Radical TV preacher Pat Robertson has made a career out of making ridiculous comments, but yesterday, the televangelist broke new ground.
For those who can’t watch clips online (or if this clip is removed from YouTube before I can find a replacement), Right Wing Watch found a doozy: Robertson told his viewers that that gay men in cities like San Francisco attempt to spread HIV/AIDS to others by cutting them with a special ring when shaking hands.
Co-host Terry Meeuwsen seemed to want to move the conversation along, but Robertson stuck to his crazy guns. “You know what they do in San Francisco, some in the gay community there they want to get people so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” the TV preacher said.
“Really?” Meeuwsen asked, incredulously. “Yes, really,” Robertson replied.
And while the televangelist’s over-the-top rhetoric is painfully common, this one was especially interesting because of what happened next. After Robertson’s comments were aired, the Christian Broadcasting Network posted the episode online – but edited out this portion of the program.
In other words, Robertson’s anti-gay hysteria was so ridiculous, even his own network was reluctant to allow people to see it. Indeed, CBN even forced YouTube to take down the clip posted by Right Wing Watch. (It was re-posted by many others, including the version I included above.)
Robertson really shouldn’t say things on national television if he doesn’t want people to see them.
When The Atlantic asked for comment, Robertson said he “regret[s] that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said.” He added, “In no wise [sic] were my remarks meant as an indictment of the homosexual community or, for that fact, to those infected with this dreadful disease.”
There is no context in which it makes sense to accuse gay people in San Francisco of deliberately cutting others in the hopes of deliberately spreading the AIDS virus.
Robertson’s remarkably active imagination notwithstanding, there is no evidence to bolster his assertions.