Pat Robertson has poked a bear.
The bear has not responded kindly.
On The 700 Club television program this week, Pat Robertson responded to a viewer who was wondering why the men she dates are reluctant to marry her. The viewer has three adopted daughters, all from different countries. Robertson’s response (video on YouTube) is startlingly insensitive and theologically immature, especially given the increasing importance being placed on adoption by many Christians and churches.
The video quickly found its way to facebook where many of our adoptive-family friends expressed their shock and disappointment.
It also prompted a blog post from Russell Moore, author of a fine book on adoption and dean at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He’s an adoptive father as well. Moore states that not only is Pat Robertson “dismissing the Christian mandate to care for the widows and orphans in their distress,” but that his response is a denial of the Gospel itself:
The Bible tells us that Jesus is present with the weak and the vulnerable, the “least of these,” his brothers and sisters. When one looks with disgust at the prisoner, the orphan, the abandoned woman, the mentally ill, the problem isn’t just with a mass of tissue connected by neural endings. The issue there is the image of God, bearing all the dignity that comes with that. And, beyond that, the issue there is the presence of Jesus himself.
Christianity Today summarizes the debate and reports that Robertson has “clarified” (retracted?) his statements in a press release.
I know I’ve uttered words that I wished I could grab and shove back into my mouth. Sadly, though, I feel that there may be many churchgoing people here in America who side with Robertson’s pre-clarification comments.