Quoting someone, even with disapproval, gives him or her credibility as a conversation partner. It implies that he or she has said something worthy of attention. I have no desire at all to give such credibility or attention to televangelist Pat Robertson, but something he reportedly said the other day is so outrageous and such an egregious distortion of the gospel that I must comment.
A viewer wrote to Robertson’s “The 700 Club” saying that her husband had been cheating on her. She had tried to forgive, and they had gone to counseling, but to no avail. She felt she could not trust her spouse any longer.
Robertson replied that she should make her home more “enticing” (that presumably included herself), and her man would not stray. She owed this to him and should be grateful if he was a good provider, nice to the children, and handsome. (It seems to me that made her little more than a prostitute, paid with financial security for keeping her mouth shut about his dalliances.) And besides, she should have expected his behavior, since men wander.
That poor woman, already burdened with grief over the brokenness of the marriage and the betrayal of trust, thus had even more heaped on her by a “Christian” preacher she trusted enough to turn to in her plight. She (and presumably she alone) was responsible for her husband’s behavior and for keeping him faithful.
It’s a short leap from Robertson’s notion that wives are responsible if their husbands cheat to the widespread idea that women are to blame by the way they dress or what they say for sexual assault and rape or for being beaten by spouses, boyfriends, strangers, their superiors in the office or the military, and kidnappers. “Boys will be boys.” “He’s a man.” If a man needs to feel powerful by raping a woman or a child, he’s just displaying his nature. Women have to ensure that men’s tendencies are kept in check.
Robertson’s comments deeply offend and anger me, as they should any faithful, loving man, husband or boyfriend. How dare he lump me and all the millions of good men with cheating scumbags like that viewer’s husband? And is he so naive as to think his opinion will not give the imprimatur of a famous Christian preacher to those who already are disposed to treat women as responsible for both all the wrong in the world, yet ironically also expected to hold back all the evil in the world? Each individual, whether man or woman, is responsible for his or her behavior, of any sort, and will be held accountable. And in the covenant of marriage, we are expected to help each other and keep our vows; the burden of morality and decency does not fall disproportionately on one more than the other.
Is it any wonder an increasing number in our nation see Christianity as woman-hating, power-hungry, and hypocritical? Robertson’s comments are as faithless to the compassionate Christ he professes to serve as that philandering husband’s affairs were to his wife. The televangelist should be ashamed, and one day he will be, as he stands before the judgment seat of the Lord.
© 2013 Tom Cheatham. All rights reserved.