Robertson’s Petitions Nothing New (August 2003)

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision decriminalizing sodomy, Christian Broadcasting Network’s “700 Club” host Pat Robertson urged viewers to pray for the retirement of three justices. He said the ruling “has opened the door to homosexual marriage, bigamy, legalized prostitution and even incest.”

“We ask for miracles in regard to the Supreme Court,” he prayed over the air on July 14. “One justice is 83 years old, another has cancer and another has a heart condition. Would it not be possible to put it in the minds of these three judges that the time has come to retire?”

He apparently was referring to Justice John Paul Stevens, born in 1920, and possibly Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who had cancer surgery in 1999. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has also had cancer. But the identity of the justice with a heart condition was unclear.

Robertson’s “clarification,” issued on July 17, insisted he was not singling out any particular Supreme Court justices:

“I don’t care which three, I mean as long as the three conservatives stay on. There’s six liberals, so it’s up to the Lord. I’m not telling God what to do. I’m just saying, ‘Lord, help us.’ “

Robertson’s 21-day “Operation Supreme Court Freedom” is eerily similar to a 1986 campaign. Robertson told a National Right to Life convention in June 1986 that antiabortionists could look forward to that “wonderful process of the mortality tables” to change the court composition.

That summer, Rev. R.L. Hymers, Jr., pastor of a large fundamentalist Baptist congregation in Los Angeles, urged his congregation to pray for the death of Justice William Brennan. (See Alma Cuebas’ whimsical cartoon from that era, above.) He later prayed for the “repentance, death or retirement” of five justices who voted that a couple could withhold medical treatment in the “Baby Doe” case.

Freedom From Religion Foundation