Pat Robertson warned today that a Supreme Court decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage would have devastating consequences, telling viewers of “The 700 Club” that marriage equality will jeopardize the free speech of religious broadcasters like himself who oppose gay marriage.
Curiously enough, Robertson broadcasts from Virginia, a state with marriage equality, and is freely able to denounce gay marriage on a regular basis without facing any legal consequences.
“Isn’t it chilling to think that a practice that was abhorrent and stigmatized for so many years has now become the dominant weapon of the left to hurt those who share traditional values?” he asked.
Robertson also addressed the Supreme Court’s 1983 in Bob Jones University v. US, in which the court found that the IRS did not violate the Constitution by stripping the evangelical university of its tax exempt status because of its rules barring interracial relationships. According to Robertson, such a rule never existed: “Bob Jones never prohibited men and women of different races from getting married, they never had any laws, as I understand, they merely said in their statement of faith, they didn’t believe that the Bible supported interracial marriage and interracial activity. That was their belief.”
He quickly added that while he disagreed with the university’s stance, he feared that the ruling would open the door to religious persecution by the government.
Robertson’s claim that Bob Jones University didn’t have an enforceable rule barring interracial relationships is simply false.
“There is to be no interracial dating,” declared the university’s rule book in the 1990s. “Students who become partners in an interracial marriage will be expelled. Students who are members of or affiliated with any group or organization which holds interracial marriage as one of its goals or advocates interracial marriage will be expelled. Students who date outside of their own race will be expelled.”
Up until 2000, the university stated that it had “a rule prohibiting interracial dating among its students”:
God has separated people for His own purposes. He has erected barriers between the nations, not only land and sea barriers, but also ethnic, cultural and language barriers. God has made people different one from another and intends for those differences to remain. Bob Jones University is opposed to intermarriage of the races because it breaks down the barriers God has established. It mixes that which God separated and intends to keep separate. Every effort in world history to bring the world together has demonstrated man’s self-reliance and his unwillingness to remain as God ordains.
The rule, which was put into place in the 1950s, was only lifted when it received national attention after George W. Bush, then a candidate for president, made a campaign appearance at the South Carolina school.
The rule stemmed from the teachings of Bob Jones Sr., the university’s founder, who made the case that anyone who believes the Bible should oppose interracial marriage, just as televangelists like Robertson are arguing about same-sex marriage today.