See his autobiography (rev. ed. 1995); biographies by D. E. Harrell, Jr. (1987) and J. B. Donovan (1988); studies by G. T. Straub (1986), H. Morken (1988), A. D. Hertzke (1993), R. Boston (1996), and A. Foege (1996).
Robertson is a Southern Baptist and was active as an ordained minister with that denomination for many years, but holds to a charismatic theology not traditionally common among Southern Baptists. He unsuccessfully campaigned to become the Republican Party's nominee in the 1988 presidential election. As a result of his seeking political office, he no longer serves in an official role for any church. His media and financial resources make him a recognized, influential, and controversial public voice for conservative Christianity in the United States.
At a young age, Robertson was given the nickname of Pat by his six-year-old brother, Willis Robertson, Jr., who enjoyed patting him on the cheeks when he was a baby while saying "pat, pat, pat". As he got older, Robertson thought about which first name he would like people to use. He considered "Marion" to be effeminate, and "M. Gordon" to be affected, so he opted for his childhood nickname "Pat". His strong awareness for the importance of names in the creation of a public image showed itself again during his presidential run when he threatened to sue NBC news for calling him a "television evangelist", which later became "televangelist", at a time when Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker were objects of scandal. He insisted upon being called a "religious broadcaster".
In 1948, the draft was reinstated and Robertson was given the option of joining the Marine Corps or being drafted into the army. He opted for the former, which allowed him to finish college under the condition that he attend Officer Candidates School (OCS) in Quantico, Virginia during the summer. He graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree and was the first person to be commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at a graduation ceremony at Washington and Lee. In January 1951, Robertson served four months in Japan, "doing rehabilitation training for Marines wounded in Korea".
In his words, "We did long, grueling marches to toughen the men, plus refresher training in firearms and bayonet combat." In the same year, he transferred to Korea, "I ended up at the headquarters command of the First Marine Division," says Robertson. "The Division was in combat in the hot and dusty, then bitterly cold portion of North Korea just above the 38th Parallel later identified as the 'Punchbowl' and 'Heartbreak Ridge.' For that service in the Korean War, the Marine Corps awarded me three battle stars for 'action against the enemy.'
However, former Republican Congressman Paul "Pete" McCloskey, Jr., who served with Robertson in Korea, claimed that Robertson was actually spared combat duty when his powerful father, a U.S. Senator, intervened on his behalf, claiming that instead Robertson spent most of his time in an office in Japan. According to McCloskey, his time in the service was not in combat but as the "liquor officer" responsible for keeping the officers' clubs supplied with liquor. There he also was known to drink liquors himself and to frequent prostitutes -- consequently, he even feared that he had contracted gonorrhea.
Robertson was promoted to First Lieutenant in 1952 upon his return to the United States. He then went on to receive a Bachelor of Laws degree from Yale University Law School in 1955. However, he failed to pass the bar exam, shortly thereafter underwent his religious conversion, and decided against pursuing a career in law. Instead, Robertson attended the New York Theological Seminary, and was awarded a Master of Divinity degree in 1959.
In 1960, Robertson established the Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He started it by buying a small UHF station in nearby Portsmouth. Later in 1977 he purchased a local-access cable channel in the Hampton Roads area and called it CBN. Originally he went door-to-door in Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, and other surrounding areas asking Christians to buy cable boxes so that they could receive his new channel. He also canvassed local churches in the Virginia Beach area to do the same, and solicited donations through public speaking engagements at local churches and on CBN. One of his friends, the pastor of Rock Church Virginia Beach- John Giminez was influential in helping Robertson establish CBN with donations, as well as offering the services of volunteers from his church.
CBN is now seen in 180 countries and broadcast in 71 languages. He founded the CBN Cable Network, which was renamed the CBN Family Channel in 1988 and later simply the Family Channel. When the Family Channel became too profitable for Robertson to keep it under the CBN umbrella without endangering CBN's nonprofit status, he formed International Family Entertainment Inc. in 1990 with the Family Channel as its main subsidiary. Robertson sold the Family Channel to the News Corporation in 1997, which renamed it Fox Family. A condition of the sale was that the station would continue airing Robertson's television program, The 700 Club, twice a day in perpetuity, regardless of any changes of ownership. The channel is now owned by Disney and run as "ABC Family". On December 3, 2007, Robertson resigned as chief executive of CBN; he was succeeded by his son, Gordon.
Robertson founded CBN University in 1977 on CBN's Virginia Beach campus. It was renamed Regent University in 1989. Robertson serves as its chancellor. He is also founder and president of the American Center for Law and Justice, a public interest law firm that defends Christians whose First Amendment rights have allegedly been violated. The law firm, headquartered in the same building that houses Regent's law school, focuses on "pro-family, pro-liberty and pro-life" cases nationwide.
Robertson is also an advocate of Christian dominionism - the idea that Christians have a right to rule.
Robertson ran on a very conservative platform. Among his policies, he wanted to ban pornography, reform the education system, and eliminate departments such as the Department of Education and the Department of Energy. He also supported a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget.
During the start of the presidential primary election season in early 1988, Robertson's campaign was attacked because of a statement he had made about his military service. In his campaign literature, he stated he was a combat Marine who served in the Korean War. Other Marines in his battalion contradicted Robertson's version, claiming he had never spent a day in a combat environment. They asserted that instead of fighting in the war, Robertson's primary responsibility was supplying alcoholic beverages for his officers. (see Education and military service)
Robertson's campaign got off to a strong second-place finish in the Iowa caucus, ahead of Bush.
Robertson did poorly in the subsequent New Hampshire primary, however, and was unable to be competitive once the multiple-state primaries began. Robertson ended his campaign before the primaries were finished. His best finish was in Washington, winning the majority of caucus delegates. However, his controversial win has been credited to procedural manipulation by Robertson supporters who delayed final voting until late into the evening when other supporters had gone home. He later spoke at the 1988 Republican National Convention in New Orleans and told his remaining supporters to cast their votes for Bush, who ended up winning the nomination and the election. He then returned to CBN and has remained there as a religious broadcaster.
Robertson's books have been both successful and controversial. The Secret Kingdom, Answers to 100 of Life's Most Probing Questions, and The New World Order were each in their respective year of publication the number one religious book in America.
Robertson's tome The New World Order was described as a 'catch all for conspiracy theories' by Christian academic Don Wilkey:
Pat Robertson’s work, NEW WORLD ORDER, is a catch all for conspiracy theories. It combines the paranoia of the Old Right with modern versions. A summary of Robertson’s book is found on page 177 in which Pat says a conspiracy has existed in the world working through Freemasonry and a secret Order of the Illuminati, a group combining Masons and Jewish Bankers.
Ephraim Radner also accuses Robertson of espousing anti-semitic beliefs in the same book:
In his published writings, especially his 1991 book The New World Order, Pat Robertson has propagated theories about a worldwide Jewish conspiracy. Michael Land raised the issue in February in the New York Times Book Review, and in April Jacob Heilbrun, writing in the New York Review of Books, cited chapter and verse of Robertson's borrowings from well-known anti-Semitic works.
Formed in 1990, IFE produced and distributed family entertainment and information programming worldwide. IFE's principal business was The Family Channel, a satellite delivered cable-television network with 63 million U.S. subscribers. IFE, a publicly held company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, was sold in 1997 to Fox Kids Worldwide, Inc. for $1.9 billion, whereupon it was renamed Fox Family Channel. Disney acquired FFC in 2001 and its name was changed again, to ABC Family.
Robertson is a global businessman with media holdings in Asia, the United Kingdom, and Africa. He struck a deal with Pittsburgh, PA-based General Nutrition Center to produce and market a weight-loss shake he created and promoted on the 700 Club TV show.
In 1999, Robertson entered into a joint venture with the Bank of Scotland to provide financial services in the United States. However, the move was met with criticism in the UK due to Robertson's views on homosexuality. After Robertson commented that Scotland was "a dark land overrun by homosexuals", the Bank of Scotland canceled the venture.
Robertson's extensive business interests have earned him a net worth estimated between $200 million and $1 billion.
In 1994, the Coalition was fined for "improperly [aiding] then Representative Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Oliver North, who was then the Republican Senate nominee in Virginia. Robertson left the Coalition in 2001.
While Robertson is primarily popular among evangelical Christians, his support extends beyond the Christian community. In 2002, he received the State of Israel Friendship Award from the Zionist Organization of America for his consistent support for a Greater Israel. In that year the Coalition for Jewish Concerns also expressed its gratitude to Robertson for "unwavering support for Israel" and "standing up to evil".
Robertson has also been a governing member of the Council for National Policy (CNP). Seekgod.ca, which describes itself as "an independent Christian research and apologetics ministry listed him on the CNP Board of Governors 1982, President Executive Committee 1985–86, member, 1984, 1988, 1998.
On November 7, 2007, Robertson announced that he was endorsing Rudy Giuliani to be the Republican nominee in the 2008 Presidential election.
While usually associated with the political right, Pat Robertson has recently begun endorsing environmental causes. He appears in a commercial with Al Sharpton, joking about this, and urging people to join the We can Solve it Campaign against global warming.
On May 8, 2006 Robertson said, "If I heard the Lord right about 2006, the coasts of America will be lashed by storms." On May 17, 2006 he elaborated, "There well may be something as bad as a tsunami in the Pacific Northwest. While this claim didn't garner the same level of controversy as some of his other statements, it was generally received with mild amusement by the Pacific Northwest media. The History Channel's initial airing of its new series, Mega Disasters: West Coast Tsunami, was broadcast the first week of May.
In fact, not only did a tsunami not affect the United States in 2006, but no hurricanes reached United States soil that year, either, and the 2006 hurricane season was actually far tamer than the extremely active and dangerous 2005 season.
Pat Robertson Changes Gears; Bush Speaks to Military Families; BRAC Accepts Most of Pentagon List; Suicide Bomber Was Previously
Aug 24, 2005; WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: It's 5:00 p.m. here in Washington, and you're in THE SITUATION ROOM, where news and information from...