Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and its signature show The 700 Club, has a long record of saying douchey things. So much so that I rarely comment on them anymore, but this one was particularly aggravating.
In a segment where he replies to letters from viewers he responds to one from a grandmother concerned that her grandkid is being raised as an atheist by his father so she’s seeking Pat’s advice on what to do about it. Pat’s idea? Try to get the kid away from the atheist parent and into a Christian school or a vacation Bible school.
Christians pitch a fit everytime Richard Dawkins says that he feels parents shouldn’t force their religion on their kids, but I’ve never heard Dawkins suggest that someone should actively try to get a child away from a parent intent on indoctrinating them. If he had you’d never hear the end of it.
If you’re going to argue that Christians, or members of any other faith, should have the right to raise their kids in their faith then the same should be true for atheists. Pat Robertson should’ve told that grandmother to mind her own business, but that would’ve been only fair. He’s not interested in fair, he’s only concerned with spreading Christianity as far as he can before he kicks the bucket because he thinks it’ll earn him extra whipped cream on his Sundaes in heaven or something. He also knows that if you can hook ’em when they’re young they’re more likely to stay with it as adults. To many Christians children are like Pokemon: Gotta catch ’em all.
There’s a passage in the Bible (Matthew 10:7-8) which reads as follows:
As you go, announce this: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those with skin diseases, drive out demons. You have received free of charge; give free of charge.
Among a particular segment of Christians there is the belief that this means that anyone, so long as they truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, can do as Christ did and raise the dead. You can find all manner of Christians making this claim including no less than Pat Robertson of the 700 Club.
No, really, see for yourself:
So it’s amazing that we don’t hear news stories like this one more often:
Peter Wald, 52, died “probably around March 20th” last year, according to the agreed statement of facts read out in court Monday. He’d suffered from diabetes and his left foot had become infected. But he had refused to go to the hospital and believed God would cure him.
He went into a coma, she says, and days later she noticed his stomach bloating and signs of rigor mortis on his forehead.
She then left him – his body covered with two blankets, his head with a toque – in the bed and padlocked the bedroom door.
Kaling sealed in the door and the vents with duct tape to protect her family from the smell of the cadaver. And then for six months, life went on and they prayed for their dead husband and father in the bed upstairs as they awaited his return.
Yes, this is a real church sign.
You’d think after a couple of weeks they’d give up, but that’s the amazing thing about faith. If you have enough of it you can keep hoping for something that’ll never happen for years on end. Hell, Christians have been waiting for Christ’s return for over 2,000 years when he promised he’d be back within the lifetime of his disciples.
Wald’s body was finally discovered by Sheriff’s when they showed up to evict the family for defaulting on their mortgage. Needless to say it wasn’t in great shape after laying around for so long and having rodents feasting on it.
“It’s an extremely sad case…she truly believed her husband was going to be resurrected from the dead, even after six months,” said assistant crown attorney Janet Booy.
[…] Kaling – who has no past criminal record – had her sentence suspended and was put on 18 months of probation and ordered to seek counseling around the “public health concerns” of the incident.
“Your belief that your husband would resurrect is not an issue,” Superiour Court Justice Marjoh Agro said at her plea Monday.
I’d dispute the idea that her religious beliefs aren’t an issue. This woman allowed a body to decay in her home possibly creating a health hazard not just for her and her children, but the neighborhood in general, specifically because of her religious belief that her husband would be resurrected by God. She may not have had criminal intent, but that doesn’t mean her beliefs weren’t the cause of the issue.
And, like any other good Christian, this utter failure on God’s part to answer her prayers has in no way shaken her faith or her belief that raising the dead is a thing people can do:
But she still believes strongly in resurrection, and says there have been many “documented” cases of it around the world. Her faith was not shaken by the legal consequences, she says.
“In fact it has cast me more at the mercy of God, because He is the ultimate judge.”
It’s not that there isn’t a God to grant her the power to raise her dead husband after not granting the husband’s prayers for a cure, it’s just he works in mysterious ways/has a Grand Plan that didn’t include bringing the dead guy back.
The good news is she’s at least sensible enough that she says she won’t try something like this again. Of course a lot of religious nutcases say that and end up doing it again because the prospect of pulling off their own little miracle is just too tantalizing to pass up. See any number of stories of people refusing medical treatment for their kids and nearly killing them in the process who tell the judge they’ll never do it again only to do it again and have the kid die on them.
… and not in the United States. His answer? People in other countries are idiots.
OK, he didn’t actually use the word “idiot”, but he may as well have. Instead he said that they are “more simple” and “humble” compared to us “sophisticated” Americans. Which apparently are the qualities God looks for when determining who to show miracles to.
Really. He said just that:
Truth be told, he’s kinda right. The more educated you are the less likely you are to believe, not just in miracles, but in God(s) of any kind. This is part of the reason that various religions have been hostile to education of the general public over the millennia. This is why so many on the Religious Right encourage their fellow believers to homeschool their kids and rail against the evils awaiting at most non-religious universities. Knowing too much can be dangerous to your faith.
So, yeah, if you don’t know any better you’re probably more likely to accept “it’s a miracle from God” for whatever phenomena you can’t readily explain otherwise.
Hell, if you’re unsophisticated enough you’ll even accept mundane events as miracles from God. Every so often on Facebook or Twitter I’ll see the image to the right. I asked someone about it and they told me that the fact that they woke up in the morning proves that miracles really do happen. I had to ask them just how shitty their health was. They said they were perfectly healthy. Then how, I asked, is it a miracle? Barring major health issues or some unforeseen accident there’s really no reason to not expect to wake up the next morning. It’s really setting the bar pretty low for what qualifies as a miracle.
And I won’t even get into how it’s an ironic thing to be thankful for given how so many Christians consider this world to be a shithole compared to what waits for them in the afterlife. You’d think they’d be eager to kick off and get to the good bit.
I guess the secret to experiencing the really impressive miracles then is to do your best to stay as stupid as possible. One way to achieve this is to watch nothing but FOX “News” 24 hours a day. Or, if you’re impatient, a semi-major head injury would probably work pretty well too. If you go the latter route be sure to make a recording of it for a chance to be on a TV show like World’s Greatest Injuries and Dumbfucks.
You’re wrong, Pat. Most of us aren’t any more miserable than anyone else in the world. Nor do most of us want to “steal your holiday away” from you. Hell, many of us celebrate it — the secular aspects at least — right alongside you.
It’s not clear what brought your little bit of bigotry out on this occasion, but if I had to guess I’d say it’s probably the news item about the city of Santa Monica deciding to end its traditional holiday displays because some Christians are all butthurt about atheists getting in on the action the past couple of years:
Santa Monica officials snuffed the city’s holiday tradition this year rather than referee the religious rumble, prompting churches that have set up a 14-scene Christian diorama for decades to sue over freedom of speech violations. Their attorney will ask a federal judge Monday to resurrect the depiction of Jesus’ birth, while the city aims to eject the case.
“It’s a sad, sad commentary on the attitudes of the day that a nearly 60-year-old Christmas tradition is now having to hunt for a home, something like our savior had to hunt for a place to be born because the world was not interested,” said Hunter Jameson, head of the nonprofit Santa Monica Nativity Scene Committee that is suing.
Oh noes! The city won’t let us put our displays on public land anymore so we’re gonna sue!
So what did the atheists do that prompted the city to shut it down? They had the gall to participate! Can you imagine that??
In 2011, Vix recruited 10 others to inundate the city with applications for tongue-in-cheek displays such as an homage to the “Pastafarian religion,” which would include an artistic representation of the great Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The secular coalition won 18 of 21 spaces. The two others went to the traditional Christmas displays and one to a Hanukkah display.
The atheists used half their spaces, displaying signs such as one that showed pictures of Poseidon, Jesus, Santa Claus and the devil and said: “37 million Americans know myths when they see them. What myths do you see?”
Most of the signs were vandalized and in the ensuing uproar, the city effectively ended a tradition that began in 1953 and earned Santa Monica one of its nicknames, the City of the Christmas Story.
Here’s the thing that a lot of folks don’t realize when it comes to religious displays on public property: It’s an all or nothing proposition. The government is not allowed to give even the appearance of promoting one religion (or the lack thereof) over another. Santa Monica came up with their lottery system to ensure that all voices had a chance to participate. The atheists played by those rules and won the majority of the spots. Then the Christians got all upset and decide to vandalize the displays so the city decided it was way more trouble than it was worth and shut it down this year.
Rather than do something reasonable like put their religious displays on private property — there’s gotta be plenty of churches in that city that could provide them with the space — the Christians have decided that they’re going to sue the city to force them to change their decision:
“If they want to hold an opposing viewpoint about the celebration of Christmas, they’re free to do that — but they can’t interfere with our right to engage in religious speech in a traditional public forum,” said William Becker, attorney for the committee. “Our goal is to preserve the tradition in Santa Monica and to keep Christmas alive.”
Yes, because if these displays aren’t put on public land then CHRISTMAS WILL DIE!
The thing is, the atheists aren’t interfering with their right to engage in religious speech in a traditional public forum. The city points out that people can still carol in the park, hand out leaflets, and even stage a play if they want. The atheists were perfectly willing to play by the rules for the displays. It was the city that decided to shut things down because the Christians couldn’t cope with having to share the space. And all of that has made Pat Robertson sad. Those damned, dirty atheists. Always trying to steal Christmas by participating where they’re not wanted.
It’s all or nothing, folks. Either everyone gets a chance to participate or no one does. The government isn’t allowed to play favorites.
Update: It looks like a judge has turned down the Christian group’s request for an immediate injunction forcing the park to allow displays: Judge denies bid for park Nativity displays. Naturally, they plan to appeal.
Seriously, who doesn’t know what the fuck Macaroni and Cheese is? I can think of at least two brands of it (Kraft and Velveeta) that are advertised on television constantly. It goes all the way back to the 14th Century for chrissake! July 14th is National Mac & Cheese day in the United States. It’s popular in a shitload of other countries. How can he be on this Earth for 81 years and not have heard of Mac & Cheese? You’d think God might have mentioned it to him at least once in all that time.
Of course, the real stunner here isn’t his not knowing what Mac & Cheese is, but his followup question. “Is that a black thing?” Really? Really?!?
If nothing else Pat Robertson is definitely consistent. He’s always been pretty vocal about his disdain for feminism and his opinion that women should be subservient to men, but somehow that doesn’t stop me from being a bit amazed by the advice he gives in the following video clip:
CO-HOST: Pat, this is from Anne who says, “My husband has always been a flirt and loves to talk with other women he finds attractive. He says he would never cheat on me but his actions are starting to get to me. What should I do?”
ROBERTSON: Anne, first thing is you need to make yourself as attractive as possible and don’t hassle him about it. And why is he doing this? Well, he’s doing it because he wants affirmation that he is still a man, that he is attractive — and he gets an affirmation of himself. That means he’s got an inferiority complex that’s coming out. And he’s not gonna cheat on you. He’s just playing.
But you need to not drive him away or start hassling and hounding on him, but make yourself as beautiful as you can, as fun as you can, and say let’s go out here, let’s go there, let’s go to the other thing.
Given some of the things Robertson has said in the past this is pretty mild, but I’m still amazed by it. Inferiority complex or not, Robertson seems to be assigning all of the blame for this issue to the woman suggesting that she’s not trying hard enough to be attractive for her man. I shouldn’t be surprised as Pat’s been stuck in the 1950’s nuclear family myth for decades now. I suppose what I should be really surprised by is the fact that any woman in the 21st century would write this old crackpot for relationship advice at all.
Though I do have to give credit to his female co-host who appears to be biting her tongue pretty hard over Robertson’s advice and suggesting that “we would be having a conversation” if it were her husband who was playing the flirt.
I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I’m all over that action.
But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I’m no welcher. The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished.
Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth — glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake. Haven’t you seen “Crossroads”? Or “Damn Yankees”?
If I had a thing going with Haiti, there’d be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox — that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it — I’m just saying: Not how I roll.
You’re doing great work, Pat, and I don’t want to clip your wings — just, come on, you’re making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That’s working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.