"Carnal" and "Selfish" are just two of the words Christian leaders have used to describe Pat Robertson's assertion that having a spouse with Alzheimer's is a good ground for divorce.
"Mr. Robertson has said Alzheimer's is paramount to death," said Wiley Drake, Ph.D., president of the Congressional Prayer Conference of Washington D.C. "I certainly disagree, there is no biblical approval of divorce."
Drake, who is also a pastor, told The Christian Post that quite a few of his parishioners had varying stages of the disease and they were "very much alive."
Despite Robertson acknowledging the issue was beyond his ken, "The 700 Club" host stated:
"I hate Alzheimer's. It is one of the most awful things because here's the 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."
Robertson's comments were in response to a viewer who shared with "The 700 Club" that a friend whose wife has Alzheimer's was "bitter at God for allowing his wife to be in that condition" and was seeing another woman.
Robertson, without citing any Scriptural support, said that the man "should divorce and start all over," adding that adequate care should also be arranged for the soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Pastor David Wright, CEO of DOersTV, a free online Christian TV network, called Robertson's reaction a "perfect example of a Christian leader speaking from his flesh and not from the Spirit."
"Pat spoke from a 'world' perspective' and not a 'Word' perspective," Wright told CP, adding that such comments made sense "from a carnal, selfish point of view."
"The 700 Club" co-host Terry Meeuwsen challenged Robertson's response, noting that couples vow "for better, for worse" when marrying.
Robertson countered with, "You said 'till death do us part.' This (suffering from Alzheimer's) is a kind of death."
"I certainly wouldn't put a guilt trip on you if you decided that you had to have companionship…you're lonely," he added.
Drake stated that there was "certainly" a need for companionship but argued the need “should be met by family members. Not another woman or another activity with a girlfriend."
"It is adultery," he told CP. "For a man to seek personal companionship with another woman is a violation of scripture…a violation of the Holy Word of God."
Wright said of Christians, "Our standards are much higher, because they are standards set by God and not by society, especially when it comes to marriage."