September 22, 2023

Christian Broadcaster Pat Robertson Passes Away, Leaving a Lasting Legacy in American Politics and Faith

Christian broadcasting pioneer Pat Robertson, renowned for his influential Christian Broadcasting Network and the popular “700 Club” television show, passed away at the age of 93, according to an announcement from the network on Thursday. While the cause of his death was not specified, Robertson’s impact on American politics and the evangelical movement is undeniable.

Robertson’s journey into politics began in 1988 when he ran for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. His strategy involved targeting Iowa’s evangelical churches, resulting in a second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses, even surpassing Vice President George H.W. Bush. Robertson’s innovative approach of requiring three million signatures before deciding to run not only gained him a substantial base of followers but also reshaped the political landscape.

Although he eventually endorsed Bush, his foray into politics led to the establishment of the Christian Coalition, solidifying the long-standing alliance between the Republican Party and evangelical voters. Today, it has become customary for Republican candidates to actively court Iowa’s evangelicals, an enduring legacy of Robertson’s campaign.

In addition to his involvement in politics, Robertson’s contributions extended to various enterprises. These included Regent University, an evangelical Christian school in Virginia Beach; the American Center for Law and Justice, dedicated to protecting religious freedom; and Operation Blessing, an international humanitarian organization.

Born Marion Gordon Robertson on March 22, 1930, in Lexington, Virginia, Robertson was the son of Absalom Willis Robertson, a respected U.S. Representative and Senator from Virginia. After serving in the 1st Marine Division during the Korean War, he pursued a law degree at Yale University but ultimately decided not to practice law.

Robertson’s wife, Dede Elmer, a founding member of the Christian Broadcasting Network, passed away last year at the age of 94. Together, they had four children, 14 grandchildren, and 24 great-grandchildren.

While Robertson stepped down as the president of the Christian Coalition in 2001, his impact on American Christianity and politics will continue to resonate. His pioneering efforts in combining religion and politics left an indelible mark, shaping the Republican Party’s engagement with evangelical voters and emphasizing the importance of faith in public life.

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