Evangelical Christians. Fundamentalist Christians. The Christian Right. Christian Conservatives. Whatever the flavor of the month is the message should be the same: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself." Jesus’ answer to that conniving lawyer in Matthew should form the basis from which Christian ethics, Christian morals, Christian values and Christian love flow. Yet, is this what truly drives self-proclaimed Christians to say or act as they do?
The host of a popular Christian Evangelical program, the 700 Club, made some disturbing comments this week. A man wrote to the host, Pat Robertson, seeking help for his friend whose wife has Alzheimer's and no longer recognizes her husband. Robertson responded, "I hate Alzheimer's" and then he offered the following advice which aired on Tuesday's program: "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.
"Huh?? I assumed Robertson believed marriage to be sacred. Don’t spouses vow to love each other ". . . in sickness and in health, til death do us part”? Isn't that what Robertson preaches? And what of divorce? Doesn't Jesus say in Matthew, "But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery . . ."? And what of sharing in the suffering of Christ? Robertson advises that the husband walk away from the cross simply because his wife doesn't recognize him. Another, “Huh?” Isn’t Robertson pro-life? I suppose, the answer is yes, however it appears his position may be conditional. If it's convenient, then defend it; if it's uncomfortable, then reject it. This sounds more like pro-choice, than pro-life. Is this really the message of Jesus’ love?
My mother was care-giver to my father during his 5 years with diagnosed Alzheimer’s; she hid his decent into the maelstrom from us, her children; she couldn't bear my father being taken away from her. We ultimately 'discovered' her secret, and we reluctantly placed my father in a nursing facility, against my mother’s protests. My mother however, continued to visit him every day without fail. Why? Because she loved him “in sickness and in health”; she couldn’t imagine being without her beloved partner. Only death could part them physically. As horrid as the disease became, it brought out the best in my siblings and me as well – it brought out the best of all that my father gave to us: his love, his compassion, his humor, his strength, his dedication, his patience (well maybe not so much his patience, ha ha).
I am truly appalled that a man who contends to ‘know’ God, who contends to be Christian, could so brashly offer such an unloving statement of advice. It’s as if Robertson is forgetting that he is NOT God. AND if he thinks he is, he should at least project some semblance of God’s true message. It would be good for the ratings.
When I was a young man living in New York City, I worked in a Catholic book store in the west village. Often a homeless person would walk in, walk around and walk out. This one afternoon, a man walked in, tattered and confused. He asked me where he was. I described the store and showed him some of the books we sold. He asked if Catholic books were Christian. I answered in the affirmative, whereupon he stated: “I don’t mind Christianity so much; but Oh those Christians!!"
. . . And Oh that Pat Robertson!!