Pat Robertson Suggests Wife Beating is Okay on the 700 Club

Voice of the Bride Speaks

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

Dear Mr. Pat Robertson,

In 1979 you brought Barrie McGuire to the 700 Club and he sang a song that still reverberates in my imagination, "The Cosmic Cowboy." It forever changed my life, as He took me by the hand and I became His bride. This mystery the Apostle Paul speaks of, as the Church being the Bride of Christ, even as marriage is a mystery, is what I'd like us to picture here.

Michael, a viewer of your show asked you a question in this video:

"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 I can do."

You joked about Michael becoming a Muslim and beating her, suggesting that he consider moving to Saudi Arabia. I realize it was a joke. You then go on to say,

"This man has to 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's got to be done…. she's rebellious. Chances are, she was rebellious with her father and mother. She was a rebellious child and she doesn't want to submit to any authority. She probably had temper tantrums when she was a kid. You know, the little kid that says, 'I hate you! I hate you!' And she wants to slap her father. Well, it's the same kind of thing. She transferred the father… when she was growing up, no one made her to behave. And now you've got a 13-year old in a 30-year old woman's body. And she's acting like a child. What do you do with that? You can't divorce her, according to the Scripture. So I say, 'Move to Saudi Arabia,'…."

The message is clear that this couple's problems have landed squarely on the shoulders of this woman. It causes me to remember the story of Jesus and the "Lady of Sin" when she was caught in the act of adultery and brought to Jesus for judgment and punishment by death. The man was not brought in, perhaps not even present at this public event. All shame and judgment were cast on the woman. Jesus put it all into perspective in such a way that not a single person present had the audacity to throw the first stone at the woman.

It causes me to remember my own "Lady of Sin" story. My husband, a healing evangelist, had been abusing me for many years, often taking me in the wee hours of the morning out of bed for interrogations. My sin? It was in his head. He was certain I was being unfaithful to him, but there was never any offense in my thoughts let alone actions. 

He had transferred his own guilt onto me, as it turned out. Through firsthand parties I discovered he was chasing women while on the road doing ministry. One woman, a mutual friend, reported that he was stalking her. Other friends reported that he had been scamming them out of a lot of money. I had good reason to not respect him.

I was an obedient child, very submissive to my parents. I wonder what Michael's wife's story is?

My husband often contacted leaders such as yourself and complained using very similar language as Michael in the dialogue recorded in your video. This is standard behavior for narcissists, which is something the Church, in general, should be aware of.

When I listen to Michael's words, recorded in your video, these are the thoughts in my head:

  • He begins with an accusation: My wife has become a real problem. He takes no personal responsibility as HEAD of his home, yet Michael expects respect.
  • He complains his wife is insulting him, even stretching her hand out to beat him. What caused this woman to become so angry? As the leader of his home, what action was Michael taking to elicit such anger? Maybe her anger was, indeed, a transferred anger. If so, is it not Michael's privilege to lay down his life, as Christ laid down His life for the Church, to heal this wife's inner wounds? Christ was bruised, beaten, and crucified, when it was not his fault. I've never beaten my husband and I don't condone violence of any kind. This is just an example of how far Christ went to love His Bride!
  • Could Michael not take on her possible projected anger toward her father, if that were the case, and tell her the words she has been longing to hear since she was little girl? Or maybe, it's not a case of transference. Maybe she's angry because he just told her, "Samantha (just using a name), I don't want to divorce you. I just want to watch you suffer." That is a real sentence my own husband used with me, when I refused to communicate with him.

Mr. Robertson, at one time, I refused to communicate with my husband because it was demon-talk, when he would become verbally abusive to me. It was all irrational. I tried very hard to communicate, for years, but it didn't work. I still loved him and believed in him.

You can't logically carry on a conversation when a demon is talking through somebody. You learn to recognize demon-talk when the words slash your heart to pieces and he won't stop.

I bought all the marriage books, especially the ones on communication! I sought marriage counseling. I've been part of an excellent support group for the past 2+ years. I would LOVE to communicate with my husband, but I refuse to entertain talk that includes mutilation of my body parts.

Michael has a beautiful opportunity in front of him to heal his wife's heart.

It's so important for husbands like Michael to realize the depth of love required to heal these broken women. In laying down his own life for his bride, Michael's heart will also be healed, as she responds in gratitude and love, with a healed and whole heart.

As head of his home, Michael is the initiator, the leader. His bride is the responder, and she will gladly submit to an authority that is used with unconditional love, to heal her heart and love her to life.

I love how simple God designed life to be. So simple that to enter the Kingdom we must become childlike.

The Bride of Christ needs healing today. Christ is coming for a bride who is without spot, stain, or wrinkle.

We've institutionalized the ministry of healing. And thus, we've marginalized Christian women who are being abused, behind closed doors, in the Church, because healing begins at home!

This act of laying down a man's life for his bride is the very vehicle of health and wholeness for the husband. The act of love slays all of his personal demons, even as he's fighting off her demons!

Women are not excluded from laying down their lives. In bearing children and giving birth, they lay down their lives for their children, every day. I realize some women do not walk in this grace, but it's God's design, nevertheless.

When husbands learn how to agape-love their wives, and wives become healthy and whole, bringing agape-love to their children, God is most glorified.

It's not the signs, wonders, and miracles that are to be foremost in our worship services…. but LOVE. It begins in our homes, behind closed doors.

Michael, if you are reading this, by chance, I encourage you to ask God to see your wife through His eyes. I encourage you to do whatever it takes to let go of your own needs, for this moment in time. You have been given everything you need to heal your wife's heart, if she will accept your love. It may take time, even a lot of time, for her to trust you. Just be faithful every day to listen to her heart. Really listen. In doing so, you are helping her to become healed and whole, without spot, stain, or wrinkle!

The Bride of Christ has been violently mistreated, married to the wrong husband, a husband called Religion. She thought she was obeying God when she married him, but the price she's paid has been accusations, slander, betrayal, rejection, verbal abuse, violence to her spirit, body, and soul. The Bride of Christ needs to divorce the devil of religion, truly.

Mr. Pat Robertson, I write this letter as a "voice of the bride" to suggest there may be a whole 'nother side to Michael's story. Currently, when a wife asks for help from the Church, in general, no matter what denomination, usually she is most commonly further abused.

We silence the abused and blame the victims, all too often. The topic of domestic violence in Christian homes needs to come to the forefront so real healing can begin.

Family is the backbone of society. 

With all my love,

Sue

Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate her way out of hell to a rich and satisfying life. In her lifetime, Susan has served in duties ranging from home school mom – to pastor –  to full-time deliverance minister – and to Midwest regional prayer coordinator for a large international ministry. These days you can usually find Susan soaking in her favorite hot springs pool, reading a book (or several), blogging, baking bread, or hanging out with her family and friends. You can pre-order a free copy of Susan's upcoming book, "On the Way Home" by registering here.

Copyright 2014, Susan Schiller, http://TeamFamilyOnline.com.  For reprint permission for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous June 28, 2014 at 3:18 am

Second response:  Wowsers again!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB3wYoYknvo  Language warning on the next one, but the point is very clear. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1z9jkKf-Vo Delete these if you want to after watching them.  I had more… I think you need an expose the falsehood page.  I won't run out of guests or links unfortunately that are leading people astray.  Is it any wonder that the largest number of converts to Islam are white women who left Christianity?

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Susan Schiller June 28, 2014 at 10:05 am

I’m not very used to hearing sarcasm from people like those in this video, used to persuade or to make a point, but being “nice” and “polite” certainly doesn’t work, as far as waking up those who are asleep. I appreciate the perspective, because in using the sarcasm they are highlighting Pat’s coverup. And we need to see the methods these men use to divert attention from themselves… Only God’s Holy Spirit can bring conviction. It’s so very sad what women are forced to endure, as a result of this type of bad advice. 

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Anonymous June 28, 2014 at 2:09 am

I know I should probably read what you have written before posting, but I haven't.  I just watched the video.  Oh my dear Lord in Heaven… how is Terry sitting across from him in agreeance?  That is an even worse tragedy that a woman uses her position to affirm something so violently wrong in counsel.  First off, has he met this couple?  NO, but he answers on national TV.  His statement really pisses me off.  For all of the women who specifically endure abuse in Saudi Arabia, I lift their veil and spit in his face.  GRR!!!  I'm surprised his next statement was not a request to donate to "Operation Blessing" and all of the mistreated children.  What a contradication of a man.  I will make sure I share this lovely truth about Pat Robertson.  Proof in the pudding…  and don't drink the water either.  Why do I think Shelia Walsh would have just walked off of the set if she would have been sitting across from him?  I stopped watching him years ago and I'm glad to have more confirmation as to why.  My sweet pastor husband told me I was a rebellious wife.  To hear Pat Robertson name call her and pass judgment so viciously is something else… To watch Terry just sit there and do nothing was worse.

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Susan Schiller June 28, 2014 at 10:07 am

I agree, Melissa… I can’t imagine what I might have said if I had been sitting across the room from him. It’s much easier to speak from the safety of a blog than to be face-to-face. 

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Susan McKenzie October 3, 2012 at 6:19 am

A very wise and balanced article about Christian divorce is written by Wayne Jacobsen at http://lifestream.org/blog/2012/10/02/divorce-can-be-a-triumph/ – thank you, David Grant, for pointing me to this awesome resource!

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Chri Snowbarger September 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm

This truly is a sad clip.  I would be very interested in the wife's side of this situation.  Please Mr. Pat Robertson, reconsider your counsel and take the time to hear everyone in this story. You, Mr Robertson have jumped to so many conclusions in this clip. Do you have any compassion for hearing the wife's heart and side?  Again, I ask you to re-consider.
Jesus, please help us to show others love and mercy as YOU have shown us through YOUR very own death and LIFE! We cry for mercy for our leaders and for ourselves. Jesus, we need YOU!  Jesus, we love YOU! 

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Claudia September 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

That's so sad, Susan.  I pray for mercy to all our leaders, Christians or non-Christians.

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Carolyn Hughes September 14, 2012 at 5:16 am

I watched this video clip and could hardly bring myself to go through the whole thing! It shocked me to my core. My suggestion to this man would be to move to Saudi Arabia himself.
But Thank God for your courage Susan to share and make aware of what does happen within the ministry. Submission is used by so many as an excuse to dominate, control and abuse. Submission is none of those things.
Thank you Susan for sharing

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Jill Marlowe September 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Thanks Susan, for expressing so well what many women have experienced in the church! For 14 years I prayed for my marriage. I read books on Christian marriage and I counseled with Pastors and Christian counselors. More often than not it was explained to me that if I would just "submit" to my husband, he would become a better husband.  This just never made any sense to me.  How can the "Head of the household" NEVER be responsible for the problems in the house for which he was "made Lord over" (that scripture was one my ex husband used continually).  The Church's extension of my husband's abuse was so thorough that when he was caught in the act of adultery and abandonment (I was 30 weeks pregnant when he left me and our other 5 minor children), I was told that if I had not "refused" him (sexually) he would not have had to look elsewhere to meet his needs.
However one looks at scripture, pure logic deems it that one cannot be both able to submit to an authority AND be responsible for the things that are wrong WITH said authority!  I have been a manager. If one of my aids made a mistake, I was responsible.  Not so for the Christian Marriage. I was personally expected to do whatever my husband asked, even if I had better sense and knowledge about the subject at hand and KNEW it was going to jeopardize our family's health, physically, financially, emotionally or spiritually. The truth was, my husband did not care about OUR health and well being – but he could quote some scripture and play the Christian word games. He finally left and moved on to an elderly widow with enough money to keep him in new vehicles and pay for an expensive attorney to keep lowering child support and alimony.  Watching his children go without while he is coddled by a woman old enough to be his mother, doesn't bother him one bit….and yes Pat, there was a moment when those things made me angry enough that I raised my hand to him with the thought of striking him as hard as I could (in spite of being half his size). Neither did I have an ounce of respect for a man who spit out scripture for the sole purpose of trying to control his family to have his own desires met.
And, as a single woman these many years later, I can also add that if I want respect from a man, I am least likely to find it from a man claiming to be a Christian. To date, I have been treated FAR better by men outside of church! That seems pretty sad.  Sadder still is that I have 3 sons and 2 grandsons and decent role models who respect women are loathe to find!
I step down from my soap box now….with a prayer….Lord that we may one day be known for our LOVE one for another….

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Susan McKenzie September 13, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Dear Jill, just now as I’m reading your comment, the Holy Spirit is bringing me so much confirmation. Your story needs to be told! You are right about Christian men behaving much more abusively than non-Christians. It’s a religious spirit that is contagious and it’s infected the church, like a malignant growth.

Interestingly, when my husband left me, I turned to Christian leadership for help – in various places, beginning with my own network. No one had any answers, and the majority did not want to get involved. Where do you turn for help?

The Lord sent in Navy Seals, in a Lakota family. He sent me a New Age friend. And finally, he sent me a man who had never darkened a church door, who explained to me how abusive men think and act and why.

I love the Church, but I hate what has infected the Body of Christ. I can’t begin the comprehend all that you have gone through, Jill. To be left alone with 5 minor children while 30-weeks pregnant???

Your point about authority in management, and how managers takes responsibility, as head of their department, for everything that goes on in their department is an illustration I haven’t heard before, but what simple logic!

Your comment is a true blessing – thanks so much for sharing, Jill <3 I really look forward to hearing more of your story - I do hope you will share more!

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Ron Cross September 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm

This isn't the first time Pat has said something outrageously unchrist-like, either. And to make matters worse he didn't even have the wisdom to see that it was a bad thing to say the FIRST time he said it, so he says it AGAIN!
Sad.

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Susan McKenzie September 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Ron, it sure shows how much the church needs to be educated about abuse issues… we’ve been in the dark ages for too long. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom and compassion!

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Olga Hermans September 13, 2012 at 9:58 am

wow, this is a difficult situations isn't it? I am glad that I was sitting in that chair to answer the question. It is just a few minutes and you can mess up the whole situation. I know how I was when we got married and I was glad that I had a totally understanding husband what brought me to a whole new level of my character and my life as a person. So, yeah it has two sides, we al can be very unreasonable at times and when the other side of the marriage doesn't pick the responsibility to go through the good, the bad and the ugly, it becomes a more and more difficult situation. Interesting eh?

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Susan McKenzie September 13, 2012 at 2:19 pm

You are very fortunate, Olga! Words are powerful, especially when coming from an internationally well known leader. Those words will reverberate through all Christian ranks, and hopefully trigger some honest conversations.

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Jessica Stone September 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

Susan, I couldn't agree with you more.  I was wondering that very thing, listening to the comments from Michael and hearing the suggestion of Mr. Robertson.  Everyone here is giving and getting a one-sided portrayal of a marriage.  A simple snapshot in time.  It's very hard to make judgments or comments / advice towards something that hasn't fully been understood.  No one has heard her side of the story.  Instead… assumptions.  Of course, they could be valid assumptions.  There are wives who abuse their husbands, too.  However, to try to take the words of one man, in just a few sentences, and it gets to "move to Saudi Arabia so you can…" ~ well, I don't need to go on!  The church, Christians, need to wake up and realize how many of their very own sheep family has been hurt by wolves in sheep skin!  Thanks for your thoughts, Susan!!

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Susan McKenzie September 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

Jessica, well said- thanks! Pat Robertson is an example of what is commonly happening in churches all across the world. It’s commonly assumed that the woman is the problem. The Kingdom of God is upside down, compared to the world’s system. We need to learn to think in a whole new way, to really get down to the heart of the Gospel, which is unconditional, self-less LOVE.

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