Pat Robertson Endorsement Sparks Backlash

By: Tom Squitieri

When the Rev. Pat Robertson endorsed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the presidency, he created a schism among evangelical Republicans – one that may cost the GOP the White House next year.

Since Robertson, the founder of the influential 700 Club, stood with Giuliani at a joint press conference on Nov. 7, a major backlash has been under way in the evangelical community over the endorsement.

“It is my pleasure to announce my support for America’s Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, a proven leader who is not afraid of what lies ahead and who will cast a hopeful vision for all Americans,” Robertson said during the news conference in Washington, D.C.

Robertson, himself a former presidential candidate who ran on a staunchly pro-family platform in 1988, has bewildered Christian conservatives by backing Giuliani, a staunch supporter of abortion and gay rights.

“This is the final straw. It is just bizarre,” Steve Scheffler, head of the Iowa Christian Alliance, told Newsmax. Scheffler’s organization split from Robertson’s Christian Coalition just over a year ago.

“It’s going to hurt him,” Scheffler says. “For years and years he talked about what issues are important. This makes a mockery of it all. It is a complete betrayal to our movement. It’s a disgrace.”

Scheffler, who worked on Robertson’s 1988 presidential campaign in Iowa, says he and many others in the evangelical movement feel betrayed.

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