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Pat Robertson criticized for endorsing divorce in Alzheimer’s cases

robertsonpat091711_optBY BOB HOLT

Amanda Smith, medical director of the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer's Institute in South Florida, believes that the idea of a spouse wanting to leave another due to Alzheimer’s is “bizarre.”

Smith’s comment came after television evangelist Pat Robertson added another to his extensive list of life lessons last week.

In reference to a viewer’s question about a friend who began seeing another woman after his wife developed Alzheimer’s, Robertson said, according to CNN, "I know it sounds cruel, but he should divorce her and start all over again, just make sure she has custodial care," he said.

"Isn't that the vow we take when we marry someone, that's for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer?" his co-anchor asked.

When Robertson’s co-anchor asked about the “for better or for worse, till death do us part” section of the marriage vows, Robertson responded, “Alzheimer's is a kind of death.”

Reactions from evangelical leaders was swift and harsh. Russell D. Moore, dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville told the New York Times, “This is more than cruelty. This is a repudiation of the gospel of Christ.”

Sandra Weintraub, professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Northwestern University school of medicine, said that advising spouses of Alzheimer’s sufferers to seek a divorce “strikes me as ludicrous.”

According to the Washington Post, Robertson did suggest that such a situation called for a professional ethicist to answer the question.

And Smith did not condemn Robertson. She told Tampa Bay Online that what Robertson didn't seem to understand is that people with Alzheimer's don't lose their feelings. "They have wants, they can enjoy the warmth and love of something safe and familiar,” she said.

Comments (15)
15 Wednesday, 26 October 2011 12:33
bradley trafton
What a fookin paragon of family values! He should get with Newt!
14 Tuesday, 20 September 2011 17:21
Maybe he has Alzheimers. Shouldn't that also mean that you can walk away from anyone in a similar condition? Why not just abandon the sick and dying because your life isn't what it used to be? This man is a joke and the fact that people still listen to him despite the crap he's said over the years is a sad testimony to their intelligence. I paraphrase some of his distortions, hateful and evil remarks:The ACLU, feminists, gays, etc. caused 9/11; Hatians sold their sold to the devil and God's been punishing them ever since; assassinate Hugo Chavez... AND now ditch your spouse with Alzheimers and move on if you have to. God will get you for that, Pat - and more. Your day's coming, too.
13 Sunday, 18 September 2011 13:52
Hiram Abiff
To those who would rather not practice "Pat's version of Christianity", remember; the opinions Pat preaches are not always the word of God.
** Even Satan can cite scripture for his purpose.

I will not publicly judge this man, however I do - with all my heart, consider him a false profit and, I will prey for him.

Many, many television evangelists have a hidden agenda, which has nothing to do with religion, salvation, or the word of GOD. Many today have been corrupted by fame, fortune, and prey on the weak minded, the meek, and those who have found wealth, but lost their soul.

Christianity is NOT following the teachings of Pat Robertson, or any other preacher for that matter.
Christianity is following the teachings of Jesus Christ.
We can discern from God's word what would amount to a serious warning if the spiritual leader steps out of line.
12 Sunday, 18 September 2011 12:32
Michelene Koch
First to Dinah Jones. David repented after his mistakes. Have we heard a change of heart from Mr. Robertson?? I too, am appalled at this statemant. Maybe I'm a little sensitive because I lost my Mother to Alz. just 9 years ago. I am so thankful my Dad was not of the same belief as Mr. Robertson. He stood by her until he passed just 3 months before Mom. Ye,s you loose your loved one twice with this awful disease. But remember it is a disease and we don't walk away from our sick spouse. I think Mr. Robertson and those that choose to continue to listen to him need our prayers!!!
11 Sunday, 18 September 2011 08:36
Love never fails
i am shocked and appaled at this! I am a Christian, and wonder what happened to the simple, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"? I am maried to a wonderful man who almost died 15 years ago due to an aneurysm and is now disabled. Abandon, divorce, leave? NEVER!!! What happened to 'for better OR worse, in sickness (alzheimers is an illness) or in health, forsaking all others till DEATH do us part' ? Would God leave us when we needed him most? I think not. shame on you Pat Robertson.
10 Sunday, 18 September 2011 08:22
J. Ross
"Greater Love has no man than to lay down His life for a friend."
9 Sunday, 18 September 2011 06:08
i can't remember
He obviously hasn't watched the movie "The Notebook".
8 Sunday, 18 September 2011 02:27
Dinah Jones
Evangelist/pastors/ministers are not exempted to commit mistakes/sins. David in the Bible"a man of God's heart did commit adultery and murder as well. So what I'm saying is that do not look at a person when it comes to following God but rather follow/obey the Word. Do not just put down a person because of 1 mistake.
7 Sunday, 18 September 2011 00:56
M.K. Kilgore
Is anyone except me concerned that this obviously demented person actually ran for the office of the President of the United States Of America a few years back? If this country has gotten that hard up for Presidential candidates it is just a matter of time until the Communist Chinese [who own a large portion of this country] take us over. I understand the Chinese languauge is one of the hardest languages there is to learn, but I will start training right away.
6 Sunday, 18 September 2011 00:45
M.K. Kilgore
If Pat Robertson is a true Christian, I have been misinformed for the last sixty two years, and need to change to another religion. If the folks that believe in him continue to support him after this latest anti- Christian statement, they should reevaluate their beliefs also. Just suppose the lady in question had come down with a stroke and was in the same mental state, would Robertson suggest she be abandoned and allow her husband to go whore hopping around?
5 Sunday, 18 September 2011 00:10
No PR is Good PR
I can't tell if this posted.

Here are the words to a song on this subject that Bob Dylan wrote (and I think he wrote it during his "Jesus Period"):

What good am I if I’m like all the rest
If I just turn away, when I see how you’re dressed
If I shut myself off so I can’t hear you cry
What good am I?

What good am I if I know and don’t do
If I see and don’t say, if I look right through you
If I turn a deaf ear to the thunderin’ sky
What good am I?

What good am I while you softly weep
And I hear in my head what you say in your sleep
And I freeze in the moment like the rest who don’t try
What good am I?

What good am I then to others and me
If I’ve had every chance and yet still fail to see
If my hands are tied must I not wonder within
Who tied them and why and where must I have been?

What good am I if I say foolish things
And I laugh in the face of what sorrow brings
And I just turn my back while you silently die
What good am I?
4 Saturday, 17 September 2011 23:11
Chris Chamberland
One one sign that the Holy Spirit has left the American el-cheapo church. I am shocked that that comment of his and from this point on, I part company with his religion which is obviously non-Christian. His comments fuels all Muslims around the world in their claim that the likes of Robertson are INFIDELS.
3 Saturday, 17 September 2011 22:16
Mary Prunier
My husband and I took care of my mom for 8 years when Alzheimers made our care necessary....I would never walk away from her and she was not "living dead'. Yes - she was different and needed care 24/7/365 but if we walk away from those in our lives at their time of need, then what good are we? Pat Robertson to me is an empty person with no value system and should not advise any one any subject other than the time of day.
2 Saturday, 17 September 2011 20:59
Hiram Abifff
You undoubted haven't communed with the Lord for quite some time.
Understandably, your high opinion of yourself has blinded your eyes and deafened your ears to the words of our Father, regarding Love, Compassion, and Marriage.
- Have you ever wondered; why, "In sickness and in health", is part of the wedding vow?
- There is more to marriage than physical attractions, gratifications, and even communication. Love, Mr. Robertson is Faith in our partner.. just as our Love for our Father in Heaven is based on our Faith, and, in return God loves us for our Faithfulness to Him.
You are quite mistaken Mr. Robertson. Mistaken on many issues, where you - Instead of preaching and teaching the Word of God; you preach rather your own diluted opinion.
We will not enter the kingdom of God, based upon your opinion, sir... and at this rate, you too should take some concern in the matter.
1 Saturday, 17 September 2011 18:54
My wife was diagnosed with "Picks Disease" which is a form of dementia in 2006. I must say that she has been teaching me what true love genuinely is, as I have had the opportunity to experience the grace of GOD as her primary care giver. She teaches me daily, even though she is beyond the ability to understand. I thank GOD for the day HE chose to bring her into my life! HE knew when HE joined us together exactly what HE was doing! I long for the day when I will again see my sweetheart in her new body created for HIS everlasting kingdom!

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