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10 Craziest Things Pat Robertson Has Said

His profile in the mainstream media may have faded, but his influence over the Christian right (and the GOP) hasn't dimmed much at all.

It’s tempting to dismiss Pat Robertson as an unimportant distraction, a living relic whose various kooky opinions might have mattered in the past, but don’t matter any longer. That would be a mistake. While many other Christian right leaders have crowded the field in recent years, Robertson still has wide-reaching influence through his popular televangelism program “The 700 Club.” The show not only airs on Robertson’s own Christian Broadcasting Network, but also the supposedly mainstream ABC Family Channel.  

Nor has Robertson really faded from the world of right-wing activism. The university he founded, Regent, continues to crank out hard-right politicians and bureaucrats,  including Bob McDonnell, the governor of Virginia. The Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, which is meant to be a Christian right counterpoint to the ACLU, continues to  strike huge blows to human rights in the courts, with a specific eye to dismantling religious freedom and forcing fundamentalist Christian views on the rest of the country.

While all this goes on, Pat Robertson continues to be as loony as ever, using his position as the host of “The 700 Club” to spout all sorts of silly, bizarre and horrific ideas to his rapt audience, who believes the man has a special relationship with God. His profile in the mainstream media may have faded in recent years, but his influence over the Christian right--and therefore the Republican Party--doesn’t seem to have dimmed much at all.

With that in mind, here are 10 of his most recent alarming and disturbing statements.

1) Men with “rebellious” wives should live where wife-beating is legal. When a caller complained that his wife insults him and once raised a hand to him, Robertson lamented the end of legal wife-beating. “I don’t think we condone wife-beating these days but something has got to be done,” he whined. After characterizing the wife as someone who “does not understand authority,” he “jokingly” recommended that the husband move to Saudi Arabia, so that he can legally batter her.

2) You should cast demons out of secondhand clothes you buy, lest their previous owner’s evil infect you. After a “700 Club” viewer asked if her mother was right to believe that clothes bought at a resale shop might have demons hiding in them,  Robertson recommended praying over them as a precautionary measure. “Hey, it ain’t going to hurt anything to rebuke any spirits that happened to have attached themselves to those clothes,” he said, adding that witches may have cursed the secondhand clothes. While the effectiveness of physical washing of clothes can be determined by visual and olfactory assessment, it’s unclear how one can tell if you’ve prayed the demons out of your clothes. Robertson was mum on how to make this determination.

3) God punishes people for having too much education. When a viewer asked Robertson why there are more “miracles” in Africa than in the U.S.--mind you, no statistics were offered to support this contention-- Robertson blamed the supposed overeducation of Americans. “People overseas didn't go to Ivy League schools,” he chuckled, unaware that  20% of Harvard’s students come from outside the U.S. He went on to blame “skepticism and science” for God’s miracle reticence, saying, “We are so sophisticated, we think we've got everything figured out. We know about evolution, we know about Darwin, we know about all these things that says God isn't real, we know about all this stuff.”

4) Women just discovered porn, and quite possibly sex. Robertson thought it advisable to embarrass one of his female co-hosts by asking her about Fifty Shades of Gray. “You’re a sweet Christian girl. Do you see anything in porn that attracts you at all?” he asked, as if there was a chance in the world she would say yes no matter how she actually felt about the situation. After she gave the obligatory denial, Robertson expressed his utter bewilderment at this new interest the female gender has in erotic materials. “The thing that shocks me. We always thought this was a male thing,” he said. “But now it looks like 30% of women are involved in pornography.” He expressed particular surprise that the author of Fifty Shades does not look like a “glamour queen,” as if the only thing that could possibly be more surprising than a woman showing interest in sex is an ordinary-looking woman showing interest in sex.

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