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Pat Robertson Says Alzheimer’s Disease is Grounds…for Divorce?


"...he should divorce her and start all over again."

Pat Robertson is known for making controversial statements. His latest pronouncement is sure to inspire intense debate, especially among those who follow strict religious teachings on marriage.

This morning, Gawker, NBC and a number of other outlets are reporting that Robertson believes Alzheimer's Disease is a permissible excuse for divorce.

As a prominent voice in the conservative, Christian world, most would assume that the famed faith leader would allow for divorce -- from a Biblical perspective -- only under circumstances of adultery. In a video clip that was posted by Right Wing Watch (via Gawker), a woman by the name of "Andreas" writes in to ask Robertson for advice.

According to Andreas, her friend is married to a woman who has come down with Alzheimer's Disease. As the disease has intensified, the afflicted can no longer even recognize her husband. As a result, her friend has become bitter at God for allowing such an illness to take hold of his wife and he has begun seeing another woman.

Andreas isn't sure what to tell her friend, as he justifies his actions by claiming that his wife, as he once knew her, is gone. Robertson's answer to this debacle is somewhat surprising.

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

Robertson's co-host, Terry Meeusen, seemed to push back against these statements. "But isn't that the vow that we take when we marry someone? That it's for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer?," she asked.

To that, the famed Christian leader said, "If you respect that vow, you say 'til death do us part. This is a kind of death." You can watch this dialogue below:

Here there seems to be a theological disagreement, as Alzheimer's would certainly be considered a "sickness." Many would contend that even in this difficult scenario, the vows that Meeusen mentioned must stand.

Others, though, may agree with Robertson, claiming that it would be better for an individual to move on than to stay in a marriage that has no hope of improving.

One of the elements that news reports missed in analyzing Robertson's response is that Christians generally believe that sex outside of marriage and adultery are sinful activities. His encouragement for this man to leave his wife may be rooted in an attempt to advise him in avoiding these sins.

Still, leaving a marriage outside of the realm of divorcing a cheating spouse is also considered to be sinful by many Christian adherents.

Pat Robertson has weighed in on this matter, but what do you think? Is divorcing someone who has Alzheimer's an understandable act? Take our poll:

(h/t Gawker)

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