• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Pat Robertson: Divorcing A Spouse With Alzheimer’s Disease Is Fine With Me

I may not be the world’s best expert, but this doesn’t sound very Christian to me:

Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson told his “700 Club” viewers that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s is justifiable because the disease is “a kind of death.”

During the portion of the show where the one-time Republican presidential candidate takes questions from viewers, Robertson was asked what advice a man should give to a friend who began seeing another woman after his wife started suffering from the incurable neurological disorder.

“I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her,” Robertson said.

The chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, which airs the “700 Club,” said he wouldn’t “put a guilt trip” on anyone who divorces a spouse who suffers from the illness, but added, “Get some ethicist besides me to give you the answer.”

Most Christian denominations at least discourage divorce, citing Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Mark that equate divorce and remarriage with adultery.

Terry Meeuwsen, Robertson’s co-host, asked him about couples’ marriage vows to take care of each other “for better or for worse” and “in sickness and in health.”

“If you respect that vow, you say ’til death do us part,’” Robertson said during the Tuesday broadcast. “This is a kind of death.”

Perhaps this explains why a supposed conservative like Newt Gingrich had no problem divorcing a wife while she had cancer.

Video:

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Franklin says:

    First things first: nobody should listen to anything Robertson says.

    That said, it would be extraordinarily trying to constantly care for a spouse with that very terrible disease. I know someone who does, and it’s very impressive, but I’m not sure everyone could handle it 24/7. It would be natural to occasionally try to fulfill some of the voids, and I would not call out somebody for doing so. But he’s suggesting to not only divorce but essentially desert (leave the person completely in somebody else’s care)? That’s cold! And yes, from what I remember, not very Christian.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. mattb says:

    If Alzheimer’s is a kind of death, then by this same logic should support the option of euthenasia for people during the early onset of the disease.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  3. john personna says:

    “a kinds of death” is a far cry from “Terri Schiavo”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. @Franklin:

    You don’t have to tell me what it’s like for caregivers of the terminally ill, or Alzheimer’s patients. I’ve had family members go through it. They stuck by, even when it got tough. Robertson’s response is cold, callous, and inhuman.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. @john personna:

    Speaking of which, weren’t the people on the right criticizing Terri Schiavo’s husband for being in a relationship with another woman while she was in an irreversible coma?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  6. Boyd says:

    I was struggling over how to respond to this, and I decided to keep it simple: I disagree with Mr. Robertson. Strongly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  7. Fog says:

    I guess Pat is in favor of situational ethics after all…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  8. @Franklin: I would argue that those who are not prepared for such a fate should it come down should not marry.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  9. Rob in CT says:

    In sickness and in health, yeah, yeah, sure, whatever…

    ;)

    Pat Robertson is a scumbag, but any thinking person remotely familiar with him already knew that, didn’t they?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  10. anjin-san says:

    That said, it would be extraordinarily trying to constantly care for a spouse with that very terrible disease. I know someone who does, and it’s very impressive, but I’m not sure everyone could handle it 24/7

    I think that’s the deal you make when you get married. If I get sick, I kinda expect my wife to take care of me. She expects the same. If you can’t handle it, stay single.

    Of course we are talking about right wing family values, which also include a man’s inalienable right to dump wife #1 for a young hottie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  11. michael reynolds says:

    What if it’s not Alzheimers? What if it’s a really bad cold? Because that can be gross sometimes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  12. John P says:

    The most startling fact is that Pat Robertson makes his coin speaking about issues through a Biblical prism. The New Testament permits divorce in only on instance – adultery. Outside of that, divorce or putting away of your spouse, is unscriptural and not approved by God.

    Obviously, if you do not believe that the New Testament is inspired by God then that’s another matter as the law allows for no-fault divorce. As a man answering a question who is supposed to believe in the tenets of the New Testament, Pat Robertson has fallen woefully short.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  13. DaTechGuy says:

    Mr. Robinson is falling into the error of suggesting the “easy” thing rather than the right thing out of a sense of compassion.

    There is a difference between forgiving sin and excusing it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. Jay says:

    I suggest you find the unedited clip. The one not put out by an organization with a clear agenda. The context is much different in that regard. He is not just casually saying, “Oh go ahead and divorce your wife.”

    “The most startling fact is that Pat Robertson makes his coin speaking about issues through a Biblical prism. The New Testament permits divorce in only on instance – adultery. Outside of that, divorce or putting away of your spouse, is unscriptural and not approved by God.”

    Yep. And the FULL video and transcript includes that kind of scenario.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  15. Franklin says:

    @Christopher Bowen: That’s fine, but we would probably need to ban all marriages before the age of 45 because most young people can’t truly comprehend such a situation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. John P says:

    @Jay: In fairness Jay, I didn’t watch the entire clip in context. What have I missed that would clarify the comments. Is Mr. Robertson endorsing other reasons for divorce in addition to adultery?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0