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Pat Robertson Alzheimer's Quote Continues to be Rebuked by Christian Leaders

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  • pat robertson
    (Photo: CBN via The Christian Post)
    Pat Robertson, founder and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, speaks on "The 700 Club" on Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2011.
By Andrea Marcela Madambashi, Christian Post Correspondent
September 21, 2011|2:02 pm

Famous televangelist Pat Robertson is still drawing criticism for giving controversial advice regarding a spouse with Alzheimer’s – saying that it would be understandable to divorce a husband or wife with the disease.

Robertson told viewers of “The 700 Club” on CBN that divorce would be OK in a situation that involves something as terrible as Alzheimer’s.

"I know it sounds cruel but if he's going to do something he should divorce her and start all over again," he said, "[and] make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her."

The famous evangelist was challenged by his Co-host Terry Meeuwsen, who asked "Isn't that the vow we take when we marry someone, that's for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer?"

But Robertson responded, "You said 'till death do us part;' this (suffering from Alzheimer's) is a kind of death."

Paul R. Wolpe, director of the Emory Center for Ethics in Atlanta disagrees with the idea that spouses should be allowed to divorce a person who has develop Alzheimer’s.

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"I think he misunderstands how important emotional support is to people with Alzheimer's. Except for the most extreme and close to death people with Alzheimer's, they respond to emotional context. The emotional part of their lives is the last part to go," he said, according to CNN.

"I think abandoning a spouse because they have Alzheimer's is unethical. Divorcing them or not divorcing them isn't an issue to me so much; it's abandonment," he said.

Robertson "did not say you have any responsibility to continue to try to support them emotionally, to visit them,” he said.

The senior director of constituent services of Alzheimer’s Association, Beth Kallmyer, also begged to differ with the stance that a person having Alzheimer’s could be considered as a kind of death.

"That person, even in the end stages, is still a person with a full history and a life that's been lived," she said.

According to Wiley Drake, Ph.D., president of the Congressional Prayer Conference of Washington D.C., divorce is not OK either: "I certainly disagree; there is no biblical approval of divorce."

Drake has previously told The Christian Post that quite a few of his parishioners had varying stages of the disease and they were "very much alive."

He abolishes the idea of having companionship with the excuse that the spouse will be “lonely.” 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."

 

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