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Pat Robertson: Money and Morals

By Stephen Van Eck

Stephen 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 author.

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.

[*] AAH Examiner Selected Articles

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