Evangelical broadcaster and founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Pat Robertson said on his "The 700 Club" show earlier this week that President Barack Obama is inciting the protesters of the "Occupy Wall Street" (OWS) movement to rebel.
When responding to a question about whether the protests are likely to result in violence eventually, Robertson said:
"The match to the kindling is being provided by our noble president. He is inciting people to revolt.”
The former Southern Baptist minister and media mogul was responding to anchorman Lee Webb, who asked about OWS following a discussion on the violence jerking Greece through the times of fiscal austerity.
"You have to wonder: is it going to turn violent?" Webb said, addressing Robertson. "I don't expect it to because of the winter months ahead, but you know, as you look ahead to next year, an election year and the summer, your thoughts go back to 1968, which was a cauldron for this country."
OWS is a leaderless movement consisting of protesters of miscellaneous backgrounds. For the most part, they claim to be against Wall Street, bankers, hedge funds and the wealthy in general. The protests began in mid-September and quickly spread to other U.S. cities, as well as other countries, like Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy and more.
Many right-leaning personalities (Robertson is associated with the Christian right) have been criticizing the OWS movement. Most contenders for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination have condemned the protests, which have become associated with the Democratic party and with liberal supporters of the movement.
Some of the more liberal Christian leaders were taken aback by Robertson’s comment.
"I don’t think that President Obama is inciting anything [as far as] Occupy Wall Street any more than President George Bush incited anything in the early creation of the Tea Party," the Rev. Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, a government watchdog organization, told The Christian Post Wednesday. "I think Pat Robertson needs to recognize that average, ordinary citizens often feel so frustrated that they need to take to the streets."
Edgar said that people are concerned and frustrated that the House and Senate are not responding to their needs. He compared the OWS movement to pro-democratic protests in the Middle East.
“People from the right and left are angry at government, frustrated with having two wars without raising the resources to pay for them, whether you are for or against the wars,” he told CP.
Earlier this year, Robertson became the center of a controversy in mid-September when he told a viewer whose friend began seeing another woman while still married to his wife, an Alzheimer's victim, that he would not blame those who decide to divorce a spouse suffering from that disease.
"I know it sounds cruel but if he's going to do something he should divorce her and start all over again," he said at the time, "[and] make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.”
The video excerpt from "The 700 Club" was edited by Right Wing Watch: