Pat Robertson, the network’s 83-year-old founder, was not condoning adultery when he answered a viewer’s question on “The 700 Club” this week, the network said.
The viewer said she was having difficulty forgiving her husband for cheating. Robertson said the “secret” was to “stop talking about the cheating. He cheated on you. Well, he’s a man. OK.”
Robertson went on to suggest the woman focus on why she had married her husband and whether he provided for her needs and those of their children, adding, “Is he handsome? Start focusing on these things and essentially fall in love all over again.”
“Males have a tendency to wander a little bit. And what you want to do is make a home so wonderful he doesn’t want to wander.”
CBN spokesman Chris Roslan wrote in a statement that Robertson’s “intent was not to condone infidelity or to cast blame. We regret any misunderstanding.”
Robertson off-the-cuff comments over the years have perplexed and angered other Christian leaders. One Christian pastor said his New Year’s resolution was to not comment on Robertson’s gaffes for an entire year.
Here are some of Robertson’s most memorable statements:
1. The U.S. should kill Chavez
In 2005 Robertson suggested the United States should assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with,” he said in a segment about the now-deceased head of state.
After considerable outcry, the minister backtracked and released a statement saying, “Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him.”
A U.S. State Department official called the remarks “inappropriate.”
2. How bad is weed, really?
Robertson, who once ran for president as a Republican, broke ranks with religious conservatives by endorsing the legalization of marijuana. “I believe in working with the hearts of people, and not locking them up,” he said in a 2010 broadcast of “The 700 Club.”
Cue spokesman Chris Roslan, who wrote, “Pat has never condoned the use of, nor does he use, marijuana.”
3. You know who’s to blame for that earthquake in Haiti? Haitians.
Shortly after a 2010 earthquake in Haiti left more than 220,000 people dead and Port-au-Prince decimated, Robertson referenced a slave revolt in 1804, where, legend has it, the Haitian slaves made a deal with the devil to shake off French colonialism.
“And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you will get us free from the French.’ True story. And so the devil said, ‘OK, it’s a deal,'” Robertson said one day after the quake.
“You know, the Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other.”
That day CBN quickly clarified: “Dr. Robertson never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath. If you watch the entire video segment, Dr. Robertson’s compassion for the people of Haiti is clear.” In fact, while Robertson was talking about Haiti on TV, his charitable arm Operation Blessing was already on the ground providing medical treatment, food, and supplies to victims.
4. Gay days = hurricanes and possibly meteors
In June 1998, after Walt Disney World announced it would have special days for gay and lesbian families in Orlando, and city officials announced they would fly rainbow flags in support of the event, Robertson warned the city, “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.”
Robertson told the Orlando Sentinel at the time that his comments were taken out of context and released a full transcript of what he said on the show:
“So if the United States wants to embrace ‘degrading passions’ – according to the Bible, something that the Bible says is an abomination against God – we’re not in any way, shape or form hating anybody. This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But if a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation; if it will bring about terrorist bombs; if it’ll bring about earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor, it isn’t necessarily something we ought to open our arms to. And 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.”