You may have heard the news about Pat Robertson's latest offensive comments. This time it didn't target gays or foreigners, but the diseased. In a recent television appearance, Robertson replied to a caller asking about how he should adivise a friend who had decided to see another woman because of his wife's advanced Alzheimer's.
I grew up fundamentalist, so I think I know the answer here. Tell the friend to stop, ask forgiveness, and love on his wife until death. From birth to seventeen years old, I attended a good old King James, Bible Believing, Independent Baptist Church, three times a week, every week. That makes over 2500 sermons before I even became an adult, and most of them had something to say about sex, drugs, and/or rock and roll. Don't take me the wrong way, the people of that church showed love and care with their actions, but the message out of their mouths came clear. Adultery and Divorce are wrong.
I've never been a big fan of Robertson, but I thought he would at least get this one right. But no, he said "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." He admits that marriage is until "death" but then says that Alzheimer's is like a living death. So that makes it ok I guess.
This is so wrong, and the reason why I believe Christians (yes, I am one) need to understand the source behind their convictions. For starters, our nation is great, and I love family, but let's be clear. I believe in a man, who I also believe was a God (the God even). That this God-man lived on this earth and suffered death at the hands of his creation. Miraculously, he didn't stay dead. He returned to this earth until ascending into heaven. If you're not a Christian, that sounds foolish. If you are, it probably doesn't sound foolish enough. If you really believe that (and I do) its a pretty big deal. Bigger than a pledge or blood relationships, or all of the legalistic morass we let ourselves get bound up in.
Let's look to some reason. If said wife has "lost her mind", we might conclude that she is no longer "like the living", therefore a covenant relationship like marriage may be voided on those grounds. She is less than human, not deserving the same right to expect faithfulness from her husband as one who possesses full mental health. If that's the case, then how can you argue that a fetus in the womb possesses full life that can't be violated. Is the potential of life more valuable that the fulfillment of life embodied in its final journey to death? Does the fetus deserve any more the right to birth than a person deserves the right to maintain full dignity and humanity even unto death?
Too much self-serving logic going on here. Of what value is life? Can we argue over it's beginning at conception or birth while we sit idly by watching execution take place? How did a discussion of Alzheimer's take us to capital punishment? Shane Claiborne wrote just today a defense of Grace in the face of death. Should we dismiss the Psalms and get self-righteous over the fact that King David, guilty of murder, should have never been allowed to live long enough to write them? Should the bulk of the New Testament be rejected because the writer, Paul, would have willingly accepted the penalty for his crimes if his conversion had been true?
We need to think! Humanity, infused with the very breath of God is exceedingly deep, but we flippantly decide who is deserving and who doesn't have the privilege to the rights of that humanity. We are too ready to set our minds firm on issues of abortion, death, the right to life, and dying with dignity when these issues deserve deep and mindful consideration and soul-searching.
But unfortunately for many, it's just a whole lot easier to find out what Pat thinks about it.