Religious Broadcasters Must Be Salt and Light
In this 1993 speech during the 50th
anniversary celebration of the National Religious Broadcasters,
Pat describes the moral decline of America, the hostility to
the Gospel and the history of cultures that drive morality out
of public life. He calls on broadcasters to mobilize viewers
to take a stand and to pray for the revival that will bring
peace to a troubled land.
National Religious Broadcasters, Febuary 16, 1993
It's always a joy to be here with the NRB. I think my first
convention was about 31 or 32 years ago. We've been at it a
long time. And we celebrate our 50th anniversary tonight at
this convention. And we come here with joy in our hearts, but
at the same time, a sense of apprehension. Because in the years
that I have been broadcasting, and you have been broadcasting
in America, we are painfully aware that we have entered a time
of moral conflict that is hither to unknown in our nation.
Never in living
memory, in fact, never in the history of the United States of
America, have we as a nation, permitted such an all-out assault
on God Almighty, on Jesus Christ, on the Christian faith, on
the traditional family, on human sexuality, and human life. In
fact, an assault on every tenet of the biblically based morality
which has guided our nation since its inception. And I want
us tonight, soberly, to consider what has been happening in
this great land that we love so much and we are dedicated to
serve as religious broadcasters.
Crime Engulfs Nation
First of all, a wave of violent crime has engulfed our nation.
Our homicide rate exceeds that of every industrialized nation
in the world. The cost of crime in America has been estimated
at $100 billion a year. We have at this present moment, 1.1
million inmates in our prisons. And that happens to give the
United States the highest percent incarceration rate of any
nation on the face of the earth.
rate of criminals is ten times that of Japan, Sweden, Ireland,
and the Netherlands. And those of us who are religious broadcasters
remember the words of Solomon who said without a vision, and
this means the vision of God, without an open revelation of
God, the people will... and we're seeing in our land, people
than that is the violence that is taking place in our schools.
About a year ago, the late Arthur Ashe, and the Governor of
Virginia, Governor Doug Wilder, called together a group that
they called Virginia Heroes and asked us to come to Richmond
to teach 600 6th grade students from the Richmond, Virginia
public school system. These children
were about 10 years old. We spent the day on teaching small
groups, 10 or 12 of them, in progressive order during the day.
Our goal was
to inspire them to lift themselves up from the condition they
were in and make something better of themselves. Well, the last
group I was with, after we talked about the fact that some of
them wanted to be surgeons, doctors, and rap singers, whatever,
was to say "what do you want in yourselves?" And I was astounded
by the consensus.
graders, 10 year-olds, said we want metal detectors and armed
guards at every door of our school. And I said "Why is that?"
And they said, "Because people come to school with guns." And
I said, "Are there gangs in your schools?" And they said, "Yes,
they beat us up." One little black boy said, "They don't want
to study; all they want to do is keep us from studying. And
we want protection."
Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy. But the
Justice Department estimates that 100,000 American students
carry guns to school every single school day. They say 160,000
students stay away from school because of fear of serious injury.
Every day, 6,250 teachers are threatened with violence, and at
least 260 teachers are physically assaulted by students in the
schools every school day. Each day, in the schools of America,
there are 16,000 crimes. The total now reaches 3 million per
year in our public school system.
of juveniles incarcerated for murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated
assault has increased by 38 percent from 1986 to 1990. Since
prayer was removed from the schools in 1962 until this day,
about 30 years later, the eight top offenses in the schools,
in the order of frequency are as follows: rape, robbery, burglary,
arson, bombings, murder, and aggravated assault, and the last
is suicide which is a crime against themselves.
is a Questionable Honor
But America does not merely lead the world in violent crime
and homicide and incarceration of criminals. We have the distinction
of being number one in the world in several other categories.
We are number one in the world in divorces. We are number one
in the world in teenage pregnancy. We are number one in the
world in voluntary abortion. We are number one in the world
in illegal drug use. And we are number one in industrial nations
in our rate of illiteracy.
8, there was a projection printed in The US News and World Report that indicates American children born in the year 1980, 22.2
percent of the white children, and 82.9 percent of the black
children, will be dependent on welfare before they have reached
the age of 18.
At the outbreak
of World War II, only about 19 percent of births in the black
community in America were what we would call illegitimate. Now,
that number in the black community, in such places as Bedford
Styvsant in New York or South Central in Los Angeles, has reached
an alarming 65 percent of all the births in that particular
community of the women either have no husband, or they do not
even have a man in the house.
Government presently in America is spending $226 billion a year
on poverty. And we have spent as a nation, since 1965, the staggering
sum of $3.5 trillion to eliminate poverty. We called it the
War on Poverty. And yet, structural poverty in America is worse
in 1993 than it was when we began "The Great Society" in 1965.
A New Plague
And now a new plague is stalking our land, because the people
have cast aside the sexual morals of The Holy Bible. Approximately
40 million people have contracted some form of what is now called
sexually transmitted diseases. We used to call them venereal
disease, but they have some, such as chlamydia, that have 6 million
cases that we've never even heard of before, and the herpes
virus -- when it reached 20 million cases, they stopped counting,
at least publishing the figures.
And now we're
alarmed at skyrocketing health care costs in our nation and
a whole task force has been devoted in the White House by the
wife of the President to do something about the health care
crisis which is taking somewhere between $700 and $800 billion
a year -- some 12 percent of our gross national product.
And yet, as
a nation, we seem willing to suppress the clear facts about
one very serious health epidemic and that's AIDS. The cost to treat one sufferer with what
is called full-blown AIDS is $140,000, from the inception of
treatment to death, because everybody that gets it dies. Now
if there are 100,000 cases -- I read in the journal of this
convention that there are 230 or 240,000 cases. But to treat
100,000 cases is $14 billion. But if we have, and I think we
will, a potential one million AIDS cases, the cost will be $1.4
trillion. It will be twice the total amount of all of our spending
on health care, and it will bankrupt the insurance companies,
and it will bankrupt the health care system of the United States.
Mandate to Change
Now folks, as we're here, we're crying out in our hearts, "there's
got to be a better way." We love America. We are the National
Religious Broadcasters, and we have a holy, divine mandate to
address these problems, and we say in our hearts, "Oh God, there
has to be a better way." We cannot continue to see this nation
sink into oblivion. But every index of national health is in
decline. There isn't one that's on the upswing, not one.
President Clinton made a short speech. It was not exactly greeted
with cheers by the stock market today, which went down 83 points,
but nevertheless, he called for higher taxes and greater sacrifice
to meet our burgeoning deficit. I would like, tonight, to suggest
to our President that he use his office, that has been called
the bully pulpit, to call for a much different agenda.
compelling the Armed Forces to accept homosexuals into their
ranks, I would like to call on the President to take a stand
against the ungodly lifestyle that destroys all it touches.
Instead of seeking billions of dollars for AIDS research, let
him demand that we treat AIDS as any other communicable disease -- not
as a virus with civil rights.
issuing executive orders facilitating abortion counseling, let
him call for the teaching of marital fidelity and sexual chastity
in our schools.
And, I, for
one, feel that I am joined, not just by evangelicals, but Roman
Catholics, Greek Orthodox and most thinking people who say we
do not wish to have the official (policy) of the school system
of America on immorality, and we don't want the schools handing
out condoms with free distribution to our children.
Instead of asking
for the spending of billions of dollars to heal the hurts and
poverty of women who have been victimized by divorce, let the
President lead the fight to protect women by repealing the no-fault
divorce laws that are in the states of America. And instead
of spending billions of dollars to lock up young criminals,
let our President lead the way toward the restoration of morality
in our schools. Bill Clinton, it is time to bring God back into
the public schools of America.
gentlemen, my fellow broadcasters, America does not have a fiscal
crisis, we have a moral crisis. And unless we as a people are
willing to reverse our headlong plight toward moral anarchy,
this great nation cannot long stand. The answer is not more
of the tax and spend liberalism of the welfare state. There
is only one answer to the problems confronting this nation,
and that is faith in almighty God and obedience to His Holy
Word in the Bible.
We Get the Truth?
But you know, as we think of the alarm, we think of the prophet
Ezekiel who God set as a watchman to warn the people of Israel.
And as we look around at those who should be watchmen, we say, "Who is going to warn the nation; who is going to speak of the
I was speaking
to my good friend, Michael Medved, and we were mentioning the
percentage of homosexuals in the society. And I said, "it's
two percent, everybody knows that," and he said "No, everybody
doesn't know that, everybody thinks its ten percent." And he
said, "Where do we go to find out the truth?"
tell you an interesting example of what happened just recently.
Several weeks ago as the debate was hot in the United States
Congress over admitting homosexuals in the military, I did my
civic duty and put the number of the Capitol switchboard on
the television screen, and indicated in a nonpartisan fashion
my audience might like to call their senators and congressmen
to express their position on this point of view. Little did
I dream of what was going to happen, but that was the day that
the Capitol switchboard received 430,000 phone calls, which
was ten times more than they'd ever received in any normal day.
Well, the politically correct press began to think, "What is
want to admit that America had had it up to here with gays in
the military, and so they tried to find another explanation.
So the Washington Post wrote a front page story the following
Monday and said there was an avalanche of telephone calls coming
in, but it was orchestrated by the religious right. And they
said the followers of Pat Robertson, who did all these calls,
are poor, uneducated, and easy to command.
So, I thought
that was a novelty -- a piece of information somewhat unresearched.
And, so I took the Washington Post with that story, and I read
that to my audience, and I said "folks, they're talking about
you." And then, I put the Washington Post phone number on the
screen and suddenly they learned the heat the Congress has been
feeling, and thousands of people began calling up. They said,
"We have graduate degrees, we have an income in excess of whatever.
We are insulted."
And so the
Post began to think "What have we done?" So they commissioned
their TV reporter to write an answer. And they said, "We made
a mistake." And the editor said, "We screwed up on this one."
We have no basis in research to affirm that the viewers of Pat
Robertson are poor, uneducated and easy to command.
But the reporter
who wrote the story, just to show how objective they are out
there, said, "Well, I didn't research that because that is a
matter of common knowledge. Everybody knows that the people
who listen to religious radio and watch religious television
are poor and stupid. And they're like sheep. I didn't have to
research that one."
from National Media
Well, I didn't put the number back up. I thought that was enough.
Ladies and gentlemen, you're not going to get a fair break from
the national media, because this gentleman revealed his prejudice
and thought he was explaining why he wrote this thing. This
is just common, accepted knowledge, but it's accepted with that
going to warn the nation? I assure you it won't be the Washington
Post; it won't be the New York Times; it won't be
the Los Angeles Times. They're not going to warn America
of a moral decline. As a matter of fact, I was shocked last
August when I was in Houston during the Republican convention,
and I began to read the biting attacks that were being made
by the national media against what they called "family values."
everybody in America was for families. I thought a husband,
wife and children, that was a good thing. It didn't necessarily
have any religious connotation, per se, but yet I felt abuse
being heaped on those who called for traditional families.
And then I
read in Businessweek, that Governor Ashcroft, who delivered
a speech in the convention and talked about the necessity to
build strong families in America, that he had given an anti-homosexual
speech. He didn't mention the word homosexual in his speech.
And yet a magazine devoted to business had in its editorial
page that this was an anti-homosexual speech.
We are living, my friends, in a hostile land. My good friend,
Governor Kirk Fordice of Mississippi said, 'We're a Christian
nation, and in the south about 70 percent of the people think
we are in a Christian nation. But I doubt very seriously if
America anymore can be called a Christian nation.
We are in
a hostile environment, and the truth is, we are fighting a cultural
war. And it is a fight for the survival of America.
good news. Commentators like Ervin Crystal in the Wall Street
Journal had a brilliant op-ed piece, and I want to quote
you a line from what he said. He said, "What we are witnessing
is a prolonged spasm of liberal fanaticism, a redoubling of
liberal effort as liberal program after liberal program fails."
And Ervin Crystal said it might not happen this presidential
or the next presidential, but he said, long-range, the core
of the nation's conservative movement will be built around those
who hold religious values because they're the only ones who
have the motivation to make this country a better place.
And, I'm firmly convinced, when you look for somebody to be
a watchman, to sound the alarm, we have been given, as broadcasters,
a mandate. And I was reading this morning, Paul's letter to
the Philippians, something that I'm sure is familiar to everyone
in this room, but I quote it anyway from the King James; "Ye
may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke
in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye
shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life."
Now, that is the mandate. To be salt, to be light. To hold forth
the word of life in a crooked and perverse nation or generation.
I think back
in history to England under the reign of George III. England
had a king in those days who was not only corrupt, he had syphilis.
He was speaking actually a different language than his subjects.
He was totally debauched and not very smart on top of that.
To be dumb is one thing, but to be dumb and debauched together
is very bad.
more bars, alehouses, whatever you called them than there were
churches. Public drunkenness was endemic, houses of prostitution
were open, poverty was on every side, vandalism and crime and
theft were rampaging. The plight of the common man in England
in those days was appalling, and England was ripe for a revolution.
Across the English Channel, another country was feeling the
effects of oppression. Land and gentry and upper class had been
sucking the productivity out of the nation and living in great
splendor while the people were working and living in great poverty.
But two different
things happened to those two nations. One embraced humanism,
atheism, and held a bloody revolution to destroy those in power. And in place of the church, in place of faith, the people
erected a statue to the goddess of reason and put her in Notre
that was the guillotine, the reign of terror, and ultimately
Napoleon Bonaparte and the decline of France. But something
far different happened in England. One man and his brother,
and another man named George Whitfield, a great preacher -- the
two Wesleys and Whitfield began going out to preach.
would not accept Wesley. The church cast him out and he said,
"the world is my pulpit. I'm going to the people of the world."
And, he went out into the fields and the plains and he spoke
to thousands of people. And those men and the followers, the
few that were assisting them, turned England around.
a bloody revolution, there was a spiritual revival of massive
proportion that left England in a position to ensure its security
as the preeminent nation on the face of the earth for a hundred
years. And they established what was called Pax Britannia. But
it was all laid on the moral foundation of the Wesleyan revival.
Now, we in this country are facing much the same thing. Either
we will go in the chaos and anarchy -- I don't know if you've
had a chance to drive around here, but you look at some of the
empty buildings a couple of blocks away from here and think
how close you are to some of the riots that took place.
Today, one of the gang members said, "We're ready to do it
again if they don't convict Rodney King's attackers. And these
cities are ready to explode in flames all over the country.
We can see anarchy in our nation, just like that. It's like
Or, we can see a restoration of individual accountability,
of self-restraint, of Biblical morality.
be a tremendous spiritual revival sweep the land and millions
can come to Christ. And our churches will be full, and God's
people will take their proper place in this society, and the
role will be the rule of God Almighty in benevolence and not
the dictatorship of some mob.
We may well
hold the key in our hands to speak those words to bring people
to Jesus. We have the microphones, we have the transmitters,
we have the satellite capability. We can mobilize prayer. We
can mobilize community action. We can bring together thousands
of churches in concert together.
I am convinced
on the political scene that if the evangelical churches, the
Roman Catholic churches, the Orthodox Jewish people, people
of Roman Catholic, Orthodox -- all this together will work together
that we can elect anybody to any office at any level. We can
elect school boards, state legislatures, city councils, mayors,
governors, House members, senators. We don't have to be under
the rule of people who engage in bizarre activities. We can
see people of righteousness.
The Bible says, "When the righteous
are in authority, the people rejoice." (Proverbs 29:2) And, we can do that.
And the other
thing we can do, that's even more important, we can begin to
unite in prayer. We can call on the audiences and watch and
listen to us to begin prayer. We can ask people to pray every day.
We can pray every day at noon. We can pray at 6 in the morning
or 6 at night. We can pray at midnight.
We can have
round-the-clock prayer chains, and we can cry out to God for
a mighty spiritual awakening in this nation. And our God will
give us what no man, no group and no government can give us.
He will give us a revival in the hearts of people -- that the
hearts of the fathers might be to the children, and the children
the wisdom of the just. And together we might serve the Lord
Ladies and gentlemen, in closing, I want to say what is always
uppermost in my mind -- I'm sure in yours too -- unto whom much
is given, much will be required. You're a special people. Peter
said, "We're a royal priesthood, a chosen nation, that you might
(this is not King James, this is RSV), broadcast the perfection’s
of Him "who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light."
We are a royal
priesthood that we would have the privilege of broadcasting
the Gospel. Magnify your calling. Don't think, well I've just
got a little FM, or I've just got a one kilowatt AM, or I've got
a little UHF, or I've just got a little satellite transmitter,
or whatever. Any opportunity you've got to reach out to the
community, it is important.
much is given, much is going to be required. And I believe
firmly that these next seven years are going to be crucial for
the destiny of America. And I believe when we come together,
in Washington or wherever, in solemn convention in the year
2000, we'll look back over these seven years, and we're going
to say "we didn't fail. God gave us a mandate and we were not
disobedient to the divine commission. And, before the Lord,
we travailed, and God, through His grace, gave us this land."
God bless you, and thank you very much.