My mother went through a phase in the 1970s of watching “The 700 Club.” She and my dad had gotten involved with the charismatic movement taking off in the Catholic Church at the time, and when they weren’t attending or hosting prayer meetings, they were listening to Christian music and watching “The Hour of Power,” “700” and even the late, crazy ass Tammy Faye Baker and her smarmy white-suited spouse, Jim.
Yeah, my teenage years were something. You haven’t lived until you’ve come home from a Friday night date to find a house full of people speaking in tongues.
Mom’s defense of televangelists like Baker and Robertson waned as financial and other scandals erupted. She still probably identifies more with the Christian righter-than-right, but she now tunes in to EWTN rather than Pat Robertson.
That makes me happy for myriad reasons, not the least of which is Robertson’s (latest) craziness, the statement in which he offered up to his viewers an allegedly Christian rationale for divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s or other dementia/neuro issues. He likened Alzheimer’s to “a kind of death,” which apparently justifies dumping a spouse for some new booty and companionship, as long as you make sure the sick spouse is being cared for.
Wow. Where in Scripture or Christian traditions would you find justification for that?
As one Twitter user noted: “Shorter Pat Robertson: If you love someone, set them free. If they can’t find their way back, you’re free to leave.”
Despite a marriage full of illnesses, family crises and other issues, my parents were married for 56 years. For the last two years of that time, my dad suffered from dementia. My mother cared for him tirelessly — feeding, bathing, clothing and jollying him along. When doctors forced the issue of skilled nursing care for the last three months of his life, she visited him daily, often more than once a day. He referred to her as “the nice lady,” which had to hurt after all she’d endured and been to him. But there was never any thought of not being there for him.
We used to tease her when she’d insist on maintaining his bland, salt-free, fat-free diet that she ought to just load him up with sausage and bacon and pie and let him die a well-fed and contented man. Why she wanted to prolong the life he had in his final years was beyond his children’s ken. But it was her decision to make (and yes, I slipped him extra cookies and pie and ice cream when she wasn’t around. Not to hasten things, but just to see him smile with delight).
The final years wore my mother out physically and emotionally. After his death, she was a mess. And she still misses him, despite years of bitching about him!
My kids witnessed a great example of self-giving in my dad’s final years. They saw what a marriage commitment is intended to be. They understood the “for better, for worse; in sickness and in health” component of wedding vows. They saw that when the going gets tough, yadda yadda. My husband and I had a bittersweet taste of what things could become like with his parents, and eventually, with us. But the memories, even of those final months and days, are good ones.
Yeah, the kids now joke about dumping us in a nursing home and letting someone else change our diapers. But I suspect there’s no real truth in their words.
Pat Robertson’s “Christian” viewpoint is not like any I’ve ever encountered. It’s a moral view I can’t countenance. Thankfully, leaders of many denominations have acted quickly to denounce his words. But the public platform he is able to cling to should be removed. It should have been removed long ago. The man should not have a presence on the airwaves, where he can offer such horrid advice to his minions and the gullible.
If Alzheimer’s can be a “kind of death,” perhaps overwhelming stupidity and ignorance can be as well. The Christian Broadcasting Network needs to divorce his ass from their programming.
And while I’m not one to look for big signs from God, I’d love to see the Big Guy serve Robertson a big helping of shut the #$%* up. On television.
Please, strike him dumb.
I mean mute — he’s already pretty dumb.