American Christian conservative Pat Robertson has died at his Virginia home. He was 93. The Christian Broadcasting Network, which he founded and led for decades, announced his death in a statement on Thursday.
CBN News posted on Facebook saying: "With great sadness, we announce that Dr. M.G. 'Pat' Robertson has gone home to be with his Lord and Savior today, June 8, 2023. Thank you for your prayers for the Robertson family and the ministry of CBN at this time."
Robertson founded the network in 1960 and used his flagship program "The 700 Club" for prayer offerings and political commentary. He secured an interview with the Democrat Jimmy Carter who went on to win the White House in 1977. Then in 1980, the show helped to galvanize support among Christian conservatives for Republican Ronald Reagan. In 1988, Robertson campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination himself, and did surprsingly well, but lost out to George HW Bush. The success of Robertson's campaign was proof that evangelical Christians were a growing force in Republican politics, which is still the case today.
Robertson's brand of religious-infused politics frequently generated controversy. He was criticised for blaming the September 11th attacks in New York and Washington in 2001 on the country's departure from conservative Christian doctrine, and believed a devastating earthquake in Haiti happened because its people had made a 'pact with the Devil'.
Nicknamed "Pat" by his older brother, he was born Marion Gordon Robertson in Lexington, Virginia, in 1930. Robertson studied at Yale, was a qualified lawyer and son of a U.S. senator. He planned to become a successful businessman, until he became a born-again Christian in the 1950s. He acquired a run down TV station in the coastal town of Portsmouth, Virginia, and moved there with his wife and children. He wrote in his autobiography, Shout It From the Housetops, "Deep in my heart, I heard (God) speaking to me about the television ministry: 'Go and possess the station. It is yours.'"
His '700 Club' show transformed Christian television over five decades, and is one of the longest-running programs in television history. CBN has become a global media ministry, reaching hundreds of millions of people across six continents.
He is survived by his four children, 14 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.
(with additonal reporting by Premier News)