Jun 08, 1998

The controversial TV preacher says the city of Orlando is risking severe weather by flying rainbow flags from city light poles in observance of diversity and respect for gay people.

On the June 8 episode of Robertson's "700 Club," a news segment focused on the Orlando flag display and the attendance of thousands of gay men and lesbians at nearby Disney World the previous weekend.

Charging that the acceptance of homosexuality is "the last step in the decline of Gentile civilization," Robertson predicted dire consequences for both Orlando and the United States.

"We're not in any way, shape or form hating anybody," said Robertson. "This is not a message of hate; this is a message of redemption. But if [pause] a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes and possibly a meteor, it isn't necessarily something we ought to open our arms to.

"And I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes," Robertson continued, "and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you."

"Donald had better duck," quipped Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "And politicians who take their marching orders from Pat Robertson ought to consider finding a new meteorologist."

The Orlando warning is not Robertson's first brush with hurricane control. In 1985, he claimed his prayers diverted a hurricane from colliding with Virginia Beach, home base for his Christian Broadcasting Network.