Pat Robertson has made many controversial statements over the years, such as suggesting that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were God's punishment for the U.S. tolerating abortion and homosexuality. His critics are usually those on the politically opposite spectrum of the conservative Christian leader, or outside the Christian faith.
But the television evangelist's most recent statements-condoning divorce when a spouse has Alzheimer's-appears to have offended many Christians who feel it violates the sanctity of marriage and that most cherished of marriage vows: Till death do us part.
The controversy stems from comments Robertson made recently on the "700 Club" program on Christian Broadcast Network. His comments came in response to a caller who said that a friend had begun dating other women while his wife lies seriously ill with Alzheimer's, and justifies it by saying that "his wife, as he knows her, is gone."
Robertson said he agrees with the man: "What he says basically is correct. 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."
His co-host pressed Robertson about whether that violates the marriage vows. Robertson responded that Alzheimer's "is a kind of death" and added, "I certainly wouldn't put a guilt trip on you" for choosing divorce in such a scenario.