Badpuppy Gay Today

Monday, 16 June, 1997

Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition

By Robert Boston

Book Review by Jack Nichols


The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition, by Robert Boston, Prometheus Books, 248 pp. paperback, $16.95 (order 1-800-421-0351)

Here (in America) more than anywhere else I know of or have heard of, the daily panorama of human existence, of private and communal folly--the unending procession of governmental extortions and chicaneries, of commercial brigandages and throat-slittings, of theological buffooneries, of aesthetic ribaldries, of legal swindles and harlotries, of miscellaneous rogueries, villainies, imbicilities, grotesqueries, and extravagances--is so inordinantly gross and preposterous, so perfectly brought up to the highest conceivable amperage, so steadily enriched with an almost fabulous daring and originality, that only the man who was born with a petrified diaphragm can fail to laugh himself to sleep every night.


From On Being an American, 1922

Following Wednesday's (June 11) unexpected publicity for Badpuppy's GayToday on Pat Robertson's 700 Club news broadcasts, it seems only fitting that GayToday should respond by reviewing a book detailing the questionable exploits of the most dangerous man in America. Who is this man? Why its that droll televangelist kookery-monster, Mr. Robertson, who else?

Some people think of Pat Robertson simply as a man who, as H. L. Mencken might have described him has: "great practical cunning, but (is) unable to see further than the next farm... he likes money and struggles to amass property, but his cultural development is little above that of the domestic animals."

In such a context it becomes time for a second look and to reflect with alarm upon this Robertson beast's recent "more-media-for-me" business-deal with Rupert Murdoch, the right-wing moralistic trash-as-flash-king-publisher of the New York Post and owner of the Fox Broadcasting Network, a network that--since he assumed power-- no longer hosts the popular Married With Children and which has also let go of America's funniest political pundit, Michael Moore.

These two telling eliminations please both the grotesque Murdoch and the trollish Robertson. Robertson, doing an about face, once opposed the Fox Network, partly on the grounds that it showcased Married With Children, and other programming that conflicted with his Donna Reed Show pretensions.

What makes Robertson so dangerous? Partly, he's collected such large stashes of preferred coinage. Reflect too, that Robertson's cash flow isn't restricted to that shameless begging he does on the 700 Club, as he attempts so successfully to fleece aged and easily duped pensioners living in trailers, often placing the residue of their social security checks in his ever-fattening bank accounts.

Can we forget that as the operator of Operation Blessing, Robertson was recently chided by two Operation Blessing pilots? It was revealed through the Associated Press that on 38 out of 40 of their flights to Central Africa they hadn't transported medical supplies, as was supposed, but were instead doing business for Robertson's personally-owned diamond mine in what is now a new nation, Congo. Why didn't the mainstream press pick up on this juicy mite? Only a few papers printed it. Why, as when Jim and Tammy sinned, has there been no furious media scandal spotlight? Why?

This engaging and primary-textbook, The Most Dangerous Man in America? Pat Robertson and the Rise of the Christian Coalition, has all the goop that's available about Robertson's scary, power-mad agenda. Buy it and weep. But also, buy it and plot. To know the weaknesses of this petty Goliath, is to be better situated when posing non-violently with the activist's theatrical equivalent of a slingshot. And you can be a same-sex-love-non-violent-activist-all-by-your-lonesome wherever you are. Never nasty, no. Jokes are where its at. Knowing when its time to present just the right words in the right places and then--zowie-- its better than India Ink.

Televangelist Pat Robertson, after all, has built one of the most powerful religious-political movements in American history. His empire extends across the nation, encompasses nearly every media form, has legal and educational outlets, and is now so influential that political hopefuls court its favor.

Despite this, many Americans are unaware of Robertson's extremism or his theocratic agenda. Government under Robertson's control would regress to a point where freedom for gays, women, and even those Christians who do not espouse Robertson's own brand of fundamentalism would be virtually nonexistent.

And with the Christian Coalition's current hold over the Republican party, Robertson himself would not have to be in the White House to be in control.

By examining Robertson's own words, author Robert Boston brilliantly exposes the Christian Coalition's ultimate goal of destroying the wall that separates church and state.

Robert Boston says that his book has been designed as a warning. "Consider it a fire alarm, ringing loudly and warning of impending danger--that an intolerant extremist now comes perilously close to holding the reins of American politics."

Author Boston, who is assistant director of communication for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and assistant editor of Church & State Magazine, has written a powerful examination of Pat Robertson's views, his inconsistencies and hypocrisy, and frankly, his power. This book should be in the arsenal of every person who hopes to help stop the march of an evil and menacing fanatic.

(Order: Prometheus Books, $16.95----1-800-421-0351)

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