Just two days after appearing on stage with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, televangelist Pat Robertson said something that seems destined to make the candidate lament his decision.
Reacting to a letter from a viewer who said he's lost his self confidence due to his wife insulting him, Robertson said Monday: "Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her." He then turned to his female co-host, who seemed to balk at the offhanded remark, and asked: "You don't want to go to Saudi Arabia?"
"I think this man's got to stand up to her," Robertson continued. "He can't let her get away with this stuff. And, uh, you know, I don't know... I don't think we condone wife beating these days, but something's got to be done to make her..."
"Not physically," Robertson's co-host injected. "But I mean, why would she not want to talk through their problems? That's so..."
The televangelist cut her off. "She is just totally, well, she's rebellious," Robertson said. "Chances are she was rebellious with her father and mother, she's a rebellious child and she doesn't want to submit to any authority. And she probably had temper tantrums when she was a kid, you know, the little girl, 'I hate you, I hate you,' and she wants to slap her father. Well, that's the same kinda thing."
"She's transferred the father now," he continued. "I hate to say everything's gotta be some kind of psychological counseling, but that's the problem. She does not understand authority. When she was growing up, nobody made her behave, and now you've got a 13-year-old in a 30-year-old woman's body. Now, what do you do with that? Well, you can't divorce her according to scripture. So I say, move to Saudi Arabia."
In another relationship advice segment from July, Robertson recommended a man "dump" his Muslim girlfriend, calling it "Christ-like" because the Bible prohibits religious inter-marriage. He justified that by saying that Jesus didn't want Christians to be "nice and friendly" all the time.
The comments are likely to put even greater distance between Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and the Robertson, who sought the Republican Party's nomination to the presidency in 1988. The two appeared together at a Virginia Beach campaign rally on Saturday. The Mormon Romney used the speech to make an appeal for evangelical Christian votes by insisting he won't take "God" out of the Republican Party's platform and sternly vowing to keep the phrase "In God We Trust" on American currency, despite the fact that there has been no proposal to remove it.
The candidate has been under rhetorical fire for supporting cuts to women's health care programs and calling for all abortions and even most oral birth control to be banned across the U.S. Democrats describe the Republican Party's platform as a "war on women" -- a perception which Robertson's latest remarks would only seem to solidify.