Deeply conservative Pat Robertson shocked some viewers of his ’700 Club’ program on Tuesday when he told one of them that it’s okay to divorce a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease.

The man said he was conflicted because a friend whose wife has Alzheimer’s has been cheating on her. Robinson responded, “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.”

When the show’s co-host, Terry Meeuwsen, pointed out marriage vows often include passages stating “for better or for worse” and “in sickness and in health,” Robertson replied, “If you respect that vow, you say ’til death do us part.’ This is a kind of death.”

But Beth Kallmyer, director of constituent services for the Alzheimer’s Association, told the Associated Press that although the incurable neurological disease puts a strain on the married caregivers of patients, divorce is rare. “We don’t hear a lot of people saying ‘I’m going to get divorced.’ Families typically respond the way they do to any other fatal disease.”

Reporters who contacted the Christian Broadcasting Network, which airs the ’700 Club,’ said Robertson had no further comment.

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