Pat Robertson Advises Husband to Discipline Unsubmissive Wife

  In this video, a letter is read by [the now, late] Pat Robertson from a complementarian husband, named Michael, who is frustrated that his wife will not submit to him as head of their home. The letter says the wife is not only un-submissive but also has a tendency to be physically abusive as well. Following is a transcript of the letter along with Robertson's advice:  

Michael: "My wife has become a real problem. She has no respect for me as the head of the house. She insults me and she even went as far as stretching her hand to beat me. I've lost my self-confidence. Her words hurt so much and she refuses to talk through our problems. Please tell me what to do." --Michael 

Pat Robertson: "You could become a Muslim and just beat her...This man's gotta stand up to her. He can't let her get away with this stuff. I don't think we condone wife beating these days, but something has got to be done to make her...She is just totally ...rebellious... she doesn't want to submit to any authority...That's the problem, she does not understand authority...You can't divorce her, according to the scripture. I say, move to Saudi Arabia!"

Robertson's response was outrageous and irresponsible. The only thing he was concerned about was the fact that this woman would not acknowledge her husband as her authority. And he definitely gave the impression that he wished we still "condoned wife-beating."

Notice the detached language Michael begins his letter with. He starts out by, and continues throughout his missive, blaming his un-submissive wife, entirely, for the problems in their marriage. His words are very telling for anyone familiar with the dynamics of domestic abuse, "My wife has become a real problem.".  

Judging from the order of Michael's complaints, he (along with Robertson) is more concerned about his wife's lack of submission than any alleged physical abuse...which behavior this writer does not condone in either the husband or the wife. 

Both Michael and Robertson saw the wife's lack of submission as being the primary cause of problems in the marriage, with domestic violence being only a secondary issue. Actually, Robertson ignored the domestic violence, seeing the un-submissiveness of the wife as the entire problem. If only wife-beating was condoned "these days." 

The solution? Move to Saudi Arabia, where Michael could legally batter his wife into submission.

None of this is hypothetical. It is all clearly spelled-out in the video. 

Of paramount concern to this writer [and should have been to Michael and Robertson as well], was the alleged physical abuse by Michael's wife. 

If this allegation was true, then the Michael had options. Robertson should have encouraged him make his own safety a priority. Michael should have been supported in a decision as to whether or not to continue living in the same home with a physically abusive spouse [always unadvised]. 

The wife's alleged behavior was not only sinful but criminal as well, and husbands [as well as wives] do have the right to legal recourse and protection. 

Robertson was also wrong about divorce. Abuse is scriptural grounds for divorce.

His advice to husbands to "MAKE HER" submit, was horrific. How many wives have been severely abused or beaten, maybe even killed as a result of Robertson's ignorant, cruel, and utterly irresponsible advice to Michael? How many thousands--maybe millions--of people have watched (and continue to watch reruns) of that video. The producers of the 700 Club should be ashamed of themselves for not recanting and retiring that episode. 

As survivors of abuse usually learn [or should learn], the only autonomous adult we can or should "MAKE" do anything (control) ourselves. It is very possible that that the abusive paradigm of complementarianism (male governance and authority over adult females) was largely responsible for the problems in this couple's marriage, however, that does not excuse the wife's alleged physical abuse. 

Christian response to domestic violence: Michael has moral responsibilities and legal options: 1.) Repent of his own sinful desire to dominate his wife through the false assumption that, by being born as a male, he is appointed by God to govern her   2.) Continue to live with her and expose himself to her alleged abuse [not recommended]   3.) Let her know that she may have to pay the personal consequence of losing her marriage over her sin--a safer action for battered husbands than for battered wives. Violent husbands tend to kill wives when they try to leave, or even threaten to leave   4.) Take advantage of his legal right and recourse of arrest and prosecution against his violent wife for her alleged crime of assaulting him.   5) Divorce. Divorce for abuse is not forbidden in scripture.

The late Pat Robertson passed away in June of 2023, but his wide-reaching influence lives on through acolytes, books, and reruns of his Christian television show, the 700 Club. 

His remarks about gender-based abuse and authority were dangerous, unscriptural, and heartless. He showed remarkable unconcern and shortsightedness, indicative of a belief in female subordination so strong that he indicated condoning physical abuse in enforcing it if it had only been legal to do so

Pat Robertson was a complementarian so frustrated at the idea of a woman who would not be subjugated that the only solution he could think of was for the couple to move to Saudi Arabia, where wife-beating is legal.

Christian patriarchy and domestic violence are two sides of the same coin. This horrific advice by the late Pat Robertson is complementarianism at its finest. 

“Gentlemen, don’t even think about marriage until you have mastered the art of warfare.”

Pastor John MacArthur

(Quoting World War Two Field Marshall Montgomery) in 

the Introduction to his teaching, “The Fulfilled Family….”

Does the Bible teach such a thing as a woman’s “place?” Are women really cursed because of sin? Are women silly and gullible as some teach? Christian author, Jocelyn Andersen, doesn’t believe so. To gain a comprehensive overview of what God says about women, Woman this isWAR!, is the book to read.

Woman this is WAR!, examines Bible commentary and translation practices which have historically been androcentric (male centered) and even misogynistic (anti-woman). These have adversely effected understanding of the scriptures, relations between women and men, the happiness of men and women, and, in general, has hindered the work of the gospel, by forbidding women to preach, pastor, or serve as elders or deacons.

The book chronicles the early history of the women's rights movements, as well as the role of church leadership in aggressively suppressing both women's rights and the historical record of Christian initiatives within the movements. Through the complementarian movement, many of the same arguments used to support the institution of slavery, are still used today in suppressing the rights of Christian women. This book documents identical arguments used by Christian leaders against both movements and is an unparalleled resource for all who desire an in-depth study of gender equality from a Christian perspective. The history of women’s rights is traced back [much further than usual] to the very first feminists…who were Christians—godly women, who brought the issue of women's rights to the forefront as they struggled to alleviate the suffering of others, and found they were hindered in doing so for no other reason than the fact of their sex. This work provides valuable historical insight into Christian initiatives in the movements for women’s rights, that are rarely included in Christian literature.


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Hannah said...

The organization that Robertson works for has the responsibility to move him to the background if he won't retire. Stories and articles on that organizations own website do NOT agree with what he said, and they have a responsibility here too.

Yes, I hold Robertson completely responsible for what he said.

Yet, his employer has some responsibility here as well. They clearly need to use him elsewhere, and fine a more mature person to answer audience's questions.

Its just common sense. Why do these places need a hammer on their head NOT to see that?

Cynthia Kunsman said...

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