Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pat Robertson Claims Super Strength

Pat Robertson claims that protein shakes have made him incredibly strong. (Photo from Christian Broadcasting Network.)

By Lisa Haddock
NJ Faith Forum Editor

Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network is claiming he can leg press 2,000 pounds – thanks to an amazing “age-defying protein shake.” Sports experts have called this feat impossible.

His Web site presents a video supposedly showing the seventy-something televangelist hoisting 1,000 pounds – with his legs. “Where does Pat find the time and energy to host a daily, national TV show, head a world-wide ministry, develop visionary scholars [at Regent University], while traveling the globe as a statesman?” the CBN Web site gushes.

Statesman? This year, Robertson made headlines after calling for the death of Hugo Chavez and labeling Ariel Sharon’s stroke divine retribution. What am I missing?

Odd claims are nothing new for the broadcaster, who routinely tells viewers he can see them being healed of their afflictions through a “word of knowledge” from God.

The following are snippets from Robertson's history of oddities.

  • 1981: He forecasts calamities from the Jupiter effect, an alignment of the planets in the solar system. “Some astronomers forecast unusual gravitational pull on our planet when all the planets line up in 1981-the so-called Jupiter effect," Robertson claimed. "This planetary activity could trigger earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, and other widespread natural disasters. In short, we will soon be entering turbulent days and what is done in Jesus' name must be done quickly,” Robertson says (see “Sermon From the Satellite”). No disasters occur.
  • 1985: In a TV broadcast, Robertson prayed that Hurricane Gloria be steered away from his headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va. Unfortunately, the storm crashed into Fire Island instead (see “Apocalypse Soon.”)
  • 1986: Robertson reports that God has told him to run for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination -- a bid that ultimately fails. Robertson’s Web site quotes this 1986 statement: “The question for me on this or for that matter on any major decision is simple. ‘What is God's will for me in this?’ Let me assure you that deep in my heart I know God's will for me in this crucial decision and I have -- His further assurance that He will care for, continue, and enlarge the ministry of CBN which is so dear to my heart," the televangelist/politician says. "So now to all of you assembled on this 17th of September, I give you my decision. If by September 17, 1987, one year from today, 3 million registered voters have signed petitions telling me that they will pray -- that they will work -- that they will give toward my election, then I will run as a candidate for the nomination of the Republican Party for the office of President of the United States of America.”
  • 2001: In a program aired just days after 9/11, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell show extreme pastoral insensitivity when they blame sin in America for the terrorist attacks.
  • 2006: Robertson forecasts major hurricanes for the U.S. this year. Again, his information source is divine. "I go away at the end of each year to pray, and if I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms. ... They're talking about storms up the East Coast, and there is a very real possibility of a tsunami or serious flooding and storming in the West Coast, as well."
Given Robertson’s long history of strange comments, weird prophecies, and purported direct messages from God Almighty, one wonders why he retains any credibility. Furthermore, why are his odd claims newsworthy? He is hardly a bona fide religious leader. His viewership represents a tiny portion of the world's 2.1 billion Christians.

These claims coming from Pope Benedict -- now that would be news.

Story sources:

Media Matters, storm comments
CNN, 9/11 comments
CBN, age-defying shake, weighlifting photos
Robertson statement, 1988 presidential bid
"Sermon from the Satellite,” Prime Time Preachers by Jeffrey K. Hadden and Charles E. Swann
"Apocalypse Soon," The New York Times
Associated Press photos of Robertson pumping iron, published by the Washington Post

Current Faith Issues and Controversies
Complete Blog Index

No comments: