Evangelical leader Pat Robertson passed away earlier this week, and ohhh boy did people have some feelings about that.
We’ll get to some of those reactions down below. First, a quick refresher in case you're not familiar with him.
Who Was Pat Robertson?
To some, he was a trailblazer who helped bring strong Christian values and biblical teachings directly into living rooms across America.
To others, he was the face of religious bigotry – a man who championed the oppression of any group deemed to be misaligned with biblical teachings (which, it turned out, was a lot of people).
Robertson founded the first Christian TV network, Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), in 1960. Through the iconic show he hosted, “The 700 Club,” he helped grow televangelism into a powerful force, and in many ways made it what it is today.
Robertson was also tremendously successful in channeling evangelical faith into political action, building a strong coalition of Christian voters that helped reshape the political landscape of America in the 1980s and '90s. He even ran for president himself in 1988, though he failed to get the nomination.
Why Was Pat Robertson So Controversial?
Critics argue that his “friendly pastor persona” was not genuine, and that he held some sincerely hateful views. For example, in this old clip from an appearance on Larry King, Robertson seems pleasant on air – but then gets caught on a hot mic calling a viewer a “homo” when it cuts to commercial.
Robertson also held some… extreme opinions. He frequently came under fire for making controversial statements about gay people and supporters of abortion rights. We outlined a few of his more outrageous claims in this Facebook post:
Mixed Reactions to Robertson’s Death
In that same post, we asked our friends on Facebook: “What will you most remember Pat Robertson for?” This question elicited some very strong (and contrasting) answers, and we figured we’d share a few here.
Many folks seem to hold a disdainful view of Robertson and his impact on humanity... and, well, they weren't shy about letting that be known.
However, not everyone saw it that way. Many people expressed positive sentiments about Robertson, his work, and how he affected them.
And still others took a more nuanced view, noting that death is a tragedy even if you object to someone's views:
What do you think Pat Robertson’s legacy should be?