The World and Everything in It: June 12, 2023
On Legal Docket, whether Native Americans are subject to the Bankruptcy Code; on the Monday Moneybeat, what shrinking populations really mean for economic growth, and on the World History Book, the life and legacy of Pat Robertson. Plus, the Monday morning news
PREROLL: Good morning! The World and Everything in It is made possible by listeners like us. This is Lu Valdez in North County, San Diego, blessed to be able to be working remotely, and super blessed to be a grandma and great grandma. I hope you enjoy today’s program.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning! Two sides battle it out at the U.S. Supreme Court over Native American sovereignty and the absence of certain words in the law.
PRATIK SHAW: The other side no doubt cannot find a single example in the history of this country where Congress has abrogated the sovereign immunity of tribes without mentioning tribes.
NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket. Also, the Monday Moneybeat. Today, jobs, interest rates, and recession. David Bahnsen will be along in a bit. Plus the WORLD History Book. Today we mark the passing of Christian broadcast pioneer Pat Robertson.
REICHARD: It’s Monday, June 12th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!
REICHARD: It’s time now for the news. Here’s Kent Covington.
KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Trump » Former President Trump is blasting the Biden Justice Dept. following Trump’s indictment last week on charges of mishandling classified documents.
DONALD TRUMP: Biden is trying to jail his leading political opponent, and opponent that’s beating him by a lot in the polls, just like they do in Stalinist Russia or communist China.
Trump heard there at the Georgia GOP convention over the weekend, his first campaign appearance since the indictment.
The former president could soon face more charges in Georgia over alleged interference in the 2020 election in the state.
Democrats are defending the prosecution. Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
CHUCK SCHUMER: No one is above the law, including Donald Trump. This indictment must now play out through the legal process without any outside political or ideological interference.
But most Republicans say this prosecution is political and ideological. Even Trump’s presidential campaign rivals are criticizing the Biden Justice Dept. Former Vice President Mike Pence:
MIKE PENCE: Today, I am calling on the attorney general to stand before the American people and explain why this was necessary in his words. Attorney General Garland, stop hiding behind the special counsel and stand before the American people and explain why this indictment went forward.
DeSantis comments, straw poll » And Trump’s top rival in the polls, Florida Gov. and Navy veteran Ron DeSantis recalled the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for keeping classified information on a private server.
RON DESANTIS: And my view was, well gee, you know, as a naval officer, if I would have taken classified [records] to my apartment, I would have been court martialed in a New York minute. And yet, they seem to not care about that. Is there a different standard for a Democrat secretary of state versus a former Republican president?
Trump narrowly edged out DeSantis in the Western Conservative Summit straw poll over the weekend, one day after the indictment was unsealed.
Trump received 40% of the vote to 36% for DeSantis. All other candidates finished in the single digits.
Biden accusations » Republicans also charge that the Justice Dept. has been turning a blind eye to an alleged “criminal bribery scheme” involving President Biden. Sen. Ron Johnson:
RON JOHNSON: It’s incredibly corrupt. It’s incredibly dirty. The Bidens knew exactly the type of people they were dealing with, but the mainstream media has by and large ignored it.
Republican members of the House Oversight Committee say an FBI whistleblower tipped them off. And they say an FBI document revealed that the owner of Ukrainian energy company Burisma told an FBI informant that he paid $5 million dollars to President Biden’s son Hunter Biden and another $5 million to then-Vice President Biden himself to help quash a corruption probe.
The White House has shrugged off the House investigation as a politically motivated farce.
Biden pride celebration » The White House was adorned with rainbow flags over the weekend, as President Biden told a crowd on the South Lawn:
JOE BIDEN: We welcome [you] to the largest pride month celebration ever held at the White House, but just the beginning.
He condemned state laws designed to protect children from transgender procedures. And he denounced the counseling of children with same-sex attraction and gender dysphoria as—quote—“cruel” while voicing support for surgically altering children’s bodies based on gender identity.
I-95 collapse » In Philadelphia, an elevated section of Interstate 95 collapsed on Sunday after a tanker truck carrying flammable cargo caught fire.
The collapse has caused a traffic nightmare this morning, and the city won’t be waking up from it anytime soon.
Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro:
JOSH SHAPIRO: With regards to the complete rebuild of I-95 roadway. We expect that to take some number of months.
Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg has promised a quick federal response to help rebuild the bridge.
Ted Kaczynski death » Ted Kaczynski, better known as “the Unabomber” died over the weekend at the age of 81. He was found unresponsive in his prison cell in North Carolina.
The Harvard educated mathematician constructed more than a dozen mail bombs, which killed three people and maimed several others from 1978 to 1995.
Mary Ellen O’Toole was the FBI profiler who worked on the Unabomber case. She said the bureau had never seen another case quite like it.
MARY ELLEN O’TOOLE: He would come in. The package would be mailed or it would be placed somewhere, and then, from what we could tell, he would just leave the area.
Kaczkynski was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in prison. Officials said he appeared to have died from suicide.
I'm Kent Covington.
Straight ahead: News from the court on Legal Docket. Plus, the legacy of Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson.
This is The World and Everything in It.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Monday, June 12th. We’re so glad you’ve come along for today’s edition of The World and Everything in It. Good morning! I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. We’ll get to Legal Docket in a moment. But first, I want to talk about this program, The World and Everything in It and how it continues.
Let’s go back to in 2011 when we started.
Quite simply, we could not have done it without your support.
That we’ve not missed a single program over the last 12 years is also a testament to your ongoing support.
Because you share The World and Everything in It with friends and family, we’re now at the point where in the past 12 months, we’ve served up almost 20 million listens.
REICHARD: Again, couldn’t have done it without you.
With you, we feel there’s nothing we cannot do. And in this mission God has given us, there’s so much we must do.
We are in our June Giving Drive. It’s one of the two times during the year that we come to you to say we rely on your generous gifts to carry out this important work at this strategic time.
Some see these times as dangerous … and they sure seem that way.
EICHER: One reason is that those who possess the power to tell the story of the world… are telling lies.
Let me tell you the story of the Associated Press Stylebook.
The Associated Press reaches half the population of the world and it publishes a widely used stylebook.
In it AP tells us we mustn’t use the term woke, and if you must, place it in quotations. When reporting on euthanasia, make sure to stress that it’s carried out “under strict conditions.”
REICHARD: On the subject of transgenderism, oops, do not use the term transgenderism. Because, quoting here, it “frames transgender identity as an ideology.” We wouldn’t want to do that.
As you must’ve guessed by now, AP style evolves.
EICHER: Most recently, it sent out an email to members calling attention to its Transgender Coverage Topical Guide all 3-thousand words. And of course, we got a copy.
The first command is to avoid false balance. That is to say and I’m quoting: “giving a platform to unqualified claims or sources in the guise of balancing a story by including all views. For instance, do not quote people speaking about biology or athletic regulations unless they have the proper background.”
REICHARD: In other words, let’s consider the parent who isn’t a biologist and hasn’t taken the time to read the 78 sections of the official little league rulebook app. Why platform such a rube who thinks it’s dangerous for boys to be playing against his daughter? That might be false balance.
EICHER: Then there’s an entirely new lexicon. To write, “sex (or gender) assigned at birth is the accurate terminology,” according to the AP.
Phrasing like pregnant people or people seeking abortions is increasingly used in medical contexts and is also acceptable to include people who have those experiences but do not identify as women.
REICHARD: Avoid the word “mutilation,” which is a politicized and subjective term that mischaracterizes “gender-affirming surgery.”
And these red flags: no misgendering, no deadnaming, no improper pronoun use. And when you properly use pronouns, don’t make the mistake of calling them preferred pronouns … because that implies choice.
It goes on like that.
EICHER: We use the AP Stylebook. It’s helpful in a lot of ways. But we’re wary of it. Because our commitment is to tell the truth.The truth of the scriptures and the truth that we can plainly see..
And there’s so much truth to tell. But it takes resources to build up the organization that’s telling it. There are reporters to train and hire, to place in the field where the news is, and to equip to bring back stories for print, digital, radio, and television.
REICHARD: With your help, we’ve created a strong organization that can scale. Every gift turns into more and deeper truthful news coverage. Every gift becomes the story that the mainstream news media would rather ignore. Every gift helps train a Christian reporter, helps put a Christian sound engineer in front of a newsmaker, helps spread the word that there is hope.
EICHER: Lies cannot stand up to the truth. We believe truth is a worthy investment.
And we hope that over the remaining days of June, you’ll renew your investment. Please visit wng.org/donate. And thank you very much.
It’s time for Legal Docket.
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down four opinions last week. That leaves 23 decisions remaining before the end of the term on June 30th.
Today, we’ll run through the opinions before covering one oral argument.
First opinion today was a big surprise given the tenor of questions at oral argument.
A fractious 5-4 decision says Alabama’s district map for the 2022 congressional elections likely diluted the power of the black vote.
The maps were drawn so that just one district out of seven was majority minority … even though more than a quarter of the voting-age population in Alabama is black.
REICHARD: Voters sued, relying on a section of the Voting Rights Act that bars any voting practice … quoting directly here .. that “results in a denial or abridgment of the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race.”
The voters alleged race discrimination. And the high court agreed with the lower court’s determination that that is what likely occurred.
So now Alabama will have to redraw the map that will be used in the 20-24 elections to include at least one other majority black district, so two out of seven
EICHER: Next, a unanimous decision in favor of Jack Daniel’s whiskey in a trademark dispute.
Justice Elena Kagan began the opinion by writing: “This case is about dog toys and whiskey, two items seldom appearing in the same sentence.”
Mark Walsh from Scotusblog reported that when Justice Kagan announced the opinion from the bench, she held the squeaky toy in her hand and even sang a line from the song “Barbie Girl.” That was part of an old copyright lawsuit filed by Mattel.
REIHCARD: Anyway, here’s a refresher on the facts: VIP Products makes a squeaky dog toy called “Bad Spaniels” that’s a parody of the Jack Daniel’s whiskey bottle. For example, the wording of the “Old No. 7 Brand” turns into “The Old No. 2 on Your Tennessee Carpet.”
You can hear the winning argument from Jack Daniel’s lawyer Lisa Blatt back in March:
LISA BLATT: It's not whether you get the joke. You get that somebody other than the brand was making the joke because that's all that matters. Not -- ha, ha, ha is not a standard under the Lanham Act. It's whether it’s confusing as to source.
The Lanham Act is the federal trademark law. The justices ruled that the humorous use of someone else’s trademark as one’s own on a commercial product is not an “expressive work” protected under that law.
EICHER: The justices sidestepped two questions: whether consumers are actually confusing this parody product with the real thing and whether parodies get heightened protection from infringement claims. Instead, the court issued a narrow ruling about trademark dilution under a different federal law.
So all is not lost for VIP and Bad Spaniels. Case is remanded to the lower courts for further proceedings.
REICHARD: Onto the next opinion in Dubin v United States.
It’s a win for a man who received two convictions: one for overbilling Medicaid, another for aggravated identity theft. That last one by itself added a mandatory two years to his prison sentence.
The identity-theft part was the man’s challenge … arguing he’d made no misrepresentations about the patient’s identity. Overbilling has nothing to do with that.
His lawyer, Jeffrey Fisher, during argument in February said that the law is not so broad:
JEFFREY FISHER: Understanding what Congress meant by words, we would not assume Congress would sweep in vast arrays of conduct without doing so clearly.
The justices agreed in its unanimous decision. This case is also remanded to lower court for further proceedings.
EICHER: Okay, the third opinion is a dispute involving nursing home care.
In a 7-2 ruling, the court found in favor of a widow who sued on behalf of her late husband. He developed dementia and moved into a public nursing home paid for by Medicaid.
His widow sued the nursing home under a section of law known as 42 U.S.C. Section 19-83. That permits a private person to sue state actors when they violate federal law.
In court, she said her husband was inappropriately given psychotropic drugs and then involuntarily transferred to another care facility. To do that is to violate a federal law that governs nursing homes that receive federal funds.
REICHARD: You can hear the eventual ruling in this comment by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. This came up during an exchange with the nursing home’s lawyer:
JUSTICE KAVANAUGH: It says rights. I mean, it says rights. It's a very uncomfortable fact for you is that the statute says rights over and over again. Resident rights, too.
That’s what the majority justices found, that the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act creates an individually enforceable right. That’s opposed to what the nursing home argued: that Medicaid patients lack standing to sue because Medicaid is a contract between state and federal government.
So this means the widow may proceed with the case in lower court.
EICHER: On to our oral argument for today. This one involves the sovereign immunity of Native American tribes and bankruptcy. That is, whether tribes are even subject to the federal Bankruptcy Code.
Here’s what happened. A man borrowed $1,100 in a payday loan from a company called Lendgreen. It’s a subsidiary of the “Band…”....the Lac Du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. We’ll just refer to it as they do … as the “Band.”
The borrower filed for bankruptcy, which ordinarily puts an automatic hold on certain creditors. They are not allowed to pressure the debtor to pay up while bankruptcy proceedings are going on.
But the Band ignored the stay and kept contacting him.
The dispute is whether the Band is subject to a law that applies to the federal government, the states, and—here’s the key phrase— “other foreign or other domestic governments.”
The Band takes the position that the law doesn’t specifically name Native Tribes, so it’s exempt from the rule of not contacting debtors.
REICHARD: The lawyers duked it out with dueling interpretations of the law. First, the Band’s lawyer, Pratik Shaw:
PRATIK SHAW: Is it unequivocally clear, given the structure that Congress used, serially listing each of the big four, big five, and a bunch of others but leaving out Indian tribes, is it abundantly clear that they wanted to include Indian tribes when adopting that structure? The answer to that has to be no.
And lawyer Gregory Rapawy for the man in bankruptcy:
GREGORY RAPAWY: You have heard from The Band that if Congress had meant tribes, it would have used the particular word "tribes." But Congress can speak clearly in more than one way. And so the focus here should be the unambiguous words that Congress did use, not other words that it might have used but did not.
Chief Justice John Roberts wondered what Shaw for the Tribe would say if Congress had written the statute differently:
JUSTICE ROBERTS: What if the statute said "every government"?
SHAW: Your Honor, that would be harder if it said "every government." But, if it said every government after specifically enumerating three of the big four.
ROBERTS: No, no, it just said "every government."
SHAW: Yeah, if it just said "every government," again, that's a harder case. I -- I -- I still wouldn't give it up because this Court has been very clear that Congress has to be specific.
Congress needs to be specific, yes; but Shaw pointed to other legal tools to interpret meaning:
SHAW: The other side no doubt has exhaustively searched the code and cannot find a single example in the history of this country where Congress has abrogated the sovereign immunity of tribes without mentioning tribes.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson asked this of the debtor’s lawyer:
JUSTICE JACKSON: If the idea is we want to make sure that Congress actually considered the entities that are being affected by this rule, we have evidence that they considered others because they listed them in the statute, and, here, tribes don't appear, why isn't that just the answer?
RAPAWY: I think that the -- the reason why that's not the answer, Justice Jackson, is because the clear statement rule is a -- is a tool for interpreting the law and a way of determining congressional intent, not a way of imposing a heightened burden on Congress's exercise of powers that it concededly has within the Constitution.
It comes down to this: do the words of the Bankruptcy Code mean to include Tribes with that catch-all phrase of “other foreign or domestic governments?” Or does it mean to exclude Tribes because they aren’t specifically mentioned?
We’ll find out by the end of the month. And that’s this week’s Legal Docket!
MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It: The Monday Moneybeat.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Time now to talk business, markets, and the economy with financial analyst and advisor David Bahnsen. David, of course, is Head of the wealth management firm, the Bahnsen Group. He is here now. And good morning to you, David.
DAVID BAHNSEN: Good morning, Nick, good to be with you.
EICHER: All right, let's begin with a story out of The Wall Street Journal, jobless claims, we've got a story here from the Department of Labor. Worker filings for U.S. unemployment benefits increased sharply last week, rose by 28,000 to a seasonally adjusted 261,000 for the week ending June 3rd. According to the Labor Department, this is, according to the paper the highest level since fall of 2021. So what does that tell you? Is that a sign of cooling in the labor market? Is this something to be concerned about? What do you say?
BAHNSEN: Well, certainly not when it's one week. If it were to persist for three to four weeks, then it would be because it was the first time there had been a spike. Now, it's important to point out that for about a year and a half now, all of those that have been predicting that unemployment is about to worsen have been just dumbfounded by how low the weekly claims have stayed. And they did go about 20, 25,000, higher last week, than had been expected. And then the kind of trendline level they've been sitting at. And yet that was with the first week they had done that. And so we learned a long time ago that this data point has so much potential lumpiness in it, that it's much better to follow kind of rolling averages. And so we'll wait for the next three, if not four weeks to see if a trend is forming.
EICHER: Is there anything to say about where we are with the Fed? I know you watch these futures markets to see what the Fed may do, the kind of the predicting markets, I just wonder whether you've seen any change over the last couple of weeks since we talked about it?
BAHNSEN: Well, first, it is important to clarify that the futures are not merely predicting markets, they are predicting because they're showing what people are doing with real money. Okay, so it's a price discovery mechanism more than a prediction market. And at this time, it isn't actually 90% Or let alone 100%. And that's been kind of odd, that there's been a stubborn, let's call it 25 to 30% pricing the other way. But at this time, it's roughly 75% implied probability that in the meeting here that will take place this week that the Fed will do nothing, that they will neither cut nor increase rates. That number had been much lower a few weeks ago. And so the odds have moved dramatically, but not certainly, to a point of expecting a rate pause this week. But then inversely, the odds are nearly just as high, not quite, but 65%, that next month, the Fed will hike again. So if the predominant futures implied probability is accurate, you will have no rate hike for this month, and then another rate hike next month. Now, of course, there's still four to five weeks to go. It's actually I think, at this time, six weeks to go till the July Fed meeting. And a lot can happen in between there that causes the Fed to change their mind and perhaps not hike. But that is at least what futures are reflecting. And that's what we'd be expecting at this time.
EICHER: Okay, David, anything on the markets? Any trends you see developing just what's the market story this week? Would you say?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, for quite a while the market had been looking like it's acting okay when really, it's just been about six or seven big tech companies acting really well, and underneath the surface, it's actually been much more disruptive. For the last six, seven trading days, it's been quite a good move in markets and not just in some of the big tech names, if anything, some of these really overpriced AI, artificial intelligence names have actually come down a little in the last week. But financials have started to act a little better, and that's probably a good sign. But again, whether it's Dow, NASDAQ or S&P, none of it is acting like corporate profits are about to fall out of bed. And if corporate profits are not going to be dropping a lot, then that's an anti-recessionary move. So markets could be wrong here. But it does seem to me that markets have mostly hung in there, not with the breadth that we'd want to see, but nevertheless acted as if we either face a very shallow recession or no recession at all.
EICHER: David, I want to turn to a question from a listener, Jonathan White from North Carolina, he has a question for you on birth rates. Let me just read through how he sets this up. He says, First, we have heard a lot about birth rates, U.S. and Asia, and retirement ages, of course, in France in the news in recent months, in the April 538, it ran an article titled "Why An Aging Population Might Not Doom the American Economy." And one of the key points he notes is that even with all of the negative effects of a shrinking workforce, that the per capita wages may actually rise, and they imply this is very good news. So what Jonathan says is, he'd be very interested in your view of lower birth rates and the aging workforce in the economy in general, and maybe your view of the presuppositions of that 538 article in particular?
BAHNSEN: Well, I think that it's helpful for WORLD listeners to hit a kind of reset button and ask themselves, what is economic growth? And if you start with the premise that it is the production of goods and services that meet the needs of humanity, that we are economically growing when we are producing a higher quality of life for ourselves and those around us, and that, of course, there's a free exchange and mutual cooperation. We don't produce in a vacuum, we're producing because we're meeting needs, and then other people having their needs met, are producing and that there's this sort of virtuous cycle and robust economic activity. And you go, Where do your demographics fit into this? And so the argument is that when you have an aging population without a growing population at the younger end, I mean, I'll take all the 80 year olds we can get, I love it. But I don't want that at the expense of less 40 year olds, 30 year olds, right? the prime working age, where you get, and again, now I'm talking more economically, where you get the most production of goods and services. People are most capable of being productive economically, at age 35, than they are at age five, or at age 85. And this shouldn't be controversial. Now, the per capita income thing is the funniest argument I've ever heard. Because it is true that wages will go higher per capita, if there's only three people. I don't understand the notion that per -- wages are not and economic growth is not measured, per capita in that sense. What we're talking about is this type of society we want to be. And so what I think we look at Japan as a reference point, right, where they stopped having children. And yet there was already a fair amount of people that were middle aged, that became older aged, they suffered through the experience of declining productivity. And because 80-year-old, 75-year-olds still have consumption needs, but there was less ability to innovate new products and services and things like that. So nobody is going to get around this, that an aging population without more people coming up on the younger end is bad for economic growth. And that's a totally non-controversial assertion.
EICHER: Well, David, Jonathan actually had a second question in his email, so let me throw it at you and see what you have to say about this. But he is reading on CNN, an article saying contrary to conventional wisdom, the American economy is in strong shape with record low unemployment, rise in real wages, 10 months of inflation reduction. And according to Fareed Zakaria, he says the budget deficit, which was at 15.6%, compared with gross domestic product at the end of the Trump presidency, has dropped to 5.5% of GDP at the end of last year. And Jonathan is interested in your thoughts, David, on that quote, particularly regarding the budget deficit, compared to GDP. So what do you say on that?
BAHNSEN: Yeah, I mean, look, the fact of the matter is that I've been saying it over and over again, those who are basing all of their critique of the economy on inflation were setting themselves up for justice argument, because there's no question inflation has been coming way down. We most certainly do have record low unemployment, although there is a negative in that, in the sense that we also have a very high level of unfilled jobs. And that speaks to a different economic problem. Yet the issue of the budget deficit and the percentage of GDP it represents, this is a really hilarious argument, because they're taking a percentage at the point of the end of COVID, where we had very low revenue, and very, very, very high spending, some would argue perversely high, and and then taking that as a baseline and comparing a non-COVID world that we're in now, to where we were there. So the percentage of GDP for deficit now has come way down, of course, from that level, but that's not the way any serious person would look at it. The question is, without COVID and without us being engaged in a war, do we want to be running deficits over a trillion dollars a year when we have nearly 32 trillion in debt? It's an absolute dollar number here that matters and that is still perversely high.
EICHER: All right, David Bahnsen is founder Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer at the Bahnsen Group, his personal website, you can reach at bahnsen.com Of course, you have to spell the last name correctly to get to the right spot, B-A-H-N-S-E-N, bahnsen.com and you can find his weekly Dividend Cafe, which you might want to read it is note to high school graduates. Well worth reading. You can find that at dividendcafe.com. David, thank you so much, and I hope you have a great week.
BAHNSEN: Thanks so much, Nick.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, June 12th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming up next, the WORLD History Book. Evangelical leader Pat Robertson died on Thursday. World Radio Executive Producer Paul Butler now with a reflection on Robertson’s life and legacy.
CBN SPECIAL: He was a broadcaster, educator, author, humanitarian and most importantly a minister of the gospel. Dr. Pat Robertson has died at the age of 93.
PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson is best remembered as the host of the 700 Club. A television ministry he led for 60 years:
[AUDIO FROM 700 CLUB TV SHOW]
Robertson began his broadcast ministry on October 1st, 1961, even though he didn’t even own a television at the time.
PAT ROBERTSON: He showed me that he wanted to claim the airways for the prince of peace that he wanted us to claim television.
When Robertson went on the air in Portsmouth, Virginia, WYAH’s TV signal barely reached the city limits. His original set included a rotting curtain and a cardboard cross. The broadcast equipment was in need of desperate repair. But Robertson believed that if he could find 700 people to give $10 per month to the effort, he could begin a Christian television ministry. The “700 Club” was born. The Christian Broadcasting Network grew from that humble beginning into a multimillion-dollar media ministry broadcasting today in more than 150 countries.
[AUDIO FROM 700 CLUB TV SHOW]
But Pat Robertson was more than a media mogul. He was an evangelistic entrepreneur. Besides founding CBN, he started other ministries like Regent University, Operation Blessing, the American Center for Law and Justice, and International Family Entertainment.
ROBERTSON: I do all these things, and I'm just thrilled to be part of it. And I, again, I give God the glory. And I'm just, I'm just sort of his agent to do what I've done.
Marion Gordon Robertson was born March 22nd, 1930, in Lexington, Virginia. His father served in the U.S. House of Representatives and later the US Senate for more than 30 years. Marion earned the nickname “Pat” when his older brother patted his baby cheeks. The name stuck.
As a young man Pat Robertson was far from God.
ROBERTSON: I was a Hellraiser, if I can use that term.
In 1948, Robertson enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and served in Korea. After returning home he received a law degree from Yale Law School—though he failed to pass the bar. During that time, God got his attention.
ROBERTSON: Over dinner in Philadelphia, a missionary confronted me. And when it was finished, I had surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, it completely changed me.
Over the next 25 years Robertson became more and more influential and politically active. In the early 80’s Robertson motivated evangelical Christians to get involved with politics.
ROBERTSON: The President of the United States is a tenant in our house. And so as landlords of the White House, it is time to say this occupant’s lease is expired, eviction must follow.
In 1986 he set his sights on that Whitehouse.
ROBERTSON: I am an official candidate for the Republican nomination for the presidency of the United States.
Robertson lost the nomination to George H.W. Bush. But out of that experience, Robertson founded the conservative political advocacy group: the Christian Coalition.
Over the years, Robertson’s political and spiritual influence often came under public scrutiny as he took a hard line against feminism, abortion, and homosexuality.
ROBERTSON: I'm a messenger, I can't, like Western Union, I don't want to change the telegraph message. I have to do what the Bible says. It says, you know, apart from him, there's no salvation.
But Robertson occasionally found himself at the center of controversies of his own making as well. His eschatology led him to interpret world events in terms of Biblical prophecy leading to predictions that fizzled out.
ROBERTSON: I give it 1982. But date setting is dangerous. I'd say within the next couple of years, we're gonna see a war there, the next major war to be fought in the world is going to be right here. | Here? | Here. | Why? | Because the Bible says so.
Robertson often spoke in terms of how God told him things, or revealed His will to him. These rarely ended well, like this 2012 prediction of a two-term Mitt Romney presidency:
ROBERTSON: Romney will win the election. You believe that. I absolutely believe that. What makes you believe that? Because the Lord told me. That’s good to know. I wasn’t sure. Really, the Lord said that to you? Yeah, absolutely.
Even so, when news of his passing hit the headlines last week, leaders across the political and theological spectrum offered their reflections—like these from CBN News Watch including Anne Graham Lotz:
ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ: You look at the things he did and what he's left behind. And surely the angels stood up to applauded him as he walked through the gates.
And Senator Ted Cruz:
TED CRUZ: Pat had a strength, that no matter what challenges faced America, faced the world, that he rested comfortably in the strength and love of his Savior.
In 2006 CBS Sunday Morning profiled the then 76-year old Robertson. He reflected on how he wanted to be remembered.
ROBERTSON: I would like it to be somebody who served God and served his serve mankind who loved people and gave himself to make this a better world.
That’s this week’s WORLD History Book. I’m Paul Butler.
NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: smoke from Canadian wildfires filled the American northeast last week. We’ll hear about the origins of the fires and what that was like for people living there.
And some people want to end abortion but reject the pro-life label. They’re known as abolitionists.
That and more tomorrow. I’m Nick Eicher.
MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.
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