|Pat Robertson's Worst Gaffes|
|By RUSSELL GOLDMAN (@GoldmanRussell)||May 17, 2013, 2:34 PM|
Televangelist Pat Robertson's advice this week to a viewer asking how to forgive her husband for cheating spread quickly across the Internet, as did condemnation for a comment many saw as blaming the victim.
"We have gone to counseling, but I just can't seem to forgive, nor can I trust. How do you let go of the anger? How do you trust again?" asked a viewer of Robertson's daily program the 700 Club.
Robertson decided to let Ivy in on a "secret" about men who cheat.
"Stop talking about the cheating. He cheated on you. Well, he's a man. O.K.," he said.
"Does he provide a home for you to live in? Does he provide food for you to eat?" Robertson asked. "Is he handsome?"
But it was how he concluded his advice that got Robertson into real trouble, seemingly blaming the victim for her husband's philandering.
"Males have a tendency to wander a little bit, and what you want to do is make the home so wonderful that he doesn't want to wander," he said.
In a statement, the Christian Broadcast Network apologized for the comment.
"[Robertson's] point was that everyone is human and there is much temptation outside of the home, so she should do whatever she can to strengthen their home and relationship. His intent was not to condone infidelity or to cast blame. We regret any misunderstanding," the statement concluded.
It wasn't the first time Robertson, who has appeared on the 700 Club for more than 40 years, got into trouble for putting his foot in his mouth.
In no particular order, here are some of Robertson's most famous gaffes.
In 2010, Robertson blamed the Haitian earthquake that killed more than 200,000 people on a colonialist myth about a pact the people of Haiti made with the Devil.
"They were under the heel of the French, you know Napoleon III and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the Devil," Robertson said at the time, repeating a racist legend of Haiti's 18th-century revolution.
"They said, 'We will serve you if you'll get us free from the French.' True story. And so the Devil said, 'O.K., it's a deal.' And they kicked the French out, you know ... Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by, by one thing after another, desperately poor."
Following the heat he received for his comments, CBN issued a statement qualifying rather than apologizing for his remarks.
After repeating the legend, CBN wrote, "Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God's wrath."
In another question about marital fidelity, Robertson seemed to surprise both his audience and members of the faith community when he told a viewer it was all right to leave his wife, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Robertson said he would not "put a guilt trip" on someone for divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's, calling the disease "a kind of death."
"I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her," Robertson recommended.
In 2007, Robertson predicted a terrorist attack on the United States that would result in millions of deaths, based on a conversation he said he had with God.
"There's a possibility that—not a possibility, a definite certainty that chaos is going to rule," Robertson said.
"I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," he said. "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."
In 2012, Robertson again got into trouble for comments some people construed as misogynistic and Islamaphobic.
When a viewer asked advice for a wife who had threatened him, Robertson advised him to convert to Islam in order to be allowed to physically abuse her.
"I think this man's got to stand up to her, and he can't let her get away with this stuff," Robertson said. "I don't think we condone wife-beating these days, but something's got to be done."
"Well, you could become a Muslim — then you could beat her," Robertson said.