Sept. 14, 2001--Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson on Friday defended comments the Rev. Jerry Falwell made in an interview with Robertson that groups which ``tried to secularize America'' were partly to blame for the terrorist attacks.

``In no way has any guest on my program suggested that anyone other than the Middle East terrorists were responsible for the tragic events that took place on Tuesday,'' Robertson said in a written statement.

Falwell, a Baptist minister and chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., said Thursday on Robertson's religious TV program ``The 700 Club'' that he blames the attacks on pagans, abortionists, feminists, homosexuals, the American Civil Liberties Union and the People for the American Way.

``All of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,''' Falwell said.

He added later, ``God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.''

``Jerry, that's my feeling,'' Robertson responded. ``I think we've just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven't even begun to see what they can do to the major population.''

Falwell said Friday that he didn't mean to blame any one group for the destruction.

``But I'd say this is a wake up call from God,'' he told The Associated Press. ``I feel our spiritual defenses are down. If we don't repent, then more events might happen in the future.''

On Thursday, Robertson issued a statement on the attack that said America had insulted God and lost divine protection.

``We have insulted God at the highest level of our government. Then, we say, 'Why does this happen?''' he wrote in a statement released through his Christian Broadcasting Network. ``It is happening because God Almighty is lifting his protection from us.''

Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization, said the comments of Falwell and Robertson ``were stunning. They were beyond contempt. They were irresponsible at best, and a deliberate attempt to manipulate the nation's anger at worst.''

Robertson, who founded the Christian Coalition and unsuccessfully ran for the 1988 Republican presidential nomination, said in his statement Thursday that Americans have insulted God by allowing abortion and ``rampant Internet pornography.'' He also chided the U.S. Supreme Court for, among other things, limiting prayer in public schools.

Robertson was among conservative religious figures who backed President Bush in last year's election. A White House official called the remarks ``inappropriate'' and added, ``the president does not share those views.''

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