Rev. Pat Robertson put his foot in his mouth the other day when he used the occasion of news that Ariel Sharon had suffered a devastating stroke to engage in some musings about biblical prophesies. That's bad enough, but it got worse when he seemed to say Sharon's stroke was God's response to Sharon giving lands of Israel to the Palestinians.
Rebukes were issued far and wide: from Israel, from the White House, from some of Robertson's most closely held supporters.
Thursday — just over an hour ago — Robertson issued an apology via satellite feed, a letter which he read aloud directed to Sharon's son.
Now I am told by one of Robertson's closest confidants that this incident has seriously shaken the reverend and he has been involved in a period of self-reflection.
The point of this episode for Robertson or anyone else who speaks out on public issues is be careful and be afraid. Sometimes what you say can be taken in a way you might not have meant it, and sometimes it can come back to haunt you.
Robertson has had other episodes along these lines. The one about Hugo Chavez wasn't so great either, if only because there are some words that shall not be spoken.
The reverend has asked forgiveness. Some people will and some won't. The real question is if this is the end of Pat Robertson making news he'd rather not.
That's My Word.
Watch John Gibson weekdays at 5 p.m. ET on "The Big Story" and send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Read Your Word