Pat Robertson Ends His Long Run as Host of ‘The 700 Club’

The evangelical chief Pat Robertson said on Friday that he was stepping down as host of the “The 700 Club” after more than 50 years on the helm of a program that channeled Christian conservatism into millions of American houses and turned him right into a family title.

“It’s been a great run,” Mr. Robertson said on the show, including that his son Gordon Robertson would take over as host.

Mr. Robertson, 91, made the announcement on the finish of the published on Friday, the sixtieth anniversary of the Christian Broadcasting Network, which Mr. Robertson began in a small station in Portsmouth, Va., in 1961.

“The 700 Club” grew out of a series of telethons that Mr. Robertson started internet hosting in 1963 to rescue the network from monetary troubles. At the time, Mr. Robertson said he was unable to pay for a collection of workplaces the network had added to the station.

“I was praying on my knees with the staff,” Mr. Robertson said on Friday. “I needed $200,000, and I was praying and praying for the money.”

It was then that Mr. Robertson said Jesus appeared to him with a “vision for the world.”

“Our job was to reach the world, not just pay the bills,” he said.

The network started holding telethons, asking for 700 viewers to pledge $10 a month to the station. The efforts inspired the “700 Club” title.

The show remodeled evangelical broadcasting, transferring it away from scripted sermons and recordings of tent revivals and turning it into a comfortable talk-show format where Mr. Robertson mentioned matters such as diet, relationships, marriage and politics, said John C. Green, a professor emeritus of political science on the University of Akron.

Evangelical Christians have long used tales of wayward people saved by way of the teachings of Jesus as a way to unfold the Gospel and acquire followers. Mr. Robertson’s show featured “very vivid presentations of these testimonials,” which engaged audiences, Dr. Green said.

“It was through the success of ‘The 700 Club’ that he was able to have a real impact on politics,” he said.

Mr. Robertson interviewed President Ronald Reagan; Shimon Peres, the former prime minister of Israel; and different world leaders. In 1988, he ran as a Republican candidate for president and made robust second-place finishes during the first, performances that underscored the organizing potential of evangelical Christians.

Through the show, Mr. Robertson “helped cement that alliance between conservative Christians and the Republican Party,” Dr. Green said.

The show also gave Mr. Robertson a daily platform to vilify homosexual people and Muslims. He usually quoted Bible verses in a mushy, mild voice to justify remarks that infuriated Arab Americans and homosexual rights organizations.

In 2002, he described Islam as a violent faith that needed to “dominate and then, if need be, destroy.”

In 2013, a viewer despatched a letter to the show asking how Facebook customers should reply after they see an image of two males kissing. Mr. Robertson said, “I would punch ‘vomit,’ not ‘like.’”

He dismissed feminism as “a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

He as soon as told the story of an “awful-looking” lady who complained to her minister that her husband had begun ingesting closely. Mr. Robertson said the minister told her that it was doubtless as a result of she had gained weight and uncared for her hair.

“We need to cultivate romance, darling,” Mr. Robertson said. He blamed natural disasters and terrorism on ethical and non secular failings. In 2012, after lethal tornadoes pounded the South and Midwest, Mr. Robertson said that God would have intervened if “enough people were praying.”

He also made feedback that stunned each his followers and critics.

In 2011, Mr. Robertson said {that a} man whose wife had Alzheimer’s illness should be capable of divorce her and discover a new partner. The subsequent 12 months, he called for the legalization of marijuana, saying that the “war on drugs just hasn’t succeeded.”

“I believe in working with the hearts of people, and not locking them up,” he said.

During Friday’s broadcast, the show steered away from Mr. Robertson’s divisive feedback.

Instead, it confirmed clips of Mr. Robertson embracing range — this system named the Rev. Ben Kinchlow, a Black minister, as Mr. Robertson’s co-host in 1975, a time when there were few Black television hosts. Another clip confirmed Mr. Robertson asking President Donald J. Trump if the ladies in his cupboard would earn the same as males.

Mr. Robertson said he told his son to count on him to return to the show from time to time.

“In case I get a revelation from the Lord, I’m going to call you” and take part within the show, he said. “I’ll come in as a commentator, as a senior commentator, from time to time.”

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