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Televangelist Pat Robertson Dies at 93

Televangelist Pat Robertson Dies at 93

Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, known for his influential role in American politics and the global Christian Broadcasting Network, has died at the age of 93. Robertson’s death was announced by CBN this morning, although no cause was given.

Throughout his career, he founded several enterprises, including Regent University, the American Center for Law and Justice, a First Amendment rights defense organization, and Operation Blessing, an international humanitarian organization.

Robertson gained fame as the host of the “700 Club,” where he made televised pronouncements about God’s judgment, often attributing natural disasters to various factors such as homosexuality and the teaching of evolution. He leveraged his popularity and influence to enter politics and ran for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 1988. Robertson utilized a strategic approach of courting Iowa’s network of evangelical Christian churches, which contributed to his success in the Iowa caucuses, where he finished ahead of Vice President George H.W. Bush. He later endorsed Bush, who went on to win the presidency.

Robertson’s impact on American politics and religion was substantial. He founded the Christian Coalition in 1989, which became a major political force in the 1990s, mobilizing conservative voters through grassroots activities. By the time he resigned as the coalition’s president in 2001, his influence was considered enormous. Robertson helped solidify the alliance between conservative Christians and the Republican Party, a strategy that has since become commonplace among Republican hopefuls.

Born in 1930 in Virginia, Robertson initially pursued a career in politics until he experienced a religious transformation. He attended Yale University, where he met his wife, Dede Elmer. Despite their religious differences—Robertson was a Southern Baptist, and Elmer was a Catholic—they married and embarked on a spiritual journey together. Robertson sold his possessions and moved into a commune in New York City to minister to the poor.

He later obtained a master’s degree in divinity and founded the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in 1961. The network’s flagship show, the “700 Club,” gained a substantial following and featured prominent guests, including several U.S. presidents.

Robertson’s career was not without controversy. He made statements on-air that drew criticism, such as attributing the 9/11 terrorist attacks to God’s anger over various issues and describing Islam as a violent religion. He also called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2005, although he later apologized.

Despite these incidents, Robertson remained a respected figure among many conservative Christians and played a role in solidifying evangelical support for Donald Trump during his presidency.

Robertson retired as the host of the “700 Club” in 2021, with his son Gordon taking over the weekday show. He continued to serve as chairman of CBN until his death. Robertson’s contributions extended beyond broadcasting, as he founded International Family Entertainment Inc., which owned The Family Channel before being acquired by News Corp. in 1997. He also authored 15 books throughout his life.

Pat Robertson is survived by his four children, 14 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren. His wife Dede, a founding board member of CBN, passed away in 2022 at the age of 94.

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