A Modest Disaster

Pat Robertson’s comments about casualties in Iraq continue to rouse interest: first CNN, then Pete at The Dark Window, and now the AP. Pat has once again proven his psychic (sorry, spiritual) powers by pronouncing a prophecy about the conflict. According to Pat:

“I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy,” Robertson said. “I warned him [President Bush] about casualties… I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings.”

Not sure how B is distinct from A…The context makes clear that Pat/God is talking about US military, not Iraqi, casualties, since Bush allegedly told him (just Pat) that there would be none (an allegation Robertson had also made on Hardball on June 22 [link snagged from Jesus’ General])

So, how prophetic is Pat really? In Februrary 2003, Pat expressed “concerns” on CNN (link from Jesus’ General, emphasis added):

ROBERTSON: Connie, I have, over the last year or so, been quite concerned about entering into this war. We should have gone in after him in the Gulf War I. This thing is fraught with danger. And I think we need to understand that. I told the president that just recently, that we have got to prepare the American people for civilian casualties, for possibly our casualties, for gassing, for various chemical weapons against them…

CHUNG: So are you saying to the president, go ahead, but warn… 

ROBERTSON: I think that’s it. We’re too far along the way to stop back now. And you have no choice but to go forward, so be resolute, but please tell the American people to expect trouble and don’t think it’s going to be a cakewalk.

This is still less than a prophesised “disaster”, and Pat’s main worry is the WMDs. Pat’s supernatural powers are also underwhelming during this exchange on CBN with UPI Moon-minion Arnaud de Borchgrave the following March 19, just hours before the invasion began. Here Pat does at least use the term “messy”:

PAT ROBERTSON: There’s no question that this is going to be a messy war, it’s going to be very painful. Undoubtedly Saddam is going to hide his military installations behind civilian targets.

de Borchgrave concurs that there will be civilian casualties, caused by Saddam using his WMDs in a scorched-earth policy. Overall, however, Robertson seems cautiously optimistic, although prepared for US deaths (emphasis added):

ROBERTSON: We will win, but it will be very bloody?

de BORCHGRAVE: Well, the casualties estimated by some contacts of mine, who are generals at the Pentagon, vary between 100 KIA and 1,500 U.S. KIA.

ROBERTSON: I hate to say that’s modest, by certain standards of war, if that’s all it is. What about civilians?

de BORCHGRAVE: Well, civilians always — we’ve known this for a long time now. I was in the Blitz in London in 1940, and I’m sure you remember how many thousands of civilians were killed versus hardly any military, and that’s what happens in war, unfortunately.

ROBERTSON: Arnaud de Borchgrave, thank you for being with us for these insights. We appreciate it.

de BORCHGRAVE: You’re welcome.

It’s a bit worrying when you have less of a “reality based” view of the world than Pat Robertson and Arnaud de Borchgrave, even if Robertson has now over-egged his supposed pre-war divine revelation of “disaster”.

Despite his disageement with Bush, Pat weirdly invoked Confucianism to show his continuing support for him:

“And you remember, I think the Chinese used to say, you know, it’s the blessing of heaven on the emperor. And I think the blessing of heaven is on Bush. It’s just the way it is.”

Perhaps Pat might like to look at World History.com:

The idea [of the Mandate of Heaven] was different from the European notion of Divine Right of Kings in that it legitimized the overthrow of a dynasty and it also put some limits on the behavior of the emperor. If the emperor ruled unwisely or failed to perform the proper rituals, the emperor could lose the Mandate of Heaven and be overthrown. On the other hand, it also promoted “might is right” ideas, since any successful dynastic founder was considered to have the Mandate by virtue of his success, and any failed ruler was considered to have lost it, no matter how great his personal virtue.

Remember that if Kerry wins. However, Pat may have been thinking of this other aspect of the doctrine:

It also encouraged both Chinese unity and a disdainful attitude towards the outside world, since there was only one Mandate, and so only one true ruler of humankind—the Emperor of China.

Theocrats To Be On Primetime Night Before Election

Forget Sinclair and Stolen Honor. Check out the latest from Charisma News Service (emphases added):

International evangelist Morris Cerullo is taking his prayer initiative for the United States to the small screen just days before the Nov. 2 elections. As part of his Save America Now (SAN) campaign (www.save-america-now.com), Cerullo will host a one-hour, primetime TV special that will air from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 on nearly 200 stations nationwide, including CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox affiliates and Christian stations.

“Our nation is at a major crossroad,” Cerullo said. “It is time for God’s people to unite together in prayer as never before as we go to the polling booths on Nov. 2. The Save America Now television special will call the nation to strategic prayer for God’s will in the election of our next president. It is time to cry out, ‘God, turn America back to you!'”

Christian leaders and musicians who are scheduled to appear on the program include Jerry Falwell, Ted Haggard, Kenneth Copeland, Cindy Jacobs, Keith Butler, Charles Stanley, Tommy Tenney, Jack Van Impe, Judy Jacobs, Eddie and Alice Smith, and Sandi Patty.

In other words, unless Charisma is making something up, primetime television in the USA is going to be saturated by the Religious Right (and I use the term advisedly – this is not plain “evangelicalism”) in the evenings before the election. Now, I’m a Brit living in Japan, but, please…is this legal? Cerullo’s website doesn’t actually endorse Bush explicitly, but the message is pretty clear:

2004 is an election year, during which the enemies of America will attempt to influence the election by increasing terrorism, thereby portraying the current administration as weak and ineffective. Don’t be fooled! The Enemy does not want us to continue on with the anti-terrorism crusade because that would unite America together for a common cause. If America is riddled with inner conflict and problems, then we cannot focus our attention on the true purpose — spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ! If America falls into decay and turns its attention from the world, then the Enemy is free to infect the other nations of the world and no amount of outcry from watery Christians will be able to stop him!

Plus there’s this kitschy icon’s presence:


As for the other figures mentioned by Charisma, well: Jerry Falwell needs no introduction; Kenneth Copeland and Jack Van Impe are Christian Zionists in the Hal Lindsey mould; Ted Haggard has spent his time as head of the National Association of Evangelicals promoting C Peter Wagner’s “spiritual warfare” ideas, ideas that are shared by Cindy Jacobs; Charles Stanley’s In Touch Ministries promotes “America is a Christian Nation” theocracy; Keith Butler (like Copeland) is a Prosperity Gospel preacher; Tommy Tenney is a popular Charismatic pastor; and Eddie and Alice Smith run the US Prayer Center and are authors of Spiritual House Cleaning (“8 Steps to Purifying Your Home–Protect Your Home and Family from Spiritual Pollution”), among other books. Sandi Patty is a Christian singer. And, of course, Morris Cerullo himself is a faith healer of the Benny Hinn variety. He’s also a prophet, who was told by God last year that 2004 would be the most dangerous for the USA:

…Now, God has spoken again. He said, “Please mobilize my people. Mobilize the body of Christ. Because next year will be the most problematic year of the United States of America.”

…Next year we are going to begin to see the hand of the Enemy come into this nation as never before, and it will spread from America to the other nations of the world.

Next year is an election year and the Enemy is going to stir up the people in this country against God’s forces as never before. The Enemy is angry and mad, because we’ve got people in political areas of the world that are claiming to know Jesus Christ and are trying to serve him in prayer.

We’re going to see upheavals like never before! Terrorists acts will increase to try and cause distruption [sic], to turn us away from what our country was founded on!

But, of course, he’s not necessarily saying you shouldn’t vote for Kerry, so that’s all fair and balanced, and a message well-deserving of the nation’s prime-time attention.