In an unprecedented move, Pat Robertson has declared it permissible to divorce your spouse if he or she has Alzheimer’s.
Not only does this make old Patsy a horrible human being (right there with Stalin, Pinochet, and Barry Bonds), but a very poor reader of Christianity’s historical teachings on marriage. Which is interesting because he certainly purports to be an expert on Christian marriage (i.e., only straight people have the privilege of getting divorced–ya’ see gay folks, Pat is actually trying to protect you from disobeying Jesus like the near 40% of married heterosexual Christians do when they decide it is time to move on–you should thank him for it). Yet, in this case, despite marriage existing for better or worse, through sickness and in health, and as a covenantal relationship that reflects Christ’s love for the church . . . apparently, if the church becomes sick enough–you know, develops a touch of dementia–Christ can forsake it and find another church that will, at the very least, remember his name.
When pressed about his creative legitimation of divorce, he provided two particularly insightful comments:
First, he said, “Get some ethicist besides me to give you the answer.”
What a terribly interesting thing to say. Why would we need an ethicist, Pat, when we have Jesus? Hasn’t that been your modus operandi all these years? That’s a really odd comment coming from the founder of a Christian university and the 700 Club. But, alas, it is just further evidence that he has never based any of his propaganda off of Jesus’s teachings. So, in that regard, thanks for making it so easy to call you out.
Second, as if to legitimate his response and remain within the parameters of Jesus’s very strict teachings on divorce (i.e., do not do it except in the case of adultery), he referred to Alzheimer’s as “a kind of death.” This, of course, makes absolutely no sense as adultery is neither death nor a “kind” of death. Plus, what would death, or an insanely non-scientific “kind of death” have to do with grounds for divorce? And even if such a comment did make sense (I’m trying to be charitable here), is he suggesting that a couple should stay together if one of them is sick, but not too sick? Then it’s okay to bolt?
Clearly, this man is senile (I only hope his wife doesn’t leave him).
Having to listen to his inane comments about any and everything is certainly a kind of death for me. Nevertheless, Pat goes on to suggest that as long as you put their diseased bodies in a nursing home, Jesus will, apparently, think you’ve done enough.
Now, go forth my son and enjoy the fruits of some ‘strange.’
Pat Robertson said it’s okay.
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.