A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

Pat Robertson Prescribes Wife Beating: Really!

Let’s see who can find the most abuser-friendly statements in Pat Robertson’s little counseling session here.  Isn’t what he says here criminal?  Click on the “read more” orange button and I think the video will come up:

Here’s my list:

1)  The guy asking the question is using abuser language,

2)  What is going on in the woman assistant’s brain?  Does she think Pat is infallible?

3)  Pat must have prophetic abilities!  Why, he is able to instantly diagnose exactly what the problem is here in microseconds!

4)  Pat “doesn’t think” we condone wife-beating anymore, but…. we did in the good ol’ days and he sure wishes we could go back there.

5)  Well, you add some more…


  1. Adele Hebert

    Wonder what he would say if it was the other way around…..

    Sad that millions of people listen to him, and do believe he is infallible.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes, this is an example of what is really far more widespread among us (Christians) than we want to realized. Pat Robertson claims “words” from the Lord, but there are evangelical “biggies” whose books and sermons and seminars are pretty much accepted by us as God’s Word. When the body of Christ grows lazy and fails to “test the spirits” against Scripture, well, wife beating becomes godliness.

    • pam

      My thought at the letter was that, minus the bit about authority, it could be from a woman whose patriarchal husband treats her like crap. It was pretty evident that the facts of the relationship and cause of any problems was irrelevant in Pat’s eyes – all that mattered was the man has to ‘reestablish his authority’.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Pam – Yes, “respect my authority and submit! For your own good, I will make you do it! Then all will be well.” Pat Robertson’s 3 statement cure all counseling 101.

  2. Jeff S

    As far as instantly diagnosing stuff, isn’t that kind of his claim to fame?

    Pat Robertson should be ashamed at some of what comes our ppt of his mouth. I have seen another clip where someone asks about adoption and he says you should not adopt and take on other people’s problems- that’s why they build orphanages. I’m glad God didn’t think that way and instead adopted us into His family.

    The one good thing about Pat Robertson is that most people who are offended by him realize he’s too goofy to really represent our faith.

    As for this clip- its sickening when wife beating is used for comedic effect.

  3. Adele Hebert

    Moses was adopted. Even Joseph accepted to be the father of Mary’s child – Jesus!

    When I was in an abusive marriage, I wondered if I should stay, even to the point of being a martyr. I prayed so hard, until one day the Lord clearly said to me, “You don’t have to die for him. I already have.”

  4. Good grief…. what a train wreck.

    Trying to remember if there was one word of love, understanding or encouragement in that entire mess for either husband or wife. Don’t want to rewatch to find out.

    Poor man, can’t divorce his wife according to Pat. No instructions to seek counsel for help. No hope for either party. Just beat her.


    • Jeff Crippen

      But Ida Mae, she’s a woman! Pat is just trying to show her her place.

  5. Kay

    His very first comment – made me want to scream! It wasn’t funny!!!! He needs to be off the air1

    • Jeff Crippen

      What kind of people send money to the 700 Club anyway? Pat has made enough false prophecies that according to his way of thinking he would have ended up under a pile of rocks as in the OT days.

      • Jeff S

        I have a friend who recently reconnected with me over facebook and is all excited because his ministry got featured on the 700 club last week. I really didn’t know how to respond.

      • Jeff Crippen

        If Pat gives his blessing, the $$ rolls in. If my ministry were featured on the 700 Club I would consider it a huge clue from the Lord that I need to go back and totally re-tool.

      • Anonymous

        We need a “like” button on this blog! click

      • Jeff Crippen

        Can we get some other kind of button on Pat Robertson’s site? Anon – I bet you could think of an appropriate name!!

  6. speakingtruthinlove
  7. no name please

    Argh! “When she was growing up no one made her obey” . My ex kept trying to pull out this card when my daughter didn’t want to see him; that I had to “make her obey”. I don’t want my daughter growing up thinking that her polite “no” means nothing to men and men have a right to not listen to her when she says “no”.

    • Jeff Crippen

      We train dogs to obey. That tells you pretty much what Robertson and his ilk think of women.

  8. Rebecca

    Jokes about beating her? Where is the Christian public outcry on this? I find it disturbing that Pat doesn’t even attempt to offer there are two sides to every story. But he certainly has her all figured out. Classic abuser blame-shifting, and a man claiming to be a Godly leader doesn’t use any logic or reason to wonder about the rest of the story. The arrogance of his dialog makes me sick.

    • Jeff Crippen

      From what I have heard about the laws in England, for example, if Robertson had made similar statements about taking a homosexual out and beating him, he could be arrested for hate speech.

  9. As I watched this ghastly segment and cringed every time Pat pontificated his ‘wisdom,’ I couldn’t but help wonder what his female ‘assistant’ was thinking/feeling/wishing would happen …. “Oh Lord, shut this man up. I can’t believe I have to listen to this garbage. Send a lightning bolt NOW! Maybe working at Walmart WOULD be better.” Sad, sad, sad. For so many reasons.

    • Jeff Crippen

      I thought the same thing, Morven. That lady has been with him for a long time. She did seem to slightly react when he initially proposed Saudi Arabia and wife-beating. Maybe someday she will give him a holy slap on-air (interpret as metaphorical as you choose:)

    • Me too, Morven. I kept watching her body language. She seemed uncomfortable and tried to redirect him a time or two but– a dog and his vomit. Pat kept going right back to his original Saudi Arabia crap.

  10. Ella Walker

    The most revealing statement was the fragment within a statement, “He’s got to stand up to her…something’s got to be done to make her”….(submit) That is at the heart of the belief system of an abusive person. Something must be DONE to MAKE the other person do what I want!!!

    • Anonymous

      This is very good — “Something must be DONE to MAKE the other person do what I want!!!” What an excellent way to determine when abuse is in progress. What I find is that some “well meaning” people will use God in this and say, “It’s not what I want, it’s what God wants, and I am trying to make you do it, because it is what He wants”. Is God not able to make people do what He wants them to do? Does he really need anyone else’s help?

    • Jeff Crippen

      In most all of the big-time “Christian” organizations like the 700 Club, you can bet that when the head honcho says “something’s gotta be done” to get a person in line, the axe falls. Woe to the whistleblower in Pat Robertson’s empire.

  11. Rebecca

    So upset at this public statement by Pat Robertson….went to the 700 Club web page and shared feedback regarding the disgrace these types of statements are to the cause of Christ. And Jeff, linked your letter as well. My best guess is it will be brushed off and hidden. In any event, this is a good way to speak out on it.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks Rebecca. You could actually (and correctly) conclude from what he said that he actually doesn’t think much of women. Also, does he really think that it would be ok in some circumstances to beat one’s wife? He certainly gives a clear impression that he does. So he is adding ammo to the abuser’s arsenal and there will probably be some wives beaten as a result of what he said. For the life of me (I can’t remember her name) I cannot understand how his female assistant sits there and participates in something like this. Maybe Pat has given her a holy slap or two in the past to keep her in line?

      • Rebecca

        Indeed…I would imagine she ( I can’t remember her name either) has been given strict caution as to what to say in order to know ‘her place.’ As a woman, I couldn’t sit through any more of his comments without calling it out. No job is worth that. As far as whistleblowing, I just posted it on Facebook. And posted your ” Open Letter to Pastors” as well in a large group, contrasting authentic understanding of abuse and compassion. I am so anguished and mad at cover-ups and false teachings, all in the name of Christ, at the expense of the weakest of these….our children and survivors.

  12. Laurie

    I see a man making a big mistake, he is making a lot of assumptions about the situation and trying to apply the “submit to authority” band-aid to a relationship he really knows nothing about.

  13. Martin Dwyer

    Saddest part of this video – they both knew a third party was needed to help this couple and neither one suggested the church. The church discipline process should begin immediately with an interview by a competent church authority. Instead, PR simply abandons Scripture and runs to psychology and Saudi Arabia. How very, very sad for the couple, PR, the 700 Club, … everyone. What a terrible witness all around.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Yes, Martin. Absolutely. But of course the real dilemma is finding that “competent church authority” isn’t it? Many church leaders would end up siding with the abuser and disciplining the victim for not “submitting.” Really, my experience is that many, many pastors are not all that much different in their view than Pat Robertson. Oh, not that they would joke around about wife beating (some would though), but that they would pretty quickly assume that the wife was a rebel and that was the fundamental problem. I have dealt with enough abusers now to “feel” their language, and the language of the man who wrote into the 700 club was speaking “abuserese.” My bet would be that he was looking for religious backup ammo to justify coming down hard on his wife. And unfortunately, he got it from Robertson.

      • Martin Dwyer

        Jeff. Thanks for the insight on “abuserese.” I will listen again with that thought in mind. With respect to Biblical authority and church leadership, I agree with your insights about prevailing opinions. However, our answer is to unrelentingly proclaim the truth. I now recommend Barbara Roberts’ incredible book Not Under Bondage to as many people as I possibly can. I have seen one too many women break down because of years of abuse they were told by a church leader to endure.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Yes, Martin. Press on and preach God’s truth! It is sufficient for breaking down strongholds! By the way, the abuser identifiers in that guy’s “question” include 1) his entitlement to authority, 2) His complete blaming of his wife, 3) His entitlement to be respected, 4) He plays the victim, 5) His role-playing of the would-be peacemaker. Bet on these kinds of statements as being from an abuser in disguise and you will end up winning a fortune!

      • I can testify for a certainty that the pastor I sat under during the first decade of a three decade marriage most definitely would have joked around about wife beating. In fact, the entire (all male) church leadership did, in fact, joke about this kind of thing on a regular basis– all but one, who kept silent.

        And my husband, the deacon, was right there joking along with them.

      • For more on abuserese see earlier posts on this blog about The Language of Abusers.
        The Language of Abusers

      • Rebecca

        Exactly! Bingo- that’s the game. The husband was looking for religious backup ammo to justify blaming his wife, and he GOT it. This is exactly what happened in my situation at the former church w/the leadership. Excellent word- ‘abuserese’ . We must be well educated on the tactics of abuser’s in order to recognize the red flags and not be pulled into the game.

  14. Cindy Burrell

    I gasped out loud when I watched that clip! Any abuser would leap at the opportunity to repeat that “inspired” (?) advice. The assumptions Mr. Robertson made about her conduct, the failure to identify divorce as a legitimate option in the case of an abusive marriage, alluding to beating as the best option – if only we could condone it… I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. I am truly horrified.

    • Jeff Crippen

      I hope no one out there ever sends money to the 700 Club for anything! Ida Mae – maybe we should start keeping a name list of guys like the pastor and deacons at your old “church” complete with quotes.

  15. Rebecca

    As I briefly stated, I sent feedback to CBN regarding this clip. And I received a response! I also included the original email I sent to them….and I replied back after receiving this, though didn’t include that here.

    I can’t believe the justification and calling his comments a ‘misunderstanding’. There is no joking about beating and abuse from anyone who has any compassion for the humans.

    Here is it: From: CBN Partner Rep Andrew

    Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 10:41 AM
    Subject: Re: Comment – Michael’s Letter on Abuse


    We are sorry for any disappointment or misunderstanding about Pat Robertson’s comments regarding the husband whose wife was insulting him and threatening him with violence.

    Pat was clearly joking and was certainly not advocating conversion to Islam or beating one’s wife. Pat’s remarks were a satirical reference to a recent news story about an Egyptian Muslim cleric who condoned wife beating. On the other hand, Pat has great respect and concern for women.

    During the Bring It On portion of The 700 Club, Pat shares his personal views and opinions. His willingness to address tough issues and to offer the best insight he can is often a blessing to many of those who hear him.

    May God richly bless you.

    The Christian Broadcasting Network
    CBN.com [Internet Archive link]
    Prayer Center: 1-800-759-0700

    On 11-Sep-2012 08:45:05 CBN.com wrote:

    CBN.com Feedback – Comment about a guest or feature story

    Subject: Michael’s Letter on Abuse

    This is an outrage and disgrace. Pat should not have jokingly offered the writer to ‘become a Muslim and beat his wife’ into submission. What happened to believing there are two sides to every story? It is classic Abuser blame-shifting who blames the victim while crying ‘poor me’. Why don’t these two, in dialog, discuss seeking the wife’s input and her position, rather than assuming the letter is actual fact and truth? This is one of the worst cases of offering advice without verifying a story, all at the wife’s expense and blame for being ‘unsubmissive’ I’ve seen from the Christian community. I am a Christian and abuse survivor. Please educate yourselves on what abuse is and the red flags associated with it. Start with having a look at Pastor Jeff Crippen. His blog site and ministry is Theologically sound and will provide you with an understanding of abuse.
    >Pat Robertson Prescribes Wife Beating: Really! – Comment #4521

    • Jeff Crippen

      Way to go Rebecca!!

    • They are not sorry at all. When they say “we are sorry” it is a barefaced lie.
      They have used one of the classic methods of verbal abuser: verbal abuse disguised as a joke:

      Pat was clearly joking and was certainly not advocating conversion to Islam or beating one’s wife. Pat’s remarks were a satirical reference to a recent news story about an Egyptian Muslim cleric who condoned wife beating.

      Abuse and wive beating are NEVER a joke. Only abusers claim that.

      And here’s another lie: “Pat has great respect and concern for women.”
      May God judge this man and his ministry!

  16. Susan

    My husband was interviewed by Gordon Robertson and Marguerite Evans, on CBN, a few years ago, during the most intensive abuse phase of our marriage. My open letter to Pat Robertson is written in full here (didn’t want to make a huge comment here): Pat Robertson Suggests Wife Beating is Okay on the 700 Club [Internet Archive link]

    The voice of the Bride needs to be heard, and I thank a “Cry for Justice” for daring to speak out – THANKS!

  17. Bethany

    I think the thing that struck me most about what Pat said was that the relationship between a father correcting a child and a husband correcting a wife are one in the same. My husband loved to “put me in time-out” or “send me to my room” just like I was one of the children. It made me sick as I was hearing Pat use the same language.

    • Thanks for sharing that Bethany. What he did to you was so demeaning. No wonder you felt sick when you heard Pat Robertson’s crass speech.
      It’s really important that we hear stories like yours on this blog. “Normal” Christians who have not brushed up close with domestic abuse may find it hard to believe that some husbands treat use ‘disciplinary’ tactics on their wives just the same as they use on their children. It’s mind boggling, for a naive Christian. And when Ps Crippen writes on the dangers of the Puritan teaching which refers to wives and children as being equally submitted to husbands/fathers, not many Christians can grasp what this morphs into in the hands of a wicked abuser. So your story brings people right up close with reality. It really IS that bad!
      I’m copying your comment and mine to Jeff C’s recent post about the Puritans, as it’s relevant there too.

  18. Anonymous

    How many more outlandish , cruel , abusive , ungodly statements does Pat Robertson have to say before he is removed from his position of power and influence ? This makes me sick !

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