Noting the recent spate of earthquakes and hurricanes, Robertson said on CNN's late edition, "These things are starting to hit with amazing regularity."
Robertson could not say whether hurricanes and earthquakes have been irregular in the past.
Continuing, he opined,
If you read back in the Bible, the letter of the apostle Paul to the church of Thessalonia [sic], he said that in the latter days before the end of the age that the Earth would be caught up in what he called the birth pangs of a new order. And for anybody who knows what it's like to have a wife going into labor, you know how these labor pains begin to hit. I don't have any special word that says this is that, but it could be suspiciously like that.
Such a text does not exist in the "the letter of the apostle Paul to the church of Thessalonia," that is, in either letter to the church in Thessalonica. Robertson was apparently trying to recall the statement of Jesus in Matthew 24:7-8 and parallels, actually quoted in the article linked above, though not by Robertson. He further assumes that Jesus' statement is about increased frequency or more regular occurrence of such disasters, even though the text says nothing of any increase, rather than simply their ongoing occurrence despite the coming of God's kingdom, an idea that coheres with the context of Jesus' remarks.
Robertson denied himself additional points in the Most Embarrassing standings by not claiming oracular powers of interpretation in this instance. WorldNet Daily notes:
Robertson was awarded some additional points for this statement, which, while not claiming divine revelation to interpret the Bible in this instance, does indicate that he expects such revelation occasionally and is willing to claim it publicly. Misnaming a biblical book and mis-citing a text while at the same time claiming oracular interpretation would constitute an embarrassment trifecta seldom achieved in international Christian Embarrassment competition.
When asked if the world was approaching that [final] moment, Robertson said, "It's possible. I don't have any special revelation [emphasis inserted] to say it is but the Bible does indicate such a time will happen in the end of time. And could this be it? It might be."
Robertson also received a few points for chauvinism with the clause "for anybody who knows what it's like to have a wife going into labor." Alert judges noted that this selection of words implies that men with wives who have experienced labor can understand a text about the onset of labor pains while women who have actually experienced labor are excluded.
Robertson's remark has prompted some observers of the Most Embarrassing Christian competition to call for a quick end to it. "Robertson is so far ahead, it's impossible to see how anyone could ever pass him," offered one informed fan. "Finding someone in bed with a live boy or a dead girl wouldn't be enough to pass Robertson now, as Jimmy Swaggert proved twenty years ago." But backers of Jerry Falwell insist that he may still have a bon mot left that can bring him back within striking distance.
I think to make this whole award thing work, you need to come up with a name for it. The first one that comes to my mind is "the Doofus," but that seems too generic. Another possibility is "the MEA" (as in mea culpa) for M(ost) E(mbarrassing) A(ward), but, again, it's too generic and, alas, too polite. Perhaps the best choice is simply to name it "the Pat Robertson." Then you would have a name that is (1) highly specific, (2) widely associated with "doofus" and "mea culpa," and (3) rarely mentioned in polite company.
This morning while drinking my coffee and channel surfing I came across The View. The only thing more comical than Robertson's comment was those women discussing Robertson's comment along with Star Jones offering her own theological spin. The Daily Show couldn't have done a better job.
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