2016-06-30
According to religious broadcaster and former Presidential candidate Pat Robertson, there's a battle being waged for America's soul. He says that power-hungry courts have run amok, fueled by secular allies, together eroding the spiritual foundation of America. As a consequence, the Ten Commandments are losing their moral weight--are even an offense--in our religiously diverse culture.

Beliefnet senior producer Deborah Caldwell recently interviewed Dr. Robertson.


What do you pray about?

I pray that I might be in the center of God's will. I pray for wisdom that He might lead me and give me wisdom in the tasks that I have ahead of me. I think that's the most important. I also pray for favor and His anointing on my life and ministry that I might have spiritual blessing when I minister to people. They're my principal prayers; I don't have a prayer list that I go down.

Do you pray for anything specific?

Not really. I sort of leave that in God's hands. I just pray that I might be part of his plan. That He'll lead me and that I might serve Him as I should. I think that's the principal prayer.

What's your favorite Bible verse?

I like Romans 8:28. The literal Greek is "God saves every circumstance together for good to those who love Him." That's the one that I like best. Actually the literal Greek says, "God shapes everything..."

"All things work together for good for them that love the Lord"--that's the King James version. But the verse is basically saying that God Himself is an actor shaping the circumstances for good. And it's a very comforting thing to know.

It's interesting you would say that because you've been so criticized for saying that events have worked together for bad because of God. You were blasted for the post-9/11 comment, right?

My friend Jerry Falwell was the one who said it, and he was a guest on my show, and it's hard to take the blame for everybody who shows up on your show. But I felt that in a sense the terrorist attacks showed that God had lifted his hand of protection. I think 9/11 at least in part showed that God hadn't been invited to the party. That our nation had scorned Him. Then we say God Bless America, but it's like, "How is He going to bless us?"

So you're saying God can lift His hand of protection from us?

Well, of course he can. Romans 8:28 says, "God shapes everything to work together for them that love Him." It didn't say, "He makes everything work together for the United States of America" just because we're nice guys. That [is reserved] for those that are called according to his purpose.

In 1999 you said that God wouldn't permit "Gay Days" at Disney World and that terrorist bombs, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and possibly a meteor would be God's punishment.

They were waving flags down there proclaiming Gay Pride week, and I said, if I were you I would be cautious because bad things can happen. And in truth bad things did happen; fire fell from heaven all over central Florida. There were some of the worst fires all up that interstate--just continuous lightning strikes over and over and over again setting off wildfires.

I said if I were you living where you live, I don't think I would be so bold to wave flags announcing Gay Pride Week in the city of Orlando.

So you're saying God lifted His hand because those people weren't Christian believers?

No. What I was saying back in the days of 9/11 was that this nation had never been attacked in its homeland since the War of 1812. This was the first time, and theologically speaking, you might say that God did not protect us. People say, "Where's God?" Well, maybe God wasn't invited to the party. If God wasn't invited to the party, then we can't blame Him for what's happening.

Why are the Ten Commandments causing such controversy at this moment in history?

There are times in history where a particular doctrine becomes a symbol of a greater problem. The problem we have in America is the systematic erosion of our religious values in an attempt by certain liberal groups to expunge our Christian heritage from the public square. The Ten Commandments are the most visible symbol because these commandments are recognized by Christians and Jews alike as being the foundation of our system of public morality.

Do you think that because of the controversy around Judge Roy Moore he's achieved iconic status?

It's not so much Judge Moore...there's an all-out attack by the ACLU to remove these Commandments. Stone vs. Graham was decided in 1980 in Kentucky, way before Judge Moore. Judge Moore was actually just reacting to a couple of these decisions. There was also one in Elkhart, Indiana, in which the Supreme Court ruled that these Ten Commandments didn't have any public use in a school---that's what they said. They said that there's no educational value that can be derived from posting these Commandments on the walls because students might obey them.

But if you ask anybody "Where do you get your idea of right and wrong?" almost 80 percent or more of the American people will say the Ten Commandments. And these things are pretty much foundational: thou shall not kill, steal, bear false witness. All these things are embedded into the laws we enjoy in our nation.

It seems to me the battle now is "What kind of world do we want? And what are the boundaries?"

I believe every nation must have some unifying belief system that they adhere to. In America it was Christianity and it was the Holy Bible.

Do you believe we're a Christian nation?

The Supreme Court in 1892 said just that---America is a Christian nation. That was the Trinity Trustee's case, which I cite in my book. So this was a pronouncement from the Supreme Court itself, that America is a Christian nation. Are we a Christian nation now? It's doubtful. But did we start out as one? Without question. I cite in my book countless examples of the foundational documents of the colonial period in America and the writings of the leaders, that this was intended to be a Christian nation.

But if we're a Christian nation, how do we then deal with religious minorities?

This nation has afforded freedom to more minorities than any nation in history. We've welcomed Jews from Eastern Europe, we've welcomed Muslims from the Middle East, we've welcomes Hindus from India, we've welcomed people from all over the world. And we've given them freedom. But there's no reason why we should abdicate our foundational principles because certain groups don't believe in them. You know, no majority should surrender its deeply held beliefs to those who don't believe in anything. And it's one thing to give people freedom and something else to deny the rights of Christians to assert their faith in order to keep Hindus from feeling upset.

I can see both sides of problem. I don't know that Christians are exactly being persecuted, but I think Americans are ignorant about how to handle Christianity in the public square.

In 1998, I founded the American Center for Law and Justice, probably the premier public interest law firm in America defending the rights of believers. We've had 102,000 requests for legal help from Christians who were being abused in the workplace or being abused at school, and just recently we've taken a case of a little child in kindergarten who was passing out candy canes at Christmas with a little sign that said "the red is for the blood of Jesus" and so forth. Those were confiscated and she was sent to the principal's office and told that this was not permitted. Well, I mean if a little child can't give her friend at Christmas time a little candy cane...

Why should we have to give up Easter and Christmas and Good Friday and all the events that we have celebrated in this nation since our founding? We had 340 years of clear religious practice in our public life, and suddenly there's one case in the Supreme Court--Everson vs. the Board of Education--that talks about a "wall of separation." This isn't in the Constitution, but somehow these teachers think that it's Constitutional Law that there has to be an absolute separation of state and God. But we have paid chaplains in the Senate and House. The Supreme Court opens its sessions every day with prayer. And the House of Representatives opens with prayer. The Senate opens with prayer. This is a religious country, and why should we give it up?

The argument certainly seems to prove that the culture war is real. Which brings me to questions about the Presidential election. What's going to happen? We've got a big brew of moral issues out there.

The biggest thing is the assault on marriage. The whole concept of marriage is a Christian institution, but it's not just Christian--it's also Islamic or Hindu, whatever. I don't think there is a developed civilization anywhere in the world that doesn't recognize that marriage is fundamental to society. And this assult on the family by homosexuals is a major, major cultural problem.

Of course it's going to come up in the election because the President's going to be pushing for a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. And I think that's the way it should be. We're looking at the preservation of the next generation, and the only way we're going to have procreation of the next generation is with a man and a woman. That's what sexual relations are about--having the birth of offspring and then a unifying group that can care for their nurture. That's why we put the defense around marriage in our society.

Homosexuality has got nothing to do with that. If they want to do their thing, that's one thing. You can make it illegal or you could make legal, but you don't have to necessarily give them the same privileges because they're not doing the same thing that heterosexuals are.

And yet, events are marching forward in favor of homosexual marriage.

I think the American people are going to stop it. But you see what's happening--this end-run around the law in San Francisco. Two thousand people right now have been given marriage licenses. It's just unbelievable.

And then there's what happening in Massachusetts too.

Of course. And we're supposed to be a government of elected officials making decisions for the people. The courts are not elected, but they have taken power that the legislature should have and they're causing these social problems. And it's not just nine of them, unanimous, it's five in favor and four against. In Massachusetts it was four in favor and three against.

It fascinates me that we're so divided.

We're divided because we don't acknowledge anymore that the Bible...it used to be that America acknowledged that there were certain standards we lived by. Once we threw the Bible aside and no longer acknowledged it as a source of our foundational thinking, then what do we have? We don't really have anything. All truth is relative. If all truth is relative to the culture then there's no such thing as an absolute and therefore whatever feels good to you is good. If you want to eat human flesh and be a cannibal, well that's your society, that's culturally relevant to you.

That is what scares people--where does it end? And yet, I can also see the other side--the soul-searching to try to figure out more clearly where the borders lie, in a much more complicated world.

It is, but nevertheless, there's got to be some unifying principal. We stand for freedom and we stand for individual liberty and things like that. But why do we have them? We have them because we believe in the Declaration of Independence, which says these things were given us by a Creator.

And yet, we have the emergence of the people called the "Brights,"--the secular humanists and atheists. And we have Janet Jackson at the Super Bowl, and we have homosexuals lining up in San Francisco to get married.

That's a tiny minority. We've always had tiny minorities. The question is the majority has been unwilling to stand up for what it believes.

But is it a majority? This gets back to the idea of our nation being divided into the so-called red states and blue states. And that means that maybe more than ever the election is a test of how divided we are--divided as we were in 2000. What happens, from your point of view, if Kerry wins?

I think the Democrats are making a big mistake because he is so terribly vulnerable on this defense matter. He has voted against every single weapons system that we are currently using. He has voted for giving more and more sovereignty to the United Nations. He talked about multilateral organizations. And I think the American people don't like the United Nations. I think the United Nations is corrupt and it's wasteful and it's tilted against Israel and on and on and on. So I think Kerry is going to lose on a number of issues.

So what happens to the country in a moral sense, if Kerry wins?

I don't think he's going to win--I think that's a hypothetical that's not going to happen--but I do think the Congress will be in the hands of the Republicans, so he won't be able to do a whole lot. Kerry voted against any ban on partial birth abortion. This is the most obscene procedure that involves infanticide, and yet he voted against adopting any ban on it whatsoever. And in terms of judges, he will appoint very liberal judges, and I think it's the judges that I'm most concerned about more than anything else.

Another issue bubbling around these days is the Passion of the Christ. What do you think of it?

Passion is a magnificent portrayal of the last few days of the life of Jesus. It is extraordinarily brutal, extraordinarily shocking, but it brings home to the individual who is watching it that the sufferings of Christ were personal. It wasn't like 'they' killed him, it's like 'I' killed him. And I think people come away with a very personal sense of his sacrifice for them.

In terms of the Jewish controversy, I think anybody who is really a thinking person who's seen it realizes it isn't anti-Semitic. Mel Gibson says he is not anti-Semitic and Abe Foxman of the ADL said it's not anti-Semitic--so it really isn't anti-Semitic.

The only thing is...there was a word in the Middle Ages, particularly in Europe, Jews were called "Christ Killers." So there's a feeling that this movie, because of its intensity, might stir up that kind of anti-Semitic passion. But I don't believe that's the case. The polls indicate that the vast majority---90 percent or more of the American people---do not attribute the death of Jesus to the Jews as such.

Among Catholics, it's just a tiny fraction of people who in any way attribute any guilt to the Jews as such for the death of Christ. So I think that should be very comforting to our Jewish friends.

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