Viewers and critics have long noted televangelist Pat Robertson’s anti-LGBT views, but it’s not just gay or trans people who get Robertson’s goat. He has a rather long list of things about modern living that he finds distasteful or ill-advised. The most timely addition: low-carb diets.
“Carbs are the fire that burn everything,” Robertson said on a recent edition of his long-running “700 Club” show on the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN). “Sooner or later, it violates the principles that God set down. You get swollen joints, you get gout, you get all kinds of problems.”
Robertson, 83, founded CBN in 1960 and has had a long and successful career in broadcasting and political activism but has also often garnered unwanted attention for controversial or outlandish public statements, particularly in recent years. It’s one thing that Robertson doesn’t like gays, lesbians, or, now, diets, but he also doesn’t like:
Martial arts: “Those who are involved in martial arts, before they start, are actually inhaling some demon spirit,” Robertson said in a 2009 broadcast. “That enormous strength comes not from a human source but from a demonic source.”
Yoga: Advising a viewer in 2007, Robertson called yoga “a form of pantheism,” adding that “it gets really spooky, so I just don’t think you ought to be engaged in yoga.” Though he did concede: “By all means, stretch.”
Haiti: Commenting on the 2010 earthquake that killed almost 160,000 people in the island nation, Robertson laid the blame on dealings with the devil. “[Haitians] were under the heel of the French and they swore a pact to the devil. They said ‘We will serve you if you will get us free.’ And ever since they have been cursed.”
Hugo Chavez: Robertson was long a critic of former president of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, to the point of advising a violent, US-instigated coup in 2005. “I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. I think the time has come that we exercise that ability,” Robertson said on his program.
Shaking hands with San Franciscans: Just this year Robertson claimed that people who are HIV-positive may transmit the disease via a handshake. “Our organization sponsored a meeting years ago in San Francisco where trained security officers warned me about shaking hands because certain AIDS-infected activists were trying to infect people by virtue of rings which would cut fingers and transfer blood.”
Feminism: In a 1992 fundraising letter Robertson wrote,”The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”
The quote has long been infamous, but many don’t know the context: a letter encouraging recipients to oppose an amendment to the Iowa state constitution securing equal rights protections for women.