Controversial Televangelist Pat Robertson Has Died At Age 93

Pat Robertson, a religious broadcaster who helped make religion fundamental to Republican Party politics in America through his Christian Coalition, died. He was 93.

His radio network reported his death Thursday via email. No explanation.

Regent University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia Beach, the American Center for Law and Justice, which defends religious people's First Amendment rights, and Operation Blessing were also Robertson's businesses.

Robertson's "700 Club" and later broadcast declarations of God's punishment, blaming natural calamities on homosexuality and evolution, were a fixture in American living rooms for more than 50 years.

As he sought donations, he gained influence, money, and a big following when he ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 1988.

Robertson finished second in the Iowa caucuses, ahead of Vice President George H.W. Bush, by targeting Iowa's evangelical Christian churches.

Robertson biographer Jeffrey K. Hadden stated his masterstroke was requiring three million U.S. followers to sign petitions before running. He gained an army.

Hadden, a University of Virginia sociologist, told The Associated Press in 1988 that he requested people to work for him, pray for him, and donate money. Political historians may consider it a candidate's most clever move.

Bush won after Robertson endorsed him. Republican presidential candidates, including 2024 candidates, routinely court Iowa evangelicals.

Robertson founded the Chesapeake Christian Coalition in 1989 to advance his campaign's goals. The coalition mobilized conservative voters in the 1990s.

John C. Green, an emeritus political science professor at the University of Akron, called Robertson's impact on religion and politics in the U.S. "enormous" when he resigned as coalition president in 2001.

Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson was born March 22, 1930, in Lexington, Virginia, to Absalom Willis and Gladys Churchill Robertson. His father was a Virginia senator and representative for 36 years.

Robertson met his wife, Adelia "Dede" Elmer, at Yale in 1952. He was a Southern Baptist, she a Catholic nursing master's student. Eighteen months later, they went away to marry a judge of the peace, knowing neither family would approve.

In 1959, Robertson and his family travelled south to Portsmouth, Virginia, to buy a failing UHF television station. He had $70, but he recruited investors and CBN went on the air on Oct. 1, 1961. CBN, a tax-exempt religious nonprofit, earned $321 million in "ministry support" in 2022.

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