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-Should a Christian Divorce a Spouse with Alzheimer’s?

by Dr. D ~ September 17th, 2011

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Should a Christian divorce a spouse who has Alzheimer’s? One who no longer even knows you and certainly cannot fulfill the regular duties of a husband or wife?

No.

There is no scriptural basis for divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s. Actually the teaching of Jesus would call on Christians to be self sacrificing and continue to care for and provide a loving environment. Divorce is tantamount to abandonment and violates traditional Christian vows which call for faithfulness to one’s spouse “in sickness and in health…to love and to cherish… till death us do part.”

I have never heard or read of any major Christian pastor or leader teaching that divorce or abandonment in the face of Alzheimer’s was justified in any way. At least not until this week.

Pat Robertson told his “700 Club” audience on Tuesday that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s was OK in response to a letter from a viewer. He said he wouldn’t “put a guilt trip” on someone for divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease, calling Alzheimer’s itself “a kind of death.”:

“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.”

In the letter, the viewer was trying to make a choice between ‘seeing someone else’ and committing adultery or divorcing his spouse altogether. Incredibly Pat who is supposed to be Christian minister chose divorce as the better course of action with the caveat that ‘custodial care and somebody looking after her” should be provided for. Heck yes somebody should be looking after her—her husband made that commitment when they got married in the first place. What was Pat thinking?

Again, there is absolutely no scriptural justification for Robertson’s response. In fact the weight of all Christian theology, teaching, and history is against him on this issue. He is just flat out wrong from a Christian perspective.

Meanwhile, his comments have gone viral both in the main stream media and on the Internet. You can find references to it everywhere, particularly on sites that are normally opposed to Christianity.

Forget the fact that no other Christian leader will support Robertson on this issue and many have come out against him on this. Conservative Christians are the real target here and it is being used on some sites as an argument against supporters of traditional marriage since Robertson is a supposed leader. It is being presented as an example of  just how ‘hypocritical’ those conservative Christians can really be.  The scary part is that it is actually getting traction.  Sometimes the truth doesn’t really matter, it only gets in the way.           *Top

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1 Response to -Should a Christian Divorce a Spouse with Alzheimer’s?

  1. Brian

    I submit, Dr. D, that Pat Robertson goes out of his way, about every 3 to 6 months, to say something shocking or inflammatory. The purpose of such remarks is attract media attention to Pat Robertson. The fact that such remarks provide aid and comfort to those who oppose Christianity (and, more specifically, to those who oppose Evangelical Protestantism) seems not to register with, or concern, Robertson.

    Brian

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