In Sickness and in Health? Not so Much

Pat Robertson, the famous religious broadcaster caused lots of controversy, when he stated that it is all right if people divorced from their spouse who suffered from Alzheimer’s because the disease is, in a way, a type of death. He addressed his message to his “700 Club” viewers, and his message caused lots of reactions.

Outraged by the Message

Some of the viewers were shocked, others were outraged. There were many people who made complaints to the Christian Broadcasting Network, where the “700 Club” is broadcasted, that the message delivered by Robertson is un-Christian and immoral. People were outraged by the message, stating that religion says “in sickness and in health”. Others considered the message absurd, stating in a sarcastic manner that people should now choose the sickness they want to divorce.

Robertson advised a call-in viewer that a male friend could see a different woman, after his wife was diagnosed with the illness, and started showing signs of the disease.  He stated that that man should not cheat on his wife, but that he should divorce her first. He also stated that his statement might sound cruel. After the statement he said that the man should make sure that somebody will be looking after the wife he just divorced. Many stated that Robert is an ignorant person, because he considers cheating on someone more immoral than divorcing someone who needs your help. The majority of the Christians are against his message, because according to the Bible, the only reason for divorce is adultery.

Robertson stated that people should not feel guilty for divorcing their spouse who suffers from the disease. Ethicist Arthur Caplan, Ph.D., stated that Robertson was brave for making the statement. However, he stated that someone should or could divorce his spouse if that person cannot love or accept being loved anymore. Caplan also stated that people should analyze the situation first, and in case they consider that their spouse is no longer aware or communicating, then he or she can divorce.

People have a different opinion

It seems that many people disagree, and they strongly believe that taking care of someone who suffers from that disease is what people should do. Donna MacInnes of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan is one of those people. She has been taking care of her husband who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease for the past six years. They were married for 22 years, and times have been difficult since he got ill. She said that even so, she would never let anyone die, especially since that person is the man with whom she shared a life with. She said that since we are human, we should show some compassion to the other people.

Dian Wilkins, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association Greater Michigan, Southfield, stated that she was shocked by the message. She stated that she was shocked by the fact that Robertson suggested divorce. She also added that according to the statistics, very few people leave their spouses even after they have been diagnosed with the disease. In the majority of the cases they stay with their spouse because it is the right thing to do.

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