Pat Robertson and Nicholas Sparks
Pat Robertson recently made headlines by suggesting that it was Biblically acceptable for the spouse of an Alzheimer’s patient to divorce them and then remarry someone else. Robertson said that he wouldn’t "put a guilt trip" on someone for divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's disease, arguing that Alzheimer's is itself "a kind of death." So Robertson told a caller asking about struggling with the disease, “if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but to make sure she has custodial care, somebody looking after her.”
His reasoning seems to be that because the Bible teaches that widows and widowers are allowed to remarry (Rom 7:3). Alzheimer’s “is a kind of death,” so the spouse of one Alzheimer’s should also be allowed to divorce and remarry (as long as arrangements are made for a caregiver). By his reasoning, the “Christian” thing would have been for James Garner to have kicked Gena Rowlands to the curb and started dating other women, turning “The Notebook” into “The Little Black Book.” Am I the only one here who thinks that this makes Nicholas Sparks sound more Christian than Pat Robertson?
I can imagine some exasperated wife (maybe mine?) reasoning, “When my husband flops on the couch all day long on Saturday and Sunday watching college and pro football, it’s like he’s DEAD, so that means…” I do know of a Christian wife who divorced her husband because he had lusted after another woman (not sure how she knew that) and thus he had “already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matt 5:28). Everyone knows that adultery is grounds for divorce, so she got rid of her husband and felt perfectly sanctified in doing so. Pretty convenient, huh?
Pat, if you want to give people permission to white out the “in sickness and in health” clause in their marriage vows, please don’t blame that on the Bible. Every page of scripture reveals to us the faithfulness of God. The reason that God hates divorce is not simply because God wants to preserve the family as the foundation of society and a safe place in which raise children. No, God hates divorce because God is Himself faithful— His “faithfulness reaches to the skies” (Psalm 57:10). Unfaithfulness contradicts the perfect nature of our Almighty God. When we are faithful, we become participants in the divine nature of the God we serve (2 Pet 1:4). Faithfulness isn’t always easy, but it is always divine.