A defense of Pat Robertson:
I first met Robertson in 2003 while researching "Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite." We met over lunch on the campus of CBN and Regent University in a boardroom that featured a portrait of George Washington, wood paneling from floor to ceiling, and enough decorative crown molding to make a Daughter of the American Revolution swoon....
Robertson is a shrewd businessman, and although his 1988 bid for the White House failed early on, he enlisted millions of Americans in what would become a surge of conservative Christian influence in American political life. Why would someone as educated and experienced as Robertson make such outlandish statements? Even if he believes them, isn't he concerned about the backlash of criticism and ill will they generate for CBN and his other ventures?
When tragedies strike, people naturally ask questions about why bad things happen to the innocent. Millions of Americans see the hand of God or the devil at work in natural calamities and world events. In some ways, Robertson simply gives voice to a tendency all believers experience when grappling with the big question of why evil exists in a world made by a loving, powerful God.
I spent hours interviewing Pat Robertson and have dedicated years to studying his work and the wider evangelical world of which he is a part. Only he knows the extent to which he really believes some of his more dramatic pronouncements. But I am confident that he is savvy enough to realize such comments generate attention in the wider world, and they reflect as much his rhetorical flourish and skill in boosting ratings as they do his theology.
In other words, Kaplan Test Prep found one of the few people on earth with an economic interest in Pat Robertson not being seen as a bigoted old circus freak.