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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Imagine Working for Pat Robertson

A slightly different angle on the Pat Robertson deal.

Imagine you work for him in a fairly senior position. Robertson may be a very good boss in multiple ways. For all I can discern, he probably is a caring boss who ardently looks out for the welfare of his colleagues. I don't know this for a fact but I have a hunch that if one works for Pat, particularly for a long time, he probably will go to great lengths to bless that person.

But there is this matter of the public statements. Remember during the 1991-2 presidential primary season when there were first rumors, then reports of candidate Bill Clinton's philandering? Mary Matalin, Bush 41's campaign manager, fired off a mass fax to media organizations about Clinton's "bimbo eruptions." Robertson suffers self-inflicted "judgment eruptions."

So let's imagine a senior colleague who works with and for Robertson. What is it like right now? You look at the major news websites and your friend and boss is front and center, the news of the day, talking about assassinating a foreign head of state. The media are pillorying him for these remarks and you are embarrassed for Robertson, for yourself, for the whole ministry.

You recall 1998 when your boss predicted dire consquences for Orlando: earthquakes, hurricanes (safe bet), tornadoes, terrorist bombs and possibly a meteor. Why? Because of Disney World's "Gay Day" in which many gay and lesbian people enjoy the Disney attaction. Disney promotes this day as "Gay Day" and the City of Orlando participates in this promotion. I'm not sure what the statute of limitations are on Robertson's predictions, but besides the perennial hurricans that hit Florida, I don't think any other of these judgments have afflicted Orlando.

You recall your boss agreeing with the Rev. Jerry Falwell about why Sept. 11 disaster happened. According to Robertson it was because of the immorality of Americans that God allowed this murder in the thousands to occur.

Now your boss and friend and colleague of many years is advocating "taking out" the President of Venezuela.

What do you do? Does your relationship allow you to say something? To ask a question? Or is Robertson like so many other dictators of evangelical empires and does not allow employees to question him? Do you resign? Do you say, "I'm going to express my disagreement and hope I don't get fired or reassigned to a doghouse position, but if he does that, so be it"?

Do you talk to your other co-workers at the 700 Club? You may not want to, you may not think discussing what is national news is appropriate. But if you do think it legitmate freely to discuss something that is of utmost concern to your organization, leader, and to the whole country at this moment, are you allowed to discuss this freely? Or is there a dictator/empire ethos that forbids Christians to discuss such things freely?

At social gatherings, in your neighborhood, when your friends call and email from around the city and around the country, what do you say?

Do you stay on and say, "We do so much good here that these judgment eruptions are not sufficient reason to bash the 700 Club"? Do you say, "My personal embarrassment does not override my call from the Lord to serve here"?

I think it is fascinating to imagine what it is like to be a Robertson colleague right now, particularly this imagined senior colleague. I would LOVE it if workers from that organization would respond, even anonymously, in the open comments below.

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