Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pat Robertson meets Michael Nesmith

Pat Robertson has stepped in it again. It is somewhat tiresome to continue chronicling the missteps of this aging relic of pop culture evangelicalism, but the amusement factor seems to be elevated every time he opens his mouth. The latest target of his pungent commentary on current events is -- What else? -- the David Petraeus affair.
The Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) has issued a statement defending its chairman Pat Robertson's recent comments on the military sex scandal involving CIA Director Gen. David Petraeus and author Paula Broadwell, saying that Robertson's comments have been skewed in an attempt to discredit the famed televangelist.
Chris Roslan, spokesman for CBN, issued a statement shortly after Robertson's comments, which he made on the Monday, Nov. 12 and Tuesday, Nov. 13 episodes of the "The 700 Club", CBN's flagship program.

"In his comments about General Petraeus, Dr. Robertson clearly stated that he does not condone sexual immorality, a fact that was left out by certain bloggers in an effort to discredit him," Roslan stated, according to

Robertson first spoke on Gen. Petraeus' affair on Monday, when he told "The 700 Club" viewers that the affair between Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell, was a matter of "propinquity."

"[Petraeus] is a Lieutenant Colonel, [Broadwell] is an extremely good-looking woman," Robertson said on Monday's episode.

"She is a marathon runner, [...] she's running with him and she's writing a biography. I think the term is 'propinquity,' and there was a lot of propinquity going on," Robertson added.

"I mean, who knows? The man's off in a foreign land, and he's lonely, and here's a good-looking lady throwing herself at him. I mean, he's a man," Robertson concluded.

The ordained Southern Baptist minister spoke on the military scandal again on Tuesday's episode of "The 700 Club", saying of Gen. Petraeus: "He's got four stars, he's written a book on counterinsurgency, he's the acknowledged expert in the world, he's one of the greatest generals America has ever produced, yet he can't keep his pants zipped."
Joel Miller was quick to criticize Robertson and his unique choice of words.
Petraeus and Broadwell came together while she worked on her book about him. “I think the word is ‘propinquity,’” said Robertson, then joked, “There was a lot of propinquity going on.”

It’s worth looking at that word. Propinquity — personal proximity that results in attraction — is hardly an excuse for infidelity. If anything the Christian tradition outright warns people about it. After being propositioned on several occasions, Joseph runs away from his temptress. Solomon warns his son to stay clear of the seductress. Paul tells us to make no provision for our fleshly lusts. And Jesus says to look on someone lustfully is the same as committing adultery.

Ever wonder how TMZ breaks celebrity news? They go where celebrities are making news. It’s the same with infidelity. If you want something, go where it happens. If you don’t want it, stay away.
It is highly unlikely that Pat Robertson is a connoisseur of the music of erstwhile Monkee and country rock pioneer Michael Nesmith. Up until now, however, I had rarely heard "propinquity" used in any other context than this: