On 9/14/01, Falwell issued an apology for his comments and said he believed that the terrorists alone were responsible for the attacks. He reiterated, however, that theologically he believed that groups that have worked to secularize America have helped remove the nation from its spiritual foundations.
Pat Robertson, on his website, distanced himself from the comments that he had agreed with at the time they were made. He said that during the interview, Falwell suddenly made a "...political statement of blame directed at certain segments of the population that was severe and harsh in tone, and, frankly, not fully understood by the three hosts of The 700 Club who were watching Rev. Falwell on a monitor." Robertson said he considered the comments "totally inappropriate" and that critics had taken the words out of context.
This infamous video created a firestorm in the press when it was made...much like the situation Pat Robertson is in right now. It shows the power of media and the extreme light that is cast on those who use it. My interest in the comments both the 9-11 stuff and the present statements about Haiti and the devil pact are not really about slamming the man or the ministry. They do good stuff, there is no doubt about that. Many people are blessed by the millions of dollars spent in humanitarian relief by the ministries Pat leads and many people have come to faith through thier prayerful work as well.
The issue I have is that this version of American Christianity is becoming more and more a catalyst for a new exodus among faith searching emerging generations. Like the monastic movements of the past...these forces help create a groundswell of reaction that often leads to an abandonment of present religious structures. The church in America had better wake up to the fruit of it's marriage to the state and politics...or she will turn around and realize her kids have left or ran away from home. The religious rights worldview produces a way of thought and action one that is familiar to those raised in conservative, primarily Republican churches. The stuff Robertson televises on his program is soaked in his charismatic, prophesy bent reporting.
Here is an overview of some major controversial moments. Granted, many good folks believe this way...but the serious issue facing the church now...is that the emerging generations most often...don't.
That doesn't bode well for the churches in the future.
Crucifying anyone in a spirit of ridicule isn't the way of Christ...we all learn form putting our foot in our mouths or overspeaking or saying something we shouldn't. There is forgiveness for failures.
But we are still required to examine the doctrine, ethics and way of life these types of folks who call people to vote and live and think a certain way...especially if they stand as a leading voices of evangelicalism or conservatism.