Pat Robertson may be the founder of the once-powerful Christian Coalition. He may attract nearly a million viewers a day to his "700 Club" television show. But when he claims to make divine prophecies -- as he did, again, last week -- many evangelicals say he undermines the credibility of their beliefs.
In the past, Robertson has called for the assassination of a political leader and predicted tsunamis, but last week, he said God spoke to him and revealed that a massive terrorist strike would happen in the United States in late 2007.
"It's downright embarrassing," said Todd Spitzer, pastor at Regeneration in Oakland and Dolores Park Church in San Francisco. "When he makes these statements and ties God's name to it, he's like the self-proclaimed spokesman for God and evangelical Christianity. It's an obstacle to us when we want to present a reasonable faith."
The more outrageous or quirky the comment, the quicker it zips into newspapers and television news programs and floods the Web. The result, evangelical ministers say, is that sincere believers get tarnished in the process.
The Bay Area, despite perceptions to the contrary, has dozens of evangelical churches, including many of the region's largest. Evangelical ministers said they are constantly battling stereotypes of evangelicals as uncritical thinkers who are "marching lockstep to some leader." They said Robertson's comments only strengthen those misperceptions.
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