(AP) Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson told his “700 Club” viewers that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s is justifiable because the disease is “a kind of death.”
During the portion of the show where the one-time Republican presidential candidate takes questions from viewers, Robertson was asked what advice a man should give to a friend who began seeing another woman after his wife started suffering from the incurable neurological disorder.
“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 said. [Source]
Mr. Robertson might not want to let Mrs. Robertson know you can get a divorce if your partner is brainless.
When it comes down to it though, how is Pat Robertson’s position much different from the view of divorce in Protestantism generally? Marrying after a civil divorce is pretty much totally accepted within Protestantism. If a Protestant want’s to get “remarried” there is pretty much no bar to going to any Protestant minister to perform a wedding. Their civil divorce could have been for pretty much any reason. Now of course talking about Protestantism in general means that there is bound to be one group or more that are an exception since practice is so varied.
Sure some will use scripture to defend divorce in the case of adultery, but pretty much once they had one exemption the reality is that there are no exemptions as practiced. There is no investigation into a marriage even for the supposed exemption.
One of the things that attracted me to the Catholic Church when I became a theist was the Church’s view of marriage. As an atheist I saw marriage as a “unto death” kind of thing even if I had nothing in atheist philosophy to build such and opinion on. While some might think that annulments are a form of Catholic divorce, they are founded on a valid principal even if the practice is not perfect. Only the Church treats marriage as seriously as is merited.
When you don’t have a Magisterium difficult cases are what drive the practice and the exceptions made open up endless exceptions. While we can easily see the effect in Protestantism it also applies to Orthodoxy where divorce is more and more accepted.