Pat Robertson: Okay to Divorce Alzheimer's-Afflicted Spouse

Says memory-killing disease is a "kind of death"

"'Til death or Alzheimers do us part" seems to be the marriage vow TV pastor Pat Robertson embraces these days.

The one-time Republican presidential candidate, chairman of Christian Broadcasting Network and host of TV's "700 Club" told his audience that divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's is justifiable because the disease is "a kind of death." The reverend's green light came when he was asked what advice a man should give to a friend who began seeing another woman after his wife begaqn suffering from the memory-sapping disease.

"I know it sounds cruel, but if he's going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but make sure she has custodial care and somebody looking after her," Robertson said.

When Robertson's co-host, Terry Meeusen, noted the traditional vow's explicit words, Robertson took an expansive interpretation.

"If you respect that vow, you say 'til death do us part,'" Robertson said during the Tuesday broadcast. "This is a kind of death."

Beth Kallmyer, director of constituent services for the Alzheimer's Association, told The Associated Press divorce is not all that common in such cases.

"We don't hear a lot of people saying 'I'm going to get divorced,'" she said, while acknowledging that caring for an afflicted spouse can be extremely stressful.

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