Pat Robertson, our favorite Republican former presidential candidate and religious right leader, seemed to suggest on his TV show this week that Africans have the power to “raise the dead.”
Talk about your opportunities for medical tourism.
Robertson was responding to a letter from 700 Club viewer “Ken” who wanted to know why Africans had the power to raise the dead, and Americans don’t.
Robertson told Ken that the reason that Africans can raise the dead is because they didn’t go to Ivy League schools, so they’re “simple” and able to believe in miracles:
” Those people overseas didn’t go to Ivy League schools. Well, we’re so sophisticated, we think we’ve got everything figured out, we know about evolution, we know about Darwin, we know about all these things that says God isn’t real, we know about all this stuff. And if we’d be in many schools, the more advanced schools, we have been inundated with skepticism and secularism. Overseas they’re simple, humble. You tell them God loves them, and they say ‘ok, he loves me’. You say ‘God will do miracles’ and they say ‘okay, we believe him.’ And that’s what God’s looking for, that’s why they have miracles.”
I don’t know how that woman is able to sit on the set with him with a straight face.
Among other things, this is part of the larger GOP war on science and education, and intellect. Remember during the last presidential campaign when GOP presidential candidate, and religious right leader, Rick Santorum criticized President Obama for saying kids should go to college?
“I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely,” said Santorum. “The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country.”
At the Americans for Prosperity rally in Michigan, Santorum took up the theme again, saying: ”President Obama wants everybody to go to college. What a snob.”
Well, now we know – Santorum was probably concerned that American kids would lose their ability to raise the dead, which can come in quite handy when you can’t afford health care.
On a lark, I googled “Africa raise dead,” and what do you know, Robertson isn’t kidding. There’s a whole meme out there on the religious far right that Africans can raise the dead, and have. Here’s Robertson’s discussion of an African man supposedly raised from the dead after being embalmed:
ROBERTSON: I want you to tell us about him. He was in one of your meetings. He was hit by a car. I understand he was stiff and rigormortis had set in. I don’t know if they had embalmed him or not.
BONNKE: They did.
ROBERTSON: He had been embalmed?
BONNKE: He was embalmed, but not the way it is done in America with the removal of organs. They injected chemicals into the body to slow down decay, since there was no refrigeration.
ROBERTSON: So what happened?
BONNKE: His wife was one with a promise from God that woman have received back the dead by resurrection. She said, ‘My husband will come back, and I have heard Reinhard Bonnke is in Onitsha this Sunday I will bring him there. She brought him there. I was preaching and I knew nothing about it. Suddenly, the man started to breathe. His story is awesome and what he was shown while he was in eternity.
ROBERTSON: Tell me, what did he see?
BONNKE: An angel took him to show him Paradise. He showed him the mansions that are waiting for the saints. And he showed him hell. He saw the people in hell. He said one shouted to him, ‘I was a pastor and I stole money. Help me to return the money.’ He said it was so frightening to him that the angel turned to him and said, ‘The prayer of the rich man in Luke 16 will now be fulfilled, and you will be sent back to earth as a last warning to this generation.’….
Oh, and apparently we now know what hell looks like. People cannibalize themselves, kind of like the Republican party is doing after their huge 2012 election loss in party due to their embrace of people like Robertson:
ROBERTSON: You say he saw hell. Were there fires? Torment?
BONNKE: He said he saw no fire but he said he saw these people cannibalizing themselves. Every time they had done it, the flesh seemed to jump back to the same places and then the torment started again. He said it was so horrible. He came back and said, ‘Heaven is real. Hell is real. Become serious with God. You need to be saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and live a holy life.’
This is the video “Raised from the Dead” that they refer to. It happens to take place in Nigeria, the country that raised Internet scams to an art form.
Not surprisingly, there have been problems before in Africa with people declaring other people dead, who weren’t. ABC shares a story about a “dead” man put in a morgue freezer, only to wake up hours later and start screaming – the staff ran out, thinking he was a ghost:
As amusing as the story is, Kupelo says the underlying issue is very serious. The government has gone public with this case to warn people that only trained health officials should declare people dead.
“This is why we’re saying as a health department that people should call health services to have their relatives declared and certified dead and not these private mortuaries,” he said. “Those guys are aren’t trained paramedics. They’re about business.”
Keep in mind, Pat Robertson ran for president as a Republican. And he represents a huge voting bloc in the base of the Republican party. So we can laugh at all of this – and we should – but these people run the Republican party, and that’s no laughing matter.
You know who else with African blood can raise the dead?