Pat Robertson is your classic con man. He has been for years. The televangelist has been soliciting people for money for decades by telling them that it’s their religious duty to do so, and that by giving him money, God will bless them and their families with success. Robertson isn’t just getting money from wealthy people, he’s also getting money from families who can’t afford to pay for their most basic needs. And it’s all for the cause of him having “millions and millions of dollars!”
The Raw Story reports that Robertson asked struggling families to keep giving him $20 a month or more on the Monday edition of his 700 Club show, even if it means missing a payment on the bills.
Robertson waited till the end of the broadcast to regale the riches-to-rags-to-riches story of a couple named D.L. and Deborah Hobby who lost their lavish and spacious 4,600 square foot home and their real estate business during the 2008 recession that wiped out the hopes and dreams of millions of Americans.
“After selling their home at a “huge loss,” the Hobbys declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy in 2010. The “defeated” family of four was forced to move into a 1,000-square-foot home. “That is when we really started to focus on God,” D.L. Hobby recalled. “D.L. and Deborah did agree on one thing: They would keep on tithing despite their financial difficulties,” a CBN narrator explained. “The Hobbys began to watch The 700 Club and eventually became partners.”
“There were so many stories on there that gave me hope through God’s word,” Deborah Hobby told CBN. “And it just encouraged us.” That’s when “amazing things started to happen,” the report noted. “Deborah’s business eventually started to rebound. And within two years of the bankruptcy, the Hobbys bought a larger home.” “Our finances have been restored because of him,” Deborah Hobby observed. “And I believe it was because of us continuing to tithe, and us putting God first in our lives.” [Source]
So to recap, the Hobbys declared bankruptcy, moved into a smaller house, began watching 700 Club, and were convinced to keep tithing in order to get favor from God. Then God reached down and gave them success because they gave money to Robertson. That’s when Robertson made his pitch to whoever is gullible enough to watch his program.
Robertson claimed that the Hobbys risked destitution to give him money, and thus God pulled the proverbial slot machine handle and made them well-off once again.
“Listen, there is no way you can out give God,” Robertson began. “You can’t do it. And that which is given to him will come back 30, 60 and 100 fold. We encourage you to join the 700 Club. It’s just $20 a month. And if all of us do it together, it gets to be millions and millions and millions of dollars!” [Source]
Here’s the video:
Now, I’m not saying that God doesn’t reward the faithful; I’m just not convinced that giving money blindly to Pat Robertson is the surefire way to earn God’s favor. Millions of Americans are struggling to survive day after day, and no doubt many of them still manage to tithe or give to charity. Yet, God doesn’t reward all of them with good returns on their investment. Robertson conveniently leaves out that little tidbit and tries to convince us that by giving money to the 700 Club (i.e. Robertson), it’s a guarantee that God will pay each of us back and then some.
It sounds more like a Ponzi scheme or a “get rich quick scam” to me. Clearly, struggling families who give $20 or more to Robertson have more to lose than Robertson’s multi-million dollar operation. Children could go hungry. Children could be deprived of warmth because of a missed electric or heating bill. All because a family believes Robertson when he guarantees that God will come through for them if they give him money.
This plea for money comes from a man whose net worth is estimated to be between $200 million and $1 billion. He lives in a mansion on a Virginia hilltop with a private runway for his private jet. Instead of asking poor people to give to him, perhaps Robertson should donate his vast wealth to the poor as God commands in the Bible Robertson claims to know so well.
Robertson’s religious practices throughout his career have drawn criticism from many people, including conservative icon Barry Goldwater, who saw Robertson for the con man he is, stating that:
“When you say “radical right” today, I think of these moneymaking ventures by fellows like Pat Robertson and others who are trying to take the Republican party and make a religious organization out of it.”[Source]
And that exactly what the 700 Club is, a “moneymaking venture” designed to part people from their money for the purpose of advancing conservative policies. It has nothing to do with God.
This isn’t the first time Pat Robertson has insisted that struggling families risk it all so that the church can have more. In 2011, Robertson told a financially struggling mother with children to keep tithing instead of telling her to use the money to care for her kids. Apparently church coffers are more important to keep filled than the bellies of hungry children.
There are certainly times when giving to the church is okay. But when one has to choose between feeding, sheltering, and clothing one’s family or giving money to the church, true men of the cloth, and defenders of the family, should insist that parishioners give to God in the form of faith and use money to care for family needs. They can resume giving when they can afford to do so without putting their families in jeopardy. Robertson isn’t a true man of the cloth nor is he a defender of the family. He only cares about himself and the conservative causes he wants to give money to.