Robertson, Marion "Pat"
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Time Period
3/22/1930
Description
Pat Robertson was heavily influenced by Pentecostalism and founded the "Christian Broadcasting Network" in 1961 to promote the Christian message. It grew into a more than $200 million broadcasting empire by the 2000s. He adapted the chat-show format to religious broadcasting with his popular show "The 700 Club.”

In the 1980s, Robertson made himself more known in the political sphere. He joined the race for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988, upsetting the eventual victor, George H. W. Bush, in several early primaries. Robertson's campaign had been unsuccessful, but it revealed the dramatically increased heft of evangelical voters in the Republican Party. Following the election, Robertson founded the Christian Coalition of America, the spiritual successor to Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and the apogee of the institutional New Christian Right.

Recently, Robertson has become known for controversial statements with regards to Islam and the 2010 Haitian earthquake.
Interactive Timeline(s)
Baptist Religious Events and People in American History
Browse Related Timeline Entries
Baptist Religious Events and People in American History
Narrative
Pat Robertson, the son of a conservative US Senator, became a leading figure in the New Christian Right of the 1980s and '90s. Before his rise to national politics, Robertson graduated with honors from Washington and Lee University, served as an officer in the Marine Corps during the Korean War, and earned a law degree at Yale University. In the early 1950s, Robertson felt a sense of spiritual listlessness and consequently attended an evangelical seminary where he was strongly influenced by pentecostalism, receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit in 1957.

In 1961, Robertson purchased a bankrupted television station in Virginia and renamed it the "Christian Broadcasting Network," which grew into a more than $200 million broadcasting empire by the 2000s. He was an innovator, adapting the chat-show format to religious broadcasting with his popular show "The 700 Club," and a pioneer in cable and satellite television during the late-1970s.

Robertson never lost his interest in politics, uniting his father's fiscal conservatism with his own concerns about the decaying moral fabric of American society. In 1988, he joined the race for the Republican presidential nomination, upsetting the eventual victor, George H. W. Bush, in early caucuses in Washington, Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii. He did not fare as well in the primaries, but still garnered more than a million Republican voters. Robertson withdrew from the race and threw his delegates to Bush, but his surprise showing revealed the increased heft of evangelical voters in the Republican Party. Following the election, Robertson founded the Christian Coalition of America, the spiritual successor to Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority and the apogee of the institutional New Christian Right.

Pat Robertson's influence on evangelicalism and conservative politics continues at Regent University, which includes among its alumni and faculty Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and former US Attorney General John Ashcroft. Recently, Robertson has become known for his controversial statements, including accusing Islam of being an inherently violent religion, blaming the 2010 Haitian earthquake on the nation's pact with the devil, asserting the ethics of divorcing a disabled spouse, and advocating for the legalization of marijuana.
Religious Groups
Baptist Family: Other ARDA Links

Timeline Entries for the same religious group Pentecostal Family
Pentecostal Family: Other ARDA Links

Events
National Association of Evangelicals Founded
Pat Robertson Founds Christian Broadcasting Network
Movements
Christian Fundamentalism
Religious Right
Photographs

Pat Robertson portrait- Wikimedia Commons - photo by Paparazzo Presents (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Pat Robertson, Operation Blessing- Flickr- photo by chuck holton (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Pat Roberston in Peru- Flickr- photo by chuck holton (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Book/Journal Source(s)
Larson, Timothy and David Bebbington and Mark Noll, 2003. Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals. InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, Illinois.
Web Page Contributor
Paul Matzko
Affliated with: Pennsylvania State University, Ph.D. in History

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