It had to happen sooner or later, right? This week, our designated douchebag is the one and only televangelist Pat Robertson. Now, Pat isn’t exactly a stranger to saying controversial things, but this week he eloquently put his foot in his mouth (again). On The 700 Club, Robertson pointed out an anti-discrimination law that was recently passed in San Antonio. The law gives protection from discrimination to LGBT members of the community, in the workplace, contracts, housing, and public office. Basically, it’s a law that states that you can’t deny a gay person a job because they’re gay. Robertson naturally blew this way out of proportion, and warped the meaning of it by saying that,
“This means if you speak out about your deeply held religious beliefs they’ll put you in jail or they’ll brand you some kind of a class three felon. This is terrible! You can’t have that. And it’s unconstitutionally vague — this vagueness, you don’t know whether you’re breaking it or not. That again is unconstitutional. So, this whole thing is outrageous, but that city council should be replaced.”
I don’t know that I have time to unpack this, but I’ll try my hardest. Obviously the claim made by Pat is ridiculous, which is why he’s the Douchebag of the Week. Sadly, his comments don’t surprise me. He’s been known to make wild assertions like this in the past, and he’s more or less the poster boy for LGBT hatred at this point. But the substance of the claim is what bothers me the most. Beyond the fact that I just dislike Pat Robertson, let’s take a look at the legal side of this argument.
The law in question is not an anti-Christian law. It’s not going to put you in jail for saying that you’re don’t like the fact that gay people exist. It’s not going to charge you as a class three felon for standing on the side of the road with signs that say “turn from homosexuality or burn in hell.” You’re blatantly stretching this law way beyond its limits to demonize it and make Christians look like the victims.
This has no effect on anyone that isn’t already planning to deny a gay person a job because of their sexual orientation. But now that I think about it, I guess Robertson is upset because he’ll have to make up a different excuse to not hire the gay applicants that apply to be a part of The 700 Club. You know, all none of them. But that’s what you get for being a douchey bigot, Pat. Live with it.
Just to touch on another area, stop saying that it’s unconstitutional. It’s not. You’re just crazy. In fact, it’s actually more constitutional than a law that legalizes this discrimination. I’m sick of hearing about how a law that gives equal treatment to gays and lesbians is “infringing on the religious rights of Christians.” There’s a major difference between freedom of religion and freedom to wrongly discriminate based on something you don’t like. Nobody’s religious freedoms are being infringed upon, so don’t make that claim every time someone passes a law that you don’t like. It’s getting really old. The second that your religious rights are actually being messed with, I’ll be the first to stand next to you and protest it. But they’re not here, so shut up.
I love the part of the quote where Pat says, “this vagueness, you don’t know whether you’re breaking it or not.” This is actually one of the most completely false parts of the quote, which is why it’s so amusing to me. The law isn’t vague at all. It’s actually very simple and easy to understand. If an LGBT person applies to work for you, or wants to run for mayor, or wants to live in your apartment complex, and you tell them no because you don’t like gay people, you’re breaking the law. That’s it. There is no ambiguity here, so Pat is once again warping the truth.
I mentioned earlier that I don’t like Pat Robertson, so I suppose some clarification would be helpful. I only dislike him because I don’t believe that he is the best example of a Christian that we can show to the world. He’s not even the second best, or the third. He’s openly homophobic, hateful toward other religions, sexist, and judgmental. That’s not what Jesus taught, and it’s not what I want as one of the prominent global examples of Christianity. And yet, Robertson has managed to become an incredibly successful televangelist. He’s influential, and he’s always in the spotlight as the representative for Christians in America. I dislike that, because it gives us a bad image that’s nearly impossible to counteract.
Jesus taught love and redemption, not condemnation of our fellow man. Robertson’s hate speech and demagoguing of others is hurting the Christian cause. I get that his intentions are good, but if anything, I think he’s turning people away. I want people to find Christ because He changes their lives and gives them hope. But when they look at Pat Robertson, and others like him, they get the impression that becoming a Christian turns you into a hateful, judgmental bigot. But it doesn’t, and that’s creating a false stereotype that I can’t get over.
As a final point, let’s talk about what Pat Robertson is really doing here. He’s blowing things out of proportion and bringing religious freedoms into the mix because he knows that the same-sex marriage debate is a battle that he’s not going to win. So since he can’t win based on logic, he’s using scare tactics and fear-mongering to demonize same-sex couples and anyone that disagrees with his archaic, homophobic views. Things like this are tainting the actual discussion on same-sex marriage in this country, and it sickens me.
In the end, Pat wins the Douchebag of the Week crown for the first time. Something tells me it won’t be the last, but only time will determine that. I understand where he’s coming from, but he’s openly arguing in favor of discrimination, and that’s wrong. There are no ifs, ands, or buts, it’s just wrong, and it’s lacking in human decency in every way. It’s something I’ve come to expect from Pat Robertson, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not full of douchebaggery every time he says something hateful about gay people, Muslims, women, or minorities. I may not be able to change the fact that he’s so famous, but I’ll tell as many people as I possibly can that he is not a good model of Christianity. He is, in fact, the opposite of such a model: he’s a douchebag.