Political Animal


January 07, 2012 8:45 AM This Week in God

By Steve Benen

First up from the God Machine this week is a word from on high as to who will win the 2012 presidential election.

Most of us will have to rely on polling, projections, trends, and some guesswork, at least until the first Tuesday in November, but radical TV preacher Pat Robertson claims to have a direct line to the divine. This week, the televangelist told his national television audience that God whispered the election results in his ear.

“I spent the better part of a week in prayer and just saying, ‘God show me something,’ some things I’ll share with you. I think he showed me the next president but I’m not supposed to talk about that so I’ll leave you in the dark — probably just as well — I think I’ll know who it will be.”

I especially liked the part in which Robertson said he’s “not supposed to talk about that” — as if God spoke directly to the radical TV preacher and said, “OK, I’ll tell you, Pat, but don’t go spreading it around.”

Robertson also told his viewers that God believes President Obama “holds a radical view” of the nation’s direction. So there you have it — pay no attention to the historians and political scientists who note that Obama’s agenda has deep roots in the ideologies of both parties going back generations; Pat Robertson heard the opposite directly from God.

Also from the God Machine this week:

* State lawmakers in Tennessee are working on anti-bullying laws, but want to create a loophole that will allow religious youths to pick on gays.

* Gabino Zavala, an assistant bishop of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles, was forced to resign this week after acknowledging that he has two teenage children. Roman Catholic clergy, of course, are supposed to be celibate.

* Speaking of the Roman Catholic Church, Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George apologized this week for comparing an annual gay rights parade to a Ku Klux Klan rally.

* And an entity called the Church of Kopimism, focused on electronic file-sharing, has been officially recognized as a religion by the Swedish government. (thanks to R.P. for the tip)

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • c u n d gulag on January 07, 2012 8:52 AM:

    Since I guess only he can talk to God, I'll pay for Pat to call the Lord collect and ask to finally take him home. It's long past time.

    The fact that this old fool is still on TV making money proves what PT Barnmum, or whoever, said about sucker's being born every second.

  • hells littlest angel on January 07, 2012 8:55 AM:

    I saw the video of Robertson recounting his conversations with the Grand High Uber-ubermensch. What I found more disturbing than what he said was the demented cackling. Expect to disappear from the public eye real soon -- he is literally crazy.

  • walt on January 07, 2012 9:07 AM:

    If Obama is "radical", I'm Che Guevara.

    One of the most frustrating things right-wingers do is hide their racism behind words like "socialist", "radical", "anti-colonialist", "un-American", et al. I'd have more respect for them if they simply came out and said Obama's skin tone is communist. At the very least, it would be saner than their other bullshit.

  • T2 on January 07, 2012 9:37 AM:

    Sounds like God told him a certain scary black Kenyan is going to be re-elected. Funny, God told Rick Perry to run, I guess he failed to tell Rick he was going to lose. Nuts.

  • Mad_nVt on January 07, 2012 9:53 AM:

    God is Everywhere

    Any chance that we could hear more about God's doings in other countries- you know, those place where they have "false idols," "fake religions," and so on.

    In fact, some places even have multiple Gods. Truly bizarre, how is that even possible?

  • DAY on January 07, 2012 9:56 AM:

    Lengthy prayer leads to hallucination.

    (as does fasting, sleep deprivation, and peyote.)

  • dj spellchecka on January 07, 2012 10:04 AM:

    in other catholic news:

    Pope Benedict XVI named 22 new cardinals Friday, including prelates in such key posts as New York and Hong Kong and a large number of Italians holding major Vatican positions.

    The list includes two Americans: Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York and Archbishop Edwin O'Brien.

    In addition, Benedict also ordained two new Vatican diplomats with the rank of archbishop, including an American, Monsignor Charles Brown, who is being sent to Ireland to heal the damage caused by the clerical sex abuse scandal.


    On Dec. 20, Pope Benedict XVI certified miracles attributed to two American women, the final step toward sainthood. The women's canonization is expected to happen this year.

    They are the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, a Mohawk Indian who spent most of her life in New York's Mohawk Valley during the 17th century and the Blessed Mother Marianne Cope who began a religious life about 200 years later and 40 miles to the west that focused on providing medical care in central New York and the Hawaiian islands.

  • dj spellchecka on January 07, 2012 10:08 AM:

    in other "twig" news, a big story from israel


    Israeli society could be torn apart if disputes between ultra-Orthodox and less observant Jews continue to heat up, Israel's religious affairs minister said on Wednesday.

    In a telephone interview, Yaacov Margy, who also serves as director-general of Shas, a religious party in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's coalition government, condemned an incident last month in which zealots seeking gender separation spat at a schoolgirl they accused of dressing immodestly.

    That attack was disclosed by an Israeli television station, whose report on the violence stunned many in the Jewish state, where concerns over religious coercion are mounting among its mainly secular population.

    Margy said such incidents and ultra-Orthodox protests - in the latest, last Saturday, children were dressed as Nazi Holocaust victims to suggest public persecution of the community - had been overblown in the media.

    "If they ganged up on an 8-year-old girl, this is something that must be uprooted. We have a police force, courts - anyone who is violent must be dealt with. But we don't have to go crazy," he said.

    "If we have a problem in Israeli society we should deal with it through dialogue," he said

    He said he feared that failure to do so "will tear Israeli society apart," and pointed to banners at a recent secular demonstration where protesters voiced their fear that Israel could become like Islamist-ruled Iran.


  • Goldilocks on January 07, 2012 10:52 AM:

    I know I should keep out of the God stuff because I tend to step on people's toes, BUT this talking to God always seems like they are basically talking to themselves. If only it were harmless it wouldn't matter.

    Maybe Mad_nVt is being sarcastic. Hard to tell. Just in case he isn't though, here's an interesting fact. The word 'atheist' was first used to refer to, believe it or not, Christians, because the didn't believe in gods plural. A-theist = without gods.

    Taking up his more general point about "false idols," "fake religions," and multiple Gods - why is this so strange? I guess 'false' and 'fake' depend on one's point of view. They are definitely not fake or false to those who believe in them, and who are we to judge?

    We have numerous gods in our Western culture: the stock market, democracy, the motor car which we veritably worship, money itself, Fox News, the list could go on. The point, if one can be catholic about it, is that our human nature and our minds have many facets, all of which are highly relevant to our existence and the sort of life experiences we have. By simply according to these facets a divine dimension we give ourselves the opportunity to recognize and understand them in their pure and exalted potential, which in turn motivates us to better ourselves in beneficial ways. Is that so difficult to imagine?

  • chi res on January 07, 2012 11:20 AM:

    Pope Benedict XVI named 22 new cardinals Friday, including prelates in such key posts as New York and Hong Kong and a large number of Italians holding major Vatican positions.

    All 22 were promoted to this high office due to their sacred devotion to, and diligent study of, pedophilia defense and gay bashing.

    craptcha: ban unsubl

    Don't worry craptcha; nothing "unsubtle" about this comment.

  • Jurgan on January 07, 2012 11:57 AM:

    "Gabino Zavala, an assistant bishop of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles, was forced to resign this week after acknowledging that he has two teenage children."

    Of course. The Catholic Church cannot tolerate their clergy having sex with adult women.

  • thebewilderness on January 07, 2012 2:21 PM:

    All that stuff in the Bible about how God told the Prophets to spread the word, warn the people? Not Robertson's God. His God prefers that he taunt people. Where is the Church Lady when you need her?

  • exlibra on January 07, 2012 2:59 PM:

    * Gabino Zavala, an assistant bishop of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Los Angeles, was forced to resign this week after acknowledging that he has two teenage children.

    So, having a long term relationship with an adult woman will get you fired. Screwing scads of little boys or girls will get you moved to another diocese. I think I get it now.

  • toowearyforoutrage on January 08, 2012 9:15 AM:

    I'd been told once that celibacy was a method by which Church treasuries could grow. Families are costly and if a priest's family were impoverished that would be unseemly.
    It's a perfectly sensible plan if you don't mind having abnormal human beings in charge of the place in judgment of a bunch of depraved nymphos like the laity.

    By the way, everyone get ready for mass accusations of anti-Catholic bigotry when Santorum wins and we call him out for being a member of a mortal-worshipping cult. Now if Mormon Romney had been accused of being in a cult, that's entirely different! I mean, Catholicism is bigger! It must be okay, right? (For the record, my beloved father in law is a truly wonderful Catholic man.)

    On another front:

    Taliban, Fundamentalist Christians, and now Orthodox Jews to complete the triumvirate of religious world domination. Sure, religion's a force for good on the planet. Keep thinking that. (God may well be, but the little "clubs" mortal man comes up almost universally stink on ice.)

  • navamske on January 09, 2012 10:18 AM:

    Robertson said, "I think he [God] showed me the next president," but did God tell him when this person would take office? Knowing who the next (45th) president will be doesn't necessarily mean that person will be taking the oath in 2013.