The Christian Broadcasting Network released a statement Friday defending its founder after comments attributed to Pat Robertson regarding the earthquake in Chile began circulating on the World Wide Web.
“The story currently circulating on the Internet is completely false and was posted by someone as a joke,” the network stated. “However, some very ill informed bloggers are now reporting it as if it were true.”
The comments to which CBN referred to originated from a blogger at Open Salon, who quoted Robertson as saying “God is even angrier with them (the people of Chile) than he is with the people of Haiti.”
“If I had to guess, I’d say it (the earthquake) must have to do with Chile’s persecution and attempted prosecution of their great former leader, and a personal hero of mine, Augusto Pinochet – who, it should be noted, had never been convicted of a crime when the Lord called him home three years ago,” Robertson was quoted as saying.
Though the charismatic televangelist has a history of making controversial remarks following major disasters and crises, CBN clarified Friday that “Pat Robertson made no such comments about the Chilean people making a pact with demons.”
“Dr. Robertson is very concerned about the people of Chile and his humanitarian organization is currently responding to the disaster by sending a disaster relief team leader and raising money for the relief efforts,” the network reported.
“Anyone wishing to see CBN’s reporting of the earthquake as well as Dr. Robertson’s actual comments, which included a heartfelt call to prayer for the people of Chile, can watch complete, archived episodes of The 700 Club at www.cbn.com,” it added.
Two months earlier, Robertson drew fire for comments he made regarding the 7.0-magnitude quake that struck Haiti, which he said was the consequence of the curse that had befallen the country’s people after its founding fathers made a “pact to the Devil” in exchange for Haiti’s independence from France.
“[E]ver since they have been cursed by one thing after the other, desperately poor,” Robertson had said.
Shortly after the remarks, CBN issued a statement to clarify them and specifically noted that he "never stated that the earthquake was God’s wrath."
"If you watch the entire video segment, Dr. Robertson’s compassion for the people of Haiti is clear. He called for prayer for them," CBN Spokesman Chris Roslan reported.
Also noted in the statement was the work of Robertson's humanitarian arm, which has reportedly been working to help thousands of people in Haiti over the last year, and was launching a major relief and recovery effort to help the victims of the quake.
CBN was founded by Robertson in 1961 and manages Operation Blessing, a non-profit humanitarian organization that has provided hunger relief, disaster relief, medical aid and community development to more than 192.8 million people in 96 countries and all 50 states over the past three decades.
Aside from CBN and Operation Blessing, Robertson is also credited for having founded the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), the Christian Coalition, and Regent University, among other organizations.