Pat Robertson: Divorce Might Be Okay…If Your Spouse Has Alzheimer’s Disease

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To some, Pat Robertson, host of the syndicated 700 Club, is a charismatic spiritual leader endowed with years of Biblical knowledge. To others he’s a crank whose infuriating gaffes keep mounting. NewsFeed isn’t here to judge. Instead it’s probably better to report his latest controversial quip.

This time, a question of fidelity was asked in a chatroom posted by a man who is taking care of his Alzheimer’s Disease-stricken wife, but wants to see other women. Robertson’s reply?

“I know it sounds cruel, but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again,” he said, later continuing: “This is an ethical question that is beyond my ken to tell you. But I certainly wouldn’t put a guilt trip on you if you decided that you had to have companionship.”

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NewsFeed realizes what a hard thing Alzheimer’s is to deal with. About 5.4 million people in the United States alone have the disease, with 14.9 million people caring for them. The ailment comes with annual costs of $183 billion and it is the fifth leading cause of death for Americans 65 and older.

In truth, Robertson partially backed away, calling it an ethical question he couldn’t definitively answer. But he’ll no doubt frustrate families of those suffering with the disease experiencing this exact scenario by suggesting that fleeing is okay.

Still, this ain’t Robertson’s first time at the foot-in-mouth rodeo. He’s got a history of these types of statements, and to name a few, there was the Jan. 13, 2010 700 Club broadcast where he completely misconstrued history and used Caribbean folklore to explain why a devastating earthquake struck Haiti last year.

Then there was the Sept. 13, 2001 classic where he blamed “the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle” for the terrorist attacks on the United States two days prior.

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Madison Gray is Homepage Producer at TIME.com. Find him on Twitter at @madisonjgray. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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