Pat Robertson takes back "word from the Lord" on election

Pat Robertson takes back "word from the Lord" on election
By now, no doubt you've seen the news about Pat Robertson's Tuesday interview on CNN's Paula Zahn Now, wherein he claimed that President Bush told him there would be no casualties in the Iraq war.

If you didn't, here's the quote:

I met with him down in Nashville before the Gulf War started. And he was the most self-assured man I ever met in my life. You remember, Mark Twain said, he looks like a contented Christian with four aces. He was just sitting there, like, I'm on top of the world, and I warned him about this war. I had deep misgivings about this war, deep misgivings. And I was trying to say, Mr. President, you better prepare the American people for casualties.
Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties. Well, I said, it's the way it's going to be. And so, it was messy. The Lord told me it was going to be a) a disaster and b) messy. And before that, I had deep, in my spirit, I had deep misgivings about going into Iraq.

White House biggies, including Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, and Scott McClellan, all said Bush never said it. "I was right there," Rove told The Washington Post.

The Kerry campaign, meanwhile, sees an opening in Robertson's statement. "We believe President Bush should get the benefit of the doubt here, but he needs to come forward and answer a very simple question," Mike McCurry said. "Is Pat Robertson telling the truth when he said you didn't think there'd be any casualties, or is Pat Robertson lying?" The idea, of course, is to divide Bush's campaign from the "Religious Right," of which Robertson is perceived to be a leader. Forced to choose between Bush and Robertson, McCurry apparently believes, religious conservatives will choose the televangelist.

In truth, though, this will probably be much worse news for Robertson than it will be for Bush. Robertson's January comment on The 700 Club about Bush's re-election has been repeated so often that there's no way anyone is going to forget the line: "I really believe I'm hearing from the Lord it's going to be a blowout election in 2004."

On Tuesday's CNN interview, Robertson said, "I thought it was going to be a blowout, but I think it's razor thin now."

From the "Religious Right," expect to hear much more harrumphing about Robertson as a "false prophet" than about McClellan calling Robertson "confused."

The full transcript, by the way, is here. Bartholomew's Notes on Religion also picks up on how "Pat weirdly" quoted Confucius's version of the Divine Right of Kings theory: "It's the blessing of heaven on the emperor." No doubt it was just part of Robertson's continued China outreach.

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Bush & religion:

  • Casualties of faith | President Bush's willful blindness in many of his decisions comes from mistakenly assuming that his desires are God's (Maureen Dowd, The New York Times)
  • Presidents can't lead by divine inspiration | Bush validates and deepens America's religious divide by acting as though his faith should become official government policy (Linda Valdez, The Arizona Republic)
  • Closing the God gap | it's no surprise that the president continues to tend to his flock (Gloria Borger, U.S. News & World Report)
  • Bush running to be national pastor | President seems to believe that he is God's instrument in the White House. (Haroon Siddiqui, Toronto Star)
  • The army of God marching for Bush | Voters in Florida are voting for Jesus — and John Kerry it seems, is not his candidate (The Times, London)
  • Know your fundamentalists | Are they: a) moral b) God-centered c) caring d) intolerant e) anti-intellectual f) homophobic g) all of the above? Next: A look at the voting bloc that may give George Bush another four years in the White House (Rob Weir, Valley Advocate, Easthampton, Mass.)
  • Data show claims of increased abortions under Bush don't hold up | Glenn Stassen is wrong (National Right to Life)

Kerry & religion:

  • Please, don't throw me into the friar patch | Is it possible that the attacks by conservative Bishops are helping Kerry? (Steven Waldman, Beliefnet)
  • Kerry's auxiliary bishops | America's bishops are more likely to vote for John Kerry than excommunicate him (George Neumayr, The American Prospect)
  • Why millions of Catholics will be voting for Kerry | Like many American Catholics, Kerry doesn't seem to wear his religion on his sleeve (William Jeakle, The Seattle Times)
  • Unholy righteousness | John Kerry offends Catholics and Protestants (Quin Hillyer, National Review Online)

Religion & politics:

  • Crossing the line? | Religion is a tricky subject for the secular press—especially in this election (Melinda Henneberger, Newsweek)
  • Christian youth ready to 'Redeem the Vote' | Christian radio stations and musicians are teaming up with Redeem the Vote, which claims to have registered more than 70,000 members (Fox News)
  • Amish in area not rushing to the polls | Despite national reports that some Amish are heading to the polls this November, clerks in Hillsdale County say there are no Amish registered to vote. (The Ann Arbor News, Mi.)
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  • Single-issue vote is the real sin | A democratic, pluralistic society is best served by voters who consider the range of a candidate's positions and performance and make their judgments accordingly (Tom Ferrick Jr., The Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • It may take faith to be a pollster | Gallup unfairly smeared for his religion, but questions about surveys' accuracy are valid (Rena Pederson, The Dallas Morning News)
  • Strategists say religious voters can swing race | Religious strategists for both campaigns think the outcome of the closely contested race is now in the hands of the faithful. (The Orlando Sentinel)
  • McAteer was factor in making religion matter in politics | Ed McAteer was a successful, well-traveled sales manager with Colgate-Palmolive before he shifted his gregarious gifts to full-time Christian politicking (Ray Waddle, The Tennessean, Nashville)
  • A religious creed for making political decisions | Patriotism can be defined as good citizenship, a positive loyalty to or a love of one's country. But what happens when extreme emotions, especially in the name of patriotism and/or the Bible, have a negative impact on our patriotic theme of "liberty and justice for all?" (Michelle Olley, The Journal Times, Racine, Wis.)

The Catholic vote:

  • Catholics here get controversial voters guide | Since June, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has distributed 50,000 copies of a controversial voters guide to nearly half of its parishes (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • Politics, religion sometimes don't mesh | Come Nov. 2, I won't be voting according to my Catholic teachings (Minerva Canto, The Orange County Register, Ca.)
  • Ad in Pittsburgh Catholic opposes one-issue voting | Fifty priests and several hundred sisters and laity from Western Pennsylvania have signed an ad in the Pittsburgh Catholic, saying that voting decisions cannot be reduced to the single issue of abortion (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • Catholics don't need bishops escorting us to voting booth | Catholics, You Are Not Americans: It seems to me that's what some of the bishops are saying (Delia O'Hara, Chicago Sun-Times)


  • S. Florida's Indian Catholics pass down faith, traditions | The Syro Malabar church, Our Lady of Health, attracts hundreds of Indian Catholics from a three-county area in South Florida, and is one of only eight such parishes in the United States (Associated Press)
  • Pope declares this the 'Year of Eucharist' | Pope John Paul II has declared this month to October 2005 the "Year of the Eucharist" and urged Catholics to learn from the sacrament to become "promoters of communion, peace and solidarity" (Religion News Service)
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  • Churchman versus the state | Few cardinals have got off to so rocky a start as Cardinal O'Brien (The Scotsman)
  • Pope makes gesture to Orthodox church | The pope won't be going to Istanbul, but in a gesture to the Orthodox Church he is returning the relics of two saints that were seized by Crusaders 800 years ago, Vatican officials said Thursday (Associated Press)
  • Parishioners drop lawsuit | Several dozen parishioners of Our Lady of Victory Church in Paris have dropped a two-year-old defamation lawsuit against the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Tyler (The Paris News, Tex.)
  • McCarrick steps out for a beer | The archbishop of the Washington, D.C. Roman Catholic diocese does the Theology on Tap program about twice a year (WJLA, D.C.)

Catholicism & the EU:

  • Catholics see devout losing out on EU jobs | The European Parliament's revolt against a new EU commissioner who sees homosexuality as a sin has left devout Catholics wondering if their beliefs are now so politically incorrect as to rule them out for high office (Reuters)
  • Vatican battles for EU influence | The Vatican has been drawn into a row over the nomination of Italy's Rocco Buttiglione as EU justice and home affairs commissioner (BBC)

Church & state:

  • From the streets to the Supreme Court | Homeless man gets a hearing over commandments (Houston Chronicle)
  • Buttiglione regrets slur on gays | The controversial incoming EU Justice Commissioner, Rocco Buttiglione, has voiced regret over damaging comments he made about homosexuals and women (BBC)
  • State moral conscience dances to his own tune | Wayne Flynt's life, work and writings are rich in paradox, poor in stereotype (The Birmingham News, Ala.)
  • Judge dismisses L.A. county seal lawsuit | The county employee who sued, Ernesto Vasquez, argued the change was a First Amendment violation that would send the message Christians are not full members of Los Angeles County (Associated Press)
  • Lord's Prayer removed from agenda | Clyde council takes advice, switches to silent moment at meetings (The Toledo Blade, Oh.)
  • Bishop's anti-Martin words inflamed feds to put in a call | During the federal election campaign in June, Catholic Bishop Fred Henry was called by a bureaucrat with Canada Customs and Revenue Agency and threatened that the church's charitable status could be revoked if he continued to speak out against Prime Minister Paul Martin (Calgary Sun)
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  • Religion and politics should be mixed says Ohio secretary of state | Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell fired up a large crowd at the Cathedral of Praise Church in Sylvania Township (WTOL, Toledo, Oh.)

Same-sex marriage:

  • "Homosexuals are hellbound!" | Churches in Ohio are rallying their massive flocks behind the most strident anti-gay marriage amendment in the nation -- and the Republican National Committee is in heaven (
  • Going too far | Like Amendment 3, the First Presidency's latest statement strays into unclear territory by backing measures "that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship" (Editorial, The Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Religion news in brief | Canadian Council of Churches says it's unable to take position on gay marriage, Methodist bishop dismisses charges over California gay marriage, Ohio State University allows religious groups to exclude non-believers, and other stories (Associated Press)

Marriage & family:

  • Why adultery won't win you any friends | The popular belief that moral standards are declining may be misplaced, with a new survey revealing adultery as the conduct most damaging to a person's reputation (The Age, Melbourne, Australian)
  • They were looking for friendship and found much more | A love connection isn't what Tim Young was looking for when he joined a dating service designed exclusively for Christians (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

Human rights & religious freedom:

  • Ricky Martin wants United Nations to fight sex tourism | Luncheon was sponsored by the U.S. government and World Vision, a major Christian relief organization, which have just launched an advertising campaign aimed at deterring American tourists from sex tourism (Associated Press)
  • Lebanese Christians respect Ramadan without the constraints | During Ramadan, the Christians as well as non-practising Muslims and tourists crowd the cafes of the western sector of the capital where all restaurants and fast-food outlets remain open (AFP)
  • French girls expelled over veils | Three more Muslim girls have been expelled from schools in France for defying the new ban on headscarves (BBC)
  • Orissa VHP arranges mass reconversion program | In a major reconversion drive by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), as many as 336 tribals of 80 families in 11 villages under Sundargarh district were reconverted to Hinduism at a special function in Baridia this evening (The Hindu)

Abuse & child porn:

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  • Churches asked to look for abuse | Ivey urges worshipers to aid victims (The Washington Post)
  • Ex-priest's lawyer wants charges tossed | A lawyer for defrocked priest Paul Shanley asked a judge Wednesday to dismiss rape and indecent assault charges against his client after one of his accusers failed to appear in court (Associated Press)
  • City pastor faces child porn charges | Rick Curtis, minister at Avery United Methodist Church, sent photo on Internet, police say (The Dominion Post, Morgantown, WV)
  • Chaplain claims sexual harassment; files suit against St. Mary's hospital | The Rev. Sonia Carmona seeks compensation for medical expenses and damages she says are a result of harassment by Vincent Maroun, a Maronite Catholic priest who previously served as the director of St. Mary's pastoral care department (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Presbyterians & Israel:

  • Jews object to Presbyterian-Hezbollah talk | Two national Jewish organizations Wednesday sharply criticized a Presbyterian Church delegation for meeting in Lebanon with leaders of the terrorist group Hezbollah (Associated Press)
  • Presbyterian's praise of Hezbollah raises ire | An East Liberty Presbyterian Church elder has ignited a furor for extolling Hezbollah, a radical Islamic group with a history of terrorist activity (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
  • Religion Today: Israel divestment | The concept is gaining ground in the heart of American Protestantism, pitting U.S. Jewish and Christian leaders against each other as they argue about how to bring peace to the Mideast (Associated Press)

Missions & ministry:

  • TBN seeks fine or jail for accuser of network chief | Trinity Broadcasting Network officials say they want a former employee jailed or fined because he violated a court order against talking about a homosexual tryst he says he had with the ministry's leader, televangelist Paul Crouch (Los Angeles Times)
  • Evangelicals push governments on UN poverty goals | Global evangelical Christian leaders launched a worldwide campaign on Friday to support U.N. anti-poverty goals -- but with little support from their American counterparts wary of the world body (Reuters)
  • Churches invest in coffee abroad | Congregations plan venture in Philippine farms (San Mateo County Times, Ca.)
  • Ministry's efforts rub neighbors wrong way | Residents take objections to Supervisor Marion Ashley. Set Free defends its rehab work (Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)
  • In God we trust | Big banks and desperate debtors have made an East Valley ministry millions (Phoenix New Times, alternative paper)
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  • Religious rally to roll into Seattle | About 8,000 are expected at tomorrow's and Saturday's Promise Keepers revival at Safeco Field (Seattle Times)

Church life:

  • Southwest Community gets a new pastor | Bob Thune now fills the role vacated by David T. Moore, who resigned in November 2002 amid questions of financial improprieties and after photos surfaced of him in a hot tub with his wife and another woman, both of whom were topless (The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, Fla.)
  • Exiled Ethiopian cleric to open church in Joburg | Muslims and Christians were like brother and sister in Ethiopia before both were persecuted by the communist regime (The Star, Johannesburg, South Africa)
  • A final tally of giving | Everett church charities to end (The Boston Globe)
  • Christians the 'newest Dutch minority group' | Christians have become a minority group in the Netherlands as the once-pious public continues to desert its churches in droves, it was reported Thursday (Expatica, Netherlands)
  • Assemblies of God fires minister | The Rev. Deon Lett, formerly of Suncoast Cathedral, founded another church and took supporters with him (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

Anglican Communion:

  • War of words over gay marriage | Wording of amendment called poor; supporters say language issue a smokescreen (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • North Texas Episcopalians have no plans to break away from church | New England Episcopalians' recent break from the national church has not influenced North Texas churches (Times Record News, Wichita Falls, Tex.)
  • 'We conform to this world rather than to Christ' | If the Episcopal Church doesn't withdraw from the disastrous errors of last summer, the church could well become a new kind of Samaritan church, having a form of religion without the substance of the faith (David H. Roseberry, The Dallas Morning News)
  • Gay bishop sees glint of hope in church report | Some Episcopal leaders in the United States see "wiggle room" in a church moratorium on blessings of same-sex couples (The New York Times)
  • Gay bishop says he has no plans to step down | He also said he is "very encouraged" that the worldwide Anglican Communion is considering only a moratorium, rather than a permanent ban, on the ordination of more gay bishops (The Washington Post)
  • Gay bishop speaks out on report | Bishop V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church USA, said yesterday that gays and lesbians will continue to be ''second-class members" of the Anglican Communion so long as it attempts to prevent the consecration of other gay bishops and the blessings of same-sex couples (The Boston Globe)
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  • Time may be the great healer for this divided Church | Unlike almost anybody else in public life, the Archbishop of Canterbury is not short of time. Rowan Williams has a full 16 years before he has to retire. So he can afford to play a very long game — a freedom that must be the envy of our election-constrained politicians (Mary Ann Sieghart, The Times, London)
  • Gay U.S. bishop fears chill | Could be the last openly gay priest named to Anglican hierarchy for a while, he says (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)


  • Parents: Religion being pushed on kids | Desert Sands board hears concerns at middle school (The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, Fla.)
  • Baylor provost's speech sparks debate over Baptist freedom | "Baptist freedom" and the doctrine called the priesthood of the believer have taken center stage in a debate over academic freedom and the future of Baylor University (The Baptist Standard)
  • Calvin to show Petra exhibit | It's the school's first museum-scale exhibit (The Grand Rapids Press, Mi.)

Life ethics:

  • Brother's tissue 'cures' sick boy | British doctors believe they have cured a six-year-old boy of a rare blood disorder after transplanting cells from his baby brother who was created to save him (BBC, video)
  • Doctors helping patients to die | As Lords discuss assisted suicide bill, survey finds GPs believe many colleagues already give such aid (The Guardian, London)
  • Blair at odds with Bush over cloning vote and condoms to beat Aids | Tony Blair is at loggerheads with George Bush over two main parts of the President's social policy, as the two countries prepared to clash over a United Nations vote on human cloning (The Independent, London)
  • Flynn: Calif. gov's stance a hard cell | Raymond L. Flynn, the former Vatican ambassador and Boston mayor, took California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to task over religion, abortion and stem cell research yesterday in a scathing letter. (Boston Herald)


  • Major case squad to investigate Bible store homicides | Victims names not yet released (KMBC, Kansas City, Mo.)
  • Earlier: Bodies found in Raytown Bible store | Neighbors said they worry the victims may be the owners of the store, an older couple that has run the business for years (KMBC, Kansas City, Mo.)

War & terrorism:

  • Professors misinterpreted Bible | Let's just chalk this up as an example that knowledge isn't the same as wisdom. In an open letter entitled, "Confessing Christ in a World of Violence,' several professors at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena claim that President Bush's theology of war represents a grave moral crisis in America (Gregory J. Welborn, Pasadena Star News, Ca.)
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  • Silent commitments | Only three years have passed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, but the commitment to the new pro-development consensus may already be fraying (Editorial, The Washington Post)


  • Differences important, religion writer says | The differences between the world's religions are more interesting and important than any similarities, religion writer Kenneth Woodward told an audience Tuesday night at Goshen College (South Bend Tribune, Ind.)
  • Wiccans put neighbors in an uproar | Neighbors of a quiet, rural neighborhood are demanding that township officials find a way to ground a coven of witches living in their midst (The Flint Journal, Mi.)
  • Where physics meets faith | Neither Newtonian mechanics nor quantum physics is on a glide path to spiritual enlightenment (Robert C. Cowen, The Christian Science Monitor)


  • School says Halloween disrespectful to witches | District bans a planned celebration, calling it a waste of time (
  • Baker officials hope to ban 'satanic' holiday | Ghosts and goblins, costumed superheroes, even little girls dressed up like Cinderella -- none may be welcome on the streets of Baker next year if some city officials get their way and drive Halloween out of town (The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.)


  • Agnew avoids the ordinary | Singer who found fame with reworked hymn moves on to new projects (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)
  • The joys of blind faith | Ben Harper is bringing the gospel into the mainstream (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Finding answers for theological questions, to a gospel beat | Robert Wilson gets funky with "The Temptation of St. Anthony," which opened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Tuesday as part of the Next Wave Festival (The New York Times)
  • Can Christianity ever reach accord with rock? | Is there tension and conflict between Third Day's lives as rock stars vs. their fundamental identity as Christians? (Troy Record, N.Y.)

Songs of Praise row:

  • Songs of Praise is being constricted into a narrow Anglican mould | Program ought to be a celebration of the rich diversity of spirituality across the United Kingdom (Archie Black, The Scotsman)
  • Songs of Praise is out of tune with Kirk, claims minister | Inverness minister launches attack on flagship religion program (The Scotsman)
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  • Scotland's songs of praise | Those who thought that the soporific strains of Songs of Praise could not possibly arouse dissension will be shaken out of this view by the electrifying letter today from the Rev Archie Black, calling for the program to be axed (Editorial, The Scotsman)


  • The banker who does business by the Good Book | Our correspondent talks to Ken Costa about God and governance (The Times, London)
  • Osteen shares steps to realizing potential | At first glance, Joel Osteen's new book might be mistaken for secular self-help (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Charisma at the Garden | Smiling Christian preacher Joel Osteen cracks the New York market and sells out a live appearance to his TV audience (Newsday)
  • Pastor preaching at Garden | Preaching before an arena-size crowd is no big deal for Joel Osteen (The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y.)
  • The Lord and the law | When he's not in church, you can find this newly ordained Episcopal priest at his law office (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)


  • A (graphic) novel approach to getting Christian message out to teens | Robert Luedke says he spent most of his first 40 years wandering in a spiritual desert, looking at accounts of Jesus and Christianity as nice, harmless stories (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)
  • Failed apocalyptic prophecy by U.S. Millerites had historic impact, book claims | In his Borderland Religion, Simon Fraser University professor Jack Little argues a failed apocalyptic prophecy by the radical and powerful U.S.-based Millerite movement was a watershed moment in Canada's rejection of the fire-and-brimstone religious culture of the U.S. identity (National Post, Canada)

Film & theater:

  • Faith issues drive two plays by new troupe in Arlington | Shadows of Light seeks "the intersection of faith, art and the human experience." (The Washington Post)
  • T.D. Jakes lets loose | With his film about child sexual abuse, the preacher takes his message nationwide (The Boston Globe)

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