Friday, September 16, 2011

The Senseless Pat Robertson

From time to time as I flip through the channels, I stop momentarily on The 700 Club to see what inane advice Pat Robertson is doling out to his audience. Thankfully, I wasn't channel surfing on Tuesday when a caller told Robertson of a friend whose wife had Alzheimer's and had begun dating another woman. Robertson's suggestion to the caller? Tell the man to divorce his wife because she's already dead anyway. Seriously. Right Wing Watch posted the video on their website and it has gone viral.

There are so many things I could say about the absolute nonsense Pat Robertson utters daily on his show. There are plenty of offenses in each of his shows that deserve mention, something Right Wing Watch does a admirable job chronicling. However, I don't want to talk about the absurdity of him saying he supports Israel, but insists that Jews must convert Christianity for their own salvation and to usher in the Second Coming. And I certainly don't want to talk about the blame he constantly places on all sorts of groups (gays, minorities, those who are pro-choice, etc.) for natural disasters and unavoidable tragedies.

What I do want to say is how utterly absurd it is to think that marriage vows don't apply when a spouse is incapacitated by a horrible disease like Alzheimer's. What I do want to say is how completely un-Christian I find it that anyone could find it acceptable to treat another human being as if they were already dead. It's disgusting. Unfortunately, as was demonstrated by those in the CNN/Tea Party Express GOP presidential debate earlier this week, it isn't uncommon in some current political circles to hold extremes views like that of Robertson. Sick and uninsured? Let them die. And now, apparently, tired of caring for a spouse who no longer has the mental capacity to know who you are? Divorce them. It's unbelievable and absolutely disgusting that people not only believe these things, but voice them proudly on a national stage.

Why Pat Robertson remains on the air is a mystery to me. I suppose there is an audience, no matter how deluded, for his despicable preaching, but that doesn't make it right. The stations that continue to run The 700 Club and other shows produced by the Christian Broadcasting Network should be ashamed of themselves.

Part of why Pat Robertson's comments have me so enraged has to do with my own grandparents. Last month when my grandfather passed away from Alzheimer's disease, my grandmother was and continues to be absolutely heartbroken. This was the love of her life. After sixty-one years of marriage, did she even hesitate to take care of him once his dementia turned into full-blown Alzheimer's? Absolutely not! She was there by his side 'til his last moment despite being seventy-seven and battling Parkinson's disease. Was their marriage perfect? No, few are, but they loved each other and couldn't have imagined their lives without each other. Even in his last months when my grandfather didn't even recognize her, my grandmother would not have even had the thought to abandon him in his time of need. That's not what you do to someone you love.

Something tells me if a woman had called in and said that her husband had dementia or Alzheimer's and she had begun dating another man, Robertson would have chastised her and reminded her of the responsibilities and obligations of her wedding vows...

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