I predict Pat Robertson is wrong

Clem Britt AP In this Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010 file picture, Rev. Pat Robertson talks to attendees at a prayer … Continued

Clem Britt

AP

In this Saturday, Jan. 16, 2010 file picture, Rev. Pat Robertson talks to attendees at a prayer breakfast as part of inaugural ceremonies for Virginia Gov.-elect Bob Mcdonnell at the Capitol in Richmond, Va.

Some people start the new year making resolutions: I’ll go to the gym and not just spend five minutes on the exercise bike, I won’t eat whole gallons of ice cream, I’ll be kinder to children and animals and so on.

Other people, however, have grander designs. They like to make predictions. In the last few days, several “prophets” have gone out on a limb, each basing their conclusions on spiritual messages and allegedly divine communication.

First up was Antonio Vazquez, who calls himself “the Grand Warlock of Mexico.” He uses tarot cards and observations of the stars. He has concluded that two more Latin American leaders will be diagnosed with cancer (five others have been hit by cancer in recent years) and that the Institutional Revolutionary Party will again rule Mexico after July’s election, having been ousted in 2000.

Vazquez claims to be pretty accurate. He says he predicted last year that the euro would weaken and there would be worsening recession in major economies. But he missed some as well, telling reporters at the start of 2011 that a Latin American leader would be assassinated that year.

Just days after Vazquez’s predictions, the Rev. Pat Robertson, who routinely goes on a retreat and speaks with God at the end of the year, offered some of the Almighty’s insights. During a Jan. 3 appearance on the Christian Broadcasting Network, Robertson related that God had told him the outcome of the 2012 presidential race – but he refuses to share the news.

“I think He showed me the next president, but I’m not supposed to talk about that so I’ll leave you in the dark-probably just as well-but I think I know who it is going to be,” Robertson said.

Now I realize this may sound like Robertson is hedging (two “I thinks” instead of “I know positively, for a fact, without question”), but the Virginia Beach TV preacher also cited some other words from God that do make it pretty clear that President Barack Obama is not going to see a second term.

According to God via Pat: “Your president holds a radical view of the direction of your country which is at odds with the majority.” I am not a statistician but can certainly understand how if the majority of the country is not with you, you are not going to win a two-person contest. But it’s possible if you have a few other candidates thrown as we saw in 2000 with Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan and the fellow who wins the most votes (remember Al Gore?) actually doesn’t win. So there is some room for not reading Pat’s communication as a guarantee of no second term for Barack Obama.

If we are going to look at the track record of Warlock Vazquez, we ought to do the same for Brother Robertson. It’s not so good. In 2004, he reported that God had given the election to George Bush “in a blowout.” I noted to a Washington Post reporter at the time that “perhaps he was talking to Karl Rove and only thought it was God.” Of course, 2004 wasn’t a blowout, but Bush did win. Give him half credit.

In 2006, Robertson claimed a “word of knowledge” that devastating hurricanes would hit American shores, but he was wrong; none made landfall. In 2007, Robertson relayed divine information of a terrorist attack on American soil with millions killed. This didn’t happen, but he had an explanation (of sorts): “So, did I miss it? Possibly. Or, on the other hand, did God avert it? Possibly. But, whatever, it didn’t happen, so I think we can all rejoice.” I don’t know about everybody, but I certainly concurred that avoiding biological, chemical or nuclear catastrophe is a pretty good thing to get happy about.

But there is more. In a clear parallel to this week’s remarks, Robertson explained God’s thinking on elections back in 2008: “He told me some things about the election, but I’m not going to say…I’m not going to tell you who the winner’s going to be.”

I have a few ideas for Pat. I might even call him about this. First, wouldn’t it help your track record if you had at least told us who was going to win the Iowa caucuses? And it would have been even better to have noted the margin between vote getters one and two-even just to say “fewer than ten” would have been a win in my book.

Or, on the bigger question of the general election, there are some things Pat could do to boost his credibility. In December of 2007, my friend the Amazing Kreskin put a prediction about the 2008 election in a jar in a New York City bar. It was opened after the election , and we learned that Kreskin had called it right. Doesn’t Pat have a secure container for his predictions?

As a Christian minister, I don’t reject outright the claim of getting information from unorthodox sources. Perhaps some people do have particularly sensitive impressions of current events that make their prognostications more accurate than, say, monkeys at typewriters. But, please, Pat Robertson has just never seemed like the conduit for much of anything I accept on the religious or temporal spheres.

Of course I could be wrong. One way to find out would be for me to ask Robertson if I could join him on his retreat next year and watch him receive the news for 2013. Even better, maybe I could listen in and then go on his television show and tell the world what I heard. But unlike Pat I won’t be coy. If I get a hot scoop on 2013, I’m going to release it to The Washington Post first.


The Rev. Barry W. Lynn is executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

  • ccnl1

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of “pretty wingie thingie” visits and “prophecies” for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late conceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, “propheteering/ profiteering” evangelicals like Robertson and atonement theology,

  • AmericanLiberalElite

    Silly old fool.

  • mrpurdue

    His caregiver is not doing their job.

  • DonnaMariaInChicago

    Jesus loves me…

    but he thinks Pat Robertson is a jerk.

    God told me.

  • WmarkW

    Pat Robertson is to Christianity what Britney Spears is to music.

    Barry, could you write about something a little more challenging than shooting the fish in that barrel.

  • jeb_jackson

    Barry, if you want God to talk with you directly, you should get to know His Son first.

  • sms2278

    I assume you are speaking of the Christian God, and His Son? If so, Dr. Lynn is a Minister of Christ, so probably knows Him as well as the rest of the Christians.

  • jeb_jackson

    Yes, I am. but “Dr.” Lynn is clueless. If he knew Jesus, he would not be doing what he’s doing. Lynn is at war on Christianity just as Obama is.

  • catatonicjones

    So you’re that christian who knows all about which christians are really christian, and which are not. Are mormons christians? How about seventh-day adventists, you know, those folks who think the sabbatch on is saturday.
    How about those episcopalians, what with their marrying gay couples, are they christian?

    It’s hard to know who the real christians and are who aren’t, we are damn glad to have you hear to let us know.

  • catatonicjones

    Pat Robertson has done more to destroy the credibility of christianity than any atheist or Barry Lynn, and for that I’d like to thank him.

    Of course, I’d like to kick him a little first …

  • jeb_jackson

    Thanks, cat!

  • catatonicjones

    You didn’t answer any of my questions, you’re not getting paid until you do.

  • jeb_jackson

    OK. You won’t like my answers, so I’ll do it for free.
    1. Probably
    2. Yes
    3. Some of them

    Didn’t pass your test, did I?

  • Rongoklunk

    Interesting article from the most honest religionist of them all.

    Thanks kindly Barry. I wish all religious folks were all like you, then maybe I wouldn’t need to be a militant atheist.

  • jeb_jackson

    Good point, Ron…that’s because Barry’s not a believer any more than you are.

  • Catken1

    “At war on Christianity?” You mean, “Does not believe that Christians should get all the privileges and be permitted to tell everyone else what to do and how to live?”

    Waah, waaah, waaah, you’re no longer treated as the only American citizens who matter, you’re no longer entitled to all the pie at everyone else’s expense, and you can’t use the government to force others to live by your rules or pray to your god. Poor baby. Now welcome to the real world, and learn to share with your fellow Americans (yes, indeed, there are non-Christian Americans who are as good citizens as you are!).

  • tony55398

    Perhaps Pat Robertson is correct, is being truthful, or perhaps a scoop shovel is in order, only God and Pat knows.

  • jeb_jackson

    Sorry, Catken. I’m under no obligation to share anything with you all. Just the opposite; I am obligated to come away and be separate. I suffer you because I am commanded to go to the uttermost part of the world. When you reject the message, which you and most others who post here, my real world is to dust my feet off.

  • TopTurtle

    It’s quite possible that Robertson thinks he’s correct, is being truthful, but is wrong. That’s where my money is.

  • catatonicjones

    not much of a christian, are you jeb.

  • catatonicjones

    Patso has been hearing voices for a long, long time. Only in our country would such an insane man be given a second’s worth of attention.

  • jeb_jackson

    Good enough for you, catatonicjones.

  • jeb_jackson

    Why don’t you stick to something you know something about? Go ahead and criticize me, not someone like Pat who would do anything to save your soul, Cat.

  • Rongoklunk

    Yep, my feelings too. He’s far too rational to actually believe in the one-and-only invisible skygod, and I’m sure he’s too much a realist to believe that there’s life after death. Only the deluded believe that wishful thinking can change reality.
    If there was no death – if we lived forever, nobody would be at all interested in religion. But as we in fact die, people have only one way to avoid it – that is convincing themselves that somewhere over the rainbow is a place where all good folks go to when they die.
    And there’s a really big man who lives there and can see everything that happens on the planet, and we can talk to him by whispering into our hands, but he can’t actually talk back to us, but we can pretend he can.
    If you can pretend this is real you got it made. But some of us have too much self-respect to submit to such stupidity. Reality is much more interesting when you take god out of the picture and see existence – the world and the cosmos for what they are. You have no idea what you’re missing, and unfortunately you never will.

  • jeb_jackson

    Rongoklunk you’re confusing self-respect with arrogance and pride. Did you make yourself? Can you make yourself one inch taller? Can you fly? Can you live under water? Can you adorn yourself with the splendor of the flower?

  • IN-IT-WE-TRUST

    Mr. Robertson’s 700 Club Reminds Me Of Jim Bakker Of The PTL Club, Only That Pat hath Not Been Caught In Adultery and Other Great and Minor SINs. The Only Thing That The 700 Club Is Good For Is To Attack The Venezuelan Dictatorship; A Tool The U.S. Government Will Be Using Against Mr. Chavez, for Propaganda purposes, More Often. You’ll See.

  • jeb_jackson

    Why, catatonicjones, would you want to kick Pat Robertson a little before you thank him?

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