I don’t follow the happenings or statements of Pat Robertson, and I am–like so many others–very used to hearing of his random statements from time to time, becoming irritated or made uncomfortable by them and then moving on. On the one hand, I find myself thankful again and again that Robertson isn’t “one of ours” in the sense of being an Episcopalian or even part of a magisterial Protestant tradition. But in taking comfort in such a position I am being disingenuous to my beliefs. One of the things that keeps me within the Episcopal Church, to which I was called by God, is my belief that–as a Baptized Christian–I share responsibility equally for what other Baptized Christians do, regardless of their denominational affiliation. Therefore, leaving the Episcopal Church would make me no less responsible for the off the wall actions of certain Episcopalians. But to truly put this belief into practice I have to take seriously the responsibility to weigh, judge and offer humble correction to my brothers and sisters of all stripes.
It’s with that in mind that I share the following comment with you. Recently Pat Robertson offered his opinion on his television show that a man would be justified in divorcing his Alzheimer’s afflicted wife to marry another woman because she’s “not there anymore.” I heard about this comment on Twitter and I don’t believe I can comment on this any more ably than Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I particularly appreciated his turn of phrase in this paragraph, but please take the time to read his whole article.:
Pat Robertson’s cruel marriage statement is no anomaly. He and his cohorts have given us for years a prosperity gospel with more in common with an Asherah pole than a cross. They have given us a politicized Christianity that uses churches to “mobilize” voters rather than to stand prophetically outside the power structures as a witness for the gospel.
I find it hard to imagine Jesus condoning the behavior Robertson approves. The icon above, “Jesus Christ, Extreme Humility,” reminds us that the Lord who offered himself and endured suffering for us, also calls us to bear our cross in this life, with love of God and love of neighbor as our guiding principles. Somewhere Robertson lost sight of that.