Just when you think you've heard everything, Pat Robertson and his cohorts Ben Kinchlow and Terry Meeuwsen stoop to new lows while trying to prove their point. This time was New Year's Day, when "The 700 Club" presented a review/analysis of Pat's predictions for 1995 and the new ones for 1996.
Sandwiched in between the two, complete with visual aids, was a report on 50 predictions made by psychics last year in The National Examiner. How did the psychics do? Michael Jackson's nose did not collapse in an angry punch and David Letterman did not marry Madonna! Not a single prediction came to pass! "A big goose egg!"
The Robertson gang was chuckling and carrying on. And I was staring in disbelief. Are we really supposed to take these people seriously?
Of course, Pat takes his predictions very seriously; they are based upon days of seclusion and prayer where he gets the word directly from God. This year, for example, Pat says that our nation is under the judgment of God especially where abortion is concerned.
"The word I got," he said, "is that if the judges appointed by man will not deal with those who take innocent human life, then the Lord is going to enter in and bring justice. And when that happens many of the innocent will suffer along with the guilty." This does not mean violence against abortionists, Pat was quick to clarify: "We don't do things like that. There are natural disasters. They're things that happen."
What else does Pat predict for 1996?
News? The top portion (20-30 minutes) of "The 700 Club," where Robertson and his pals began their analysis of 1995/1996, has been spruced up and is now called "Newswatch Today." This is a thinly veiled effort to get one million viewers (according to the Christian Broadcasting Network) to think that they are watching a bona fide news program. Just to be on the safe side, viewers are often reminded that the major networks do not tell the truth.
Truth? "Newswatch Today" offers taped reportage and interviews and then commentary by Pat Robertson interspersed with goofy or loaded questions from foils Ben and Terry, who barely understand the issues that they are talking about. Pat, of course, knows everything about politics, foreign affairs, economics, education, abortion, homosexuality, crime, drugs, and the weather. The latter topics are used relentlessly to measure how much man has sinned and how close we are to "The End."
This so-called "Newswatch Today" is certainly not journalism. It's just a place where Pat Robertson can promote what he's for and bash what he's against — his platform, politics, agenda, call it what you will. Actually they should call this segment "Pat's theories, pet peeves and grinding axes." His predictions for 1996 are just a glorified version of all of that, setting the table for more of the same. Pat wants the American public to buy into — literally and figuratively! — his own New World Order.
But don't just take my word for it. Watch "The 700 Club"'s "Newswatch Today" for yourself. Is this news or is it propaganda? Is it a public service or a disservice to "people of faith." Is it harmless or dangerous? You decide whether or not the slick presentations of the Christian Broadcasting Network are for the national good or simply poisoning the minds of those who think that Pat Robertson speaks for God.
Here's a prediction from this corner for 1996: Americans in droves will indeed sit down and watch "The 700 Club," feel shock and revulsion for what they hear, complain to the CBN, discredit the word of Pat Robertson, and negate the work of the Christian Coalition.
Don't forget for a moment that Pat Robertson is the founder and president of that organization. His agenda is behind it; never mind what Ralph Reed wants us to think. There were no predictions about cooperation between evangelicals and Catholics — a strategy that is driving the Christian Coalition these days. Does Pat really care about the people he speaks to daily? Or is he just using "people of faith" to fill his coffers, expand his empire and take over the Republican Party. Yes, you decide. Just don't forget that there are only about 300 days until Election Day. Please.
Paula Xanthopoulou is the editor of "c.c.watch," an electronic news service dedicated to tracking and reporting the activities of Pat Robertson, all of his enterprises and his fellow travelers. For more information, call 800-Watch97. Copyright 1996 Public-Spirited Enterprises.