Pat Robertson’s Legacy of Cruelty

So, a vile man is finally dead.

Pat Robertson’s 93-year long life was a textbook example of willful ignorance and cruelty writ large. Here is a short list of how this was so (note: it only gets worse as you get to the bottom):

Robertson said at the start of 2010 that God wouldn’t bless America that year because there was too much abortion and homosexuality and not enough prayer. “Fifty million babies slaughtered,” Robertson said God told him. “You can’t have legislation that is anti-God. You can’t foster in your midst things that I call an abomination.… If you do, sooner or later judgment’s going to come.”

Robertson’s god was the quintessential bully.

Robertson hosted fellow televangelist Jerry Falwell on his show The 700 Club just days after the 9/11 attack. At one point, Falwell said, “The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point the finger in their face and say, ‘You helped this happen.’” Robertson replied, “I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government.”

I like to imagine Falwell and Robertson sharing a cell somewhere in the Great Beyond, where they can reflect on all the cruel, stupid rubbish they said on television.

In a 1992 fundraising letter, Robertson wrote: “The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” Socialist, lesbian witches? Where’s the problem, Pat?

Robertson said Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005 because God was angry about abortion. “I was reading … a book that was very interesting about what God has to say in the Old Testament about those who shed innocent blood,” he said. “Have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disaster? Could they be connected?”

No, Pat. They weren’t.

In March 1990, Robertson referred to homosexuality as a “pathology” that needed to be treated. “Many of those people involved with Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals,” he said on The 700 Club. “Those two things seem to go together.”

The fact that thousands of queer people were persecuted and slaughtered by the Nazis in death camps from 1933 to 1945 did not seem to make into Robertson’s odious historical revisionism.

In 2011, Robertson compared Islamophobia to being anti-Nazi. “I was thinking, you know, if you oppose Muslims, what is said?” he asked on The 700 Club. “Well, you’re a bigot, right? Terrible bigotry. I wonder, what were people who opposed the Nazis? Were they bigots?”

Robertson was often obsessed with Nazism. Ironically, his brand of anti-Nazism often aligned with the tenets of Nazism itself. Like demonizing an entire class of people based on their religion or ethnicity.

In 2014, a 700 Club viewer asked whether an upcoming trip to Kenya was risky. “You might get AIDS in Kenya,” Robertson warned on air. “The people have AIDS in Kenya. The towels could have AIDS.”

There isn’t much more to say about this bit of ugliness.

Robertson told 700 Club viewers that the lawsuit filed by Texas’s then–Attorney General Ken Paxton challenging the results of the 2020 election was a “miracle.” “They’re going to the Supreme Court to say, ‘This election was rigged, and you’ve got to overturn it,’” Robertson said, pushing Trump-backed falsehoods. He also said God would intervene.

In short, God didn’t intervene. And the attempted far-right coup on January 6th almost ended what was left of the deeply corrupted and tattered republic.

Robertson was accused of using his charity Operation Blessing to fly mining equipment to his personal diamond mines in Zaire.

It was apparent that Christ’s parable about the rich man was lost on Robertson.

When the biodiverse Galapagos Islands were threatened with an oil spill, Robertson could barely contain his glee. He wasn’t at all concerned about the wildlife that was in harms way or the people who would be adversely affected by the potential disaster. No. He was giddy that the place where Charles Darwin made his groundbreaking observations about the nature of evolution would soon be destroyed.

Owning “godless evolutionists” was more important to Robertson than, ya know, actual living beings.

Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake in January 2010. Robertson didn’t waste a minute in blaming the people of that country for this natural disaster. He said that Haitians had made a “pact with the devil” long ago in their history when they dared to rebel against the slavery imposed on them by the French overthrow their oppressors.

Apparently, according to Robertson’s genocidal god, the people of Haiti have been “cursed” ever since.

Robertson blamed the Palestinians for ALL of their suffering. This wasn’t because he “loved the Jewish people,” which he often claimed. It was due to his narrow biblical exegesis which required the establishment of the state of Israel, the destruction of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the rebuilding of the Temple in order for Christ to return. In this version, a third of the Jews would be wiped out. So, despite being a feckless supporter of the state of Israel, even as it was committing ethnic cleansing and human rights crimes, his real reason for supporting Israel was grounded in an idea of supernatural genocide. He also employed antisemitic tropes and conspiracy theories whenever it suited his narrative.

In the early 1980s, General Efrain Rios Montt swept to power via a military coup and his junta slaughtered thousands of Indigenous people. Robertson flew to the country to personally congratulate the newly installed dictator. To add insult to genocide, as Rios Montt was carrying out the extermination of the Mayan population, Robertson held a fundraising telethon for the Guatemalan military.

To be sure, Robertson never met a right-wing death squad that he didn’t adore, especially when it gave the promise of enriching him.

The above is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should provide you with ample evidence of this man’s character, or lack thereof. So, I have no tears to shed for him. Not one. But I have copious ones for the people he vilified and bludgeoned with his influence.

Pat Robertson was a petty, ignorant, cruel and callous bully who used his pulpit to persecute the most marginalized in society and provide cover for murderous regimes, apartheid and oppression, while fostering prejudice, superstition and bigotry. He will not be missed by the people for whom he caused enormous pain.

Kenn Orphan is an artist, sociologist, radical nature lover and weary, but committed activist. He can be reached at