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Robertson Gets Into Banking

Several readers have brought to my attention the news that Pat has entered into a deal with the Bank of Scotland to bring direct banking to the U.S. There are several articles about it on the net. I would encourage any customers of the Bank of Scotland to protest this to the bank. This is the second recent British involvement for Pat, as he was recently appointed non-executive director of British retailer Laura Ashley. More on this as it develops. By the way, if anybody knows of any Bible passages discussing banking (I believe there are some, though I could be wrong), please send them to me. 


A Big Update

I know it has been a while since the last update (nearly six months, in fact). There are various reasons for this, which I won't go into right now. As of now, I am recommitted to updating this page on a regular basis. As always, if you come across anything interesting, send me some mail. On a humorous note, I'm watching the 700 club right now; they're doing one of their "news" segments. Its about the possibility of biological terrorism in the US; most of the segment consists of clips from the Don Johnson/Cheech Marin TV show "Nash Bridges," while the CBN correspondant does a dramatic voice-over. Funny stuff. On with the news:

RFA Fails

First on the list has to be the failure of the so-called Religious Freedom Amendment. Thanks to all who wrote their members of Congress to urge opposition to this bill. The bill would have required a 2/3 majority of the House before moving on to the Senate and State legislatures. It did not achieve this margin, although it did gain a simple majority, which is more than similar bills in the past have managed. 

Pat Warns Orlando of Divine Retribution

In a bizarre (but not surprising) statement, Pat warned the city of Orlando, Florida, that it is likely to be hit by hurricanes, terrorist bombs, or "possibly a meteor" because it allowed a gay pride month. This was a widely covered story, due to its sheer weirdness; Pat proceeded to issue a press release stating that he never said that Orlando was going to get hit by hurricanes or meteors. Here are his words, judge for yourself: "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you."

Pat Invests in Offshore Oil Refinery

First diamond mining, now this. Pat Robertson has formed a company called CENCO to purchase a defunct offshore oil refinery near Huntington Beach, CA. City government officials and residents of the city are trying to stop him, as this very same refinery was the cause of a massive oil spill in 1990. According to a September 14, 1998 LA Times article, 416,000 gallons of crude oil was spilled, coating 15 miles of coastline. There are also worries about poor air quality, already a problem in Southern California. CENCO is arguing that an environmental impact study for the project is unnecessary. Here are the words of a resident of the area (who prefers to remain anonymous) who remembers the 1990 spill:

We live in Newport Beach and it was not just Huntington Beach that got It. It was terrible to see the birds. The cops wouldn't let anyone on the beach as witnesses after a couple of days because of the bad PR for the oil company. The whole thing is sickening and I feel so helpless in the face of this new threat.
Like the infamous Zaire diamond mining operation and the multi-level marketing scheme, this venture is all personal for Robertson; it is not some sort of investment by CBN ultimately intended to help poor people or anything like that. What's next for Pat? Buying a tobacco company? Sweatshops?

CBN Must Pay IRS For Violations During Robertson's 1988 Presidential Bid

CBN has been forced to pay an undisclosed fine for illegally funding Pat Robertson's 1988 presidential campaign. The Washington Post has the story. As a non-profit organization, CBN cannot fund political campaigns, yet it gave an estimated 8.5 million dollars to the Freedom Council (the name for Robertson's campaign). As part of the settlement, CBN's tax-exempt status for 1986 and 1987 was revoked. Note that this does not have anything to do with the FEC's lawsuit against the Christian Coalition for alleged contributions to the Republican Party in recent years. However, it is possible that this may signal that a hard-line approach against the CC is forthcoming. Overall, excellent news.


House Judiciary Committee Passes Religious Coercion Amendment

Well, the amendment (see below) was approved by the Judiciary Committee, so it will now go before a vote before the complete House, as Gingrich as promised a floor vote. I'll keep you updated as to when the vote is coming, so you can email your representative and tell them to vote no.


House Judiciary Committee to Vote on School Prayer Amendment

The Christian Coalition backed Constitutional amendment should be voted on next week before the House Judiciary Committee; a majority vote here would mean that the so-called "Religious Freedom Amendment" would advance to the entire House of Representatives. This vaguely worded amendment would be disastrous for church-state separation, and would result in the trampling of the rights of religious minorities. The ACLU has made it possible for you to send a free FAX to the members of the committee; please go to their site and do so now. The People For the American Way have the full text of the amendment, as well as talking points on it. You can also check out the agenda page for the wording of the amendment and my thoughts on it.


Robertson Rails Against Tucker Execution

Karla Faye Tucker, who murdered two people with a pick axe, was recently executed in Texas. While in prison, she became a born-again Christian. Pat Robertson, who has always been a staunch supporter of the death penalty (on the grounds that the Bible clearly favors it), came out against her execution. While I personally am against the death penalty, I find it amazing that Robertson seems to favor selective application of the death penalty; apparently, Pat feels that everyone but born-again Christians should be subject to it. He claims this is different because this is a "vengeance" execution, which really doesn't make it any different from any other execution as far as I can tell. In a particularly ugly moment, Robertson ranted against the husband of one of the victims. The following is from the Feb. 4 episode of "The 700 Club.":

"I want to comment about this Mr. Thornton. I faced him in the "Larry King Live" show on CNN. He has become a public figure condemning Karla [Faye Tucker] Brown. But I want to ask Mr. Thornton, publicly on this national television program, number one, sir, why was your wife in bed with another man in a motel room in Texas on the night of the killing. And number two, rumors have come to us -- these are unconfirmed but have some validity -- that you were not only estranged from her, you, quote, threw her out of the house and when she called back and talked to her son and said 'I want to come home,' you refused to let her do it. Now before you condemn Karla Faye anymore on national television, I think you owe the American people a full disclosure of your activity on the day of your wife's killing. And could it be possible, that if you had not been so unyielding and harsh toward her that day, your wife would not have been in harm's way and would not have been murdered? And are you really angry at Karla Faye Tucker, or are you angry at yourself? Now these are questions I think the American people need to ask of Mr. Thornton, who's become so public in his denunciation of Karla Faye Tucker." 
Truly sick. Even knowing what I do about Robertson, I am amazed that he has the audacity to try to shift blame from the killer (Tucker admits to the murder) to the victim's husband, who clearly played no role in her death.

CC Possibly in Financial Trouble

The heads of the Christian Coalition have held a meeting to discuss their future as fundraising has taken a dive, down to 17 million in 1997 from a high of 26 million in 1996. It is important to note that donations to such groups usually go down after presidential elections anyway.

Related link: Reuters on CC meeting.


Robertson Insults Islam

On the October 27, 1997 edition of "The 700 Club" Pat launched into an attack on Islam, calling it the "religion of slavers." His exact words are the following:

To see Americans become followers of, quote, Islam, is nothing short of insanity. Terry, you know, I've been in Africa many, many, many, many times, and you see people over here learning Swahili, for example. Swahili was the language of the slave traders. The Islamic people, the Arabs, were the ones who captured Africans, put them in slavery, and sent them to America as slaves. Why would people in America want to embrace the religion of the slavers, and the language of the slavers?
All too typical of Pat, nothing really unexpected in this hate-filled attack. I like the way that he fails to note that the people in America buying the slaves were Christians just like himself. It seems to me, that by Pat's logic, we should reject English as the language of slavers as well.

RFA Passes Through House Subcommittee

The House subcommittee on the Constitution passed the so-called Religious Freedom Amendment, and it will be sent along to the entire House at some point. The ACLU has made it possible to send a free FAX or email to the members of the subcommittee to register your opposition to this misguided bill. Please go to their site, read their talking points on the amendment, and ask the subcommittee to vote down this bill immediately.


Randy Tate Appears on "Crossfire"

Randy Tate, the new executive director of the Christian Coalition was on CNN's Crossfire last night (10/20) discussing the fact that Al Gore complemented the TV show "Ellen" for having the open mind to feature a lesbian main character. Needless to say, Tate was very upset over the Vice-President's remark. The good news is that Tate is no Ralph Reed-he was most unimpressive debating the issue against a media advisor from the Democratic Party (I cannot remember the guy's name). All Tate really did was repeat a tired, ineffectual argument, and he came off looking like an idiot. The two left-wingers on the panel ripped him to shreds, and the fact that Tate, with his deathly pale, pasty, hairless, bug-eyed appearance looked like some kind of space alien didn't help either. Pat Buchanan did better for the conservative side in the debate, as one would expect.


School Prayer Vote Coming Up

The House Subcommittee on the Constitution is scheduled to vote on the Christian Coalition supported, Ernest Istook sponsored constitutional amendment that would bring state-sponsored prayer to public schools. The ACLU has made it possible to send a free FAX or email to the members of the subcommittee to register your opposition to this misguided bill. Please go to their site, read their talking points on the amendment, and ask the subcommittee to vote down this bill immediately. I have the entire text of this poorly written amendment here, as well as my comments on it.


GOP Endorsements at Virginia CC Meeting

An article in the Washington Post gives details on a recent meeting of the Fairfax County, VA CC chapter in which a speaker gave specific endorsements of the Republican gubernatorial candidate. This is an incredible disregard for the law by the CC, especially while they are being investigated by the FEC.


RTV Conference Ends, Robertson Discusses Plans to Control Republican Nomination

The Coalition's annual Road to Victory Conference is over, and amidst the speeches and rhetoric has emerged a truly interesting nugget of information. In a closed-door meeting with top Coalition leaders, Robertson presented them with a plan to influence the Republican presidential nomination-something, as a tax-free non-profit, non-partisan organization, it is not allowed to do. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State obtained a tape of this speech, and made it the subject of a press release. The People for the American Way had a reporter at the conference, and he has written a comprehensive report.


Christian Coalition Names New Leaders

The Christian Coalition named two new leaders to replace the departing Ralph Reed. One is Randy Tate. He was a delegate for Pat Robertson during Pat's failed 1988 presidential bid, and was a Congressman from Washington for two years before losing his reelection bid (according to the People for the American Way, he was too extreme for voters to handle). While in office, he received a 100% score in the Christian Coalition voter guide. He voted for the ridiculous flag-burning amendment, as well as English-only legislation and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.. He began his political career at age 22, when (while a college student) he was elected to the Washington state legislature-apparently, the night before the election, he circulated fliers to voters (untruthfully) implying that his opponent was a child molester. Tate, as executive director, will be subordinate in power to Donald Hodel, named president and CEO. Hodel was Energy Secretary and Interior Secretary under Reagan. More on these two as I find out more; email me if you have information.

Robertson Adds to Fortune Through IFE Sale

Today also marked the sale of International Family Entertainment (Family Channel) to Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp (Fox). IFE was a publicly traded company, although all of the voting Class A shares were owned by Pat Robertson, his son, the American Center for Law and Justice (his response to the ACLU), and Regent University (again, Pat's university). Why would Pat sell off his family oriented television entertainment company to a man known for stretching the bounds of good taste with raunchy shows like "Married With Children" and "Melrose Place?" Maybe money speaks louder than principles for Pat; he's making millions off of the deal. The story behind Pat's ownership of the Family Channel is also quite interesting.


Zaire Humanitarian Flights Were Used to Transport Diamond Mining Equipment

Pilots who flew Pat Robertson to Zaire for supposedly non-profit charitable humanitarian efforts ("Operation Blessing") say that the vast majority of those trips were used to transport diamond mining equipment for Pat's lucrative diamond mining operations in that country, according to an AP report (below) and a Virginia Pilot report. The pilot's log of these flights has stuff like "replenished miners" in it. His business venture in Zaire has the full backing of his friend Mobuto Sese Seko, the brutal dictator of Zaire. According to a Time magazine article, Robertson has very close ties to Mobuto, having dined in his palace several times. Mobuto has a huge list of human rights abuses to his name, causing the State Department to revoke his visa, which Robertson has been trying to get reinstated.

VIRGINIA BEACH, April 27 -- Airplanes sent to Zaire by religious broadcaster Pat Robertson's tax-exempt humanitarian organization were used almost exclusively for his diamond mining business, according to two pilots who flew them.

Three airplanes were flown to Zaire in September 1994 by Operation Blessing. However, chief pilot Robert Hinkle said only one or two of the roughly 40 flights during his six months in the country could be considered humanitarian.

All the rest of the flights were mining-related, he told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. Robertson refused to be interviewed directly, the newspaper said in today's editions. Calls to his office were not answered.

Let's follow this: You give money to the 700 Club, thinking it will be used to fund Operation Blessing. Indeed, the money is used to purchase planes that are emblazoned with the Operation Blessing logo, and these planes are flown to Zaire by pilots who are paid with Operation Blessing money-your money. But this plane is not carrying hospital supplies. It is carrying diamond mining equipment designed not to help the oppressed people of Zaire, but to further the economic frontiers of that great pioneer of fraud, the always righteous Marion "Pat" Robertson.

Ralph Reed Resigns As Christian Coalition Director

Looks like the self-described "guerrilla" warrior of the Religious Right, upon being discovered, has elected to take his war completely public and legal. Ralph Reed leaves the Coalition at a time when it is still under investigation by the Federal Election Commission for claiming non-partisan status in order to fraudulently maintain a tax-exempt status. Reed is leaving in order to start a new political organization so he can do legally what he did illegally for years. Other than the pending lawsuit from the FEC, the US attorney in Norfolk, VA is investigating the local CC chapter there for financial irregularities, as well as a possible Senate investigation into questionable campaign contributions during the 1996 races (from an Associated Press report). The new organization will be a political consulting firm called Century Strategies. I'll start getting more info on Reed's new undertaking as son as it is available. Email me if you have more information.


Robertson Mocks Bob Dole's War Injury

According to the Los Angeles Times, Pat Robertson mocked Bob Dole's war injury during a meeting of GOP presidential hopefuls for 2000. Here is the relevant paragraph:

There was notably little mention of the party's most recent standard-bearer, former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole. Robertson, in one of the few references, dismissed him Saturday night as "a laconic Kansan with a bad arm" and mimicked Dole's debilitating World War II injury. 
Just another example of why Robertson needs the diplomatic Reed to front for his own abrasive personality. Dole, permanently injured while trying to save the life of another American soldier in WWII, is being mocked by a man who used his Senator father's influence to keep himself out of battle in Korea (despite this, he attempted to claim that he saw action in Korea during his failed presidential bid). According to another soldier who knew Robertson during Korea, the only place Pat saw action was in Japanese whorehouses. Scum like Robertson mocking a war hero like Dole is an outrage.