Pat Robertson: Money and Morals
By Stephen Van Eck
Van Eck is a writer and publisher with Wet Water Publications in
Rushville, Pennsylvania. The following is reprinted from the Dec. to Jan.
2001 issue of Freethought Perspective with special permission of the
Pat Robertson has a long history of cozying up to
Third World dictators. This tendency first earned a lot of attention in
the mid-90s, when his dealings with the bloody kleptocrat Mobutu of Zaire
[now Congo] became known.
Robertson, loyal to a friend, criticized the State
Department on the “700 Club” for refusing to allow Mobutu into the
country. What the dictator would be doing here is unknown; being detained
for an international tribunal might have been a good idea. Robertson also
lobbied Congress to modify sanctions against the Mobutu regime, as if we
were somehow being unfair to one of the worst rulers in African history.
To judge by Robertson’s attitude, Mobutu was not a
bad guy at all. Robertson may actually have believed this nonsense. But
his real interest involved the African Development Corporation, his
for-profit multi-venture in Zaire that ultimately concentrated on a
diamond mining operation. The enterprise failed, but not before a little
problem surfaced regarding Robertson’s use of planes from his nonprofit
“Operation Blessing” charity used almost exclusively for transporting
equipment and supplies for the mining operation.
When it appeared that the beleaguered (and terminal)
Mobutu was losing a protracted struggle with rebels, Robertson tried to
get in good with rebel leader Laurent Kabila, a former Maoist whose
faction was known to kidnap Americans. Kabila, however, would not be
enticed by someone who had been cozy with his enemy.
Around this time, Robertson had struck up a
relationship with Liberian dictator Charles Taylor. Taylor instigated a
bloody civil war that lasted seven years and reduced his country to chaos
and devastation, and pointlessly financed rebels in neighboring Sierra
Leone who have done the same thing there. Robertson, it should come as no
surprise, has invested in a gold mining operation in Liberia.
Robertson attempted to bring Charles Taylor to
Virginia Beach for a big VIP treatment, without success. Robertson allies
are in utter denial about any problem involving the Liberian tyrant.
Taylor apparently passed muster with Robertson by cloaking his atrocities
in religiosity. In one instance, he dismissed his entire cabinet for
missing a national prayer service. Such piety apparently justifies a man
who ordered a hit on his own vice president. (His henchmen also hacked the
guy’s wife to pieces, for good measure.)
In September of ’98 Robertson was up to his
familiar tricks again: praising China for having religious freedom. This
is something that persecuted Christians and Falun Gong adherents alike
would roundly dispute (if only they could). This came after Robertson’s
US Media Corporation entered into a partnership with China’s
government-owned television for joint production efforts.
It would seem that Robertson’s morality is highly
convenient, and can be readily bought. While he remains quite intolerant
of such relatively minor matters as private sexual morality (or simply
being a Democrat), he is most tolerant of oppression, fiscal corruption,
and wholesale slaughter, if he stands to make a killing in some
dictator’s pitiful country.
The question is, has Robertson only recently become
totally venal? Almost 20 years ago, he was a booster of El Salvador’s
Roberto D’ Aubuisson, head of an extremely right-wing faction that, not
surprisingly, had a nasty habit of eliminating opponents, including an
archbishop. Robertson has no known financial interests in El Salvador; his
support for D’ Aubuisson was apparently based solely on the fact that
D’ Aubuisson was a staunch evangelical Protestant in a predominantly
Catholic country. Compared to Robertson’s later venality, this motive
seems almost simon-pure.
Once again, religious affinity rather than personal
gain motivated Robertson when he hosted Zambia’s president in 1995. On
the April edition of the “700 Club,” Robertson praised Frederick
Chiluba, who in 1991 had declared Zambia a Christian nation. “Your
country is a standard for not only Africa, but the entire world,” he
gushed, and to the audience said, “Wouldn’t you like to have someone
like that as President of the United States?”
So we return to the shady connection between piety
and greed. Robertson’s morality is so convenient that it doesn’t merit
the term at all. In fact, it is debatable whether Robertson is really a
Christian at all. In addition to his egocentric self, Robertson seems to
actually be a worshipper of Mammon.
It’s long past time that he was taken to task for
his financial shenanigans and convenient morality. Either he should stop
pretending to be a Christian, or he should follow Jesus’ advice in
Matthew 19:16-22. This parable, followed by few Catholics and virtually no
Protestants, advised a wealthy man to give up all his wealth and follow
him. Verses 23-24 also say that it is nearly impossible for a rich man to
enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Pat, it’s time for you to put your money where your
mouth is! Will he follow Jesus’ advice? My advice is, don’t hold your
breath, folks. Put your money on Mammon to win this one.