VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (March 2) - Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson, criticized by some evangelicals for comments about Venezuela's president and Israel's prime minister, lost a bid for re-election to the National Religious Broadcasters' board of directors.
Robertson, founder of the Virginia Beach-based Christian Broadcasting Network, was one of 38 candidates for 33 board seats during the NRB's recent convention. The group represents mostly evangelical radio and TV broadcasters.
NRB President Frank Wright said there was no broad effort to distance the group from Robertson. But "there was broad dismay with some of Pat's comments and a feeling they were not helpful to Christian broadcasters in general," he said in Wednesday's Washington Post.
In the past few months, Robertson suggested that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez should be assassinated and that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for pulling out of the Gaza Strip.
A Robertson spokeswoman said Thursday that he had been a board member for 30 years but attended only one board meeting "due to his extensive schedule."
"It was amicable and expected that he would not continue to serve" on the board, spokeswoman Angell Watts said in a statement.
Robertson has had a close relationship with the NRB, which named him Christian Broadcaster of the Year in 1989. The network's latest tax statement shows that CBN donated $161,300 to the NRB in 2004-05, The Virginian-Pilot newspaper of Norfolk reported Thursday.
Among the successful candidates for the board was Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the Washington-based American Center for Law and Justice, a nonprofit group founded by Robertson. Also on the NRB board is Michael D. Little, CBN president.