It is not uncommon to find holy men (and women), preachers, and seers holding forth on the portents of natural disasters and what may have caused them. Sometimes those same individuals are wont to extend the biblical implications of the natural occurrences into other areas. Take, for instance, religious leader Pat Robertson’s recent explanation for the crack that appeared in the Washington Monument after the earthquake that shook the East Coast on Tuesday.
“I don’t want to get weird on this, so please take it for what it’s worth,” Robertson said on his television show, “The 700 Club,” “but it seems to me the Washington Monument is a symbol of America’s power. It has been the symbol of our great nation, we look at that monument and we say this is one nation under God. Now there’s a crack in it.”
He then asked his viewers: “Is that a sign from the Lord? Is that something that has significance, or is it just the result of an earthquake?”
Robertson also noted that the crack in the long-standing monument was symbolic, then referred to the shredding of the curtain in the Temple of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. The Temple, known as Herod’s Temple, was a religious center and a symbol of power. In the Christian bible, Jesus foretold the destruction of the Temple, a prophecy found in the Book of Matthew, and of its future rebuilding, allegorically comparing the building to his death and his physical return one day (referred to by Christians as the “Second Coming”). The Temple was destroyed in 70 C.E.
Seismologists explain the East Coast earthquake as a 5.8 magnitude tremor that rocked the Eastern seaboard. The epicenter, according to the U. S. Geological Survey, was in Louisa County, Va., about 40 miles northwest of the state capital in Richmond. The crack in the Washington Monument, which has been closed to visitors indefinitely to repair the damage, is explained as being caused by the earthquake, according to the National Park Service.
Pat Robertson has often used his interpretation of the bible, biblical stories, and prophecies to explain events, although only those concerning natural disasters seem to get him national attention. In 2010, Robertson suggested on “The 700 Club” that the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti was a result of the island nation being “cursed” due to a “pact with the devil” made two centuries before by slaves to gain their independence from the French. He cited as proof of the curse, actually a Haitian legend, the relative prosperity of neighboring Dominican Republican (which shares half the island with Haiti).
Robertson, appearing on “The 700 Club” in 2005 and using the biblical Book of Leviticus for support, noted that Hurricane Katrina was a result of America’s embracing of abortion. He also visited the theme of a symbolically weakened nation as well.
“The 700 Club,” which is a program broadcast on the Christian Broadcast Network (CBN), is hosted by Robertson, CBN founder and chairman. According to his website, the network is seen in 200 countries and heard in 70 languages, reaching an audience that averages 1 million people daily.