RIP, Pat Robertson. I remember he was a favorite of my grandmothers who watched all the episodes of the 700 Club.
Robertson’s wife of 68 years, Dede Robertson, died on April 19 of last year. She was 94. I included a few photos and a video tribute from the 700 Club in this article.
The Associated Press reported:
Pat Robertson, the religious broadcaster who turned a tiny Virginia station into the global Christian Broadcasting Network, tried a run for president and helped make religion central to Republican Party politics in America through his Christian Coalition, has died.
He was 93.
Robertson’s death Thursday was announced by his broadcasting network. No cause was given.
Robertson’s enterprises also included Regent University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia Beach; the American Center for Law and Justice, which defends First Amendment rights; and Operation Blessing, an international humanitarian organization.
For more than a half-century, Robertson was a familiar presence in American living rooms, known for his “700 Club” television show, and in later years, his televised pronouncements of God’s judgment, blaming natural disasters on everything from homosexuality to the teaching of evolution.
The money poured in as he solicited donations, his influence soared, and he brought a huge following with him when he moved directly into politics by seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 1988.
Robertson pioneered the now-common strategy of courting Iowa’s network of evangelical Christian churches, and finished in second place in the Iowa caucuses, ahead of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush.
His masterstroke was insisting that 3 million followers across the U.S. sign petitions before he would decide to run, Robertson biographer Jeffrey K. Hadden said. The tactic gave him an army.
″He asked people to pledge that they’d work for him, pray for him and give him money,” Hadden, a University of Virginia sociologist, told The Associated Press in 1988. ″Political historians may view it as one of the most ingenious things a candidate ever did.″
Robertson later endorsed Bush, who won the presidency. Pursuit of Iowa’s evangelicals is now standard for Republican hopefuls, including those currently seeking the White House in 2024.
Robertson started the Christian Coalition in Chesapeake in 1989, saying it would further his campaign’s ideals. The coalition became a major political force in the 1990s, mobilizing conservative voters through grass-roots activities.
Marion Gordon “Pat” Robertson was born March 22, 1930, in Lexington, Virginia, to Absalom Willis Robertson and Gladys Churchill Robertson. His father served for 36 years as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Virginia.
After graduating from Washington and Lee University, he served as assistant adjutant of the 1st Marine Division in Korea.
He received a law degree from Yale University Law School, but failed the bar exam and chose not to pursue a law career.
Robertson met his wife, Adelia “Dede” Elmer, at Yale in 1952. He was a Southern Baptist, she was a Catholic, earning a master’s in nursing. Eighteen months later, they ran off to be married by a justice of the peace, knowing neither family would approve.
Robertson was interested in politics until he found religion, Dede Robertson told the AP in 1987. He stunned her by pouring out their liquor, tearing a nude print off the wall and declaring he had found the Lord.
They moved into a commune in New York City’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood because Robertson said God told him to sell all his possessions and minister to the poor. She was tempted to return home to Ohio, “but I realized that was not what the Lord would have me do … I had promised to stay, so I did,” she told the AP.
Robertson received a master’s in divinity from New York Theological Seminary in 1959, then drove south with his family to buy a bankrupt UHF television station in Portsmouth, Virginia. He said he had just $70 in his pocket, but soon found investors, and CBN went on the air on Oct. 1, 1961.
Established as a tax-exempt religious nonprofit, CBN brought in hundreds of millions, disclosing $321 million in “ministry support” in 2022 alone.
One of Robertson’s innovations was to use the secular talk-show format on the network’s flagship show, the “700 Club,” which grew out of a telethon when Robertson asked 700 viewers for monthly $10 contributions. It was more suited to television than traditional revival meetings or church services, and gained a huge audience.
“Here’s a well-educated person having sophisticated conversations with a wide variety of guests on a wide variety of topics,” said Green, the University of Akron political science professor. “It was with a religious inflection to be sure. But it was an approach that took up everyday concerns.”
His guests eventually included several U.S. presidents — Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump.
Via The Western Journal
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