Baptist leader blasts adoption comment

A dean and vice president at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary says broadcaster Pat Roberton’s recent comments about international adoption are “of the devil.”

By Bob Allen

A Southern Baptist seminary professor took strong exception to recent statements by televangelist Pat Robertson that it is OK for a man to not want to get involved with a woman whose children are adopted from foreign countries.

pat robertsonDuring a recent broadcast of The 700 Club, a woman sent in a question asking why the men she dated always lost interest in her after finding out that her three daughters were adopted from three different countries and not her biological children that come with child support.

Robertson disagreed with a female co-host’s gut reaction that it was because they are “dogs” and it is “just wrong.”

“No, it’s not wrong,” Robertson responded. “I mean, a man doesn’t want to take on the United Nations.”

“You don’t know what problems there are,” he continued. “I’ve got a dear friend who adopted a little kid from an orphanage down in Colombia. The child had brain damage -- you know -- grew up weird.”

“You just never know what’s been done to a child before you get that child,” Robertson elaborated. “What kind of sexual abuse there has been, what kind of cruelty, what kind of food deprivation, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. So you’re not a dog because you don’t want to take on that responsibility.”

russell mooreRussell Moore, theology dean and senior vice president for academic administration at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said on his blog Aug. 17 that he had intended never to mention Robertson in another posting after taking him to task last year for saying it was permissible for a man to divorce his wife because she had Alzheimer’s disease.

But Moore, an adoptive parent and author of books including Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches, said Robertson’s recent comments go beyond “just a statement we ought to disagree with.”

“This is of the devil,” he said.

Moore said in the past he received letters, calls and e-mails from Robertson supporters arguing that the Christian television pioneer “is just not what he used to be mentally and that you ought to hold him to a lower standard.”

“That would be true if people were tapping his phone or going to his house and recording conversations,” Moore said. “However, [this] man is on television, representing to millions of people what Christianity is about.”

Moore said the issue isn’t just Robertson’s “cruel and callous language” or his dismissal of “the Christian mandate to care for the widows and orphans in their distress,” but that his attitude “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,” Moore said. “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.”

Robertson’s advice to his female viewer concluded with: “You don’t have to take on somebody else’s problems. I mean you really don’t. You can go help people, you can minister to people. We minister to orphans all over the world, thousands of them. We love orphans. We love helping people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I would take all the orphans around the world into my home…. OK, let’s get to the next question. I’m in trouble.”