Pat Robertson Ends His Long Run as Host of ‘The 700 Club’

The evangelical chief Pat Robertson stated on Friday that he was stepping down as host of the “The 700 Membership” after greater than 50 years on the helm of a program that channeled Christian conservatism into thousands and thousands of American properties and turned him right into a family title.

“It’s been an ideal run,” Mr. Robertson stated on the present, including that his son Gordon Robertson would take over as host.

Mr. Robertson, 91, made the announcement on the finish of the printed on Friday, the sixtieth anniversary of the Christian Broadcasting Community, which Mr. Robertson began in a small station in Portsmouth, Va., in 1961.

“The 700 Membership” grew out of a collection of telethons that Mr. Robertson started internet hosting in 1963 to rescue the community from monetary troubles. On the time, Mr. Robertson stated he was unable to pay for a collection of workplaces the community had added to the station.

“I used to be praying on my knees with the workers,” Mr. Robertson stated on Friday. “I wanted $200,000, and I used to be praying and praying for the cash.”

It was then that Mr. Robertson stated Jesus appeared to him with a “imaginative and prescient for the world.”

“Our job was to succeed in the world, not simply pay the payments,” he stated.

The community started holding telethons, asking for 700 viewers to pledge $10 a month to the station. The efforts impressed “The 700 Membership” title.

The present remodeled evangelical broadcasting, transferring it away from scripted sermons and recordings of tent revivals and turning it into a comfy talk-show format the place Mr. Robertson mentioned matters such as vitamin, relationships, marriage and politics, stated John C. Inexperienced, a professor emeritus of political science on the College of Akron.

Evangelical Christians have lengthy used tales of wayward individuals saved by means of the teachings of Jesus as a technique to unfold the Gospel and achieve followers. Mr. Robertson’s present featured “very vivid shows of these testimonials,” which engaged audiences, Dr. Inexperienced stated.

“It was by means of the success of ‘The 700 Membership’ that he was in a position to have an actual affect on politics,” he stated.

Mr. Robertson interviewed President Ronald Reagan, Shimon Peres, the previous prime minister of Israel, and different world leaders. In 1988, he ran as a Republican candidate for president and made robust second-place finishes throughout the major, performances that underscored the organizing potential of evangelical Christians.

By way of the present, Mr. Robertson “helped cement that alliance between conservative Christians and the Republican Celebration,” Dr. Inexperienced stated.

The present additionally gave Mr. Robertson an everyday platform to vilify homosexual individuals and Muslims. He typically quoted Bible verses in a delicate, light voice to justify remarks that infuriated Arab People and homosexual rights organizations.

In 2002, he described Islam as a violent faith that needed to “dominate after which, if want be, destroy.”

In 2013, a viewer despatched a letter to the present asking how Fb customers ought to reply after they see an image of two males kissing. Mr. Robertson stated, “I’d punch ‘vomit,’ not ‘like.’”

He dismissed feminism as “a socialist, anti-family political motion that encourages girls to go away their husbands, kill their youngsters, observe witchcraft, destroy capitalism and develop into lesbians.”

He as soon as instructed the story of an “awful-looking” girl who complained to her minister that her husband had begun consuming closely. Mr. Robertson stated the minister instructed her that it was doubtless as a result of she had gained weight and uncared for her hair.

“We have to domesticate romance, darling,” Mr. Robertson stated. He blamed pure disasters and terrorism on ethical and religious failings. In 2012, after lethal tornadoes pounded the South and Midwest, Mr. Robertson stated that God would have intervened if “sufficient individuals had been praying.”

He additionally made feedback that shocked each his followers and critics.

In 2011, Mr. Robertson stated {that a} man whose spouse had Alzheimer’s illness ought to have the ability to divorce her and discover a new companion. The following 12 months, he referred to as for the legalization of marijuana, saying that the “conflict on medication simply hasn’t succeeded.”

“I imagine in working with the hearts of individuals, and never locking them up,” he stated

Throughout Friday’s broadcast, the present steered clear of Mr. Robertson’s divisive feedback.

As a substitute, it confirmed clips of Mr. Robertson embracing range — this system named the Rev. Ben Kinchlow, a Black minister, as Mr. Robertson’s co-host in 1975, a time when there have been few Black tv hosts. One other clip confirmed Mr. Robertson asking President Donald J. Trump if the ladies in his cupboard would earn the identical as males.

Mr. Robertson stated he instructed his son to anticipate him to return to the present now and again.

“In case I get a revelation from the Lord, I’m going to name you” and take part within the present, he stated. “I’ll are available in as a commentator, as a senior commentator, now and again.”

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