The Christian Broadcasting Network, which has alternately apologized or defended Pat Robertson a lot lately, reportedly edited out a comment by the 700 Club co-host from the archived version of today's broadcast. The host, responding to a question from a viewer who was concerned about an HIV-positive church member, claimed on air that gay people in San Francisco use rigged rings to try and give people AIDS when they shake hands. In a later version of the episode posted to CBN's website, however, those comments were nowhere to be found.
Right Wing Watch has the video of the original comment (Update: After CBN successfully removed the clip from Youtube and Vimeo, a copy of the unedited exchange remains on Dailymotion. For now. Just in case, the full transcript is below). In it, Robertson apparently avoids co-host Terry Meeuwsen's best efforts to change the subject away from his gay agenda conspiracy theories:
CBN's official transcript of the episode still includes the full exchange. Emphasis ours:
Terry: THIS IS MARY WHO SAYS, "MY SUNDAY SCHOOL CLASS WAS ASKED TO GIVE TRANSPORTATION FOR A MAN FROM A NURSING HOME TO SUNDAY SERVICES, QUOTE,"HIS ELDERLY FATHER COULD NOT DRIVE ANYMORE."
"I DROVE HIM 20 PLUS TIMES. I FOUND OUT HE IS DYING OF AIDS. I THINK THOSE DRIVING HIM SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOLD IN A PRIVATE WAY. A FEW PEOPLE KNOW. BUT I FEEL DECEIVED. DID SOMEONE HAVE A MORAL OBLIGATION TO TELL THE DRIVERS THE TRUTH? WHAT IF WE HAD AN ACCIDENT. I'M GOING SOMEWHERE ELSE UNTIL I SORT THIS OUT."
Pat: I MUST CONFESS I DON'T KNOW ALL OF THE IMPLICATIONS ABOUT AIDS. I USED TO THINK IT COULD BE CONTAGIOUS BY SALIVA. I DON'T NECESSARILY THINK -- YOU DIDN'T GET AIDS. SO UNLESS THERE IS A CUT OR SOME BODILY FLUID TRANSMISSION, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO CATCH IT. BUT IT IS A HORRIBLE THING. I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO SAY. THERE ARE LAWS NOW -- I THINK THE HOMOSEXUAL COMMUNITY HAS PUT THESE DRACONIAN LAWS ON THE BOOKS TO PROHIBIT PEOPLE FROM DISCUSSING THIS PARTICULAR INFLICTION.
YOU CAN PEOPLE YOU HAVE A HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE, BUT YOU CAN'T TELL ANYBODY ABOUT AIDS. YOU DIDN'T CATCH ANYTHING, SO KEEP GOING TO CHURCH AND PRAISE THE LORD.
Terry: I THINK YOU WERE DOING A GOOD THING BY TRANSPORTING THIS MAN. I HAVE KNOWN MANY PEOPLE IN AIDS AND HAVE NEVER FELT FEARFUL. EVEN IF YOU HAD HAD A CAR ACCIDENT.
Pat: I THINK PEOPLE IN THE GAY COMMUNITY, THEY WANT TO GET PEOPLE. THEY'LL HAVE A RING, AND YOU SHAKE HANDS, AND THE RING HAS A LITTLE THING WHERE YOU CUT YOUR FINGER.
Pat: REALLY. IT IS THAT KIND OF VICIOUS STUFF, WHICH WOULD BE THE EQUIVALENT OF MURDER.
FOR THAT ONE, GO BACK TO YOUR CHURCH. YOU'RE FINE.
Terry: I AGREE.
Pat Robertson, in a statement to the Atlantic Wire, defended his remarks, saying that security guards in San Francisco once told him that "AIDS-infected activists" were "deliberately trying to infect people like me by virtue of rings which would cut fingers and transfer blood." Here's his full statement:
I was asked by a viewer whether she had a right to leave her church because she had been asked to transport an elderly man who had AIDS and about whose condition she had not been informed. My advice was that the risk of contagion in those circumstances was quite low and that she should continue to attend the church and not worry about the incident.
In my own experience, our organization sponsored a meeting years ago in San Francisco where trained security officers warned me about shaking hands because, in those days, certain AIDS-infected activists were deliberately trying to infect people like me by virtue of rings which would cut fingers and transfer blood.
I regret that my remarks had been misunderstood, but this often happens because people do not listen to the context of remarks which are being said. In no wise were my remarks meant as an indictment of the homosexual community or, for that fact, to those infected with this dreadful disease.
And here's the archived version of the episode from CBN, which is missing the comments at around 39:00:
Pat Robertson often says controversial things. And in a post-"Hurricane Katrina was God's Wrath" world, many have more or less (wisely) ignored the 83-year-old host of the daily TV show. So here are some of the other controversial remarks Robertson's made over the past year or so:
- Joking about a "vomit" button on Facebook for pictures of gays and lesbians kissing.
- Telling a man who wanted to know how to get his wife to respect him as "head of the household" that "you could become a Muslim and you could beat her."
- Saying that if you murder someone in a video game, you murder them in real life.
- Telling the wife of a cheater that her husband wouldn't cheat so much if she were just a better wife to him.
- Saying that "having an African-American president has exacerbated the problem" of racial tensions in the U.S., while accusing Obama of inciting violence.
(on the other hand, Pat Robertson is surprisingly accepting of transgendered identities)
Could CBN be hoping to help even more people ignore what Pat Robertson has to say by cutting some of his more controversial remarks from their archives? This, apparently, isn't the first time the host has been subject to some post-air editing.