Once again, televangelist Pat Robertson embodied the worst problems in this country — deranged anti-intellectualism paired with radical, violent faith — during the Tuesday airing of his show, The 700 Club. In his horrific statements on the Orlando massacre, Robertson managed to spin the Pulse shooting, the bloodiest recorded hate crime in American history, as evidence of an alleged “alliance” between liberals and Islamic extremists.
Pat Robertson — along with other right-wing commentators like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and antigay activist Matt Barber — equates American liberalism with the Islamic State. Robertson's show is "carried on ABC Family cable network, FamilyNet, Trinity Broadcasting Network, plus numerous local U.S. television stations, and is seen daily by approximately one million viewers," according to the Christian Broadcasting Network, which produces it.
As best as we can understand, Pat Robertson believes that liberals and LGBT rights activists hate America and love Islamic extremism, but because Islamic extremists hate "the homosexuals," LGBT rights activists and liberals are now reaping the repercussions of this alliance — and the best thing for him and all God-fearing Christians to do is sit back and watch the carnage.
“The left is having a dilemma of major proportions and I think for those of us who disagree with some of their policies, the best thing to do is to sit on the sidelines and let them kill themselves," he said.
Earlier in the program, Robertson explained “the dilemma of the liberals”
"We’re looking at a favored group by the left, the homosexuals, and that in Islam is punishable by death or imprisonment or some sanction, so what are the left going to do? How are they going to describe it? And they don’t know quite what to do now. The fact that this Islamic gentleman opens fire in a gay nightclub and kills almost 50 homosexuals, that says something and tells the fact that Islam is against homosexuality, so the liberals are going to be scrambling to find some rationale. I think they’re going to have a hard time doing it."
Claims this offensive and grandiose might immediately seem laughable and dismissable to America's informed and educated populations, but the fact is that there are a lot of poor, uneducated, and gullible people in this country — Donald Trump, after all, was voted as the Republican candidate. Writer Peter Montgomery addressed these claims Tuesday inThe Huffington Post:
"One of the stranger charges that Religious Right leaders have repeatedly leveled against the LGBT equality movement is that somehow gay rights activists are in alliance with militant Islamists because both want to destroy Western civilization. Right-wing commentator Walid Shoebat said last year that Islamists in the Middle East are trying to create an anti-Christian tyranny that will lead to 'homosexual rights' because ‘that’s how tyrannies work.’"
Let’s be very clear: This is hate speech. This demented and violent rhetoric is, on a grander scale, perhaps more responsible for the deaths of 49 people last Saturday than one man with an assault rifle. We live in a nation where people who incite and encourage violence and spread hate are allowed to walk freely while those who purchase semiautomatics to carry out the natural course of this language are condemned across news outlets.
In the opening of his Monday night show, out CNN anchor Anderson Cooper refused to say the name or show the face of the shooter, Omar Mateen, in his emotional remembrance of the Pulse victims. But Mateen was in many ways a product of a social sickness, one perpetuated by people like Pat Robertson, and it should be Robertson's face and name that we refuse to show on national television.