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Pat Robertson

CBN founder Pat Robertson has died

Trailblazing Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson has died.  The news was announced by CBN, in a statement saying he passed at his home in Virginia Beach on Thursday morning.

“Today, June 08, 2023, my father, Pat Robertson, has gone home to be with his Lord,” wrote his son Gordon Roberston, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Christian Broadcast Network. “My dad was at home, surrounded by his family when he entered glory and met his Savior face to face, whom he loved and served with his whole heart, mind, and being.”

Robertson, who hosted the 700 Club on CBN for more than 50 years, was born Marion Gordon Robertson in Lexington, Virginia, on March 22, 1930. He was called Pat by his older brother and kept that name throughout his life.

Robertson was a descendant of Declaration of Independence signer, and Virginia Governor, Benjamin Harrison whose grandson, (also named Benjamin Harrison) served as president; He’s also related to President William Henry Harrison and Winston Churchill, according to Robertson’s official CBN biography.

Robertson attended military prep school McCallie School in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and studied at Washington and Lee University. He also enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve, where he eventually served as the assistant adjutant of the First Marine Division in combat in Korea in 1950. He was promoted to first lieutenant in 1952. After his return to the U.S. he received a juris doctor degree from Yale University Law School in 1955 and a master of divinity degree from New York Theological Seminary in 1959.

In 1959, Robertson and his wife Dede and their children went to southern Virginia, with the hopes of buying a bankrupt UHF television station in the area. He is said to have had only $70 in his pocket but was able to raise the money needed to buy the station, forming CBN in January 1960, with its first broadcast happening on Oct. 1, 1961.

CNN reported it was the first Christian television network in the country.

As host of “The 700 Club” Robertson brought faith through televisions to the living rooms of millions of people. The name of the show was inspired by the 700 people who donated $10 a month to CBN. CBN said that “The 700 Club” is one of the longest-running programs in television history.

“My father was an extraordinary man by any standard. He was an evangelist, a humanitarian, an entrepreneur, an educator, an author, a statesman, a television personality, a man of global influence and tremendous vision,” Gordon Robertson wrote. “Perhaps most important though, he was a dearly loved father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend. For many of us, he was also a spiritual father, guiding us and teaching us to love the Lord and live lives worthy of the Gospel. In his final days, he often talked about heaven and his desire to be with Jesus.”

Robertson, who called himself a “newsman” at heart, interviewed military and political leaders such as Yitzhak Rabin and then-Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, who won his race for president with the support of evangelical Christians, according to CBN. Robertson was also credited with getting Ronald Reagan elected.

He used his fame to launch his own GOP presidential campaign 1988, saying that he would only run if he had gathered three million signatures on petitions. He finished second in Iowa, ahead of Vice President George H.W. Bush, who eventually won the presidency. Robertson endorsed Bush in the campaign.

The next year, Robertson launched the Christian Coalition to further his campaign’s ideals, and in the 1990s used grass-roots efforts to mobilize conservative voters, the AP reported.

Roberton resigned as president of the Christian Coalition in 2001 to focus on his ministerial work and in the last 10 years reduced his visibility as his health declined.

Robertson also founded Regent University in 1977, an evangelical Christian school based in Virginia Beach, the American Center for Law and Justice and Operation Blessing, the AP reported.

He stepped down as the show’s daily host in October 2021 during the celebration of the program’s 60th anniversary but continued to appear on the broadcast frequently.

Robertson’s wife passed away in April 2022. He leaves behind four children, 14 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, CBN said.

–Metro Voice and wire services

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