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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
Profile: Pat Robertson
Pat Robertson
Pat Robertson's TV programme reaches a million Americans a day
Pat Robertson, the US Christian evangelist who has called for the US to "take out" Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, is no stranger to controversy.

A letter he once signed described feminism as a "socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practise witchcraft and become lesbians".

He later said he had signed the letter without reading it carefully.

"I speak from the heart so often, and many times these statements need clarification and, if brought out of context, can be misunderstood," he has said.

We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability
Pat Robertson

Despite the debate some of his remarks have caused, Mr Robertson remains an influential figure.

He founded the Christian Broadcasting Network in 1960. It now supplies programmes to 200 countries in 70 languages.

His flagship programme The 700 Club is seen by a million Americans a day, his website says.

White House run

He ran for the Republican nomination for president in 1988, but - despite a strong start in fundraising and support - withdrew before the nominating convention.

The gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings
Pat Robertson,
30 April 2005
His bid was sunk partly by his claim that he had seen combat as a marine in Korea.

Fellow marines said he had not been in a combat environment and he withdrew the claim.

He was also hurt by a general backlash against televangelists - a term he dislikes - following improprieties by colleagues Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker.

Mr Robertson himself was not involved in either controversy.

After his presidential run, he founded the Christian Coalition, a powerful lobbying group for conservative causes such as limits on abortion.

He left the organisation in 2001.

9/11 remarks

That same year, he angered many by seeming to agree with fellow Christian conservative Jerry Falwell's comment that the 11 September 2001 attacks were punishment for America's preponderance of "pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, lesbians" and liberal organisations.

Mr Robertson later said he had not understood what Mr Falwell was saying.

But in 2005, he again referred to the 9/11 attacks, saying: "The gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."

Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson was born in 1930, the son of a conservative Democrat lawmaker from Virginia.

He is a prolific author as well as a broadcaster.

He founded Regent University - originally named after his Christian Broadcasting Network - in Virginia and serves as its chancellor.

He also started an aid organisation, Operation Blessing International Relief and Development Corporation, which he says has distributed more than $750m worth of goods to 96 countries and across the US.

He founded a families-and-children's network, International Family Entertainment, in 1990, later selling it to Rupert Murdoch's Fox Kids Worldwide for $1.9bn.




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