A former producer of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club television show exposed some interesting details in an interview with Vox. He said the evangelist was more concerned with making money than using the Bible to save souls.
Former 700 Club producer Terry Heaton explained the culture that surrounded the popular televangelist’s TV show as it grew to prominence in the 80’s and 90’s.
Heaton, who has just written “The Gospel of the Self: How Jesus Joined the GOP,” said he had a religious awakening while working with Robertson, but his newfound Christian beliefs sometimes collided with Robertson’s leadership.
Heaton explained why he wrote the book that exposes the industry that used to give him a paycheck.
“I wrote the book because I felt I needed to apologize for my role in what we have in front of us today, although I don’t necessarily feel guilty about it,” Heaton explained. “I just want to get it on the record that I participated in something that has turned out to be pretty bad.”
“Pat is a politician who happens to be a minister.” Heaton said. “He grew up as a Southern aristocrat in Virginia. His father was a US senator. It’s in his blood, but more than that, it’s in his environment. So the fact that he got to be a minister and was able to manipulate a substantial audience into becoming political is actually quite an accomplishment, whether you believe it’s a good accomplishment or a bad accomplishment.”
According to Heaton, after he settled in at the 700 Club, he had a run in with Robertson that opened his eyes as to what was important to the evangelist.
“We had this idea to do a series featuring a guy who always got things wrong so that Pat could then come on afterward and tell people what to do right.” Heaton said.
“The pilot was a guy who was constantly losing money because he was trying to give his way out of debt. So he’d look at the Bible where it says ‘you receive a hundredfold for what you give,’ and if he was a $1,000 in debt he’d give away $100 expecting to be able to pay off the debt,” he continued. “And at the end, he turns to the camera and says, ‘What am I doing wrong?’ And we all thought it was brilliant.”
Heaton met with Robertson to show him the amazing pilot. Unexpectedly, Robertson’s face soured and he said, ”You put that on the air and you will cost this ministry millions.”
He also recalled, “There was only one time we did a program about things not going right — it was a program about death. And it was one of the most powerful shows we did. Anyone who worked on it will tell you that. But Pat hated it because it wasn’t “prosperity!” and “everything’s going to work out just fine!”
The focus of the show seemed to shift from the Bible to sex, according to Heaton.
“It turns out that abortion, gays and lesbians, and birth control — they’re all about sex. Sex, more than everything else, scares people who want their children to be safe and to live in a sanctified world. I don’t want to overstate that, but it’s the truth,” he remembered. “What we gave them was Republican Party politics. We had an explanation for all their fears — the lack of personal responsibility, big government, people trying to take from you what really belongs to you, self-responsibility, self-responsibility, self-responsibility.”
“All those things worked very well with the type of Christianity we were preaching,” he concluded.
(Article By Jeremiah Jones)