Some thoughts on Pat Robertson’s death by Hemant Mehta publisher of the Friendly Atheist
For decades, Robertson was one of the most influential and best-known conservative Christians in the country, using his platform on The 700 Club and through the Christian Coalition to promote homophobia, anti-Muslim bigotry, sexism, and conspiracy theories. He lied about how much he could leg-press—2,000 pounds!—and how long he would live—120 years old!
He said feminism led women to “leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.” He called for the assassination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. He said towels carry AIDS, that mass shootings could be blamed on godlessness and liberals, and that he’s being dominated by homosexuals.
After his brother-in-Christ Jerry Falwell blamed 9/11 on pagans, “abortionists,” feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU, and People for the American Way, Robertson chimed in with “I totally concur.”
Robertson’s legacy may be that he was symbolic of the worst kind of Christian: Someone who attains a massive platform, then uses it to harm people who are already marginalized. He was the sort of Christian that even other Christians wanted no association with because he was a legendary embarrassment. Even today, just about every single obituary you’ll read about him includes a laundry list of the most awful things he ever said—not near the bottom as an afterthought, but near the top, because Robertson was ultimately most famous for making Christianity more cringe-worthy.
If there’s any consolation today, it’s that Pat Robertson isn’t looking down at us from above. (Nor is he looking up at us from below, though that would make one hell of an editorial cartoon.) He’s just gone. He won’t be able to make any other absurd statements. He won’t be able to hurt any more people.
It’ll be up to all of us to make sure the institutions he left behind lose their power and influence, too.
Happy Pride Month, everybody.