Divorce and Christians in America

Interesting article at Talk2Action.

Nation Magazine claims the regions that are most obsessed with family values have the highest rates of family breakups. We have heard for years that the rates of divorce among Christians are higher than the rates in the secular world. The article in Nation says, “It looks as if right-wing Christianity itself undermines modern marriage.”

Michelle Goldberg wrote the article. The noted author once spent a couple of hours with me in my office doing research on her book about the Religious Right named, Kingdom Coming. Michelle blames promoting abstinence until marriage as a cause of high divorce rates…..

Michelle’s theory that abstinence teaching, no sex until marriage, is the cause for divorce does not connect with me….  Her theory reminds me of an older church member who told me he would never tell his teenage son not to drink, because that would only make him want to become a drunk. We could conclude that teaching high school students that Meth is harmful only makes them more prone to become a Meth addict.

I want to submit another reason why divorce is so high in the Christian community.

Much of it comes from the examples that are prominent in the Religious Right. Jim and Tammi Baker’s national divorce began a trend towards a who cares about divorce among ministers. Baker hosts a daily show that often mixes a conspiracy-laden-join-the-militia-quickly with end of times warnings. GOP power broker Tim Roberts, Oral Roberts son, is another example. The modern user friendly church almost never mentions divorce for fear of being too judgmental. Since more than half of the congregation has experienced such, bringing up such a painful subject is taboo.

Perhaps the most startling example is end of times wizard Hal Lindsey.

Hal has been married three times and is on his fourth wife. Last time I caught a glimpse of Hal on Television he was telling his audience to leave churches who refused to teach his end of times theories. Hal believes pastors who are not with him on his theories are cowards and false prophets. Ironically the Bible teaches that prophets who make a prediction that does not happen are the false prophets. Hal predicted the end of the world in the seventies. He continually tells audiences Obama is seeking to make this a Muslim nation. Hal was nurtured by R. B. Thieme, an anti-Semitic Houston preacher who wore a military uniform when he preached….  The TV preacher explained that the computer chip was a device to be implanted in each individual so the government could track them and keep up with who had the mark of the beast. Just the other day Lindsey was suggesting Obama is paving the way for a world leader who is the long feared Antichrist.

For years Hal taught that the Common market in Europe was the evil 10 member beast of Revelation. This was proven untrue because there are now 27 in this organization. He stated the Soviet Union would be the nation that birthed the Antichrist. There is no longer a Soviet Union. Interesting that Hall thinks he can predict with such accuracy, yet cannot foretell how long his marriages will last. I submit it is examples like Hal, who has the microphone, that give a license to divorce that historically was frowned upon by Christians.

Regardless of who gets the blame, the article, as many others, brings up the facts that divorce is higher among Christians in the nation. As stated in the opening paragraph, “It’s a puzzling paradox,”.

Full article can be found here

3 comments on “Divorce and Christians in America

  1. The saddest part is not only the visible statistics of divorce,but the invisible numbers of the millions who are in loveless, duty-bound marriages, where husband and wife merely cohabitate, and nothing more. In divorce-happy cultures, I’m sure this has lessened, over traditionalists who disdain divorce in any circumstance, but see it all as chains.

    In fact, there doesn’t need to be more preaching against divorce, but rather a sense of family and community. When people are isolated, even when surrounded by a false sense of small-talk community, it’s not a problem to divorce. Such is the culture. The same to maintain a lonely and bitter marriage.

    The intensive labor of love, guts and glory, is what is needed. Not gooey, saccharine, substanceless love, but self-sacrificing love. As long as believers see marriage as something you do, or family moralism, instead of a cruciform journey beneath our general discipleship, then of course it will flux. We’re trapped between the two extremes of dusty and lifeless moralizing traditionalism, and empty-eyed, paper-thin, progressive eroticisms.


  2. In my opinion it is ALL true, all of it. Of course abstinence teaching plays into it. Abstinence teaching is extremely counter productive because it is founded in legalism. Young people learn largely from example, not from indoctrination. There is a place for catechization, but abstinence and other morality crusade topics should not be a part of it. Instead, morality should flow from faith. If a young person is faithfully trained in the Word of God, all of these virtues plus more will flow forth. To even compare fornication with drinking alcohol is, in itself, a sign of the moral failure that is enveloping the church. Fornication is named in the Bible as a SIN. NOWHERE in the Bible is drinking alcohol specifically noted as being a sin. Drunkenness is, but not drinking on a responsible level. Lecturing youth with moral do’s and don’ts that don’t even have a sound scriptural foundation is a recipe for the huge moral failure that is destroying our youth. Confusing the whole thing with meth further extends the stupidity. Meth is not a moral issue at all, but rather a health issue. You don’t tell young people not to use meth because you will “go to hell”, you tell them it is dangerous to their health and you use sound educational material to show them what it will do to their brains. There are all too many “Christians” who smoke cigarettes and try to convince their children that things like meth are some sort of huge moral sin. Its moral confusion everywhere. Michelle Goldberg is right on the mark and it is no wonder that Christians don’t like to hear the truth in their ears.

    Of course, the author of the above piece is also correct that evangelical superstars have set a horrible example and the emerging church, as it is commonly referred to, is famous for “tolerating” every sin under the sun. But one does not even have to go to that level to find the problem. In most evangelical churches, divorce is treated very lightly and we wonder why are youth end up getting divorced? As the author of the piece above barely touched on, teaching in the church on issues like divorce is either sugar coated or hypocritical legalism. Divorce is not “bad” because it is something that is going to send us to hell, it is bad because the God who sent His Son to die on the cross for our salvation hates it and that should be reason enough for us to do everything in our power to avoid it. It is bad because OUR marriage is an icon of Christ and the Church and we should do everything in our power to preserve the meaning of that icon by emulating the faithfulness and obedience of Christ in our own marriages. Underneath the moral failure that pervades the evangelical church in our day is profound doctrinal failure where forgiveness has become acceptance and refusal to accept immorality has become judgmentalism. Youth are lectured on moral issues while they watch the older generation live compromised lives and pretend that everything is “OK”. Its a recipe for spiritual disaster and that disaster is upon us.

  3. Reblogged this on The Diary of a Slave.

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