“We declare in the name of the Lord that you shall go no farther, you shall do no damage in this area."


What: With Hurricane Florence menacing parts of the eastern seaboard, televangelist Pat Robertson on Monday had some choice words for the storm: "Go away." 


During a service at his Christian Broadcasting Network studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia, Robertson led his congregation in prayer with the intention of disrupting the tropical cyclone's projected intensity and path, which threatens to collide with the church. 

“We declare in the name of the Lord that you shall go no farther, you shall do no damage in this area,” Robertson said. “We declare a shield of protection all over Tidewater and we declare a shield of protection over those innocent people in the path of this hurricane. In Jesus’ holy name, be out to sea!”

Robertson, who is an evangelical media mogul, went on to express certainty that with enough faith: "This Hurricane will be dispelled." He rallied his congregation to spiritual action, saying that "this area that is counting on us to pray for them.”


Before God could get involved, though, the president, whom Robertson has ​prostrated himself before in the past, stepped in. On Tuesday, he ​extended a state of emergency -- and the accompanying federal aid relief -- from the Carolinas to Robertson's Virginia. 


Why: Belief in supernatural causes for natural phenomenon has been shown to ​promote community and comfort. But at least in Robertson's case, it has a dark side. 


Robertson has a history of blaming natural disasters and national tragedies on particular groups of people: Atheists, gays, and feminists have all taken the fall for not being holy enough to stave off God's divine wrath.


It is unknown if Robertson offered any constructive advice to his congregation, like ​evacuation, or if CBN is making any earthly resources available to those in the storm's projected path. 


Adam Johnson is an editorial intern at Pluralist.

You can reach him on Twitter @4DAMDAVID