Idol Chatter

It may be old news, but in light of his recent statement regarding the health of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Pat Robertson’s moral compass is an open target for scrutiny.

Although not as attention-grabbing as his verbal forays into the world of public embarrassment, Pat Robertson’s August 2001 introduction of a recipe for “Pat’s Age-Defying Shake” raised some eyebrows—and some questions. For someone so ready and willing to express the word of God by spinning Scripture into something of an admonishment for the world, Robertson, it seems, is just asking for a taste of his own medicine.

Touting his concoctions’ curative properties, Robertson offers two recipes for time-halting foodstuffs on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s website: one for “Pat Robertson’s Age-Defying Shake,” and another for “Pat’s Age-Defying Protein Pancakes.” The instructions for self-manufacture of these miracle products are available for free after registration. Although this may offer the illusion of legitimacy, it is perhaps the “age-defying” property of these foods that calls for further examination. Does it not defy God to pursue the vanity of youth? Is it not God’s will that you should age gracefully, on His terms? It seems Pat Robertson has failed to consider one of the most ignored of the seven deadly sins, the sin of pride.

Even more provocative is the televangelist’s turn as entrepreneur; a similar product he developed for weight loss has become a readymade vehicle for profit. In a deal with national health and nutrition chain GNC, Robertson is marketing “Pat’s Diet Shake” in two flavors: classic chocolate and its milder counterpart, vanilla. Although there is no co-branding with his nonprofit endeavors evident on the label or in its marketing, the use of his name, a moniker synonymous with “The 700 Club” and the Christian Broadcasting Network, is as easily identifiable as, say, “Atkins” or “The Zone.” So even though Mr. Robertson has the freedom to explore business ventures outside the confines of his media empire, profiting off his already well-publicized personality is neither a righteous nor an ethically sound means of adding money to his coffer.

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