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Dear Pat Robertson: Please, Please Retire

Jul 02, 2014 — Categories:

I realize it may be a waste of time to even comment on your uninformed “advice” which you continue to dole out without reservation. But some days I just can’t let it go without comment because there are still people out there who listen to you. Your latest opinion offers an opportunity to clarify once again how a faith leader or friend can help a battered woman, and how an uninformed response risks perpetuating a violent, dangerous situation.

I realize it may be a waste of time to even comment on your uninformed “advice” which you continue to dole out without reservation. But some days I just can’t let it go without comment because there are still people out there who listen to you. Your latest opinion offers an opportunity to clarify once again how a faith leader or friend can help a battered woman, and how an uninformed response risks perpetuating a violent, dangerous situation.

The question was posed to you by a teenage boy“Whenever my parents fight, my dad threatens my mom with his gun...as a child, I get nervous and worried when this happens.  Even my younger brother saw this incident. What should we do about it and him?”

Your advice?

“Well, again, you don’t want to get your father busted, but you could...You ought to go to your mother and say, ‘Mom, this thing is scaring me, and I ask you please to get my father to have some help.’...But you’re a kid, what do you do? You know? Your mother ought to take care of that.”

So here’s the deal: if the mom could have “taken care of that,” she would have. She is a battered woman; her husband is using coercive power to control her and probably the kids as well. She has probably tried to leave him only to have her own life threatened or be threatened with losing her children in a custody fight if she divorces him. Or she went to her pastor who told her she can’t divorce him. He will almost certainly not stop his abusive behavior without intervention and treatment. In fact, there is a good chance that the abuse will escalate.

If you are concerned for the survival, safety, and well-being of this teenage boy and his mother, you should have responded to him differently.

Let me suggest some alternative advice for this teenager based on an understanding of domestic violence and the complexity of the situation he and his mom face.

My advice:

“Talk to your mom and share your anxiety and fear of your dad’s abusive behavior. Urge her to talk with a domestic violence agency or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (www.thehotline.org). You can call, too, and just talk with someone about your feelings. If you feel afraid of your dad’s threats or violence, call 911. It’s okay to get him busted if it keeps him from harming you and your mom and brother.”

And Pat, please retire. For everyone’s sake.

Your sister in Christ,   

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
www.faithtrustinstitute.org
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totally agree...

Posted by Anne Wayman at Jul 03, 2014 04:41 PM
Rev. Fortune, I totally agree... actually on both counts... Robertson should go (unless we want to keep him because he's so ridiculous)and the advice to contact the NDVH hotline and/or 911 is exactly right on. The only thing I might have added was the boy might look for a supportive adult to help him with the conversations and calls....

Thanks for all you do

totally agree

Posted by shirley at Jul 06, 2014 07:30 PM
but when Robertson retires, there will be another one...and another one. We must continue to support Faith Trust's efforts, while recognizing that the reactionary forces are well organized. We can join with the growing grass root movements against oppression in many sectors of our lives because we are all one and what one does affects us all. Women are continuing to bear the brunt of power's stranglehold on the economy, and as more men grow frustrated, more women suffer behind the walls. This is not to exclude men from responsibility, but to recognize the system's effects. Sweden is one country that has had more success in holding batterers responsible and also protecting their victims through the use of GPS monitors. But they have the mindset and will to do it. They are not coming from the same place that Hobby Lobby and the Supreme Court recently showed us in denying birth control coverage to their employees.

Pat Robertson's advice

Posted by Marvin Eckfeldt at Jul 03, 2014 04:42 PM
Amen and amen!

Pat Robertson

Posted by Beverly Dale at Jul 03, 2014 04:42 PM
Oh my, loved the ending of your blog. Made me chuckle even though this is a serious issue, i.e. misinformed and wrongheaded thinking on the part of a pastor who should know better. Thanks for clarifying the steps someone should take if their parent is being abused. And yes, I agree, we need to urge retirement for certain people...sooner rather than later.

Encouragement

Posted by Dawn Gregg at Jul 03, 2014 04:42 PM
Amen, Sister. Preach it. Pat Robertson is totally ridiculous. But, as you say, there are still a few who listen to him.
Bless your heart, and your ministry.
Pr Dawn Gregg

Pat Robertson

Posted by Sara at Jul 03, 2014 04:42 PM
Please retire or get educated...PLEASE

pat robertson

Posted by Diane at Jul 03, 2014 08:03 PM
I agree with Rev. Fortune-- and want to add that boy called him because he was asking for help. As an adult, could you contact the local social services in that area, or law enforcement and report the abuse to child protective services, or maybe try and find out the city or county he was in? Sometimes the one phone call they make is all they have energy to do, and if they don't get someone to help, besides giving them another number to call, they don't seek help again until it may be too late, if ever.

Child abuse.domestic violence.complicit clergy

Posted by Leslie Golden at Jul 06, 2014 07:31 PM
In my state, the abuser who commits violence of any sort against another adult (emotional, physical, verbal, etc.) is also charged with child abuse if he (or she) commits the abusive acts in front of a child. When guns are in the home, EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT SEEN OR USED, the charges escalate to a higher level.

In my state, all adults are legally mandated reporters of child abuse.

Christians, especially clergy, must never gloss over crimes; they have an even higher ethical responsibility to protect the vulnerable, in this case, the woman and the children.

Why are so many Christians confusing niceness and forgiveness with following Christ? No wonder our culture finds this lukewarm version of Christianity unpalatable. I would spit it out of my mouth too.

My understanding of following Christ agrees with this statement about spitting: "Those who abuse the most vulnerable spit in the face of God."




domestic violence awareness

Posted by Rev. Connie Regener at Jul 06, 2014 07:31 PM
If the child has seen the gun, then he is abused. Bringing out a weapon is a form of control and a threat to do bodily harm. As a mandated reporter, clergy is obligated to report this. Why is the father's reputation more important than the family's safety? In California there is a 40 hour course anyone can take on Domestic Violence. It includes helping the family make a safe escape plan. It should be required for all clergy. Especially Rev. Pat Roberts. Ignorance of the clergy is no excuse.

Sr. Marie Fortune

Posted by Ellie at Dec 18, 2014 01:26 AM
You are a true Mother in Israel. What a breath of fresh air! May the Lord give you more wisdom and form an hedge around you to His glory and honor.

Blessings,
Ellie