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Letter to the Reverend Pat Robertson

Posted by pwl on August 27, 2010

Added: Tuesday, 24 August 2010 at 7:26 AM

Rev. Marion “Pat” Robertson August 23, 2010 The Christian Broadcasting Network 977 Centerville Turnpike Virginia Beach VA 23463

Dear Rev. Robertson,

On behalf of our organization’s more than 16,000 members nationwide, and representing millions of atheists and agnostics, I am writing to protest your inflammatory and slanderous hate speech against nonbelievers, specifically your advice that no Christian should marry an atheist. During a program aired last year on the Christian Broadcast Network that has been recently rebroadcast, a woman with an atheist fiancé asked, “How do you think we can interact with each other peacefully when it comes to spiritual matters?” You responded unpeaceably:

I’m sure this is a nice guy, and you like him a lot, but the bible says, “What fellowship hath Christ with Belial?” There is no fellowship between an atheist and somebody who is a believer in God. . . . I hate to tell you, you’ve got to go find somebody else. . . . I mean, he’s gonna be serving the Devil and you’re gonna be serving God. It’s just that simple.

That remark is a blanket prejudicial smear against the character of all nonbelievers. If you had said the same thing about other minority groups — such as the recent controversy caused by Laura Schlessinger’s thoughtless use of the N-word on her show, suggesting to a caller that she should not have married “outside your race” — the country would be demanding your resignation, asking affiliates to cancel your show and calling on viewers to boycott your extremist, intolerant program. If you had told the woman to break up with a Jewish fiancé because Jews are “reprobate, dissolute and uncouth” (which is what “Belial” means), you would be properly branded an anti-Semite. If you had told her to dump her African-American fiancé because blacks are “worthless and useless” (which is also what “Belial” means), you would be quickly exposed as a racist. Likewise, labeling the entire class of nonbelievers as “demonic and evil,” and as the Devil itself (the meaning of “Belial” in the verse you misquoted), is equally abhorrent.

Discrimination is no longer socially acceptable. If it is shameful to be racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic or homophobic, why is it laudable to be “atheophobic”? What gives you the freedom to engage in the irrational, fearful hate-mongering against secular people?

Atheists and agnostics are good people, at least as good as Christians, and in many ways better. It is a fact that we atheists have a lower divorce rate than born-again Christians. Atheists commit fewer crimes. We contribute as much, if not more, to charity, and work to solve social problems. We serve in the military and sit on juries. We are members of the police force that protect your life and property. We vote in elections and serve in government. We write many of the songs you love to sing and the lullabies that soothe your children to sleep. We teach your children and grandchildren, minister to your medical needs, investigate the science and forge the technology that makes our world a better place to live. Is it moral to shun thoughtful, productive citizens merely because they reject your dogma?

You said you were sure the fiancé was “a nice guy,” but with no further evidence of his character you pronounce that he is “serving the Devil.” Atheists are not superstitious and reject the primitive notion of a “Devil,” so your prejudice is doubly defamatory. Your callous anti-family advice may have broken up a good marriage, a union between two people who obviously love each other and are searching for a peaceful way to live in tolerance. Instead of harmony, you preach exclusivity, Christian superiority and cultish segregationism. You said there is “no peace in that situation” where believers are yoked unequally with nonbelievers. But I know of many “mixed marriages” where the couples choose to embrace each other in spite of their differences, respecting their partner’s freedom of thought. Instead of hatred, you should have advised love.

On behalf our members nationwide, I ask you to retract your bigoted statement and make a public apology for your callous religious denunciation of an entire group of people. It is no longer morally permissible to vilify nonbelievers.

Dan Barker for the Freedom From Religion Foundation

Note: Definition of “Belial” from The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Abington Press, 1986) p. 377

Letter to the Reverend Pat Robertson.

2 Responses to “Letter to the Reverend Pat Robertson”

  1. Montana said

    I am so happy that the ugly (inside and out) crazy old gym teacher reaped what she had sowed. She could have gotten her argument across by saying “N word” and not using the word and by not saying “don’t NAACP me” and “Don’t marry out of your race ” but like Michael Richards AKA “Cosmo Kramer”, she ends up the trash heap of history, a history of her own making. I am so happy that the free market AKA sponsors started to pull their ads (I guess they were exercising their free speech) and she finally realized that she was just another “run of the mill gabby” and her days were numbered. She realized that she was not as smart as she thought she was, finally! We are all adults here and we all know that we cannot control how others will respond to our comments, but it nothing to do about First Amendment rights (how exactly did the government stop her? They didn’t) and street talk and more about being held responsible for our actions and words. The first three times she used the word might not have been in anger but the last eight she was filled with hate, so good riddance.

    Palin was the one who got bent over the use of the word “Retard” (she wanted someone fired for using it once), Palin also said that the people have the right to build the Mosque in NY, but out of respect for the 9/11 families they shouldn’t, but I guess this same standard is not applicable to Laura Schlessinger. Do you see the hypocrisy? The problem with Palin is the same when she mistakenly referred to Ronald Reagan Eureka College, being in California and we all know its in Illinois, same thing, she does not fact check anything she is going to say. She is soooo Palin!

  2. said

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