On a recent episode of "The 700 Club," Pat Robertson told a viewer that he should break off his interfaith relationship.
- (Photo: YouTube via The Christian Post)
During the Q&A segment of the program, a man named Brad wrote in explaining that he had been in a relationship with a Muslim woman for three years and that they were planning to get married.
"No way! No way! She's going to want to do her Muslim thing and you're going to want to do your Christian thing. There will be constant struggle and strife. Walk away," said Robertson.
"In the Old Testament they were forbidden to intermarry with the heathen."
Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies for Focus on the Family, told The Christian Post that he agreed with Robertson's views on interfaith marriage.
"The wisdom of God's Word is quite clear on believers being unequally yoked. And marrying someone who is not a Christian – who is not a daily disciple of Christ – is being unequally yoked, regardless of what their beliefs might be," said Stanton.
"And the wisdom of Scripture is, not surprisingly, backed up by social science, which finds that interfaith marriages are significantly more likely to be unstable, even leading to higher levels of divorce."
According to a 2008 survey performed by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, about 25 percent of married Americans have a spouse of a different religious sect. When considering Protestant denominations as different religious groups, the number rises to 37 percent.
Stanton told CP that he believed this large percentage of interfaith marriages was because couples in America are not taking faith in practice as seriously as previous generations.
"A serious commitment to faith and the practice of that faith is not as important to many couples these days," said Stanton.
"Less than 50 years ago, an interfaith marriage was when a Presbyterian married a Methodist. That was when distinct belief, practice and identity was taken more seriously."
The example that Robertson commented on focused on a Christian-Muslim couple. According to Kamal Nawash, president of the Free Muslims Coalition, Robertson's remarks fit with what many religious leaders preach.
"While I am not a fan of Robertson, he cannot be blamed for his latest statement. He is merely preaching generally accepted Christian orthodoxy. Most religious leaders, of any faith, adopt the same rule as Robertson," said Nawash in an interview with The Christian Post.
Nawash explained that with Islamic practice there is some room allowed for interfaith marriages, but only between a Muslim and someone who is either Jewish or Christian. Further, most Muslims assume that only men can marry outside the religion.
"Textual Islam is unique among the Abrahamic faiths. It allows interfaith marriages and prohibits husbands from even asking their wives to convert to Islam," said Nawash.
"However, Muslims are not allowed to marry people outside of Christianity or Judaism. Meaning, Muslims cannot marry Hindus, Buddhists and the like. This is because Islam sees Christianity and Judaism as godly religions."
Nawash also said that in the United States Muslim men have been known to marry non-Muslims and that increasingly Muslim women in America have been doing likewise.
"It is becoming very common for Christian-Muslim marriages in the United States. The trend has been common with men for decades," said Nawash.
"However, now it is becoming common with Muslim women … I anticipate this trend to continue at a rapid speed and there is nothing that can be done about it."