(Photo: Paul de Vries)
Pro marriage? You bet. But it is much harder to be pro-marriage than it may seem!
Why are we pro-marriage? First, because God invented it, it must be good. Second, it is the basic building-block of stable society. Third, it is the best environment for raising responsible, Godly children. Fourth, it is the strongest and most successful anti-poverty program for men, women and children. Fifth, marriage is the best context of the most pleasurable and satisfying fulfillment of our manhood and womanhood. And, sixth and most deeply, faithful marriage is the most frequent Biblical parable of vital and vibrant personal relationships with God. Marriage matters. Who benefits? All of us do.
And who are the enemies of marriage? Any of us can be. With huge majorities around the world, we are wise to resist the proposals that government redefine marriage, as if it can ever make any variety of mixes and matches of men and women equal to marriage. Marriage remains forever as our Creator designed: One God, one woman and one man. It is a perfect triangle, and "whom God has joined together, let no one separate," as Jesus said (Matthew 19:6). Marriage is a miracle. With all the disappointments, distractions and dysfunctions in our sexualized world, to sustain a faithful, vibrant marriage truly takes a divine miracle every day – both to sustain our vital personal commitment and desire and to make the complex relationship of marriage work.
However, polluting marriage is something else – and that is a risk, a temptation, any of us can fall into, anytime, anywhere. There are so many ways to act against marriage – to really "vote" against marriage through our behavior! This vote is offered to us every day, and many of us make the wrong choices in the ubiquitous "voting booths" of each of our daily lives.
The range of our bad votes on marriage is phenomenal. First, obsession with pornography is a vote against marriage – even though tragically large numbers of people, including "spiritual leaders," are truly addicted to pornography – infatuated with viewing intimate pictures of strangers. Second, tolerating or ignoring evidence of child sexual abuse is a vote against marriage – however "important" and beloved the offender is. Third, the present seeming acceptance of the growing sex-trafficking of even boys and girls in the major cities of America, as in many other countries, is shocking. In New York City alone, 3,000 boys and girls ages 11 to 15 are sex slaves – severely abused by their pimps and "clients" – and yet so few people care enough to act against this evil. Fourth, any domestic violence is a vote against marriage. Fifth, certainly any divorce is a bad vote, too. And many other votes of ours matter, too.
Perhaps this is why the recent behavior of Dinesh D'Souza – very newly resigned Christian college president at King's College in New York City, best-selling author, documentary producer, brilliant Christian apologist – is so utterly tragic. We commend his awesome and brilliant debating skills. He verbally devastates those who presume to attack the Gospel or the Bible – using his extraordinary, genius grasp of logic, persuasion, powerful quotations, and profound audience appeal. He is such a heavenly delight to watch on stage!
But Dinesh D'Souza voted against marriage twice. Big time! Apparently he and his wife are separated, for whatever reasons – but they are not working on their relationship. Instead, without even filing for divorce, Mr. D'Souza begins courting another woman and introduces her as his fiancée at a Christian apologetics conference. Then a couple of weeks later he files for divorce.
What was going on in Mr. D'Souza's brilliant head? For this essay, let us take him at his own words, from his website.
I sought out advice about whether it is legal to be engaged prior to being divorced and I was informed that it is. Denise and I were trying to do the right thing.
Here he cast two big votes against marriage. First, he voted against marriage by taking his divine vows lightly. While separated from his wife, he should have been working on renewing, reviving, and revitalizing his marriage. In the presence of the Lord and in front of other people, he made a vow to the Lord and to his wife to love her, care for her and to be faithful to her the rest of his life, until the death of one of them. It went something like this: "to love her, comfort her, honor, and keep her, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, to keep myself only unto her, through God's grace, as long as we both shall live." Mr. D'Souza is a master of language and surely understands the weightiness of those wonderful words. Where now is his grief in breaking his freely given divine vow? Nevertheless, Mr. D'Souza chooses to minimize the vow and to vote against marriage.
Second, he voted against marriage by seeming to reduce this holistic, divine covenant to a mere legal contract. He "sought out advice about whether it is legal to be engaged prior to being divorced," he says. He sought legal advice, but why not spiritual advice, or even psychological advice?
As bad as it is, divorce is still legal and even Biblical – allowed because of the "hardness of your hearts," as Jesus said (Matthew 19:8). Very tragically, our hearts are still hard. Jesus was quick to add that while permitted, divorce is still as ugly as sin. Divorce is a pollution of marriage like adultery (Matthew 19:9 as in Matthew 5:31-32). So that no non-divorced person feels "holier than thou," Jesus also taught that lust is adultery (Matthew 5:27-30). Clearly, we have all sinned, and we all need the Savior. Marriage is so very much more than a legal relationship, and to end it in divorce is a deeply spiritual tragedy. How can Mr. D'Souza treat marriage and divorce so very lightly, as if they were mere legal contracts? His public communication and conduct are a big second vote against real marriage that lasts as promised.
Whether he grieves or not, we grieve over the devastation of Mr. D'Souza's twenty-year marriage. We grieve over his steps toward divorce. We grieve over his light treatment – truly abusive disregard – of a precious covenant with the Lord. We grieve over the degrading "model" that he has set for the hundreds of students whom he influences in his Christian college. We grieve over the profound spiritual hurt experienced by the millions of fans and followers of Mr. D'Souza. And we grieve especially over his tragic two votes against marriage.
Mr. D'Souza is our brother, and we pray that he, his wife, and his "fiancée" seek and receive the help they need. And let us all pray and work that he and you and I will now vote better for marriage – starting today.