Scott Hodge


Robertson’s Words

Jan 9, 2006


I have really tried hard to avoid going here, but I just can’t help it… 

You may have recently heard that Pat Robertson suggested Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s stroke was divine retribution for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza

As you probably know, this is not the first time that Robertson has said something in public that he has had to recant and apologize for.  Last August, he apologized for his comment calling for the assassination of Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chavez.  (In September he suggested that the abortion rate in America could have provoked Hurricane Katrina and the terrorist attacks on the United States.)

I think the thing that bothers me the most about Robertson’s recent comments is the fact that Robertson is considered a "leader" and "voice" in the Evangelical Christian world and every time he says things like this, not only does he make himself look judgmental and harsh, but he further helps support the stereotype that most of my "non-Christian" friends have about people who follow Jesus. 

Perhaps this doesn’t matter to him…  But to me, as a pastor who has devoted his life to building a community of people who follow Jesus and who believes that we are called to create environments where people who are not following Jesus will be loved, accepted and embraced – it does matter.  And it matters because we have a world that is open to spirituality and even Jesus – but mention the word "Christianity" or "church" and immediately images of judgmental, non-accepting, uptight people who are "against everything" pops into their minds. 

Please Mr. Robertson…  Think about the consequences of your words.  Think about how it looks when you say something like this and then have to apologize for it.  Again.  And again.  And again.  Once you say it – it’s out there and there is nothing you can do to erase the feelings that your words have created in people.  And not only that, but every time you say something careless, your credibility becomes weaker and weaker. 


Even Pat Robertson’s Friends Are Wondering… (NY Times, registration required)
Evangelical Leaders Criticize Pat Robertson (LA Times)

8 Responses to “Robertson’s Words”

  1. Scott
    I read an article the other day questioning who Roberts actually representied; i.e., is he really a major evangelical leader or is he just good for an outrageous quote?. Good question.
    Here’s another conundrum: Does your (our) theology allow room for this sort of thing? We find it through scripture…Noah, Lot, nearly with Niniveh…Revelation. I’m not agreeing with Robertson on this one. I’m saying “If he were ever right on one of this…would we be so offended at God that our hearts would grow cold?”
    At this point, almost every time this sort of thing happens, Robertson (or whoever says it) backs down in a few days…”I didn’t really mean it that way…”. I’m more frustrated with ‘leaders’ declaring oracles of God and then backpeddling when CNN eats them for lunch. So much for wanting to be a Jeremiah to their generation.

  2. matt says:

    As a former pastor, now back in secular business, I also feel the pinch of Pat’s words. It makes me almost want to hide out of embarrassment.
    But, things like this and what others (i.e. Falwell) have said made me realize that they are the extremists of our faith. Much like Bin Laden and suicide bombers are of their faith. Made me give validity to Muslims’ statements when they claim not to be a violent people.
    Maybe Bin Laden could send a suicide bomber to Pat. No – probably not a good idea and I have probably just put a curse of Biblical proportions on my family, which I’m sure we will all see the result of when Colorado is destroyed by a meteor shower or something.

  3. It makes me initially embarassed that I use to live in Virgina Beach, very close to the CBN complex.

  4. Peter Shaw says:

    Scott…I agree with the scope of your post primarily because it focuses on the negative image that Christ receives when we humans don’t represent Him well in this world. That being said however, most Christian blogs further piling on vilifying another brother so excessively only continues to put Christ into further disrepute (I don’t put your post into that category). Pat should be corrected as necessary, but with compassion not ridicule & judgment from fellow believers. Also, no matter how insensitive his comments may have sounded, there is a biblical context in which it was expressed…and that is totally drowned out by the noise. For further perspective please see post at
    Respectfully Submitted

  5. kate says:

    “…no matter how insensitive his comments may have sounded, there is a biblical context in which it was expressed…” – Beware!!! We all know how “biblical contexts” can be twisted and misused. I agree that one does not need to ridicule, but “correcting as necessary” is a judgement no matter how you cut it. Christians need to take a stand if they feel their faith is being misrepresented. You don’t need to judge the man, but if you accept his words simply because he’s a Christian using biblical context, we as a family have a big problem.

  6. Chip Sanders says:

    Why should I be embarassed that I am a Christian, an evangelical or a pastor because Robertson says something that was over the top. Should I be embarassed because my parents voted for him once? Should I pretend to a muslim or buddhist every time a Christian says something I don’t like? Those of you who are embarassed by this need to get some serious self esteem issues dealt with. You aren’t going to stand before Christ and answer for everything Pat Robertson says. If people paint you with the same brush they paint him with then that is their problem not yours and there isn’t anything you can do about it.

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