Over the years, we've gotten some interesting mail – but never, never anything as "interesting" as the recent missive we got from our first ever Lifetime Loser, The Right Reverend Pat Robertson! (Door #192) It seems that after thirty-some-odd years of tweaking the old goat's beard, we finally got to him with our comments in The New York Times a couple of weeks ago. Here's the gist of Pat's complaint and our sainted publisher's response:
"... I remember back to 1973 ... you entertained the rather quixotic notion that Doubleday Broadcasting was going to give you Channel 39 in Dallas.
"Instead, the management of Doubleday very wisely chose to give the station to The Christian Broadcasting Network ... It would seem from ongoing comments by you in the press that you have never forgiven us for receiving that station ...
"I recently read a New York Times story which quoted you as saying that 'there wouldn't be Pat's shake at GNC stores if he couldn't promote it on air ... Robertson advertised his shake on The 700 Club, over the donor-paid air times' ... This statement by you is absolutely false. At no time ever did I advertise any nutritional product in which I had a personal interest over donor-supported air ... never was there one mention by us of any product of which I had a financial interest.
"Ole, I don't know how old you are now, but ... you need to get rid of the bitterness which is causing you to put out falsehoods and slander."
Read Pat's entire letter
And here's Ole's response...
Thanks for your sweet note. It's good to hear from you again after all these years. I've thought of you often during:
* The whole Pat's Shake/2,000 pound leg press thing
* The whole tsunami off the U.S. coast thing
* The whole "take out" of the Venezuelan president thing
* The whole Satan in Dover thing
* The whole "blood diamonds" thing in Africa
* The whole thoroughbred horse racing thing
* The whole misuse of the charitable supplies airplane thing
* The whole buddy-buddy with the blood-thirsty African dictator thing
* The whole blaming Katrina thing
* The whole ... well, you get the picture.
You've been on my mind a lot in recent years. I'm genuinely flattered that a multi-millionaire who lives a lifestyle that would shame the Borgias would still remember a nobody like me. And with the voices of Christians and non-Christians alike denouncing your particular brand of self-serving "theology" reaching an international, virtually unanimous crescendo, I'm touched that something I'd say would still catch your eye.
I'm equally impressed by your ability to split hairs down to the point of virtual molecular indivisibility, completely obfuscating the facts and allowing you to see yourself as innocent – not unlike your biblical role models, the Pharisees.
True, you only used donor-paid airtime to promote (repeatedly) the miraculous, health and strength – giving properties of your home made "protein shake" concoction. But... do you actually think the marketing folks at GNC stores would have agreed to nationally distribute a product called "Bob's Shake"? Can you actually say with a straight face that GNC shoppers, when confronted with an end-aisle display of "Pat's Shake" – complete with a picture of your grinning mug – didn't think, "Hey, I saw that on the 700 Club! I trust good ole Pat! I'll try that!" Do you really think that?
Some would say that this is just another in the litany of outrageous statements you've uttered over the years that have only served to embarrass the Church. Personally, I think this just proves that – despite the hundreds of personal pleas, articles, editorials and columns by mainstream and Christian publications alike, calling on you to please, in the name of God, just shut up – you're still just a regular guy beneath all those trappings of wealth.
Any time you need a letter of reference, feel free to call on me, Pat.
P.S. Thank you again for reminding me about that TV station incident. Over the past 30 years or so, like so many others, I've come to realize that television station (and then television network) ownership is the easiest and best way for a sincere Christian to abandon his or her original good intentions and become a money-flogging, heresy-spouting televangelist – more concerned with fund-raising than Kingdom Building. I see those very same tendencies in myself every day and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I would have ended up trying to do exactly the same thing you've done so well. We're all weak that way. God bless you for delivering me from that particular sin ... out of all of the many sins to which this weak flesh is heir.
Go ahead and say what you think, Ole. Don't hold back.