By Stephen C. Webster on September 13, 2013
A video of television preacher and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Robertson making outlandish comments about gay men transmitting AIDS via rings on their fingers has been restored to YouTube after activists with Right Wing Watch appealed its removal under rules allowing fair use of media for journalistic comment.
 
“You know what they do in San Francisco, some in the gay community there they want to get people so if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands, and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” Robertson said on “The 700 Club” two weeks ago. “Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder.”
 
Watch: 
 
Robertson’s remarks about supposedly malicious and intentional spread of AIDS by members of the LGBT community in San Francisco were shocking enough that the Christian Broadcasting Network filed copyright claims everywhere the footage was republished, demanding the video be taken down. While they were successful at first, Right Wing Watch, which reliably snips Robertson’s more oddball comments for wider distribution, did not accept no for an answer. 
 
“CBN not only had the video we posted of Robertson’s comments removed from YouTube by complaining that it violated copyright laws, but also edited the comments out of its own broadcast of the show,” they noted.
 
It’s not the first time Robertson’s comments have been edited out by CBN, either. Last September he advised a man who wrote into the show about his supposedly rebellious wife, “Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her.” 
 

“When she was growing up, nobody made her behave, and now you’ve got a 13-year-old in a 30-year-old woman’s body,” Robertson added. “Now, what do you do with that? Well, you can’t divorce her according to scripture. So I say, move to Saudi Arabia.”
 
That too was apparently embarrassing enough for CBN to scrub from rebroadcasts and online publication, but it did not go unnoticed online. Sadly for Pat, those two examples are part of a long line of alarmingly out-of-touch comments from the man who once challenged Ronald Reagan for the Republican Party’s nomination to the presidency. 
 
It’s enough to make you wonder if he’s got much longer on the air, especially when his host network is ashamed to rebroadcast his words, yet appears unable to stop them from spilling onto the Internet for all to see.

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Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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