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Pat Robertson says Alzheimer's advice to divorce your spouse and remarry was "misinterpreted"

Pat Robertson says Alzheimer's advice to divorce your spouse and remarry was "misinterpreted"

Pat Robertson is backtracking on the statement he made earlier this month to a caller into his show, who he advised to divorce his wife who had Alzheimer's disease, and "start all over:"

"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."

Christianity Today reports that Robertson has changed his tune, after being blasted by numerous Alzheimer's foundations. Yet what he says now is equally confusing and possibly offensive, especially as he laughed off the whole thing:

“I want to say I envy the Catholic priest, because when they have someone in confession it's all kept secret,” Robertson said and laughed. “When I have somebody asking me for advice, it spreads worldwide and it's misunderstood.”

Robertson recapped the story, saying, "Basically I'm saying, adultery is not a good thing, and you might as well straighten your life out, and the only way to do it is to kind of get your affair with your wife in order."

He stated he wasn't giving the "whole world" advice, just one particular case, and also acknowledged how he has stayed with his wife through her breast cancer, and when he had prostate cancer and surgery:

He said Monday on the 700 Club that he wasn't giving "general teaching for the world." Robertson said he has been married for 57 years, indicating his support for his wife who has had breast cancer and her support when he had prostate cancer and heart surgery.

"I mean we expect that. We love each other," he said. And of course you're with your wife or husband when they're sick. Good grief, yes. That's the way we should do it. And we expect it.”

Robertson also referred to the person asking the question as going "on and on and on." "I was not giving advice to the whole world, and nor was I counseling anybody to be unscriptural and leave their spouse," Robertson said.

"Please know that I believe the Bible. Please know that I never would tell anybody to leave their sick spouse. I never, never would say such a thing because I need my spouse when I get sick and she needs me when she gets sick." He said, "In sickness and in health, I believe it. So phew! "

He ended focusing on the specific case.

"And remember, they come to me asking for specific advice and I give them specific advice about their condition, not for the world. I'm not giving a theological [defense]; I'm not John Calvin giving the Institutes of the Christian Religion."

About Dakota O'Leary

Dakota O'Leary is a freethinker, and often sassy, scholar of theology and literature. She got her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Theology from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, and her Master of Arts degree in Theology and Literature from Antioch University-Midwest. She is a contributing writer focusing on eschatology, biblical prophecy, and general religious news. Dakota is a co-host of the God Discussion radio show, offering insight to the news stories of the week. We like to call her "our in-house Biblical prophecy expert" as her articles on eschatology have received over 200,000 views on God Discussion.
  • Oh so now he's back-peddling. Very interesting.

  • Jenn

    Pat Robertson…won’t you please put your foot in your mouth? My grandfather had Alzheimer’s for four years. Never did it cross my grandmother’s mind to leave the man she’d loved for 57 years. Alzheimer’s is horrible…but what about “for better or for worse”? My grandmother sought support from her circle of family and friends and was offered support group sessions from the hospital. If I heard that a spouse used Alzheimer’s as grounds for divorce, I would question if there had ever been true love in that marriage. I live in Thailand and knew a Thai woman who’d married an elderly, wealthy man. He developed Alzheimer’s and she immediately searched for grounds to divorce him. She studied all the Thailand divorce FAQs she could find to get out of the marriage. Perhaps Pat sees this example as how marriage should be; not the exemplary example of my grandpa and grandma.

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