In Las Vegas, at least 59 people are dead, and more than 500 people are injured for no apparent reason beyond the psychotic inclinations of a man with access to guns and a high-altitude hotel room.
But Pat Robertson doesn’t see it that way. In his mind, this nation’s unfolding tragedy is a direct fault of people who don’t respect Donald Trump and the American flag enough. Yes, really.
On Monday, before all of the loved ones of all of the dead and maimed in Las Vegas knew the fates of their kin, Robertson said, “The fact that we have disrespect for authority—there is profound disrespect of our president, all across this nation. They say terrible things about him—it’s in the news, it’s in other places. There is disrespect now for our national anthem, disrespect for our veterans, disrespect for the institutions of our government, disrespect for the court system. All the way up and down the line, disrespect.”
What are Pat Robertson’s possible motives here? While people still fought for their lives after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, why did a televangelist feel the need to issue a statement this useless? He wasn’t trying to provide comfort. He wasn’t helping to make sense of the tragedy, because his thoughts here are violently stupid.
Robertson wasn’t trying to be helpful. He was trying to insert himself into a story that had nothing to do with him. He couldn’t help it. He can never help it. Because Pat Robertson is an evil man. He’s been so evil for so long that one has to wonder whose side he’s on.
Let’s do a quick topline comparison between Satan, the Prince of Darkness, and Pat Robertson, the Prince of Doddering.
First, pride. Pride is considered the deadliest of the seven deadly sins because, according to the story, it’s the one that got Lucifer cast out of heaven.
Robertson, for all of his garbage proclamations over his garbage career, has apologized for few of his inane and dangerous statements. He hasn’t apologized for claiming that gay men wear jagged rings so they can give people AIDS. Or his comment that non-Christians were “termites.” Even Jerry fucking Falwell apologized for saying feminists caused the 9/11 terror attacks.
Second, Satan is sometimes called the “prince of lies.”
Robertson has spent decades lying and obfuscating, throwing himself into the middle of discussions in which he wasn’t invited, to offer opinions that nobody wanted. He’s weighed in on the Iraq War, 9/11, sex outside of marriage, Hinduism, the earthquake in Haiti, abortion, and every other topic du jour, tragic or zeitgeist, that can help boost Pat Robertson Awareness. He’s thrown his fortunes in with warlords, hucksters, and profiteers.
He’s claimed he can leg-press 2,000 pounds, thanks to the aid of a protein shake.
Pat Robertson has built a billion-dollar empire by saying he’s a person who knows what God wants other people to do. As host of The 700 Club, he’s spent thousands of hours on the bleakest television channel preaching to his followers about how they can emulate Jesus, how they can send him money in an extremely holy way. Meanwhile, he has lived a life of wealth and privilege, at the expense of dupes.
Robertson is showy. .
The Bible’s Book of Matthew, chapter 6, verses 5 and 6 reads: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” In other words, performative piety isn’t about God at all; it’s about self-enrichment and attention, and God is on to your bullshit.
What Robertson has said about Las Vegas is so much worse than his usual praying for attention. He’s rebranding cruelty as sanctimony, nastiness as wisdom. He’s the answer to the question “What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?”
What’s the difference between Pat Robertson and Satan? Satan’s not real. Unfortunately, Pat Robertson is.