VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., March 7 (UPI) -- Televangelist Pat Robertson sparked controversy when he said he favors legalizing marijuana and prayer could have prevented the deadly weather in the Midwest.
Robertson made both comments during recent airings of his "700 Club" talk show, part of the Christian Broadcast Network based in Virginia Beach, Va., the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.
Robertson blamed current marijuana laws on "liberals."
"I just think it's shocking how many of these young people wind up in prison and they get turned into hard-core criminals because they had a possession of a very small amount of controlled substance," a transcript of his remarks on the show obtained by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition and posted online indicated. "It's time we stop locking up people for possession of marijuana. We just can't do it anymore."
Robertson also was jeered for his comments about the tornadoes that ripped through the Midwest and the South last week, killing dozens of people.
Asked why did "God send the tornadoes," Robertson said the victims were partly to blame, the Times said.
"God didn't send the tornadoes," he said. "God set up a world in which certain currents interfere and interact with other currents. If enough people were praying, He would intervene. You could pray. Jesus stilled the storm. You could still storms."
His remarks drew some blowback from Georgia residents.
"Personally, I thank God that I'm alive and that the damage wasn't greater," Yorkville, Ga., resident David Wilson told WAGA-TV, Atlanta. "I think that my neighbors are safe and not harmed in any way, although they've lost quite a bit of property. But this weather, I can't say this is God's fault."