Televangelist Pat Robertson has a well-earned reputation for outrageous, offensive and sometimes downright insane public statements, usually uttered on his long-running television program, The 700 Club, which airs on Robertson’s own Christian Broadcasting Network.
But his advice to an 80-year-old woman who gives generously to her church, but has no money left over for basic expenses such as auto repair and dental work came across as just plain hurtful.
Earlier this year, Robertson predicted that the Earth would be destroyed by a massive collision with an asteroid — possibly by the end of April. That one didn’t work out, but only added to his lengthy list of rather amusingly inaccurate predictions, such as his call that Orlando, Florida, would be devastated by a meteor strike and the United States would be the victim of a nuclear attack.
He has also made bizarre assertions, often with regard to gay rights and homosexuality in general, for example claiming last year the AIDS-causing HIV virus was spread by gay men who wear rings designed to transmit the virus to unsuspecting victims.
But on his Thursday broadcast, Robertson fielded a letter from an 80-year-old woman named Audrey, who judging by her letter was likely on a fixed income, but nonetheless engaged in tithing — the practice of giving 10 percent of one’s income to a church. In this case, Audrey said she and her husband gave more than 10 percent even though they clearly could not afford to do so.
“Our old car just broke down and we had to borrow money to fix it. We both need dental work, but we can’t afford it. I constantly have to use our credit card to pay for medical needs,” Audrey told Robertson. “I speak the verse about ‘give and it will be given to you.’ We have no unforgiveness in our lives. What could we be doing wrong?”
Needless to say, Robertson had an answer for her.
“There are many ways of making money, even at 80 years old. You know, you can get on the telephone, people are hiring. There are all kinds of things you can do,” Robertson told the woman. “For example, you may have a bunch of junk lying around in your garage that you can sell on eBay, and get some money that way. There are many, many ways of making money.”
Pat Roberston also chastised the woman for “looking at the downside of all the bills you’ve got,” before concluding that Audrey should simply ask God what to do about her bills.
Watch the video of Pat Robertson’s not-so-compassionate advice for the lifelong churchgoer, above.