If some grandparent was a witch or a fortune-teller, or engaged in the black arts, the chances are that curse will come down the family.  And it needs to be broken by specific prayer.”

God Can Grow Back a Limb—A Preacher I Knew Said It Happened!

In response to another viewer born without a right hand, Pat says That's okay, you're already spiritually whole, and people can live fulfilling lives with disabilities like yours.  But if you want a new hand, God can give you one:
“Can God grow you a hand?  That's a creative miracle, and it happens.  I remember T. L. Osborn was talking about a meeting he had in Ghana.  A man at the edge of the meeting didn't have a whole leg, the leg was cut off at the knee: whole leg grew out, foot grew out, toes grew out, toenails grew, the whole thing.  Right there, while he was preaching about Jesus.”
(Why do these "miracles" only happen in faraway places like Ghana and not here in the good ol' U.S. of A.?  Because only simple people are open to miracles.  Westerners are too educated and sophisticated to accept them.)

The Antichrist Might Be a Jew—But He Could Be a Muslim!  Or Even European!

Dear Pat, I've been looking into End Times prophecy and it seems to me that the antichrist is going to be a Jew… Do you think that makes sense?
“I think it may make some sense… I think there are antichrist figures, there's an antichrist spirit, and it's a spirit of rebellion against God, and who knows.  I certainly think the modern-day Islamic people, the people from Islam of the early days at least, had an antichrist spirit—they speak against Christ!  And there are others who do the same thing.  So: is he Jewish, is he Arab, is he North African, is he from Europe?  Where is he?  I don't think we know.  But what you said can make plenty of sense.  But I wouldn't spend a lot of time meditating on it.”
Yeah, it's probably a Jew that will bring about the End Times.  But don't worry about it.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Maybe the Bible Is Why People Still Think the Sun Revolves Around the Earth, Pat Robertson? Naahhh, Can't Be.

On Tuesday, I posted a blow-by-blow account of all the wingnut asshattery in that day's 700 Club.  Turns out I probably could have done the same with Monday's broadcast had I not slept in—hey, it was a holiday!—because there was a load of stuff being shoveled that day, too.  You probably heard about a couple of the juicier items:
  • Because this winter has been a little harsh (climate change means severer weather at all of the extremes), Pat Robertson went on a semi-focused rant about global warming that touched on "Obama's third term" (???), John Kerry, SUVs on Mars (not Jupiter this time)—ultimately landing on a kinda comprehensible although still lunatic argument that global warming is a hoax perpetrated by socialists who are making up "climate change" so they can take control of the energy industry (just like Obama wants to take over the healthcare industry!).  If you're keeping score, "socialist hoax" is now at least Pat's fourth attempt at discrediting global warming, after "it's actually global cooling," "it's a scam by money-hungry scientists," and "it's a myth by occultist environmentalists who worship the Earth."  (Curiously, he's completely forgotten the time when he filmed a commercial for Al Gore's Alliance for Climate Protection in 2008.)
  • During the "Bring It On" segment (i.e., "Ask Pat"), Robertson said in response to a viewer email that a Wiccan parent was the equivalent of a mother who makes her child deal drugs, or who sells her into prostitution, and the viewer was free to ignore the Fifth Commandment and not honor her mother.
  • Also during the "Bring It On" segment (this part of the program is so frequently a source of our ire/entertainment, because it catches Pat at his unscripted best), a viewer asked if he should tell his wife about an old girlfriend who revealed to him that she was a transsexual, and Pat's initial response was "Keep your mouth shut."  Actually, if you look at the full transcript of Pat's reply, it seems like he's only saying, "There's no reason to complicate your marriage by talking about whatever potentially awkward relationships you had before you met your wife," which perhaps isn't such an unreasonable outlook.  However, the rest of the Internet wants to believe he said it like, "Don't ever, ever talk about your shameful, sinful deed," so I'll play along.
But let me not bury my lede any further.  In the middle of his latest global-warming conniption, and lost in the shuffle of all the coverage given it, Pat brought up this seemingly irrelevant news story—the National Science Foundation conducted a survey finding that a quarter of Americans didn't know the Earth revolves around the Sun.
“One-third of the American people do not realize that the Earth revolves around the Sun.  They think the Sun revolves around the Earth, 'cause they see the Sun come up in the morning and go down at night… It's kind of like the Middle Ages.  You got excommunicated if you suggested that the Earth was round, and you suggested that the Earth revolves around the Sun.  That was heresy.”  [Pat later corrected the part where it was actually one-quarter of respondents.]

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The 700 Club Celebrated Black History Month By Recognizing the Inventor of the Mop (Feb. 18, 1997)

We're two-thirds of the way into Black History Month ("The Man gives us February because it's the shortest month of the year!" – Nat X), and so far the only recognition The 700 Club has given it was to re-run a year-old story this morning on Arthur Davis Shores, a relatively unsung civil rights attorney during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s.  (They never specifically mentioned Black History Month, but I can't imagine any other reason for re-running a year-old segment that was apparently produced specifically for Black History Month last year.)

As a white man, it's probably not my place to complain about whatever coverage The 700 Club gives Black History Month.  But at least there used to be a time when they were more explicit about it.  Like the time in 1997 when they highlighted some of the inventions African-Americans have given us over the years.  Especially the mop:

Special props to co-host Lee Webb for pointing out that despite the plethora of 19th-century devices laid out on that table, African-Americans have given us many modern-day inventions, too.  Amazing—black people are still inventing things!  Give them a hand!

Reuters Thinks Pat Robertson Is Catholic, Possibly Thinks He Speaks for American Catholics

Last week, Belgium's parliament passed a bill extending its 2002 euthanasia law, allowing terminally ill adults the right to have their lives ended mercifully, to cover terminally ill children as well.  Under the law, the child must request the decision herself—repeatedly—and must be in great pain for which there is no available palliative treatment; her parents must consent to the procedure; and a team of doctors and psychiatrists must give their approval.  An "extremely small number" of children, mostly in their teens, is expected to take advantage of the new law.

As you might expect, most of the native opposition came from the Catholic Church, and although Belgium is predominantly Roman Catholic, polls show that two-thirds of Belgians support this extension, and the bill passed in Parliament by about the same proportion: 86 to 44.

When Reuters was moved to print an article about the "international euthanasia backlash," Pat Robertson was quoted as an example of American conservative critics.  Robertson had commented on the euthanasia measure following an October 21, 2013 700 Club news segment on the matter.  It's possible that Reuters chose Robertson because he's been one of the few American public figures to make any statements on Belgium's euthanasia law, and Belgium's flattered by the attention from a country that's notoriously ill-attentive to world affairs.

Or maybe they have a fundamental misunderstanding of Robertson's religion:

from Reuters, "Belgium Surprised at International Euthanasia Backlash"

Yyyyeeeeaaaahhh.  Um.  "Catholic Broadcast Network."

Okay, if anyone from Belgium and/or Reuters is reading this, let me lay a few things down for you:

Pat Robertson is not Catholic.  Robertson is an evangelical Protestant—specifically, a Southern Baptist with charismatic tendencies.  ("Charismatic tendencies" means he believes in "signs and wonders" like faith healing and speaking in tongues.  "Southern Baptist" means he belongs to a denomination that was formed in the 19th century to defend American slavery.  Yup.)  Robertson and his ministry, the Christian Broadcasting Network, have a checkered history with the Catholic Church, ranging from intolerant antipathy to grudging acceptance of the Catholic Church as a political ally, at least when it comes to issues like euthanasia, abortion, contraception, and homosexuality.  (When it comes to issues like the death penalty, the excesses of capitalism, and government assistance to the poor, not so much.)

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Pat Robertson Had Quite a Show Today

There was so much Pat Robertson crazy on today's broadcast of The 700 Club, I don't even know where to begin.  At the start of the show, I guess.

1. The opening news story: the United Nations Human Rights Council is considering referring Kim Jong-un and other North Korean officials to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Robertson follows up the story:
“Why do we have this?  Keep in mind the policy decisions of the United States have enormous consequences and they last for decades.  We had the opportunity—and I was in the Marine Corps in Korea, I know whereof I speak—we had the opportunity in that peninsula to close it off and win a military victory.  General MacArthur was going on the way to the Yalu River, he was going to set up a defense line across that boundary, and then he was going to mop up what was there, and we would have installed a democratic government in Korea.  Instead of that, the politicians were scared of what the Russians might think or the Chinese might think, and they took MacArthur home in seeming disgrace, he was cashiered by Truman. 
“And we made a line on the 38th Parallel, and we allowed Kim's grandfather…to set up a dictatorship, and have had that country on the watch list.  Now they have developed nuclear weapons, who knows if they have chemical weapons, and they have tormented their people.  And at the same time we send delegations over there to make peace with them—there's no peace with a group like that.  They should be arrested and executed…”
In actuality, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was relieved of his command after his efforts to push the war up to the Yalu River resulted in China's joining the war on the North Korean side and flooding the Korean peninsula with 180,000 troops—despite having assured President Truman that China would not do so, and severely underestimating how many Chinese troops could cross the Yalu into North Korea if they did.  The unexpected Chinese offensive severely drove back United Nations forces; for two months, Seoul was under North Korean control.  Pat Robertson's "scared politicians"were the Truman Administration with their order to establish a cease-fire, an order which MacArthur directly contravened—a clear act of insubordination warranting his removal.

At least that's what the history books say. But Pat knows whereof he speaks, as he was in Korea—in the rear echelon, to be exact, where his father, a U.S. Senator, secured him a cushy position as a "liquor officer" responsible for maintaining the soldiers' supplies of alcohol. (Actually, Pat's father wanted him kept in Japan and out of Korea entirely.)  Pat calls himself a combat Marine, but he never saw combat or came anywhere near it.

2.  A former Planned Parenthood nurse (who admits she wasn't really pro-choice to begin with) is calling the organization "a money-grubbing, evil" place because some staffers liked to chant "Abortion all the time!" (Also, receptionists got yelled at if they let the phone ring more than three times.  Evil!)  Well, Pat Robertson needs only the barest of excuses to go off on Planned Parenthood, and here it is:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pat Robertson's CBN Is Still Promoting Ken Ham's Young Earth Creationism

In the wake of the Creationism vs. Evolution debate on Tuesday night between Creation Museum founder Ken Ham and Bill Nye the Science Guy, Pat Robertson made news (well, Internet news) by slapping down Ham and Young Earth creationism in general:
“To say that [the Earth] all came about in 6,000 years is just nonsense and I think it's time we came off of that stuff and say this isn't possible… Let's be real, let's not make a joke of ourselves.”
As I've posted before, it's not news that Pat Robertson acknowledges that the Earth is billions of years old, but I get that most people assume otherwise, because it's not worth their time to differentiate between the gradations of absurdity that populate the Christian Right.

Then again, it's hard to make those distinctions when Robertson's own Christian Broadcasting Network still promotes Ham favorably on its website:
  • An undated article entitled "Evolution – The Ultimate Compromise," reprinted from the now-defunct, promotes Young Earth creationism and directs readers to Ken Ham's The Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved (as screencapped above).
  • Another undated article, "'Big Bang' A Big Deal?" by a guest columnist, scoffs at the Big Bang Theory that even Robertson accepts (although he maintains God initiated it), and cites "Dr. Ken Ham" as the primary "resource [to] promote the truth of Creation."  (Note: Ken Ham's doctorates are all honorary.)
  • ShopCBN sells Ken Ham's 2011 creationist DVD Foundations: In Six Days.
CBN News and The 700 Club have also positively featured Ken Ham's Creation Museum on several occasions, including this favorable interview with Ham himself in May 2007:

I uploaded that video, but it's also available on CBN's website (Windows Media Player plug-in required to watch the video), with an accompanying article that devotes 18 paragraphs to promoting the Creation Museum, while giving an anthropologist a two-sentence rebuttal to say dinosaurs and man did not co-exist.

You can also watch CBN News reporter Paul Strand's return to the Creation Museum in 2009 (sorry, CBN's video-embed code does not work on Blogger; I don't know who to blame), where he pumped the Young Earth gospel at length—and without any rebuttal by an evolutionary scientist—in a segment titled "Creation Museum Bolsters Kids' Faith":
“For evolution to be true, the Earth must be billions of years old, with life forms on it evolving slowly over hundreds of millions of years.  That seems to contradict the biblical version of creation, with God making the earth an its many life-forms rapidly—and probably not all that long ago.”
And summing up (after a stopover to Mount St. Helens "proves" that fossilized layers can be laid down in a matter of minutes by a volcano explosion):
“With resources like the Creation Museum in Kentucky available, Christian kids can head back into the public schools with their heads held high, knowing that what's in their Bible and what science says don't have to contradict each other.”
The very same day this aired (May 22, 2009), CBN ran an additional piece on a German fossil being touted as the missing link.  The expert CBN brought aboard to debunk that fossil?  Ken Ham.

You can find more examples of favorable if cursory CBN coverage of the Creation Museum here and here.

Pat Robertson may not have started this "joke" that started the whole world laughing—but oh, if he'd only see, that the joke was on him, too.

♪♫  I-I-I-I looked at the skies, running my hands over my eyes…  ♪♫

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Pat Robertson Doesn't Really Want to Pray for the President, Even Though the Bible Commands Him To

One of the mainstays of Christianity is that adherents should pray for their nation's leaders, especially the President (or Queen or whoever).  No matter who he is (or she, right? this will extend to female presidents, right guys?), no matter what his policies are, we're supposed to pray for the President. Because it's in the Bible:
I urge that supplications, prayers,  intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and for all who are in high positions… (1 Timothy 2:1-2) 
Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. (Romans 13:1)
But Pat Robertson must not care what the Bible says anymore, because he's not going to pray for this president.  Pat's been peddling the standard conservative Republican line that President Obama's a socialist and a dictator and all that jazz, but he must honestly believe all that because here he is after last week's State of the Union scoffing at co-host Wendy Griffith's reminder to pray for him (I included Pat's whole post-SOTU rant, but you can skip to Wendy's reminder at 1:36 into the video):

WENDY GRIFFITH: "But he's our President, and we're praying for him and we wish him well, and we pray God's wisdom for him." 
PAT ROBERTSON: [audible hissing sigh of exasperation] "Wendy, that is a beautiful sentiment."

You know who used to remind us that we're supposed to pray for our leaders, even when we don't endorse what our leaders stand for? Pat Robertson.  Here he is the day after Bill Clinton's election, reminding viewers that we're commanded to pray for our president.  BILL CLINTON.  Whitewatering, wannabe healthcare-mandating, Travelgating, draft-dodging, dope-smoking, Chinese money-taking, Gennifer Flowers-diddling, Paula Jones-harassing, Vince Foster-killing (yup, Pat was on that bandwagon) Bill Clinton was not as bad as Barack Obama:

TERRY MEEUWSEN: This is the conclusion of [the 1996] election, and there are those who do not endorse, uh, some of the leaders who were elected.  How do we interpret and obey this commandment in Romans 13:1? 
PAT ROBERTSON: I think what we do is to pray for them, because God wants us to live a quiet and peaceful life, that we might have peace.  And that was said under the despotic emperors of Rome, who were corrupt, venal—you couldn't get much worse than Nero!  Whatever is bad in Washington can't hold a candle to the debauched despots of the Roman Empire!  And yet Paul said, you obey these authorities, you pray for them so we can live a peaceful, godly life so that the Gospel can go forth…

You couldn't get much worse than Nero!  Except for Obama, apparently.  That's the only logical conclusion you can draw from this now: OBAMA IS WORSE THAN NERO.  And we're talking about a guy who literally had his own mother killed.  (Nero, I mean.  Not Obama.)

Source: The 700 Club

Victoria Jackson Used to Shill for The 700 Club in "Comedy" Bits (1996-97)

Yesterday, celebrity Tea Partier and former Saturday Night Live comedian Victoria Jackson filed to run for county commission in Tennessee.  This morning, The 700 Club interviewed celebrity Tea Partier and former star of Cheers John Ratzenberger, ostensibly to discuss how faith has influenced his career, although he ended up talking more about being a carpenter who helped build the stage at Woodstock, and how much he loves The Godfather.  (Yeah, the whole interview was just shy of a train wreck.  I can't even link to the interview because The 700 Club is so ashamed of it, they haven't uploaded it yet. UPDATE: Link added. They finally posted it at 12: 45 pm.)

So this is as good a time as any for me to upload some of the times Victoria Jackson made recurring appearances on The 700 Club in the mid-1990s.  It's pretty harmless—and dumb—but it's good to remember that before she was the whackadoo celebrity queen of the Tea Party, she was a whackadoo hawker for Pat Robertson.