Pat Robertson, conservative Christian commentator, network founder, and one-time Presidential candidate, died this morning (June 8) in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He was 93 years old.
Pat Robertson, life and times
The Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded in 1960 when he was 30 years old, announced his death today. They gave no cause for his death.
He was born March 22, 1930. His full name was Marion Gordon Robertson, but his older brother nicknamed him “Pat,” and he went by that. He was the son of Senator Absalom Willis Robertson (D-Va.), who was allied with Sen. Harry Flood Byrd (D-Va.), who ran a famous political machine. (The Democratic Party in Virginia today has nothing in common with the Byrd Machine, least of all politically.)
In the 1950s he became a born-again Christian, a choice that would shape his life and career ever since. He bought a run-down TV station in Portsmouth, Virginia, and from that beginning built CBN. The network’s signature show, The 700 Club, began running in 1966 and still runs today. He told much of his story of building the network in his 1972 autobiography, Shout It From the Housetops.
He interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and then-Gov. James Earl “Jimmy” Carter (D-Ga.). Then as the 1980 Presidential cycle began, he endorsed Ronald W. Reagan for President. In 1988 he sought the Republican nomination himself, placing second in the Republican Iowa Caucuses. Nevertheless, he withdrew from the nomination race before the Republican National Convention.
In 1977 he founded the future Regent University, which released their own elegy for Robinson. He also founded the Christian Coalition, the American Center for Law and Justice, and many other organizations.
No stranger to controversy
Whether Pat Robertson ever really wanted to be President of the United States, or wished to use a Presidential campaign to advance political positions he considered in line with the Bible, is far from clear. Very little information is available on controversial statements he made in the 1988 Republican Presidential nomination race. He did join the Marines, and ship out to Korea. But his fellow Marines accused him of pulling strings for a soft, safe job procuring liquor for his officers. Robertson consistently denied the allegations. CBN says nothing about the 1988 campaign beyond his having run, lost, and returned to CBN full-time afterward.
His advocacy of creation was not entirely consistent. During the 1988 campaign he held to that position rigidly, at a time when “creation science” was only beginning. But in November 2012 he made a statement accepting conventional radiometry as an accurate reflection of the great age of the Earth. Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham protested publicly, and did so again when Robertson made similar statements in 2014.
More recently he held that the Attacks of September 11, 2001, were a judgment against the United States for tolerance of feminism, alternative lifestyles, and liberal policies. He would say the same thing about floods, storms, earthquakes, and other natural calamities.
Donald Trump eulogized him today on Truth Social:
Today the World lost an incredible and powerful Voice for Faith and Freedom. Pat Robertson showed us that Belief in God produces results that can change the course of History. Pat’s legacy lives on in the many endeavors and lives that he touched. He will be greatly missed. Our hearts and prayers are with his Family!
His wife preceded him in death in April of 2022. Four children, 14 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren survive him today.
About the image
Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.
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