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Transcript of Pat Robertson’s Interview with Jerry Falwell

From the 9-13-01 edition of The 700 Club

In recent days, Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell have accused People For the American Way and reporters of taking comments made last week by Falwell and Robertson “out of context.” Below is a transcript of the interview – in its entirety – followed by comments made by Pat Robertson on the same episode of “The 700 Club” prior to the Falwell interview.

The Interview with Jerry Falwell:

PAT ROBERTSON: Well after Tuesday’s attacks, many Americans are struggling with grief, fear and unanswered questions. How should Christians respond to this crisis? Well joining us now with some answers is a dear friend of ours, the Pastor of the Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University, the head and founder of that, Dr. Jerry Falwell. Jerry, it’s a delight to have you with us today.


PAT ROBERTSON: Listen. What are you telling the church? You called your church together. What was your response at Thomas Road to this tragedy?

JERRY FALWELL: Well, as the world knows, the tragedy hit on Tuesday morning, and at 2:00 in the afternoon, we gathered 7,000 Liberty University students, faculty, local people together, and we used the verse that I heard you use a moment ago, Chronicles II, 7:14, that God wanted us to humble ourselves and seek his face. And there’s not much we can do in the Church but what we’re supposed to do, and that is pray. Pray for the President that God will give him wisdom, keep bad advisors from him, bring good ones to him, praying for the families of the victims, praying for America. And, you know this thing is not a great deal different than what I remember and you Pat. We’re about the same age. December 7, 1941, when we entered the war against Japan, Germany, Italy. Hitler’s goal was to destroy the Jews among other things, and conquer the world. And, these Islamic fundamentalists, these radical terrorists, these Middle Eastern monsters are committed to destroying the Jewish nation, driving her into the Mediterranean, conquering the world. And, we are the great Satan. We are the ultimate goal. I talked this morning with Tom Rose publisher of the Jerusalem Post, and orthodox Jew, and he said, “Now America knows in a horrible way what Israel’s been facing for 53 years at the hand of Arafat and other terrorists and radicals and barbarians.

PAT ROBERTSON: Jerry, I know that you shared several 40 day fasts for revival in America. We here at CBN had a couple of 40 day fasts during the Lenten season, and Bill Bright, I don’t know, eight or nine. Do you think that this is going to be the trigger of revival, a real revival in the Church where we truly turn back to God with all our heart?

JERRY FALWELL: It could be. I’ve never sensed a togetherness, a burden, a broken heart as I do in the Church today, and just 48 hours, I gave away a booklet I wrote 10 years ago. I gave it away last night on the Biblical position on fasting and prayer because I do believe that that is what we’ve got to do now– fast and pray. And I agree totally with you that the Lord has protected us so wonderfully these 225 years. And since 1812, this is the first time that we’ve been attacked on our soil, first time, and by far the worst results. And I fear, as Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense said yesterday, that this is only the beginning. And with biological warfare available to these monsters; the Husseins, the Bin Ladens, the Arafats, what we saw on Tuesday, as terrible as it is, could be miniscule if, in fact, if in fact God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve.

PAT ROBERTSON: Jerry, that’s my feeling. I think we’ve just seen the antechamber to terror. We haven’t even begun to see what they can do to the major population.

JERRY FALWELL: The ACLU’s got to take a lot of blame for this.


JERRY FALWELL: And, I know that I’ll hear from them for this. But, throwing God out successfully with the help of the federal court system, throwing God out of the public square, out of the schools. The abortionists have got to bear some burden for this because God will not be mocked. And when we destroy 40 million little innocent babies, we make God mad. I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America. I point the finger in their face and say ‘you helped this happen’.

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I totally concur, and the problem is we have adopted that agenda at the highest levels of our government. And so we’re responsible as a free society for what the top people do. And, the top people, of course, is the court system.

JERRY FALWELL: Amen. Pat, did you notice yesterday? The ACLU, and all the Christ-haters, the People For the American Way, NOW, etc. were totally disregarded by the Democrats and the Republicans in both houses of Congress as they went out on the steps and called out on to God in prayer and sang ‘God Bless America’ and said ‘let the ACLU be hanged’. In other words, when the nation is on its knees, the only normal and natural and spiritual thing to do is what we ought to be doing all the time- calling upon God.

PAT ROBERTSON: Amen. I wanted to ask you the reaction. I know that you had a major prayer meeting last night, and I know your people assembled, just a large gathering at your church. What was the mood of the people? What did they say and what did you sense with your congregation?

JERRY FALWELL: A brokenness that I have not seen. I’ve been there pastor 45 years, 30 years Chancellor at Liberty. We had 7,000 gather yesterday in the Vines Center and filled the Church last night. I sensed a brokenness, tears. People were sobbing at the alter. And, they have no shame about it. It was the kind of brokenness that no one could conjure, only God could bring upon us. And, that is to me the most optimistic thing that I see today as I look across America. And every city, I called a friend in Springfield yesterday. He said at least a hundred churches, Springfield, MO, at least a hundred churches have special prayer meetings for America today and tonight. And, that’s happening by the thousands all over America. This could be, if we will fast and pray, this could be God’s call to revival.

PAT ROBERTSON: Well, I believe it. And I think the people, the Bible says render your hearts and not your garments, and people begin to render their hearts and they weep before the Lord, and they really get serious with God, God will hear and answer. We’ll see revival. I am thrilled to hear that about your church because it’s happening all over.

JERRY FALWELL: It’s everywhere.


JERRY FALWELL: In the most unlikely of places. The general manager at the ABC affiliate in our area called me this morning and said “we’re going to ask for all the churches, all the people of faith to join us at the D-Day Memorial over in Bedford at 2:00, Sunday. And, Randy Smith is his name, the general manager, and he is calling central Virginia to healing through prayer and I suspect there will be thousands there.

PAT ROBERTSON: Jerry, this is so encouraging, and I thank God for your stand. We just love you and praise God for you. Liberty is a great institution and I congratulate you for that wonderful student body, and your church. And, thank-you my dear friend for being with us.

JERRY FALWELL: God bless you brother. Let’s stand together.



A few hours after the TV show, he reiterated his remarks, telling the New York Times that "the collective efforts of many secularists . . . has left us vulnerable."

Media Reaction or “Backlash to Bigotry"                             More Media Reaction


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Pat Robertson’s Comments Preceding the Falwell Interview:

PAT ROBERTSON: And we have thought that we’re invulnerable. And we have been so concerned about money. We have been so concerned about material things. The interests of people are on their health and their finances, and on their pleasures and on their sexuality, and while this is going on while we’re self-absorbed and the churches as well as in the population, we have allowed rampant pornography on the internet. We have allowed rampant secularism and occult, etc. to be broadcast on television. We have permitted somewhere in the neighborhood of 35 to 40 million unborn babies to be slaughtered in our society. 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. 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 happen?’

Well, why it’s happening is that God Almighty is lifting his protection from us. And once that protection is gone, we all are vulnerable because we’re a free society, and we’re vulnerable. We lay naked before these terrorists who have infiltrated our country. There’s probably tens of thousands of them in America right now. They’ve been raising money. They’ve been preaching their hate and overseas they have been spewing out venom against the United States for years. All over the Arab world, there is venom being poured out into people’s ears and minds against America. And, the only thing that’s going to sustain us is the umbrella power of the Almighty God.
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Falwell’s Numerous "Apologies"

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"I sincerely regret that comments I made during a theological discussion on a Christian television program were taken out of their context and reported, and that my thoughts—reduced to sound bites—have detracted from the spirit of this time of mourning.  My mistake on the 700 Club was doing this at the time I did it, on television, where a secular media and audience were also listening. And as I enumerated the sins of an unbelieving culture, because of very limited time on the 700 Club, I failed to point the finger at a sleeping, prayerless and carnal church. We believers must also acknowledge our sins, repent, and fast and pray for national revival."

"I do believe, as a theologian, based upon many Scriptures and particularly Proverbs 14:23, which says ‘living by God’s principles promotes a nation to greatness, violating those principles brings a nation to shame.’" 

Falwell said he believes the ACLU and other organizations "which have attempted to secularize America, have removed our nation from its relationship with Christ on which it was founded.  I therefore believe that that created an environment which possibly has caused God to lift the veil of protection which has allowed no one to attack America on our soil since 1812."

Falwell told CNN: "I would never blame any human being except the terrorists, and if I left that impression with gays or lesbians or anyone else, I apologize."


"In the midst of the shock and mourning of a dark week for America, I made a statement that I should not have made and which I sincerely regret.  I want to apologize to every American, including those I named. … When I talked about God lifting the curtain of protection on our nation, I should have made it very clear that no one on this earth knows whether or not that occurred or did not occur." Several days later, he appeared on Geraldo Rivera’s cable TV show and repudiated everything he’d said on Robertson’s show. "This is not what I believe and I therefore repudiate it and ask God’s forgiveness and yours," he said, crediting his comments to exhaustion. He told Rivera: "I’d been up all night the night before, coming in from Houston."

Apologies not being what they used to be, Falwell has apparently re-embraced his earlier statements telling parishioners on Feb 6 at the Berean Baptist Church in West Palm Beach, "You know, God even loves the Taliban and today, if we’re going to impress God, we’ve got to get the Gospel out to everyone.  If the church had been awake and performing that duty, I can tell you that we wouldn’t be in the mess we’re in today."

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Not to be outdone by Falwell and Robertson, Franklin Graham (son of Billy Graham) made incendiary comments about Islam as well.

But now Franklin is in trouble with political friends for comments made recently, calling the entire Islamic religion “wicked, violent and not of the same God.”
       “I don’t believe this is a wonderful, peaceful religion,” said Graham. “When you read the Koran and you read the verses from the Koran, it instructs the killing of the infidel, for those that are non-Muslim.”
       Asked by NBC News to clarify his statement, Graham repeated his charge that Islam, as a whole, is an evil.
       “It wasn’t Methodists flying into those buildings, it wasn’t Lutherans,” said Graham. “It was an attack on this country by people of the Islamic faith.”

I guess it takes a religious bigot to know one as proven below

Rev. Chuck Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, often cited by Bush as a model of faith-based public service. "I wouldn’t have said what Graham said. But I agree that Islam is a religion, which, if taken seriously, promotes violence." Colson decries "a mushy civil religion ecumenism where we want to be united as a nation so there are these interfaith services and there is a tendency to think one God is the same for everybody." While he’s all for national unity and praises Bush’s efforts to celebrate common ground, Colson draws a line a president cannot. Unlike Bush, his job isn’t political or military victory or economic success, it’s religious truth as he sees it. "You can read (the Koran) figuratively and get a very benign reading. Or you can read it literally and it scares the life out of you." But, Colson says, "You can’t paint everyone with the same brush." Many Muslims "are peace-loving," he says.
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Robertson also had a difficult time deciding how and whether to defend or distance himself from Falwell’s remarks.  Here’s a little of what he said, contradictory of course.

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"In no way has any guest on my program suggested that anyone other than the Middle East terrorists were responsible for the tragic events that took place on Tuesday … I again emphasize that there are organizations within the United States which have labored unceasingly to strip religious values from our public square, and in the process, to take away the mantle of divine protection which our nation has enjoyed ever since the days of its founding." September 17, 2001 — "On Thursday of last week, as The 700 Club continued its coverage of the tragic attack on the World Trade Center by radical extremists, Pat Robertson not only was reporting the news, but was also asking his audience to pray for the survivors and their families, as he had been doing for the previous two days.

In addition, he personally issued a statement that indicated that the church and all of America should come in repentance before God so that He would not lift the protective covering that has graced our land since its founding. Toward the end of the program, The 700 Club producers had booked Jerry Falwell for a satellite interview. Rev. Falwell’s initial remarks were completely in accord with what had been said in preceding parts of the program, and then, unexpectedly, he uttered a political statement of blame directed at certain segments of the population that was severe and harsh in tone, and, frankly, not fully understood by the three hosts of The 700 Club who were watching Rev. Falwell on a monitor.

It was this brief interchange with Rev. Falwell that was picked up by People For The American Way, who for approximately the past fifteen years have taped every single telecast of The 700 Club and unfortunately take statements out of context and spin them to the press for their own political ends. Rev. Falwell has issued a pointed clarification of his statement, and Dr. Robertson said on Fox News’ The Edge that he considered the remarks "totally inappropriate." He does not wish to comment further on something that is not personally in keeping with the spirit of prayer and sorrow that has been evidenced by the staff of the Christian Broadcasting Network over the past several days.

Speaking at an Oct 1, 2001 ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of his Christian Broadcasting Network, Pat Robertson, unrepentant for his Sept 13 remarks, said,

"The Lord is getting ready to shake this nation.  We have not yet seen His judgment on America.  This thing that happened in New York was child’s play compared to what’s going to happen.  It was a great tragedy.  It tore at our hearts when we saw that suffering, but it was a wake-up call from God."
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A group of fundamentalist leaders issued a joint statement about the Sept 11 attacks:

"Our choices have consequences.  Our rebellion has results.  In many ways, the results of the recent days are a reflection of the crumbling foundation of America.  [It is] now easier in many schools to bring a weapon than a Bible.  Commandments are out and condoms are in….Our rebellion is bringing us destruction and allowing our enemies to triumph over us.  We need to pray that God will restore the walls of his protection around our nation."

Signers include:
Pat Robertson (Christian Coalition);
D. James Kennedy (Coral Ridge Ministries);
Bill Bright (Campus Crusade for Christ);
Charles W. Colson (Prison Fellowship);
James Dobson (Focus on the Family);
James Merritt (Southern Baptist Convention);
Lloyd Ogilvie (U.S. Senate chaplain)

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James Dobson Defends Falwell – Sept 20

"Jerry Falwell has apologized for what he said.  He was on a network program last night and said as clearly as he could that he should not have expressed those thoughts.  It wasn’t time to criticize one another and blame those who had nothing to do with the tragedy that happened.  He profusely apologized for what he said, and I think we ought to cut him a little slack at this time because we all make mistakes.  I think what he was trying to say is that the strength of our country is its commitment to ultimate values and beliefs.  When a nation moves away from its core beliefs and begins to create a new value system as it goes along, it becomes a weaker nation – and all kinds of difficulty can come out of that."

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The Institute for Creation Research

"Only 13 days later on Public Broadcasting Stations, a seven-part, eight-hour event of grave importance was also witnessed by millions of Americans, but the pall of New York City, the Pentagon, and the Pennsylvania airline crashes overshadowed all other news. PBS with the aid of WGBH in Boston and Clear Blue Sky Productions televised one of the boldest assaults yet against our public schools and the millions of innocent victims – our school children.

"Both events have much in common. The public was unaware of the deliberate preparation that was schemed over the past few years to lead to these events. And while the public now understands from President Bush that "We’re at War" with religious fanatics around the world, they don’t have a clue that America is being attacked from within through its public schools by a militant religious movement called Darwinists."

For the complete article, click this link.

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The following is a partial transcript from the December 5, 2001 "700 Club" following an interview about the dangers of Harry Potter books and their use in public schools with Caryl Matrisciana of Jeremiah Films.

PAT ROBERTSON: If you look back at the book of Deuteronomy what Moses has to say speaking of the words of the Lord, he said this, and I want to show you:

"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you." [Deuteronomy 18:10-12, New King James Version]

That’s Deuteronomy 18:10-12. Now ladies and gentlemen, we have been talking about God lifting his anointing his mantle from the United States of America, and if you read in Deuteronomy or Leviticus, actually the 18th Chapter, there’s certain things that he says that is going to cause the Lord or the land to vomit you out. At the head of the list is [writing a list on a dry-erase board] Witchcraft, and that’s the first. The second of, course, has to do with Sodomy. He talks about that. He talks about adultery. He talks about bestiality. He talks about incest, and he talks about the sacrifice of children.

And, these things, he said, are so repugnant to him that a land will actually vomit its inhabitants out. Now, we’re welcoming this and teaching our children, and what we’re doing is asking for the wrath of God to come on this country. We’re legalizing sodomy. We’re now teaching witchcraft in the schools. We’re legalizing sodomy. Adultery is thought of as no big deal. We haven’t quite got to bestiality yet, but it’s on the Internet. And, incest is more and more prevalent and the sacrifice of children through abortion is in the 30 to 40 million range. We’re doing all the things that God said were so repugnant that the land itself would be repulsed and would vomit its inhabitants out. And, if there was ever a time that we need God’s blessing, it’s now. We don’t need to bring in heathen, pagan practices to the United States of America. We need to call on God and ask him for revival.
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