Editor's note: This post has been updated with a press release from Pat Robertson.
It's not unusual for comments by Pat Robertson to provoke heated reactions. But this time, what's unusual is the subject matter: adoption.
Robertson recently expressed affirmation on The 700 Club for men who don't want to date women who have children adopted from foreign countries, notes Associated Baptist Press. His comments – including, "You don't have to take on somebody else's problems" – provoked a strong rebuke from Russell Moore, a Southern Baptist Theological Seminary dean who has become a prominent advocate for adoption.
"This is not just a statement we ought to disagree with," wrote Moore on his blog. "This is of the devil."
The issue here isn't just that Robertson is, with cruel and callous language, dismissing the Christian mandate to care for the widows and orphans in their distress. The issue is that his disregard is part of a larger worldview. The prosperity and power gospel Robertson has preached fits perfectly well with the kind of counsel he's giving in recent years. Give China a pass on their murderous policies; we've got business interests there. Divorce your weak wife; she can't do anything for you anymore. Those adopted kids might have brain damage; they're "weird." What matters is health and wealth and power. But that's not the gospel of Jesus Christ. For too long, we've let our leaders replace the cross with an Asherah pole. Enough is enough.
Robertson clarified his position on Friday afternoon. Full text is below.
The following statement is from Pat Robertson, host of The 700 Club:
"Today, on live television, I misstated my heartfelt dedication and commitment to helping orphans. For decades, I have supported adoption, and have helped tens of thousands of children worldwide.
I wanted to say, but it didn't come out the way I intended, that adoption is not for everyone.
The mother of three adopted children, who wrote in about her boyfriend's issue with her children, did a wonderful, unselfish act to adopt and I respect her immensely. Yet, adoption might not be a fit for her boyfriend. If that is the case, she needs to find someone who better shares her passion for adoption.
Adoptive parents are taking on enormous responsibility, both emotionally and financially. Quite frankly, they need as much disclosure as possible about the child's background and health to assure the best fit and be prepared.
In answering the letter writer, this is what I meant to say. If any doubt remains, I ask you to please look at what I've done over the years to help orphans."
HOST, THE 700 CLUB