Responses to Pat Robertson's "Prayer Offensive"
- Two press releases... one from Americans United for Separation of
Church and State and the other from Soulforce
For Immediate Release July 15, 2003
Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Contact: Joseph Conn, Rob Boston or Jeremy Leaming
TV PREACHER PAT ROBERTSON PRAYS FOR SUPREME COURT CHANGES
AMERICANS UNITED SAYS ROBERTSON BENT ON A SUPREME COURT THAT ENFORCES
HIS RELIGIOUS VALUES
TV preacher Pat Robertson, in an apparent effort to promote a Supreme
Court that approves his religio-political agenda, is urging his
nationwide audience to pray for a change in the make-up of the high
Incensed by the Lawrence v. Texas ruling, which stated that gays "are
entitled to respect for their private lives," Robertson is seeking
divine help in restructuring the nation's top court. To achieve that
goal, the religious broadcaster is sponsoring a 21-day "prayer
Last week, Robertson e-mailed an "Urgent call for prayer" letter to
Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) viewers, exhorting them to pray
for the retirement of several of the high court's justices. He noted
that one "justice is 83 years old, another has cancer, and another
has a heart condition."
The Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for
Separation of Church and State, expressed anger at Robertson's plea.
"There is something ghoulish about praying for the removal of some
the Supreme Court's justices while noting their age and health
problems," Lynn said. "This shows how desperate Robertson and his
Religious Right allies are to remake the high court.
"Robertson and his friends want a Supreme Court that enforces the
Religious Right's version of biblical law," continued Lynn. "They
despise court rulings that uphold individual liberty and freedom of
According to Robertson's letter, the Supreme Court has done great
damage to America with decisions that "ruled prayer out of the public
schools" and found a right of privacy that opened "the door to the
slaughter of more than 43,000,000 innocent unborn children."
But with the Lawrence ruling, the high court had gone too far,
Robertson proclaimed. Parroting Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.),
Robertson informed his CBN viewers that the ruling in Lawrence
declared a "constitutional right to consensual sodomy and, by the
language in its decision, has opened the door to homosexual marriage,
bigamy, legalized prostitution, and even incest."
Robertson's letter then asked his viewers if they would "join with me
and many others in crying out to our Lord to change the Court?"
Robertson followed his plea for prayer with his observations about
the health and age of three of the current justices.
"Would it not be possible," Robertson asked, "for God to put it in
the minds of these three judges that the time has come to retire?
With their retirement and appointment of conservative judges, a
massive change in federal jurisprudence can take place."
Lynn added that Robertson's latest tactic is part of his long-
standing obsession to bring the Supreme Court into line with his
religious beliefs. Not long after the terrorist attacks of 9/11,
Robertson and fellow TV preacher Jerry Falwell asserted that the
federal courts and supporters of church-state separation had angered
God, thereby prompting the tragedies of 9/11.
Speaking on his "700 Club" program Sept. 13, 2001, Robertson
blasted "rampant pornography on the internet," "rampant secularism,"
abortion rights and church-state separation.
"We have a court that has essentially stuck its finger in God's eye
and said we're going to legislate you out of the schools," thundered
Robertson. "We're going to take your commandments from off the
courthouse steps in various states. We're not going to let little
children read the commandments of God. We're not going to let the
Bible be read, no prayer in our schools. We have insulted God at the
highest levels of our government. And then we say, 'Why does this
"Well, why it's happening," Robertson concluded, "is that God
Almighty is lifting his protection from us."
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in
Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans
about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding
For Immediate Release: July 17, 2003
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
SOULFORCE RESPONDS TO PAT ROBERSTON'S PRAYER CAMPAIGN AND
ENCOURAGES "ACTIVE" PARTICIPATION TO ENSURE EQUALITY FOR ALL PEOPLE
On Monday, July 14, 2003, televangelist Pat Robertson launched a
campaign to encourage his audience to pray for the early retirement
of several Supreme Court justices. This "prayer offensive" is in
response to the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court in
overturning both Texas's sodomy law in Lawrence v Texas and the 1986
Supreme Court decision in the Bowers v Hardwick case that upheld
Georgia sodomy laws.
Soulforce, a national interfaith movement committed to ending
spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings
against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people issued
the following statement:
"Asking people to pray for the retirement of Supreme Court justices
after the Court overturned the Texas's sodomy law, Pat Robertson is,
in fact, fueling anti-gay religious bigotry that leads to
discrimination, prejudice and spiritual violence.
In the Lawrence v. Texas ruling, the Supreme Court justices awarded
to all people what was rightfully theirs to begin with, as the
government never belonged in anyone's bedroom in the first place.
Obviously, Pat Robertson and other religious right conservatives feel
they need the US Supreme Court to be able to implement their
interpretation of Biblical law in the United States, despite the fact
that the laws of the United States are based on the Constitution -
not the Bible.
The "miracle" Pat Robertson seeks is, in essence, hoping his God will
interfere to undermine equality for people that do not agree with
him. And now, Pat Robertson's anti-gay bias and prejudice not only
extends to gays and lesbians, but to Supreme Court justices as well.
We believe this "prayer offensive" is Pat Robertson's way to continue
to fuel anti-gay bigotry disguised as religion. GLBT people and
allies should be concerned about conservatives' attempts to undermine
equality and fuel anti-gay bigotry, whatever form it takes.
We believe that the best way to counter this anti-gay bigotry is to
take an ACTIVE role to ensure equality for all people, calling
congress people about legislation, contacting elected officials to
hold them accountable for their stand on equality, donating to
organizations and churches that support GLBT rights, and refusing to
be complicit in one's own oppression.
And despite what Pat Robertson believes, we know that God loves GLBT
people just the way we are and that equality for all people will
someday be realized."