Pat Robertson's first novel, The End of the Age, is finally available at your local bookstore. You no longer have to pledge $100 to the Christian Broadcasting Network and its L-1011 flying hospital project to get "The Book," as it has been endlessly referred to by Pat & Company. But if you are looking for a spine-tingling, life-altering work of fiction worthy of the shameless promotion and build-up it continues to receive on "The 700 Club" — forget it.
The End of the Age is supposed to be about spiritual revival and the fulfillment of the New Testament Book of Revelation. But Pat's plot — actually a collage of his ideas, pet peeves, and grinding axes — is painfully transparent and virtually devoid of character development.
The inconsistent use of italics throughout is very distracting. Metaphors are mixed with wild abandon. Havoc, for example, "unfolded like clockwork." The last 13 pages are totally blank. Pat delivers God's wrath in three days and allows the Antichrist to consolidate world power in just six pages.
Indeed, "700 Club" viewers have been told over and over that God spoke directly to Pat last December about all of this. So, he's got it all worked out. Why bother to develop a legitimate story line?
The good news is that if anyone ever doubted what Pat Robertson really stands for or how he works, here's a collection of all that he preaches, promotes, and bashes every day on "The 700 Club." You may already know the basic drill: We are on the road to self-destruction, look at all the nasty signs of the times, a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to salvation, we must reach and harvest 500 million souls by the year 2000, so forth and so on. In The End of the Age, the end is now the unspeakably horrible proof of the pudding.
Pastor Jack is the one who provides the religious context for what is happening and for salvation with his interpretation of Revelation and related historical events. He also provides a place for thousands of unaffected at his El Refugio settlement in New Mexico where he's created a vast satellite communications operation. He and his cohorts spread the message of hope to those people who refuse to pledge their allegiance to Mark Beaulieu, the Antichrist. Only they will survive the wrath and the ensuing torment to rise up into the heavens and the New Jerusalem. Pastor Jack knew back in 1995 that all this would happen. It seems like this guy knows absolutely everything — just like Pat Robertson!
But that's not all. In The End of the Age, Pat continues to bash government with impunity by including a president and vice-president that are about the most pathetic and despicable public officials you'll ever meet. A Secret Service agent soon walks off the job saying, "If some crazy wants to pop these clowns, I sure don't want to stand in the way." Later a gay man who works in the White House is blackmailed into a major breach of national security.
Furthermore: "'You know what amazes me,' Dave said, 'is how people in America, from the Supreme Court all the way down, thought they could insult God and get away with it.'" And for good measure: "It was one of Washington's dirtiest little secrets; but despite what some critics would call criminal extortion, the Post was so powerful that it routinely operated above the law."
Have you heard Pat's theory about the smart card and the laser tattoos that we'll be sporting when everything we own or do is under the thumb of the New World Order? Did Pat make up the sophisticated communications details, or is it straight out of the Christian Broadcasting Network? Even the Pope gets an honorable mention — so Catholics can comfortably buy into the Christian Coalition's new Catholic Alliance.
Non-born-again Christians are the shallowest of the shallow, even the ones on their way to redemption. Just listen to Carl Throneberry: "I know one thing, though. I dont want to face the judgment. There's got to be some way out of this deal for Lori and me!" On the Book of Revelation, he says: "This is incredible! Who wrote this stuff?"
There are a few heroes in The End of the Age. But we are informed that a key, born-again communications expert is the son of illegal Mexican immigrants who had slipped past the INS border patrol. And Pastor Jack's loyal housekeeper is technically an illegal, but that doesn't keep her from being a great cook and a friend.
The End of the Age is not an important novel, not by any stretch of the imagination. But it is a fairly complete catalog of the world according to Pat Robertson. New Age religions, giving protective legal status to people who practice aberrant sex acts, killing people through abortion, a First Lady who wants to install her radical sisters in key government posts, the destruction of the American family, the Thuggees of India, legalized pornography, troops in teal blue jump suits with white helmets, the battle for Jerusalem — it's all there. Sometimes Pat is his own worst enemy; he just doesn't know when to stop.
It's tempting to say that The End of the Age is must reading. But is it a sincere effort to get people to think about their relationship with Jesus? Or is it just another calculated, self-serving effort aimed at giving Pat Robertson credibility while he twists the Bible and history to fit his dangerous political agenda and makes yet more money to support his many enterprises? Why buy this book when you can just tune into "The 700 Club"?
Every single American should watch "The 700 Club," especially as we continue into the 1996 election year. We can never forget that televangelist, media mogul, ex-Southern Baptist minister, and now novelist Pat Robertson is also a failed Presidential candidate, friend of Zairian dictator Mobutu, sworn enemy of the United Nations, and the undisputed boss of the Christian Coalition. He wants no less than to take over the Republican Party, control the presidency, and convert Jerusalem. So, is Pat a modern-day prophet or political meshuggenah? You decide.