Pat Robertson, a controversial televangelist and a leader of the religious right, has died. He was 93.
Robertson who founded the Christian Broadcasting Network made the Christian right a powerful political force and unsuccessfully ran for president in 1988, died on Thursday, CNN reported.
According to a release by the network, “Pat Robertson, longtime TV host, religious broadcaster, educator, humanitarian, and one-time presidential candidate died at his home in Virginia Beach early Thursday morning. He was 93,”
Regent University in Virginia also released a statement saying it was mourning the loss of Robertson.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved founder,” Regent University Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs William L. Hathaway said.
“Dr. Robertson was a globally-renowned leader, broadcaster, philanthropist, educator, author, accomplished businessman, and – most importantly – a faithful servant of God who dedicated his life to glorifying the Lord and sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Born in 1930, Robertson founded the Christian Broadcasting Network in 1960 and was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister a year later. He used that TV perch to push his message of conservative Christian values to people at home, taking aim at gay rights, feminism, abortion and other social issues.
Robertson helped transform the conservative evangelical movement into a political force on the American right that helped elect Ronald Reagan. He then ran for the Republican nomination for president in 1988, coming in behind both George H.W. Bush and Bob Dole.
Afterwards, he founded the Christian Coalition of America, which promoted conservative Christian political candidates, and returned to his TV show “The 700 Club.”
Robertson made a series of inflammatory and controversial opinions and repeatedly said that acts of terrorism or weather disasters were a form of divine retribution for perceived immorality.
“We have killed over 40 million unborn babies in America,” Robertson said on his September 12, 2005, broadcast of “700 Club,” about two weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans.
“I was reading, yesterday, a book that was very interesting about what God has to say in the Old Testament about those who shed innocent blood. And he [the author] used the term that those who do this, ‘the land will vomit you out.’ … But have we found we are unable somehow to defend ourselves against some of the attacks that are coming against us, either by terrorists or now by natural disasters? Could they be connected in some way?”
In more recent years, he became a supporter of former President Donald Trump, and in 2017 he linked the Las Vegas mass shooting to “disrespect” for Trump.