Till Madness Do Us Part

The other day on his “700 Hundred Club” program, Pat Robertson made a most astounding pronouncement in response to a man asking what advice he should give to a “friend” who began seeing another woman after his wife started suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. “I’m not quite sure what to tell him,” the man wrote.

“I hate Alzheimer’s,” Robertson said. “It is one of the most awful things because here is a 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.” Then came the controversial kicker… “I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again,” Robertson said. “But make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her,” he added.

Robertson’s sidekick Terry asked him about couples’ marriage vows to take care of each other “for better or for worse” and “in sickness and in health,” to which Robertson replied that “This is a kind of death.”

So, what do you think…


 

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15 Comments

Filed under Polls, Religion, Wingnuts

15 responses to “Till Madness Do Us Part

  1. Peter

    Does the widespread enraged and dismissive reaction of the American conservative Christian community give you any comfort that they aren’t quite as beholden to these televangelical fruitloops as you sometimes fear?

  2. No. It is not the dismissive who I generally worry about. You should read Okrent’s recent book on Prohibition to understand how radical groups manipulated single-issue cleavages in US politics. It’s still relevant today.

    http://www.npr.org/2010/05/10/126613316/prohibition-life-politics-loopholes-and-bathtub-gin

  3. Peter: Yeah, I guess I do actually take some degree of encouragement from the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Robertson’s position on this issue, but to be perfectly honest, not that much… After all, Robertson and a whole host of other televangilists and lunatic preachers that purport to be channelling God “say the darndest things” all the freaking time and there’s never really a murmur of disagreement or objection from conservative Christians.

    It just so happens that these particular comments were not only egregious, but also clearly in violation of the marriage vows that most everyone takes. Not, mind you, that they are exactly honoured in practice if one considers the rate of divorce or the statistics concerning the number of people who cheat on their spouse…

    I also think there’s another dynamic at play here and it may not even be a conscious one, but Robertson’s assertion that a neurological disease such Alzheimer’s is a “kind of death” raises a lot of troubling questions about other issues such as euthanasia. I mean, if someone is already considered “dead” for the purposes of the marriage vow, then why not actually put them out of their misery? Similarly, what other conditions such as profound retardation might be deemed a “kind of death”?

    If those sorts of notions arise in connection with Robertson’s comments – which they should – then I think for most folks it’s easier to just say he was flat wrong or that he misspoke and move on rather than consider that he may have had a legitimate point to some degree and then have to work through all of the logical consequences and ethical dilemmas stemming from his pronouncement.

  4. George Grant – a Christian, Anglican – would have had a field day with the philosophical inconsistencies of this latest utterance.

    http://www.anansi.ca/titles.cfm?pub_id=7

  5. “If tyranny is to come in North America it will come cosily and on cat’s feet. It will come with the denial of the rights of the unborn and of the aged, the denial of the rights of the mentally retarded, the insane and the economically less privileged. In fact it will come with the denial of rights to all those who cannot defend themselves. It will come in the name of the cost-benefit analysis of human life. ” George P. Grant.

  6. It was upon reading this one quote and then reading deeper into Grant and the Ancients, that my life was turned around – and away – from the neo-liberalism of the 1980’s. True Story.

    It’s not too late, Peter!

  7. Prescient indeed! Good call.

  8. Rotterdam

    Robertson has embraced the liberal notion of easy divorce. This does not sit well traditional conservatives.
    http://www.greeleygazette.com/press/?p=11120

  9. It’s the liberal’s fault again (rolls eyes).

  10. Laura Eaton

    You have a SOUL! “!TILL IT LEAVES YOUR BODY,YOU ARE STILL ALIVE!.Weather have Alzheimer’s or even Brain Damage.It doesn’t even take a doctor or faithful or Godly person to figure that out.To have someone leave you for having a sickness like this that;” not only out of your control”.Wasn’t faithful or worthy to you anyway.

  11. Craig Chamberlain

    (Grant influenced my thinking as well. But how much is he read anymore?)

  12. Craig: When I was in Grad School at McMaster University, I had a Prof (who shall remain nameless) who used to refer to George Grant as “poor old George Grant”. This person was a colleague of Grant’s when he was at McMaster, and he did not agree with many of Grant’s criticisms of technology and liberalism – but of course he was a classical liberal himself, a devotee of the Scottish School.

    So, of course the idea that the University had been converted (perverted) into a tool of the market economy in the service of a technological universalist lilberalism made him uncomfortable and in my opinion forced him into a intellectual denial. This particular Academic, you see, was a product of the 1960’s, and so in general his opinion of Grant was that he was a man to be pitied. Someone out of touch with the times – cleaving to standards and intellectual rigour out-of-sync with his times.

    That Grant turned out to be one of the only prescient and original thinkers (along with Innis and McLuhan) Canada has ever produced was lost on him.

    That Grant has turned-out to be largely right on so many aspects of modernity has, I hope, served to cause him great intellectual embarassment and shame.

    Great Men are seldon recognised as Great in their own lifetime. As it ever was, I suppose.

  13. Craig Chamberlain

    Thanks for this, ATY. I am not the most well-read man (alas) but I am at least able to say I read George Grant, an enterprise which I knew would bring me into the presence of Thought. I was introduced to Grant at McMaster (as an undergrad) by a more appreciating prof than who you had.

    I decided to read his books. For the Thought but also for what I saw in his writing, the written word being an exercise in Beauty.

    Perhaps I just knew that if I couldn’t get to reading what I once hoped to read before I die I could cheat and read Grant.

    Great Men as with Great Women are seldomly in denial, it would seem, ironicly. And those of us in denial do not easily experience shame or embarassment.

    (Cheers!)

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