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Scottish bank torches plans involving U.S. televangelist

EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) -- As expected, the Bank of Scotland dropped plans to launch a U.S. telephone banking service with religious broadcaster Pat Robertson after he referred to Scotland as a "dark land" because it tolerates homosexuals, the bank said Saturday.

During a meeting in Boston on Friday, the bank's Chief Executive Peter Burt and Robertson "agreed that the changed external circumstances made the proposed joint venture between Robertson Financial Services (RFS) and Bank of Scotland unfeasible."Robertson "expressed regret that media comments about him had made it impossible to proceed," the statement said.

The bank said it will go ahead with its telephone banking subsidiary in the United States, buying out Robertson's financial stake in the project.

Bank executives decided to review the business link with Robertson after watching his comments, made in a television broadcast.

On his "700 Club" television show on May 18, the former U.S. presidential candidate criticized Scotland for its tolerance of homosexuals, calling it a "a rather dark land."

"In Europe, the big word is tolerance," Robertson said. "Homosexuals are riding high in the media. . . . And in Scotland, you can't believe how strong the homosexuals are. It's just unbelievable."