Every so often I visit a house or apartment and forget to ask the patient to turn off their TV. The 24-hour news is so ubiquitous it becomes a kind of white noise. There’s a lot of Fox out there, and I usually don’t pay it any attention. But once in a while something slips through so biased and outrageous that I turn around–it’s CBN.
Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network has simulated news programs that look like the real thing. Being accountable only to God, as Pat channels Him, they have no journalistic standards to worry about. Like our former president, they are fond of uniforms they never earned, and use the format of network news to pass themselves off as having a connection with reality.
Pat Robertson would be a harmless crank except for his media empire, vast fortune and political connections with former presidents and anyone who wants the hearts and votes of the religious right. Everything he publishes on his network is ‘religiously correct’ and filtered through his own self-serving take on the Bible. When he uncorks something really nasty the internet loves it and it travels at the speed of snark.
So I won’t quote him here, just to say that in the Book of Job, the lowest moment of Job’s suffering came when his friends visited him and told him that he must have done something really awful to be smited by God that way. ‘Repent’ they smugly exhorted.
In more recent times, the Americans caught in the devastation of Hurricane Katrina waited long, longer than they should have, while the TV networks painted them as vandals and insurgents. Will the Red Cross enter Haiti to give aid sooner than they did New Orleans? Possibly. False rumors cost lives.
Rush Limbaugh is trying to find a reason to blame President Obama for the earthquake and stake out a patch of ground where his fans can feel superior for not caring. Haiti has suffered much and the faint of heart need to assure themselves that it couldn’t happen here. There are tremors in California, but they are all libertines out there anyway, and God probably plans to off them soon.
The great advantage of being ‘faith-based’ is that you can invoke the supernatural to explain natural events. If the God of Earthquakes is out there crushing schools and homes and hospitals it’s so reassuring to know that he thinks you’re special. Like Job’s friends, take someone’s misfortune as proof they deserved it. Very Old Testament, and even in Old Testament times they saw through it. Jesus didn’t care for that kind of thing either. Pat Robertson, if you find you are afflicted with hemmorhoids don’t say the Bible didn’t warn you.
OKAY: If you have to see it, Nomi will link you to Pharyngula, with the Robertson quotes and many passionate comments.
I ALWAYS UNDERESTIMATE THEM: Washington Monthly says that Robertson tells his story about the Haitians being cursed as a lead-in to solicitations for his own charity. Would you trust ‘Job’s friends’ in a disaster?
BUT BLOGGING AIN’T ENOUGH: Feministe has a list of links to aid organizations and charities with good reputations and solid track records of using the money to help those who need it. I just used it myself for Doctors Without Borders and it didn’t hurt a bit.
UPDATE: According to Daily Kos, God and Jesus are boycotting the 700 Club. God is denying Robertson’s claims that they are in constant contact. So who are you gonna believe?