Who is Pat Robertson?
Pat Robertson (born March 22, 1930) is an American media mogul, executive chairman, and a former Southern Baptist minister, who generally supports conservative Christian ideals. He presently serves as Chancellor of Regent University and Chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network. Robertson has a distinguished career as the founder of several major organizations and corporations as well as a university: The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the International Family Entertainment Inc. (ABC Family Channel), Regent University, the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), the Founders Inn and Conference Center, the Christian Coalition, a Boeing 757 Flying Hospital, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation, and CBN Asia.
He is a best selling author and the host of The 700 Club, a Christian News and TV program broadcast live weekdays on the ABC Family Channel via satellite from CBN studios, as well as on channels throughout the United States, and on CBN network affiliates worldwide. The son of U.S. Senator A. Willis Robertson, Robertson is a Southern Baptist and was active as an ordained minister with that denomination for many years, but holds to a charismatic theology not traditionally common among Southern Baptists. He unsuccessfully campaigned to become the Republican Party's nominee in the 1988 presidential election. As a result of his seeking political office, he no longer serves in an official role for any church. His media and financial resources make him a recognized, influential, and controversial public voice for conservative Christianity in the United States.
Robertson was born in Lexington, Virginia, into a prominent political family. His parents were Absalom Willis Robertson, a conservative Democratic United States Senator, and his wife Gladys Churchill (née Willis). He married Adelia "Dede" Elmer on August 26, 1954. His family includes four children, among them Gordon P. Robertson and Tim Robertson and, as of mid-2005, 14 grandchildren.
At a young age, Robertson was nicknamed Pat by his six-year-old brother, Willis Robertson, Jr., who enjoyed patting him on the cheeks when he was a baby while saying "pat, pat, pat". As he got older, Robertson thought about which first name he would like people to use. He considered "Marion" to be effeminate, and "M. Gordon" to be affected, so he opted for his childhood nickname "Pat".
His strong awareness for the importance of names in the creation of a public image showed itself again during his presidential run when he threatened to sue NBC news for calling him a "television evangelist", which later became "televangelist", at a time when Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker were objects of scandal.
In 1956 Robertson found his faith through Dutch missionary Cornelius Vanderbreggen, who impressed Robertson both by his lifestyle and his message. Vanderbreggen quoted Proverbs (3:5, 6), "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths", which Robertson considers to be the "guiding principle" of his life. He was ordained as a minister of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1961.
In 1960, Robertson established the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He started it by buying a small UHF station in nearby Portsmouth. Later in 1977 he purchased a local Leased access cable TV channel in the Hampton Roads area and called it CBN. Originally he went door-to-door in Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, and other surrounding areas asking Christians to buy cable boxes so that they could receive his new channel.
He also canvassed local churches in the Virginia Beach area to do the same, and solicited donations through public speaking engagements at local churches and on CBN. One of his friends, John Giminez, the pastor of Rock Church Virginia Beach, was influential in helping Robertson establish CBN with donations, as well as offering the services of volunteers from his church. CBN is now seen in 180 countries and broadcast in 71 languages. He founded the CBN Cable Network, which was renamed the CBN Family Channel in 1988 and later simply the Family Channel. When the Family Channel became too profitable for Robertson to keep it under the CBN umbrella without endangering CBN's non-profit status, he formed International Family Entertainment Inc. in 1990 with the Family Channel as its main subsidiary.
Robertson sold the Family Channel to the News Corporation in 1997, which renamed it Fox Family. A condition of the sale was that the station would continue airing Robertson's television program, The 700 Club, twice a day in perpetuity, regardless of any changes of ownership. The channel is now owned by Disney and run as "ABC Family". On December 3, 2007, Robertson resigned as chief executive of CBN; he was succeeded by his son, Gordon. Robertson founded CBN University in 1977 on CBN's Virginia Beach campus. It was renamed Regent University in 1989. Robertson serves as its chancellor. He is also founder and president of the American Center for Law & Justice, a major public interest law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. and associated with Regent University School of Law in Virginia Beach, Virginia, that defends Constitutional freedoms and conservative Christian ideals. In 1994, he was a signer of the document Evangelicals and Catholics Together.
Several times near New Year, Robertson has announced that God told him several truths or events that would happen in the following year. "I have a relatively good track record," he said. "Sometimes I miss."1982: Doomsday
In late 1976, Robertson predicted that the end of the world was coming in October or November 1982. In a May 1980 broadcast of The 700 Club he stated, "I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world." In September 2011, Robertson and several others who incorrectly predicted various dates for the end of world were jointly awarded an Ig Nobel Prize for "teaching the world to be careful when making mathematical assumptions and calculations".2004: Bush landslide
In January 2004, Robertson said that God told him President Bush will be re-elected in a "blowout" in November. "I think George Bush is going to win in a walk", Robertson told viewers of his "700 Club" program. "I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be like a blowout election in 2004. It's shaping up that way." Bush did in fact win re-election, but not in a landslide. The 2004 race between Bush and Kerry was one of the closest large elections in history.2006: Pacific Northwestern tsunami
In May 2006, Robertson declared that storms and possibly a tsunami would hit America's coastline sometime in 2006. Robertson supposedly received this revelation from God during an annual personal prayer retreat in January. The claim was repeated four times on The 700 Club. On May 8, 2006, Robertson said, "If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms." On May 17, 2006, he elaborated, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest." While this claim didn't garner the same level of controversy as some of his other statements, it was generally received with mild amusement by the Pacific Northwest media. The History Channel's initial airing of its new series, Mega Disasters, debut episode "West Coast Tsunami", was broadcast the first week of May.2007: Terror attack
On the January 2, 2007, broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson said that God spoke to him and told him that "mass killings" were to come during 2007, due to a terrorist attack on the United States. He added, "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that." When a terrorist attack failed to happen in 2007, Robertson said, in January 2008, "All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us."2008: Worldwide violence and American recession
On the January 2, 2008 episode of The 700 Club, Pat Robertson predicted that 2008 would be a year of worldwide violence. He also predicted that a recession would occur in the United States that would be followed by a stock market crash by 2010. However, there was a decrease in overall deaths for the period, and the American economy had already entered a recession in 2007, with increased household debt and the collapse of financial institutions.2008: Mideast meltdown
In October 2008, Robertson posted a press release on the Georgian conflict speculating that the conflict is a Russian ploy to enter the Middle East, and that instability caused by a predicted pre-emptive strike by Israel on Iran would result in Syria's and Iran's launching nuclear strikes on other targets. He also said that if the United States were to oppose Russia's expansion, nuclear strikes on American soil are also pending. "We will suffer grave economic damage, but will not engage in military action to stop the conflict. However, we may not be spared nuclear strikes against coastal cities. In conclusion, it is my opinion that we have between 75 and 120 days before the Middle East starts spinning out of control."2009: Economic chaos and recovery
On the January 1, 2009 broadcast of The 700 Club, Robertson said, "If I'm hearing [God] right, gold will go to about $1900 an ounce and oil to $300 a barrel." He also suggested that Americans would broadly accept socialism. Despite these predictions, he also said that economically, "things are getting ready to turn around."2012: Presidential election
On January 4, 2012, Robertson reported that God had spoken to him and he "thinks He showed me the next president" but wouldn't name who it is. He did give an indication that it wouldn't be President Obama since Robertson said God told him Obama's views were at "odds with the majority", but left some room for interpretation if the 2012 election expands beyond a two-person race.
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