Television preacher Pat Robertson had his annual confab with God the other day, and the news is not good. According to the fundamentalist fortuneteller of Virginia Beach, 2007 looks pretty grim.
Addressing his "700 Club" audience on Tuesday, Robertson said this year will see "mass killings" caused by an attack on American soil. This attack, which Robertson claims is scheduled to occur sometime after September, will affect major cities and millions of people. Robertson stressed that the "Lord didn't say [it would be a] nuclear" attack, but he was confident that it would be.
This isn't the first time Robertson has predicted overwhelming death and destruction. In 2005, he said the Indian Ocean tsunami that claimed over 200,000 lives would "look like a picnic" compared to what was to come. In 2006, he said that the "Lord himself is going to shake the Earth;" the shaking will be the "birth pangs...of a more glorious order that is coming."
Robertson has been predicting World War III for some time now. Back in 1980, he claimed that God told him it would be a year of "sorrow and bloodshed that will have no end soon, for the world is being torn apart, and my kingdom shall rise from the ruins of it." He even predicted the world would be in "maximum peril" before 1982.
Despite many failed predictions, Robertson boasted on Tuesday, "I have a relatively good track record."
Actually, he has a lousy track record. Last January, Robertson predicted that "Bush is going to strengthen in 2006. The [midterm] elections will be inconclusive, but the outcome of the war and the successes of the economy will leave the Republicans in charge." He continued confidently, "The war in Iraq is going to come to a successful conclusion and we will begin withdrawing troops before the end of the year."
Robertson admitted to "sometimes" missing, but like every store-front psychic, he attempted to dress up his misses as hits. For example, he cited last spring's heavy rain and flooding in the northeast as evidence he was right about the coasts being "lashed with storms and disasters." He didn't mention that his prediction that the country would again be ravaged by hurricanes fell completely flat. Thankfully, not a single hurricane made landfall this season.
It would be easy to dismiss Robertson's predictions as harmless musings if he weren't so influential. Here is a man who not only claims to speak for God, but also has a hand on some powerful politicians and millions of faithful viewers.
His comment this year that the United States only "feigns friendship with Israel" and is driving that country towards "national suicide" could easily impact international relations in the Middle East.
All of this may seem wacky, but we need to keep tabs on Robertson's freaky fortunetelling because it says much about him. Mainly, that he's wrong about so many things. Robertson is more than just a lousy weather forecaster. He's also wrong about U.S. history when he attacks church-state separation, and he's wrong about our Constitution when he says America is a "Christian nation."
There is one prediction we can safely make: That in 2007, many people will continue to take Robertson seriously. The only mystery is why anyone would listen to a man who is so often wrong about so many things.