Rev. Pat Robertson, Icon Of Religious Right, Dies At 93
Rev. Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson has died at age 93. Robertson was an influential voice in the conservative Christian community, helping to establish the political power of evangelicals.
His death was announced on Thursday, with no cause named at this time.
Robertson initially gained public attention as the host of The 700 Club, on the Christian Broadcasting Network. He pioneered this television channel, which reached its peak in the 80s and 90s.
Robertson was born on March 22, 1930, in Lexington, Virginia. He joined the Marine Corps at the age of 18, serving in Korea during the Korean War. He attended Washington and Lee University and went on to attend Yale Law School, finishing near the top of his class.
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Upon failing the New York bar exam, Robertson felt unsatisfied with his life, stating that his “life was empty.” However, after meeting a traveling minister, Roberton “walked through a curtain, which had separated [him] from God,” as he wrote.
Despite his lack of political experience, Robertson announced his candidacy for the presidency in October 1987. He did surprisingly well in the Iowa caucus, finishing ahead of Vice President George H.W. Bush, who went on to be the party’s nominee and eventually took office.
However, Robertson’s campaign ended following the caucus, as Bush was better positioned and experienced to win the race. Although he did not win, Robertson’s efforts in the 1988 election shaped the future of political activism in the evangelical community.
“Lesson learned from the Robertson campaign,” wrote historian Scott Culpepper in 2021, “enabled conservative evangelicals to determine critical challenges they would need to make if their effective political influence was to continue… Robertson’s campaign cemented the alliance between conservative evangelical activists and the Republican party.”
Opponents, however, viewed Robertson as someone trying to force his own morality on others. He was widely ridiculed for his prophecies, most of which were proven untrue and polarizing.
Robertson often attributed natural disasters to the sins of those he felt were immoral, such as the LGBTQ+ community. In 1998, he warned Disney World in Orlando, Florida, that flying rainbow flags in their parks could lead to “earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor.”
Recently, he stated that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was “compelled by God.”
In 1989, Robertson founded the Christian Coalition, which aimed to energize evangelicals and encourage them to get involved with political processes. He always held firm to his beliefs and never stopped commenting on public issues.
Despite his controversial stances, Robertson maintained his place in the Christian community and championed efforts that define the interconnectedness of religion and politics.
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