Updated: Thursday, 15 Sep 2011, 7:36 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011, 9:49 PM EDT
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP/ WAVY) - Virginia Beach-based religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer's disease is justifiable because sufferers are "like a walking death."
Robertson told his "700 Club" audience during a Tuesday broadcast that he can't condemn people who divorce a husband or wife because of an Alzheimer's diagnosis.
The one-time Republican presidential candidate and chairman of The Christian Broadcasting Network says the incurable illness is a terrible curse.
Most Christian denominations discourage divorce, citing Jesus' words in the Gospel of Mark that equate divorce and remarriage with adultery.
Beth Kallmyer, Senior Director of Constituent Services at the Alzheimer's Association in Norfolk, said divorce because of Alzheimer's is relatively rare. She added families generally treat an Alzheimer's diagnosis as they would any fatal illness.
Bob Fanning lost his wife, Mary, to the disease.
"I thought this is not the person I married, but I still love her. It was a wonderful life and I don't regret one minute spending all my time taking care of her, it seemed like the right thing to do," Fanning said.
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