Conservative Christian televangelist Pat Robertson told citizens of a Pennsylvania town that they had rejected God by voting their school board out of office for supporting “intelligent design” and warned them Thursday not to be surprised if disaster struck.
Robertson, a former Republican presidential candidate and founder of the influential conservative Christian Broadcasting Network and Christian Coalition, has a long record of similar apocalyptic warnings and provocative statements.
Last summer, he hit the headlines by calling for the assassination of leftist Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, one of President Bush’s most vocal international critics.
“I’d like to say to the good citizens of Dover: if there is a disaster in your area, don’t turn to God, you just rejected him from your city,” Robertson said on his daily television show broadcast from Virginia, “The 700 Club.”
“And don’t wonder why he hasn’t helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I’m not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that’s the case, don’t ask for his help because he might not be there,” he said.
The 700 Club claims a daily audience of around 1 million. It is also broadcast around the world, translated into more than 70 languages. (People for the American Way provided a video file of the 700 Club statement.)
In voting Tuesday, all eight school board members up for re-election in Dover, Pa., lost their seats after trying to introduce “intelligent design” to high-school science students as an alternative to the theory of evolution.
Adherents of intelligent design argue that certain forms in nature are so complex that they are best seen as the handiwork of a designer rather than the result of natural selection. Opponents say it is the latest attempt by conservatives to introduce religion into the school science curriculum.
The Dover case sparked a trial in federal court that gained nationwide attention after the school board was sued by parents backed by the American Civil Liberties Union. The board ordered schools to read students a short statement in biology classes informing them that the theory of evolution is not established fact and that gaps exist in it.
The statement mentioned intelligent design as an alternate theory and referred students to a book that explained the theory further. A decision in the case is expected before the end of the year.
In 1998, Robertson warned the city of Orlando, Fla., that it risked hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorist bombs after it allowed homosexual organizations to put up rainbow flags in support of sexual diversity.