Skepticism

Farewell to Pat Robertson, Enemy of Gays and Friend of Warlords

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A lot of you tell me that I cover too many depressing topics on this channel, so today I have some really fun, lighthearted news to discuss: Pat Robertson is DEAD! DEAD! He shuffled off this mortal coil! He is an ex-parrot. Pastor. Whatever.

Considering that Robertson’s death was literally announced today, the day you’re viewing this video, you might be shocked that I was able to produce this video so quickly. Well that’s because when it comes to bigoted evangelical snake oil salesmen who worked tirelessly for decades to make the world a worse place for everyone but themselves, I’m like the Incredible Hulk: I’m always angry. I’m always just waiting for that announcement to hit so I can reel off exactly why this person’s death is better for the Universe as a whole. I might not remember what I had for lunch yesterday but god dammit I remember that Pat Robertson was an inveterate grifter who was pro-slavery, anti-gay, pro-AIDS, anti-feminist, and pro-genocidal African warlord, and who is a primary reason the United States is currently wrestling between democracy and theocracy.

Robertson deserves to be forgotten as his bloated corpse molders in an unmarked grave, but since that won’t happen, I’ll settle for us all remembering him for what he truly was: a monster. So, just in case you aren’t aware, I’d like to go over some of his greatest hits.

Pat Robertson was a liar from a very young age: he joined the Marines to avoid being drafted in the Korean War and had his powerful father (a segregationist US Senator) pull strings to put him in a safe office for the entirety of combat operations. When he later tried to claim a heroic wartime record, a fellow Marine stepped forward to state the truth, saying he had 20 fellow Marines ready to back him up. Robertson sued him for libel but was forced to drop the case “before a jury could rule that he is a liar.”

Realizing he had a real penchant for lying, he first went to law school but failed to pass the New York bar exam. What do you do when you’re a good liar but too stupid to be a lawyer? Well, religion and politics, of course! He went to seminary and became an ordained Southern Baptist minister, which gave him the perceived authority to start the Christian Broadcasting Network, or CBN, a cable TV network that would launch the careers of a thousand televangelist grifters like Jimmy Bakker. Here are some of the things he’s told his huge audience over the years: 

He said the world would end by autumn of 1982

He said non-Christians are “termites” and called for “a godly fumigation”

He said non-Southern Baptist denominations were the anti-Christ and Muslims and Hindus are demonic

He famously said that feminism is a “socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

He said gay men were wearing sharp rings to cut people and give them AIDS

He called for Hugo Chavez to be assassinated

He said Haiti was hit with an earthquake because they rebelled against the people enslaving them

He said Disney World was going to be destroyed by a hurricane because they held a “Gay Day”

He said homosexuality is the same as bestiality

And like…a million more things. Seriously, it was 50 years of nonstop batshit insanity, I can’t be here all day talking about this. Oh, but just to be fair, let’s mention one really good, humanitarian thing he told his CBN audience: in 1994 he urged his viewers to donate money to fund the chartering of a 727 plane that would bring medicine to a quarter of a million refugees devastated by the Rwandan genocide. Wow, that’s so amazing, right?

Unfortunately it turns out that the money Robertson raised was actually used to set up one tent full of Bibles at one refugee camp. The rest of the money was used to set up a DIAMOND MINING OPERATION of which Robertson was the sole shareholder and president. He got the license to mine there from the president of Zaire, who was sanctioned by the UN for human rights violations, so of course Robertson used his power and influence to have those sanctions dropped.

That mirrors Robertson’s support of genocidal warlord Charles Taylor, who was president of Liberia during the 2nd Liberian Civil War. When Taylor was eventually caught and tried at the Hague for crimes against humanity, he testified that he gave Pat Robertson a gold mine in exchange for Robertson to lobby in his favor in the US. The mine would also help fund Taylor’s operations in Liberia. Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison for terror, murder, rape, and “some of the most heinous and brutal crimes in recorded human history.” Robertson was sentenced to nothing. He scooted along to the next big scam.

Over the years, Robertson gradually introduced his growing CBN audience of credulous check-writing evangelicals to politics, adding “news” segments to their devotional programs to tell people how to vote. This is probably what encouraged him to run for the 1988 US presidency, where he raised a ton of money and then quit before the primaries were over. As Eric Loomis writes on the Lawyers Guns Money blog, “Once upon a time, lunatic self-promoting celebrity right-wing candidates with zero political experience could win a marginal amount of votes in this country. Alas, those days are past.”

Everything Robertson did, in fact, led us to Donald Trump in 2016: that presidential run, sure, but also slowly but surely turning even mainstream Christians into theocratic fascists who truly believed that separation of Church and State was a mistake and that it was incumbent upon them to use their votes to crush their perceived enemies and usher in the end times.

So, yeah, fuck that guy. While it’s a good thing that he’s dead, it’s a very bad thing that he lived to the age of 93. That’s two decades past the average American, and those decades were vastly more comfortable than the average American’s. Ridiculously more luxurious than the average person affected by the Rwandan genocide or the Liberian 2nd Civil War. While it may feel good to celebrate that he’s gone, I urge you to view this as a call to action: every time one of these billionaire frauds makes it to the end of a long happy life to die peacefully in their sleep, THEY WIN. Rupert Murdoch is going to win. Henry Kissinger is going to win. We absolutely must hold these assholes accountable NOW, while they are alive. There is no judgment day. There is no karma. There is no comeuppance. Much like there is no heaven and so we need to work hard to make this life as good as possible for as many people as possible, there’s also no hell and so we need to work just as hard to make these jerks’ lives as miserable as possible while we can. Tax them, imprison them, yell at them in restaurants, vote for people who will hold them accountable now, while they’re alive.

Rest in piss, Pat Robertson.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon mstdn.social/@rebeccawatson Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky @rebeccawatson.bsky.social

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