I used to watch the news-portion of The 700 Club in the 90′s, prior to 9/11. Some of the talk was interesting, and I liked their more conservative take on the news, before Fox became available. Pat Robertson was a bit more… certain of some things than I was, but I assumed him to be sincere. Yes, I know he’s a televangelist and we’re all so cynical about that, but still.
I remember hearing about Operation Blessing, and all the wonderful international aid work that they did. He talked about it a lot. I never donated money, but it seemed like a worthy enough cause I was quite shocked to read this (Mission Congo: how Pat Robertson raised millions on the back of a non-existent aid project) Thursday.
Guess I should have known he was irredeemably dirty when he suddenly decided that China’s ‘One Child’ policy (One Child Policy) was okay. One of the larger issues of the time (mid/late 90′s, perhaps) was Most Favored Nation (Most favoured nation) status for China. Most Christian Conservative/pro-lifers disapproved MFN for China because of One Child, since it necessarily led to abortions, often forced. This was not a small matter. I distinctly recall Pat Robertson proclaiming, basically, that they have so many people, and what else are they supposed to do? One would imagine that his business dealings in that country had absolutely nothing to do with his change-of-heart. (Ah, here it is Pat Robertson controversies. More recent than I thought)
I quit watching after 9/11, and the statements he shared with Jerry Falwell. It wasn’t so much that I disagreed, but I knew damn well that he believed what he said (or had repeatedly said it in the past) and was now denying it. If you think that God is judging this country, to the point of allowing such an attack, what better time to inform the public than when they’re all watching the news? I can disagree with you all day long, but don’t try to put that past me.
Forgive the naivete that caused me to believe that this multimillion dollar charity was legitimate, despite every other thing I’ve heard about this man. It’s so easy to be glib and dismissive, and to say that we don’t expect any better. On the other hand, people donate their money in good faith, and believe that it’s being used for a good cause. As conservatives, we say that charity should do what government shouldn’t. This should be a very big deal.