Televangelist Pat Robertson on Sunday defended comments in his latest book that an “out-of-control” judiciary is the most serious threat to face American democracy in nearly 400 years of history.
Interviewed May 1 on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos,” Robertson, 75, said liberal judges out to dismantle Christian culture are more serious than Al Qaeda, World War II and the Civil War.
“George, I really believe that,” Robertson told the former aide to President Clinton turned broadcaster. “I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together.
“There is an assault on marriage. There’s an assault on human sexuality. As Judge [Antonin] Scalia said, they’ve taken sides in the culture war. And on top of that, if we have a democracy, the democratic processes should be that we can elect representatives who will share our point of view and vote those things into law.”
In his September 2004 book, Courting Disaster: How the Supreme Court Is Usurping the Power of Congress and the People, the Christian Broadcasting Network founder and former head of the Christian Coalition contends that an out-of-control judiciary is the single greatest threat to democracy and the religious and moral foundations of America. That is according to a description on the Web site of LifeWay Christian Stores, which sells the book for $21.99.
“How can you say these judges are more of a threat than Islamic terrorists who slam into to the World Trade Center?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“It depends on how you look at culture,” Robertson said. “If you look at over the course of a hundred years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that’s held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings.
“I think we’re going to control Al Qaeda. I think we’re going to get Osama bin Laden. We won in Afghanistan. We won in Iraq. We can contain that.
“You know, Thomas Jefferson warned about a tyranny of an oligarchy, and if we surrender our democracy to the tyranny of an oligarchy, we’ve made a terrible mistake.”
Robertson is no stranger to controversial statements. Two days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Robertson said he “totally concur[red]” with Jerry Falwell’s statement blaming liberals, feminists, abortionist and gays for making America vulnerable by removing God from the public square.
Earlier in the interview with Falwell on “The 700 Club,” Robertson said secularists had angered God, who in turn removed a hedge of divine protection from around the nation on 9/11.
“We have a court that has essentially stuck its finger in God’s eye and said we’re going to legislate you out of the schools,” Robertson said. “We’re going to take your commandments from off the courthouse steps in various states. We’re not going to let little children read the commandments of God. We’re not going to let the Bible be read, no prayer in our schools. We have insulted God at the highest levels of our government. And, then we say, ‘Why does this happen?’ Well, why it’s happening is that God Almighty is lifting his protection from us.”
In January Robertson said he believed God told him during a prayer retreat that President Bush’s second term would be one of “triumph.”
“He’ll have Social Security reform passed. He’ll have tax reform passed. He’ll have conservative judges on the courts. And … basically he is positioned for a series of dramatic victories, which I hope will hearten him and his advisers. They don’t have to be timid in this matter, because the winds are blowing at his back, and he can move forward boldly and get results.”
On Sunday, Stephanopoulos asked Robertson if he would like to reassess. Robertson replied he still believes Bush “has a winning hand” on Social Security, and Democrats “are holding onto something that Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in the ’30s, and they look like a bunch of mossbacks. It’s time they get some new ideas.”
Stephanopoulos, son of a Greek Orthodox priest who studied theology at Oxford, observed that Robertson describes a God who takes an active, direct role in human lives, such as removing justices from the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I’m just wondering, why does a God who is so involved in our daily life, so directly involved, allow something like a tsunami to kill several hundred thousand people in Asia?” Stephanopoulos asked.
Robertson responded that he doesn’t think God “reverses the laws of nature.”
“The reason for that tsunami was the shifting of tectonic plates in the Indian Ocean,” Robertson said. “I don’t think [God] changes the magma in volcanoes. And I don’t think he changes the wind currents that bring about hurricanes. So I don’t attribute that to God or his lack or otherwise.
“But in terms of human affairs, I do think he answers prayer. And I think there have been literally millions of people praying for a change in the Supreme Court. The people of faith in this country feel they are under a tyranny, and they see their liberties taken away from them. And they have been beseeching God, fasting and praying for years. So I think he hears and answers their prayers.”
Robertson had a slightly different take on the tsunami tragedy in January, when he called it “a warning to the world about how fragile life is” but said it does not signal the imminent end of the world.
“Now the earth knows my love and my mercy,” Robertson said God told him. “The time will come when it will experience my wrath. That time is not yet. Multitudes are ready to come into my kingdom. Revival will break out throughout the Muslim world; my truth will penetrate their hearts. The hold of that falsehood that has gripped them will be broken.”
Robertson once predicted God would not permit “Gay Day” at Walt Disney World in Florida. “I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you,” he said June 6, 1998, on “The 700 Club.”
“This is not a message of hate,” he continued. “This is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It’ll bring about terrorist bombs; it’ll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor.”
In 2003 Robertson prayed on CBN that Hurricane Isabel would turn from the East Coast and asked God to put a “wall of protection” around Virginia Beach.
“In the name of Jesus,” he said, “we reach out our hand in faith and we command that storm to cease its forward motion to the north and to turn and to go out into the sea.”
Robertson, who ran for president in 1988, reluctantly speculated on the 2008 presidential race. He described Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback as “a super guy” and Virginia’s Sen. George Allen as a former “distinguished governor and distinguished senator.”
Robertson said Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist is “a wonderfully compassionate human being” and a “delightful person,” but “I just don’t see him as a future president.”
He said he would vote against Sen. John McCain “under any circumstance.”
Asked if he thought religious conservatives would split off into a third party should the Republicans choose a moderate like Rudy Giuliani, Robertson said: “I don’t think so. Rudy’s a very good friend of mine, and he did a super job running the City of New York. And I think he’d make a good president. I like him a lot.
“Although he doesn’t share all of my particular points of view on social issues, he’s a very dedicated Catholic. And he’s a great guy.”
Robertson also told Stephanopoulos he wouldn’t say that only Christians and Jews are qualified to serve as judges, but that the Quran describes Muslims as being at war against all infidels. “Do you want somebody like that sitting as a judge?” Robertson asked. “I wouldn’t.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations decried Robertson’s comment as “hate-filled rhetoric” that “deserves repudiation from all who respect America’s long-standing tradition of pluralism.”
Asked whether he believed Clinton-appointed Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg were trying to dismantle Christian culture, Robertson pointed out that Ginsburg served as general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “That was founded, as you probably know, by three members of Communist International.”
“So she’s a communist?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“Well, she was the general counsel for this organization, whose purpose right now is to rid religion from the public square,” Robertson answered.
Robertson said he recently had ACLU President Nadine Strossen come to Virginia Beach for a debate at his Regent University. “She’s a very pleasant lady, but that’s what she said was her avowed goal: to take all religion from the public square,” he said.
“That’s their initiative. And Justice Ginsburg served as their general counsel.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.
Click here to watch the interview.