Christian TV Icon Dead at 93

Christian TV Icon Dead at 93

( – Pat Robertson, one of America’s best-known religious leaders, has died at age 93. Robertson had a long and varied career that spanned broadcasting, politics and education, as well as the church.

Pat was born Marion Gordon Robertson in Lexington, Virginia, in March 1930. When he was very young, his six-year-old brother nicknamed him Pat; later, Robertson himself decided that was the name he’d like to be known by. In 1948 he avoided the draft by volunteering for the Marine Corps and went on to serve with the headquarters of the First Marine Division in the Korean War, earning three battle stars and reaching the rank of First Lieutenant.

After leaving the Marines, Robertson gained a law degree from Yale, then a Master of Divinity from New York’s Biblical Seminary. He launched the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in 1960 and was ordained into the Southern Baptist Convention a year later. CBN turned out to be incredibly successful; Robertson finally sold it for $1.9 billion in 1997.

Robertson also had strong political convictions and backed many conservative candidates. In 1988 he ran, unsuccessfully, against George HW Bush for the Republican presidential nomination. He also financed and ran Operation Blessing, which sent medical teams and supplies to developing countries where people had no access to proper medical care.

Not everything Robertson did was uncontroversial. His religious views, built around charismatic Christianity, were often out of step with the Southern Baptist Convention. His conservative political views brought him into conflict with the left; he disagreed with almost all their favorite causes. He also drew criticism when he agreed with Jerry Falwell that gays and lesbians were partly to blame for the 9/11 attacks.

In 1954 Robertson married Adelia Elmer, and they were together until her death last year. The couple had four children; one of them, Gordon P. Robertson, is now president of CBN and Operation Blessing.

Robertson died at his home in Virginia Beach on June 8.

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