Children’s Books and Pat Robertson

Husband said I should start recording Sarah’s awful jokes here. I can’t remember any of them because they don’t make sense. We bought her a joke book, and now she’s reading them to us. Well, mostly to Steve, because he has more patience for that sort of thing. She was reading them to baby Maggie a while ago. Maggie sure does love her big sissy.

We were looking around the bookstore, I was trying to impose my reading tastes on my daughter. I kept dragging out these books that I read as a kid, but she didn’t want to buy them. You know — the Beverly Cleary books, Howliday Inn, Bunnicula, Freckle Juice. I even tried to get her to get started on the American Girls and Pony Pals, which weren’t around when I was a kid. I kept grabbing books off the shelf. Oh, remember that one! This one was wonderful. The Boxcar Children.

In my opinion, if you don’t still ocasionally read children’s books, you’re missing out. I just started the first Harry Potter book. It is wonderful so far. And so many great kids’ books didn’t even get published until I was an adult: Catherine, Called Birdy and The Midwife’s Apprentice, both by Karen Cushman, are perfect examples. I didn’t finish the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander until I was an adult. I also didn’t read Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence until I was an adult. I have read lots of really good kids books. My novel is a young adult novel, and I read some books for market research, but honestly, I just really enjoy them.

I still haven’t made my birthday cake. I think I’m going to have to, because I really want something sweet, and we don’t have any cookies.

I watched David Letterman and Conan O’Brien. Both very moving. Dan Rather broke down twice — on camera! Wow. That was amazing. Both hosts looked so stricken. I usually watch Jay Leno, but I really have been wanting to watch Dave to see how they’re holding up over there in New York. I think Dave was right — Rudolph Giuliani has handled this thing — there just aren’t words. He’s just been incredible.

Whoever would have thought New York and Washington D.C. would be war zones? Never in my wildest imagination did I think it would happen. I grew up scared nuclear war was imminent. I used to have nightmares about it. But the attacks were so much more personal — they took our planes, filled with our people, and crashed them into our buildings filled with our people. They didn’t just push a button and send a missile. I’m not saying that wouldn’t have been bad, but it wouldn’t have felt as personal. I just don’t understand it. Still. I hope I never will. But I am very proud of America. We have surely discovered how much we love each other and how much we need each other. I’m proud of the way so many Americans have stepped up and become heroes.

On a related note, I didn’t get a personal reply from Pat Robertson. Instead, he sent me a copy of his press release. If you ask me, he’s a damned coward and a sorry excuse for a Christian. Jerry Falwell has yet to write me back. I want to go on record as saying the response I got was utter bullshit, but I’ll let you judge for yourself. Here is the text of Robertson’s “reply”:

PRESS RELEASE
Pat Robertson Addresses Comments Made By Jerry Falwell
September 17, 2001

PatRobertson.com
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., September 17, 2001 — On Thursday of last week, as The 700 Club continued its coverage of the tragic attack on the World Trade Center by radical extremists, Pat Robertson not only was reporting the news, but was also asking his audience to pray for the survivors and their families, as he had been doing for the previous two days. In addition, he personally issued a statement that indicated that the church and all of America should come in repentance before God so that He would not lift the protective covering that has graced our land since its founding. Toward the end of the program, The 700 Club producers had booked Jerry Falwell for a satellite interview. Rev. Falwell’s initial remarks were completely in accord with what had been said in preceding parts of the program, and then, unexpectedly, he uttered a political statement of blame directed at certain segments of the population that was severe and harsh in tone, and, frankly, not fully understood by the three hosts of The 700 Club who were watching Rev. Falwell on a monitor. It was this brief interchange with Rev. Falwell that was picked up by People For The American Way, who for approximately the past fifteen years have taped every single telecast of The 700 Club and unfortunately take statements out of context and spin them to the press for their own political ends. Rev. Falwell has issued a pointed clarification of his statement, and Dr. Robertson said on Fox News’ The Edge that he considered the remarks “totally inappropriate.” He does not wish to comment further on something that is not personally in keeping with the spirit of prayer and sorrow that has been evidenced by the staff of the Christian Broadcasting Network over the past several days.

Jerry Falwell Apologizes
By Jerry Falwell
September 18, 2001

Jerry Falwell Ministries — Last Thursday during an appearance on the 700 Club, in the midst of the shock and mourning of a dark week for America, I made a statement that I should not have made and which I sincerely regret. I apologize that, during a week when everyone appropriately dropped all labels and no one was seen as liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, religious or secular, I singled out for blame certain groups of Americans. This was insensitive, uncalled for at the time, and unnecessary as part of the commentary on this destruction. The only label any of us needs in such a terrible time of crisis is that of ‘American.’

I obviously did not state my theological convictions very well and I stated them at a bad time. During the difficult weeks ahead there will be much discussion about the judgment of God. It is a worthy discussion for all of us at a time when we are reminded of the fleeting nature of life itself, but it is a complicated discussion. I do not know if the horrific events of September 11 are the judgment of God, but if they are, that judgment is on all of America — including me and all fellow sinners — and not on any particular group. My statements were understandably called divisive by some, including those whom I mentioned by name in the interview. This grieves me, as I had no intention of being divisive.

In conclusion, I blame no one but the hijackers and terrorists for the barbaric happenings of September 11. We know, as Abraham Lincoln anguished in his second inaugural address, that “The Almighty has his own purposes,” but as he said, “The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

Pat Robertson’s Statement Regarding Terrorist Attack
September 14, 2001

We must ask God to send a mighty, powerful revival in the midst of His people.

PatRobertson.com — America has enjoyed unprecedented peace and prosperity throughout its history. Though we have been involved in wars on our own soil — the last was the Civil War — the United States of America has not experienced the anguish of invasion by a foreign power since the War of 1812. We have imagined ourselves invulnerable and have been consumed by the pursuit of financial gain. The focus of many in America has been on the pursuit of health, wealth, material pleasures and sexuality. Sadly, those in the churches have been as self-indulgent as those in the world. We have allowed rampant pornography on the Internet, and rampant secularism and the occult, etc. to be broadcast on television. We have permitted somewhere in the neighborhood of 35-40 million unborn babies to be slaughtered by our society. We have court that has essentially stuck its finger in God’s eye and said, “We are going to legislate You out of the schools and take Your commandments from the courthouses in various states. We are not going to let little children read the commandments of God. We are not going to allow the Bible or prayer in our schools.” We have insulted God at the highest level of our government. Then, we say, “Why does this happen?” It is happening because God Almighty is lifting His protection from us. Once that protection is gone, we are vulnerable because we are a free society.

We lie naked before these terrorists who have infiltrated our country. There are probably tens of thousands of them in America right now. They have been raising money and preaching their hate. Overseas, they have been spewing out venom against the United States for years. All over the Arab world there is venom against America being poured into peoples’ minds, and the only thing that is going to sustain us is the umbrella power of Almighty God. That is the only thing that we have going for us. Yes, we can put up a nuclear shield, but they are not coming in with missiles. We can beef up marshals on airplanes, but then they will come in with car bombs. There is always some way they can get at us. The means of these rogue states are awesome. Yes, we will mobilize now and our country is moving together. But I want to say as firmly as I can, the Scripture for this time is — “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, pray, seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Now, I am filled with compassion. It just tears my heart when I think of the families of these suffering. But I want to say as surely as I am sitting here today, this is only a foretaste, a little warning, of what is going to happen. We have not seen the massive destruction of life in our urban centers that can take place with sarin gas and with the biological and chemical warfare that is available to these rogue people, not to mention, suitcase nuclear bombs that they probably have available as well. We must come back to God as a people. So what we say to you today is, if you are not right with God then get your life right with God. Think of the things in your life that are wrong. Think of the careless indifference. Think of the poor who you could have helped. Think of the Scripture you have ignored. Think of the time you should have been spending in prayer, when you were watching television or focusing on pornography or tuned into the Internet. Think of the things you have done in your own life and think of the indifference to the sin of this nation that you have just passed by and said, “Well, that is just the way it is. We have to have freedom.” Think of it! Don’t ask why did it happen. It happened because people are evil. It also happened because God is lifting His protection from this nation and we must pray and ask Him for revival so that once again we will be His people, the planting of His righteousness, so that He will come to our defense and protect us as a nation. That is what I want to see and why we say we must have revival. We must have a spiritual revival. The churches need to be full. We must pray for our pastors. We must pray for the churches. We must ask God to send a mighty, powerful revival in the midst of His people. That is what is needed for this land.

I want us to pray right now for America. I want us to pray for you and your families. I want us to pray particularly for those mothers, those fathers, those husbands and wives, those brothers and sisters who have lost loved ones. Their hearts are breaking right now. As they see this thing happen and they say “Why, Why?” And their hearts are broken. We may find that as many as 20,000 innocent civilians have been killed in this tragedy. We don’t know what the full number is yet. It may not be that high, but that is one estimate.

I didn’t paste his prayer here. The whole thing smacks of insincerity to me, especially when you consider how he has managed to turn “serving the Lord” into a profitable enterprise. The Press Release is ultimately meaningless, as he turned around and contradicted it on the message that followed Falwell’s. No wonder some people think all Christians are hypocrites. When these are the examples we hold up, I can’t blame them. We’re not all like that, folks. I promise.