I have to hand it to Pat Robertson. After all these many years that I have watched his antics, he can still make me laugh.
This week the 79-year-old multi-millionaire TV preacher was in Allentown, Pa., giving a speech on behalf of a local charity.
According to The Morning Call, Robertson "said the nation's dire economic circumstances are the inevitable result of years of unfettered greed in government and business and can only be reversed by the earnest action of 'fired-up' citizens demanding a return to responsibility."
Robertson blamed the housing foreclosure crisis, mounting debt, growing unemployment and other woes on our stark departure from America's roots as a frugal, responsible nation.
"His excoriations of Wall Street greed and government ineptitude," the newspaper reported, "were greeted by murmurs of 'amen' and 'that's right' from some in the audience of perhaps 150 people."
Isn't that rich?! Pat Robertson denouncing greed!
Would that be the same Pat Robertson who used his Operation Blessing charity's airplanes primarily to transport equipment for a Robertson-owned diamond-mining operation in Zaire (now the Republic of the Congo) called African Development Corporation?
Would that be the same Pat Robertson who went on his Christian Broadcasting Network show and asked for donations claiming that the planes were taking a "medical strike force" to towns in Zaire when in fact the planes were being used to ferry mining equipment?
(One pilot told the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot that of the 40 flights he undertook to Zaire, "only one or at most two" were humanitarian in nature. He said the rest were "mining-related.")
Would that be the same Pat Robertson who entered into a partnership with brutal Liberian dictator Charles Taylor to run a gold-mining operation in that war-torn African nation?
Would that be the same Pat Robertson who tried to become the main Internet provider in communist China (he said he wanted to be the "Yahoo of China") and tried to open an oil refinery in a poor neighborhood near Los Angeles?
Would that be the same Pat Robertson who took a firm that sold home-study Bible courses and converted it into American Benefits Plus, a multi-level marketing scheme that sold coupon books and later moved into vitamins and cosmetics? (Wonder if I can still get "Sea of Galilee" skin care lotion somewhere?) The firm, renamed Kalo-Vita, went belly up in 1995, leaving investors holding the bag. (One 76-year-old retiree told Newsweek she lost $7,000 and had to refinance her home.)
Would that be same Pat Robertson who turned his nonprofit Family Channel into a for-profit enterprise and sold it to that paragon of virtue Rupert Murdoch for just under $2 billion?
Would that be the same Pat Robertson who reported in his book, Shout It From the Housetops, that his mother Gladys once had a vision from God of Robertson receiving packets of cash from heaven?!
"I saw a packet of bank notes floating down out of heaven into your hands," Mrs. Robertson reportedly told her no-doubt happy son. "I looked closely and saw that they were made up of large denominations. I didn't know how much money it was, I just knew it was a lot; and it was as if you were kneeling under the open windows of heaven, and God was pouring out his wealth upon you."
Robertson says he and his mom both cried at the glorious prospect. "Praise the Lord," he reportedly whispered through his tears.
I could go on, but you get the picture.
The newly greed-averse Robertson holds himself out as being quite the Bible scholar. I recommend he take a quick look at Matthew 7: 3-5.
In the Revised Standard Version, Jesus is quoted as saying this: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye."