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Televangelist won't criticize Chinese Communists

  • A prominent televangelist -- a pillar of the religious right -- has been caught putting business ahead of his God.
By William Carmichael

TV preacher Pat Robertson, who once warned his flock against reading The SPOTLIGHT, has revealed where his interests really lie.

The former presidential candidate, described by British journalist Tony Harnden as "a pillar of the religious right," has "plunged his Christian Coalition into turmoil by declining to speak out against forced abortions in Red China.

In an interview on CNN, the wealthy televangelist came down on the side of business over God.

Robertson, 71, was "startlingly reluctant to condemn Peking's brutally repressive regime when asked his views on the Communist Chinese' policy of forced abortions," wrote Harnden in the London newspaper The Telegraph.

"Pastor Pat," who has major business interests in Red China, said Peking's leaders were "doing what they have to do" to prevent a population explosion. He also told the CNN audience:

"They've got 1.2 billion people and they don't know what to do. If every family over there was allowed to have three or four children, the population would be completely unsustainable. Right now, they run the risk of tremendous unemployment. So I think that right now they're doing what they have to do. I don't agree with the forced abortion, but I don't think the United States needs to interfere with what they're doing internally in this regard."

Senior figures on the religious right say Robertson's comments could turn out to be the death knell for the Christian Coalition.

Charles Donovan of the Family Research Council told reporters he was "sadened and surprised" by Robertson's comments, while Concerned Women for america issued a statement saying: "Babies are not the causes of china's problems. Communism is."


After the CNN broadcast, Robertson hurriedly issued a statement "clarifying" his "unrehearsed remarks" and expressing his "deeply held convictions" against abortion, wrote Harnden.

But Gary Bauer, head of the Campaign for Working Families and a presidential candidate last year, said few Christian conservatives are satisfied.

"Pat's been investing in China for a number of years and, as his investments have grown, so his willingness to criticize the Chinese Communists has declined," he said. "It will take some time for him to rebuild his credibility."