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Robertson hosting the 700 Club
Life and Career
Pat Robertson was born into a wealthy Virginia family. His father, Absalom Willis Robertson, was a conservative United States senator with close ties to banking interests. Pat Robertson enrolled at Washington and Lee University in 1946, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1948 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. After graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1950, Robertson served in the Korean War.
Pat Robertson was involved in a libel lawsuit with Congressman Pete McCloskey, who served with Robertson in Korea, McCloskey and other veterans had accused Robertson of having had his father pull strings to keep him from the front lines, as well as carousing with prostitutes and hassling Korean women. Robertson was promoted to first lieutenant in 1952 upon his return to the United States. Robertson received a juris doctor degree from Yale University Law School in 1955 and a master of divinity degree from New York Theological Seminary in 1959.
Robertson established the Christian Broadcast Network in 1960. It is now seen in 180 countries and broadcasted in 71 languages. Robertson also founded International Family Entertainment Inc in 1990, with its main business as the Family Channel which was sold to Fox network in 1997.
Robertson founded Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia in 1977 and serves as its chancellor. Robertson is founder and president of the American Center for Law and Justice, a public interest law firm and education group that defends the First Amendment rights of people of faith. The law firm focuses on "pro-family, pro-liberty and pro-life" cases nationwide.
Robertson was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 1988. His campaign did not last beyond the primary election. He failed to receive the party nomination, though he did win the Washington state primary.
Support for Robertson extends beyond the Christian community. In 2002, he received the State of Israel Friendship Award from the Zionist Organization of America for his consistent support for Greater Israel. In that year the Coalition for Jewish Concerns also expressed its gratitude to Robertson for "unwavering support for Israel" and "standing up to evil".
Robertson claims to have used the power of prayer to steer hurricanes away from his Virginia Beach, Virginia headquarters. He took credit for steering the course in 1985 of Hurricane Gloria, which caused millions of dollars of destruction in many states along the east coast. He made a similar claim about another destructive storm, Hurricane Felix, in 1995.
Among his more controversial statements, Robertson has described feminism as a "socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." Robertson's views mirror those of Jerry Falwell and Falwell has made frequent appearances on The 700 Club. He agreed with Jerry Falwell that the September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks were caused by "paganss, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians, the ACLU and the People for the American Way." Robertson later stated that he had not understood what Falwell was saying during the interview that was done through a television monitor.
In Operation Blessing International, Robertson claims to have spent $1.2 million bringing aid to refugees in Rwanda. However, critics such as Greg Palast claim the money was actually spent to bring heavy equipment for Robertson's African Development Corporation, a diamond mining operation.
In various episodes of his 700 Club program during the months of June and July 2003, Robertson repeatedly supported Liberian President Charles Taylor. Robertson accuses the U.S. State Department of giving President Bush bad advice, and of trying "as hard as they can to destabilize Liberia". Robertson has also failed to mention in his broadcasts his $8 million investment in a Liberian gold mine. Taylor has been (and had been at the time of Robertson's support) indicted by the United Nations for war crimes. Freedom Gold, the Liberian gold mine was intended to help pay for humanitarian and evangelical efforts in Liberia, according to Robertson.
External Link: / Robertson explains his position on Liberia
Quotes by Pat Robertson
Quotes regarding Pat Robertson
Writings by Pat Robertson
Honors given to Pat Robinson