In a reflective mood for Easter, evangelical icon and onetime presidential candidate Pat Robertson echoes the Rev. Billy Graham’s recent acknowledgement that he wished he had spent less time on politics and more time on the ministry and his family.
“When you get it all said and done, what did my work accomplish in the political realm?” Robertson wondered rhetorically during an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV in which he offers an inspirational Easter message.
Robertson, who stands as a global giant as founder of the “700 Club,” the Christian Broadcasting Network, and worldwide charitable and relief work, added: “I ran for president and came third in a pretty tough field, trained 300,000 or so people, founded the Christian Coalition, which is considered one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the nation.
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“Did it set the stage for the election of George H.W. Bush? Did it set the stage for different people on the Supreme Court? It’s hard to say,” said Robertson, who sat for the interview in conjunction with the April cover story of Newsmax magazine.
“But what I’m much more proud of is the fact that we were reaching overseas and winning hundreds of millions of people to faith and Christ. That’s what is going to last.
“It’s amazing when you look at the career of a man like Ronald Reagan. Yes, he brought down the Soviet Union, but what else? As the wheel of time goes on, some of these accomplishments kinda get ground up in the dust and we’re faced with a new set of challenges — whereas those who come for the Lord are the best fruit for all eternity and make a huge difference.”
Turning his attention to matters of faith intertwined with politics, Robertson said President Barack Obama goes out of his way to downplay America’s Christian origins. But attacking Obama on that front in an effort to defeat him in 2012 would be the wrong approach, he said.
“I don’t know if people should rise up against that or just say, ‘Beat him in relation to his policies,’” Robertson said during the Newsmax interview, in which he also shared the floor with his son Gordon, who is CEO of CBN and co-host of the “700 Club.”
Gordon interjected: “Obama’s father was a Muslim, and he [Obama] became a Christian convert. More recently he has celebrated his faith and become far more public in it. I think he’s feeling the need to be more vocal: ‘I am a Christian.’
“He was raised Muslim and has come out and said, ‘I want to be a Christian.’ That’s something we ought to explore. Could that have influence within the Muslim world to get others to question and look to Christianity?”
With the 2012 race for the presidency heating up, Pat discussed Republicans who potentially will be jockeying for position on the ticket.
“There’s an appealing senator from South Dakota, John Thune, who I supported very much when he was running against Tom Daschle,” he said. “He’s very attractive, very handsome, an evangelical Christian and very solid on the issues,” although Thune recently said he won’t enter the fray for the GOP nod.
Robertson also cited Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty as two of the “good people out there who would be worthy of the support of Christians.”
But Robertson appeared to write off former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney this time around.
“I like Mitt a lot. He’s got a lovely wife, and they’re a charming couple. I set up a little movement for him last time around. As they say, you run it up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes. Unfortunately, nobody saluted. I gave it a shot to try to help him but there just wasn’t any support for him among the evangelicals.
“Beneath it all, there’s an antipathy to the Mormon faith among evangelicals.
“Mitt Romney is an absolutely brilliant financial man. I think he would do a brilliant job of taking care of the federal budget.”
He paused and laughed before adding, “Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, they passed the healthcare bill that’s not unlike what we hate — and that’s going to come back to haunt him.”
Returning to reflections on religion, Pat Robertson offered a moving message for Americans who are struggling through hard times this Easter – and those who are in a position to help them.
“We all need the courage as Christians to stand together in a sense of community,” he insisted.
“We can’t be little islands of prosperity unto ourselves. We need to be able to help the poor and the needy, those who are suffering, those who are out of work.
“I think the Christian church could make an enormous difference if each Christian took it upon himself or herself to do a little bit to help.”
Guided by that spirit of sharing and caring, he said, “I think we can get through whatever economic phase we are in. We will survive.
“God isn’t about the business cycle. What we need to do is to trust him – and in tough times, he will take us through.”
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