I guess by now it should be no surprise when Pat Robertson says something dumb, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be called on it. This time, it’s about divorce, and an amazing piece of advice he gave a questioner on his 700 Club program yesterday. Christianity Today has the lowdown:
Pat Robertson advised a viewer of yesterday’s 700 Club to avoid putting a “guilt trip” on those who want to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer’s. During the show’s advice segment, a viewer asked Robertson how she should address a friend who was dating another woman “because his wife as he knows her is gone.” Robertson said he would not fault anyone for doing this. He then went further by saying it would be understandable to divorce a spouse with the disease.
“That is a terribly hard thing,” Robertson said. “I hate Alzheimer’s. It is one of the most awful things because here is a loved one—this is the woman or man that you have loved for 20, 30, 40 years. And suddenly that person is gone. They’re gone. They are gone. So, what he says basically is correct. But I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something he should divorce her and start all over again. But to make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her.”
Co-host Terry Meeuwsen asked Pat, “But isn’t that the vow that we take when we marry someone? That it’s For better or for worse. For richer or poorer?”
Robertson said that the viewer’s friend could obey this vow of “death till you part” because the disease was a “kind of death.” Robertson said he would understand if someone started another relationship out of a need for companionship.
Did you know that illness was a biblical ground for divorce? Me neither. Did you know that Alzheimer’s Disease is a “kind of death”? I didn’t, either, especially since you could make the same kind of argument for any kind of terminal illness that impairs mental capabilities. I understand that Robertson is trying to be “compassionate,” but in the process he’s saying that when someone is no longer up to snuff in the memory department, it’s OK to treat them as if they are no longer human, but simply a disposable thing that can be tossed aside when they muck up our pursuit of happiness. It sounds from this article like even his co-host was surprised (maybe shocked) at the bizarre idea of Pat Robertson turning Singerian utilitarian.
Will someone at CBN please turn off this guy’s microphone?