Televangelist, Pat Robertson, has said abortion and same-sex marriage are partly to blame for the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The 90-year-old Christian Broadcasting Network founder suggested that God won’t end the coronavirus pandemic until people “turn from their wicked ways.”
“You confess your sins and forsake them. Then he heals the land. It’s not before,” he said on an episode of his show, ‘The 700 Club,” earlier this week.
Questions and answers
Robertson’s comments came during a segment in which he fields questions from viewers. On Monday, a viewer asked him about how a popular Bible verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14, applies to COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The verse reads, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
The viewer asked: “How can God heal our land and forgive the sins when abortion and same-sex marriage are laws and many people are anti-Israel. Doesn’t this prevent his healing and forgiveness?”
Robertson told the viewer, “You are right.”
“I think you put your finger on something very important. You know the Bible says ― they turn from their wicked ways,” he said. “We are not turning when we have done terrible things.”
In his response, Robertson explicitly cited abortion and abuse of the poor as some of the reasons why “God would hold us guilty.”
CBN did not return HuffPost’s request for elaboration about Robertson’s statements.
Most Christian traditions would agree that abusing the poor is a serious sin. But Christian denominations in the U.S. have adopted a wide range of positions on issues such as same-sex marriage, abortion and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Within American evangelicalism, whether Robertson’s views are mainstream or fringe is a matter of debate between scholars. What isn’t up for debate, however, is his network’s reach and influence.
“The 700 Club” is the flagship program of CBN, the conservative network Robertson founded in 1960. The show has considerable reach ― about 650,000 U.S. households watch Robertson’s “700 Club” program every day, according to CBN. The network also maintains close ties to President Donald Trump’s administration and regularly features high-ranking White House officials as guests on its shows.