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Robertson's divorce remarks spark anger

Sept. 15, 2011 at 9:15 PM

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson has sparked outrage in religious and medical communities by remarking it's OK to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer's.

Robertson told a caller to his "700 Club" TV show Tuesday that Alzheimer's disease is "a kind of death" and divorce is justifiable.

Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church in Orlando, Fla., said Robertson's words could lead to interpretations that divorce is acceptable under any circumstance in which a person feels their marriage is dead, ABC reported Thursday.

"Obviously, you could do this for anything. ... My husband watches and plays video games and so he has left the marriage and it's kind of like a death," he said.

Alzheimer's experts argued that having a spouse caretaker is beneficial to the patient with dementia.

"When being cared for by a spouse, the love of that spouse is often what enables a person with Alzheimer's disease to continue on and not feel abandoned," said the Rev. A.D. Baxter, a social worker with Cole Neuroscience Center at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. "Many believe a true friend does not abandon in the time of need."

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