This article will analyze portions of the public record of Pat Robertson, President of
the Christian Coalition with regards to all six forms of
bias, namely linguistic, stereotyping, imbalance, unreality and fragmentation. Examples of
bias will be extracted from books, newspapers, ADL reports, editorials,
magazines, newsletters, etc. General areas of bias will include: anti-Semitism, politics,
separation of church and state, tolerance, the justice system and treatment of women. Most
of the source material compilation was done by the Interfaith Alliance, an organizations whose goal is "...provide people of faith and others of
good will with a platform from which to make their voices heard. Together we are affirming
the important role religion has played in American public life and speaking out against
those use religion as a weapon to attack their opponents and who willfully pit people
against each other for personal or political gain. Together we are rejecting the politics
of division, promoting reconciliation, and facilitating greater participation in public
life by all Americans."
Since 1988, Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition has become a major force in
American politics. To reinforce this point, on July 30, 1996 the Federal Election
Commission filed suit against the Christian Coalition for its failure to register and
report as a political action committee in violation of United States Code Sections 433 and
434. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) stated that "the Christian Coalition has
every right to be involved in the political process as citizens and voters. In so doing,
however, they must still play by the same rules as everyone else.
Pat Robertson's Public Record (all quotations from Pat Robertson
unless otherwise noted)
||The New World Order, (1991), p.17; "Communism
was the brainchild of German-Jewish intellectuals." |
||Petersburg Times, June 26, 1994; Bailey Smith, a
founding father of Robertson's Christian Coalition, once told 15,000 people at a Religious
Roundtable briefing in Dallas, "With all due respect to those dear people, my
friend, God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew."
Separation of Church and State
||The State, Columbia, South Carolina, Nov. 14, 1993; "They
have kept us in submission because they have talked about separation of church and state.
There is no such thing in the Constitution. It's a lie of the left, and we're not going to
take it anymore." |
||The 700 Club, Dec. 30, 1981; "The Constitution
of the United States, for instance, is a marvelous document for self-government by
Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christian and
atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society."
||The New World Order, (1991) p.227 ; "How can
there be peace when drunkards, drug dealers, communists, atheists, New Age, worshipers of
Satan, secular humanists, oppressive dictators, greedy moneychangers, revolutionary
assassins, adulterers, and homosexuals are on top?"
||New York Magazine, August 18, 1986; "It is
interesting, that termites don't build things, and the great builders of our nation almost
to a man have been Christians, because Christians have the desire to build something. He
is motivated by love of man and God, so he builds. The people who have come into [our]
institutions [today] are primarily termites. They are into destroying institutions that
have been built by Christians, whether it is universities, governments, our own
traditions, that we have.... The termites are in charge now, and that is not the way it
ought to be, and the time has arrived for a godly fumigation."
||The 700 Club, January 14, 1991; "You say you're
supposed to be nice to the Episcopalians and the Presbyterians and the Methodists and
this, that, and the other thing. Nonsense. I don't have to be nice to the spirit of the
Antichrist. I can love the people who hold false opinions but I don't have to be nice to
||The 700 Club, 1992; "When lawlessness is abroad
in the land, the same thing will happen here that happened in Nazi Germany. Many of those
people involved in Adolf Hitler were Satanists, many of them were homosexuals -- the two
things seem to go together." |
||The Washington Post, August 23, 1993; "(T)he
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."
||Federal News Service, Sept. 11, 1992, quoting a Robertson
newsletter; "I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get
married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the
household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."
||The 700 Club, May 22, 1986; "Why are so many
marriages falling apart? Why is the divorce rate so high? ...Why is there such a tragedy
in marriage?...Now the basic answer to the basic [problem of marriages today is a question
of leadership. The wife actually makes the husband the head of the household and she looks
to him and she says 'now you pray, and I'm going to pray for you that the Lord will speak
to you." |
||The State-Record, Columbia, SC, June 28, 1992; "(Robertson)
chastised women legislators who support no-fault divorce laws that he says encourage men
to split. 'Any woman who votes for no-fault divorce is like a turkey voting for
Thanksgiving,' Robertson said, paraphrasing a conservative commentator."
Perspective," April - May 1992; "The strategy against the American radical
left should be the same as General Douglas MacArthur employed against the Japanese in the
Pacific . . . bypass their strongholds, then surround them, isolate them bombard them,
then blast the individuals out of their power bunkers with hand-to-hand combat. The battle
for Iwo Jima was not pleasant, but our troops won it. The battle to regain the soul of
America won't be pleasant either, but we will win it."
||The Los Angeles Times,
reprinted in The Religious Right: The Assault of Tolerance & Pluralism in America,
produced by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL); "It's like guerrilla
warfare....It's better to move quietly, with stealth, under cover of night. You've got two
choices: You can wear cammies and shimmy along on your belly or you can put on a red coat
and stand up for everyone to see. It comes down to whether you want to be the British army
in the Revolutionary War or the Viet Cong. History tells us which tactic is more
The Justice System
||The New World Order (1991),
p. 231; "The potential savings in the national budgets from the elimination of
police, criminal courts, standing armies, pollution control agencies, drug enforcement,
and many poverty programs is almost beyond calculation."
||The 700 Club, Oct. 2, 1990; "The
courts are merely a ruse, if you will, for humanist, atheistic educators to beat up on
||The Washington Post
editorial board, June 27, 1986; "I am bound by the laws of the United States
and all 50 states...I am not bound by any case or any court to which I myself am not a
party...I don't think the Congress of the United States is subservient to the
courts...They can ignore a Supreme Court ruling if they so choose."
Summary and How To Compensate for the Above Biases in
First the Facts
The focus of this paper is on Pat Robertson and the
organization he is President and Founder of, the Christian Coalition. In understanding the
Christian Coalition one must first understand the backgrounds of most of its members.
First, its members are mostly white evangelical Christians. The group has recently, under
Executive Director Ralph Reed attempted to extend its reach to Jews. However the Coalition
effectively excluded observant Jews from participation in its annual Road to Victory
political convention in Washington, DC, by scheduling the event for September 13-15, 1996.
Obviously ignoring that September 13th marks the beginning of the holiest days of the
Jewish year, which start with Rosh Hashanah and conclude with Yom Kippur. These days are
supposed to be devoted to prayer, solemn festivities, and rest from work. Recently the
group has tried to reach out to Hispanic groups with little success.
The majority of Coalition members have a rather
idealized vision of America. For example., Mike Ebert, published in the Coalition
publication, Christian American, the following:
Summer has never completely arrived for me until I
celebrate the Fourth of July. It's a holiday with so much tradition and excitement. And
it's the one that's truly American through and through. As a child growing up in Ohio, I
remember lining up along my home town's main street, watching a seemingly endless line of
marching bands, fire engines, clowns and war veterans stream by. Everything was shiny, big
and loud. One year, my sister and I decorated our bikes and our little brother's wagon and
we all walked in the parade together. Another time I joined my Little League baseball team
in the procession. In the afternoon came a big meal - maybe even a picnic - with hot dogs,
hamburgers, chips and all-you-could-eat corn-on-the-cob. We didn't care how much butter or
salt we were piling on. But the biggest event of the day didn't come until the end. As
soon as it was dark we pulled lawn chairs to the back yard and fixed our eyes on the sky.
When the fireworks finally erupted it seemed as though they would land right in our yard,
though they were being launched at least a half-mile away at the county fairground.My
childhood Fourth of July reflected exactly what I thought about America. It was big, happy
and on the rise.
This view of America and the fourth is obviously
idealized and though it may represent his selective memories, it clearly ignores the
perspectives of thousands of Black and Hispanic youths that daily experience subtle and
not so subtle forms of discrimination and hatred and whose parents struggle to simply keep
them alive and under one roof.
Further, the Christian Coalition by no means represents
the views of the majority of Christians in this country. For Example, Unitarian
Universalists urge their members to confront the Radical Religious Right at every
opportunity. At their annual General Assembly conference in July, delegates voted to
support a resolution calling for its members to use everything from voting to aligning
themselves with interfaith coalitions in order to target groups that "subvert the
open democratic process." Many Catholic and other non-Evangelical Christian groups
actively oppose the Christian Coalition and the religious right in general. The Interfaith
Alliance (mentioned earlier) is organizing chapters across the country to counter the
Christian Coalition, their efforts range from active voter education and mobilization to
outreach to other groups and government lobbying.
In Christian Coalition itself is a large and powerful
political organization with chapters throughout the world. The Federal Election
Commission's complaint against the Coalition found that "the Christian Coalition's
ultimate goal, like that of a political party is to obtain control of the levers of
government so that it may then put into operation its policies and philosophies. The
Coalition's public statements, written materials, and actual election-related activities
all demonstrate that its major purpose is to influence federal elections." The
FEC relied, in part, on the recruitment and training videotape produced by the Christian
Coalition in 1990, "America At A Crossroads," in which Pat Robertson described
the political purposes and the election-related goals of the Christian Coalition when he
stated, "I believe that the Christian Coalition will be the most powerful
political force in America by the end of this decade," and then proceeded to explain
point by point how this goal would be reached.
There ultimate future vision of America might be found
in founder Pat Robertson's view of Zambia. Zambian President Frederick Chiluba is a
Robertson associate who, in 1991, officially declared the country a 'Christian nation,'
and followed this up by changing some of the nation's laws to reflect the new Christian
status. Robertson hailed this action while interviewing Chiluba during a taped segment
that aired during the April 25, 1995, edition of 'The 700 Club' and lamented the fact that
no such declaration can occur in the United States. "Your country is a standard for
not only Africa but the rest of the world,' gushed Robertson. Since Chiluba took office
all public schools have become saturated with fundamentalist Christianity - Muslims and
Hindus were told that they would have to build their own schools; state-run radio and
television has been taken over by Christian fundamentalist religious programming; all
abortion was outlawed - police shut down every clinic and many doctors and staffers were
attacked and beaten; an anti-pornography crusade was launched, and fundamentalist
ministers and missionaries were given license to work with the police to publicly burn any
material deemed obscene. The country is now swarming with fundamentalist Christian
missionaries, many of them affiliated with the radical Christian Reconstructionist
movement...[which] Under their plan, the harsh legal code outlined in the Old Testament
would be the basis for U.S. law."
Yet despite all of the above, the aims of the Coalition
can sometimes appear to quite moderate. According to Pat Robertson, "I founded the
Christian Coalition as a pro-family citizen action organization to impact public policy on
a local, state, and national level, to teach Christians effective citizenship, and to
promote Christian values in government." Yet how does this last statement square
with his pattern of public statements and writings that stretch over many years. Finally,
how does Mr. Robertson's statements (past and present) square with the new
Executive Director Rex Reed's avowed desire to "reach out" to minority groups.
The questions posed in the last paragraph would be the
center piece of my curricular approach to examining Pat Robertson and the Christian
Coalition. The overall approach would be to:
|Study or briefly examine the personal history of Mr.
Robertson. I would ask the students to consider or speculate on what might have been the
major formative influences in his life that shaped his religious, political and social
|Study or briefly examine how and why the Christian
Coalition was formed and who comprises the organization today.|
|I would then examine the public words and writings of Mr.
Robertson as outlined above. I would ask students to analyze his remarks in the context of
his personal background, the background's of other members of the Coalition and
finally their (the student's) personal perspectives and views.|
|I would ask the class to assess, for example the
political influence of the Coalition in the Republican party and ask them to examine the
tactics the Coalition is using to become a major political force.|
|In light of (4), I would ask the class to state reasons
why the Coalition might want itself to be perceived as a more moderate force in order to
attract a larger and more influential following.|
|I would ask the class to explore reasons why hundreds of
thousands of people might belong to the Coalition yet either not support or be aware of
many of Mr. Robertson's views.|
I would implement these activities through a variety of
means, including various readings on bias and bigotry, large group/organizational
dynamics, anti-Semitism, abnormal personalities, political lobbying, etc. Role playing,
research reports, outside speakers, and large and small group discussions might all be
In conclusion, the only counter I know for bias and
bigotry is the truth. My purpose would be to present many of the statements and facts
I have outlined above and then encourage students to think of how such beliefs have and
can shape the world they live in. I would ask them to reexamine their own thinking for
similar types of bias, examine their own formative influences and suggest ways they can
constructively and democratically channel their beliefs into positive change
that benefits society.