October 19, 2012

Is there some rule that says you can't get engaged while still married?

You broke up with your wife 2 years ago. You're on the path toward divorce. The legalities aren't tied up. Can't you promise to marry the new woman in your life? What's the morality problem— beyond the basic moral problem of divorce?

Looking at the pictures of Dinesh D'Sousa and Denise Joseph, I can't help suspecting that some people are bridling at the difference in age, beauty, and — perhaps — race.

145 comments:

Dark Eden said...

It struck me as an excuse to get rid of a 'hypocritical' mouthy conservative that didn't know his place.

Andy R. said...

Isn't this an affair? Don't uptight right-wing moralizing Christianists frown on affairs?

I'm not sure why people are seeking out some deeper meaning or hidden explanation.

Shouting Thomas said...

Wow! The girl is a cutie!

Clearly, what we're talking about is the completely reversed rules set in place by feminist orthodoxy.

Man who marries younger woman = exploiter!

Woman who sleeps around with younger men = glamourous breaker of barriers!

Similar to the new orthodoxy, i.e., it's really clever for the media to show a woman kicking a man in the balls, but it's a threat to civilization if a man touches a woman in anger.

Back when the principle purpose of marriage was the production of children, old men commonly married younger women, often teenagers.

Rick Caird said...

I didn't understand that either. Plenty of people get engaged before their divorce is final. They only need to make sure the divorce is final before they actually get married.

tim maguire said...

Seeing as how engagement has no legal significance, no. The only possible exception i can think of is if you live in a place where the divorce might actually be denied AND the married person hid the fact of the current marriage.

That's about it.

EDH said...

Hard to tell, what "race" is she?

Shouting Thomas said...

To answer the question about marriage and engagement more pointedly...

What we're dealing with here is the modern feminist woman's definition of how her "serial monogamy" differs from "whoring." Applied to men, of course.

There really are no rules any more. In the major coastal cities, marriage is nothing more than a long date, but feminist social convention demands that we pretend otherwise.

tim maguire said...

Good one Andy. I've never in my life met a liberal who had the slightest clue who conservatives are, what they believe or why they believe it. Your comments on Althouse don't that.

And this comment won't cause you a moments' pause. Indulging in fantasy is easier than facing reality.

EMD said...

Isn't this an affair?

Were he and his wife separated?

Sorun said...

Suspecting other people are racist -- just because -- is so tiresome.

David said...

Dinesh needs a makeover. He's in New York, no less. It looks like she may be able to help.

whoresoftheinternet said...

Amazing how this all happened after D'Souza made a damning and popular movie about Mein Obama.

Almost like a politcal hit job...

Nah, not Easy Annie A.'s one true Affirmative Action Abortion hero, Mein Obama!

Must be racism! Yeah, that's it! Evil whiteys racist against...Indians...whom they already appointed to the head of a college!

It makes total left-wing sense!

SteveR said...

If you want to fire someone, one excuse is as good as another, and clearly conservative Indians aren't a protected class, so no problems there.

gmama3 said...

It is a private college, they have a right to fire him if he doesn't live up to their morality standards, or for any other reason.

Shouting Thomas said...

Yes, they have the right to fire the guy for whatever reason... including none.

carrie said...

The religous view (and it used to be the law too) would be that as long as you are married, you need to act like you are married even if you are on the path to divorce. If you have a girl friend and are engaged, you are not acting like you are married. If you are sleeping with your new girl friend while you are still married, you are committing adultry.

Lem said...

As rh would say... soup opera.

Mark said...

Looks-wise, she's definitely out of his league. Fortunately, there are hot women out there who go for smart guys.

As to racial motivations to show him the door, eh. It might be a factor (being married to a different box-checker than myself, I can't say we've never caught flack on those grounds) but the simpler explanation is the book. Obama supporters right now are in the height of the "Anger" stage of grief, and lashing out at anyone who isn't an Obama supporter lets them channel that emotion.

Lyle said...

It's the adultery that's the kicker. They shared a hotel room while he was still married.

BTDGreg said...

I think the Daily News purposely picked the most unflattering photos they could find of D'Souza. I'm not saying D'Souza's Brad Pitt, or anything, but he's not as unattractive in person as in the photos they selected for the story.

When I was at Duke Law, I saw D'Souza debate Stanley Fish about affirmative action. I don't recall the details of the debate, but I came away being impressed by both, and continue to be a fan of the writing of each. D'Souza's a pretty charismatic guy. And if our society teaches us anything, it's that charisma is enough (if you're a man).

Gypsy Jenni said...

In some states, North Carolina I think, divorce is a 2-year process; a divorce is final after 60 days in Indiana. Too bad two adults know it's over but the government legislates 2 more years.

FleetUSA said...

If people want to find a problem they usually can find one or make it up.

The tabloid world we live in.

Lem said...

I mean soap opera.. not soup opera.. althouh soup opera sounds better to me.

Carnifex said...

While I personally don't like D'Souza'a stance on some things I got no problem with him marrying up. Most men do anyway. But I can also see the faculty of a conservative evangelical college frowning on co-habitations. With the caveat they treat every co-habitat the same way. If they singled out Di'Nesh, then there should be repercussions.

Tank said...

D'Souza's statement:

D’Souza writes:



A recent article in World magazine gives the false impression that I, a married man, had an affair with a woman Denise Joseph at a Christian conference in Charlotte, N.C. The article alleges that I shared a hotel room with her and introduced her as my fiancé. Finally it states that I filed for divorce only on the day I was confronted about my conduct by intrepid reporter Warren Smith.
Here are the facts:

1. My wife Dixie and I have been separated for two years. Dixie approached me and demanded this before I came to King’s College to become its president in late August 2010. I informed the chairman of the college at the time. I also informed the reporter who wrote the World article, Warren Smith, but he deliberately left it out of his piece, even though it is entirely relevant to the context.

2. I met Denise three months ago. We are not and have not been having an affair. Nor did we share a hotel room in Charlotte. Smith did not even ask me about this. Instead, Smith apparently deployed conference organizer Alex McFarland to call and raise the issue with me. I clearly told McFarland that Denise and I stayed in separate rooms. McFarland knew he didn’t have what he wanted, because he subsequently called me back and asked me again. I realized McFarland may be fronting for Smith, so I told him I didn’t have any further comment. I’m not sure whether McFarland is lying or Smith is lying, but one of them made up the quotation attributed to me that we stayed in the same room but “nothing happened.” This is pure libel.

3. 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. I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced, even though in a state of separation and in divorce proceedings. Obviously I would not have introduced Denise as my fiancé at a Christian apologetics conference if I had thought or known I was doing something wrong. But as a result of all this, and to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, Denise and I have decided to suspend our engagement.

4. While World notes that my divorce filing was registered with the court on October 4—giving the impression that I moved quickly on the day their reporter spoke to me—in reality I had been working with a San Diego law firm on this for the previous two weeks.

5. So why would World write such a misleading, sensational story that we would normally expect from the tabloids? Actually there is a back story here which was noted by Amy Sullivan at the New Republic, as well as numerous other sources. Marvin Olasky, the editor of World, is the former provost of the King’s College. Olasky was on the search committee when I interviewed to be president, and he vehemently opposed my candidacy. Olasky publicly admitted that he was resigning his position as a consequence of my appointment. The reporter who wrote this story, Warren Smith, also used to work as a consultant for King’s until I decided not to renew his contract. And what was Olasky’s gripe against me? As he put it, I was seeking to make King’s a non-denominational “mere Christianity college” in the image of C.S. Lewis. This for Olasky was simply intolerable. Having nursed his grievance for two years, now apparently Olasky is using World to continue his vendetta.

6. Ultimately this is not just about Olasky or even World magazine. It is also about how we Christians are supposed to behave with one another. And the secular world is watching. Is this how we love and treat fellow believers? If my conduct was improper, wouldn’t it be the decent and charitable thing to approach me about it? Instead, here is a clear attempt to destroy my career and my ministry. This is viciousness masquerading as righteousness. And this is the behavior that is truly worthy of Christian condemnation.

Sincerely,

Dinesh D’Souza

Tank said...

Forgot to attribut the above to VFR.

Shouting Thomas said...

The old purpose of marriage (not more than 150 years ago) was to produce children to work the farm and provide for mom and day in their old age.

Transferring that function to the state has launched us into a death march to bankruptcy.

And most of us are going to die all alone and neglected in the nursing home.

Surfed said...

Who the fuck cares about race in 2012 except the talking heads at MSNBC?

Mitchell said...

Hot chicks really go for a guy with a long necktie.

DADvocate said...

I agree with Lyle. Agreeing to marry someone after your divorce is finalized doesn't seem like a big deal. As far as I know, being engaged has little or no legal standing in most states. Quite a difference in beauty though.

Andy R. said...

D'Souza's statement

This reads like, "live by the right-wing moralizing Christianist sword, die by the right-wing moralizing Christianist sword."

Seeing Red said...

Head of a Christian institution.

It's tacky, he should have waited.

Shouting Thomas said...

Sub-article under the fold:

2016: Obama’s America’ shocks film industry after becoming a box office success despite having virtually no promotional budget!

Andy, I don't think D'Souza is going to have difficulty earning a living.

And, it looks like he's going to be getting some hot sex for the indefinite future.

Renee said...

Tacky.

It's like bring your new girlfriend to court the day the divorce is finalized.

Fact is, he is still married. He is not free to marry anyone else when married. How can you give someone the promise/intention to marry, if he is not free to actually marry her. False promise.



Tank said...

Andy did not read the statement.

Shouting Thomas said...

Wouldn't make a difference if Andy read it, Tank.

He's got a strawman to flog.

Tank said...

Back when I did divorce work, many years ago, it seemed like my clients broke down into two groups:

1. Ready to get married the day the divorce was final.

2. Never going to marry again.

Renee said...

"And most of us are going to die all alone and neglected in the nursing home."

Some nursing homes are nice, but we always visited so I guess that makes all the difference for the person.

Sorun said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sorun said...

"Don't uptight right-wing moralizing Christianists frown on affairs?"

Ironically, Andy R is the most uptight moralizer on this blog.

Darcy said...

Is this how we love and treat fellow believers? If my conduct was improper, wouldn’t it be the decent and charitable thing to approach me about it?

I liked this. And these thoughts point to what I think is the difference between Christian "religion" and Christian faith. In religious circles if you break the rules you most often get a whole lot of judgment and virtually no love from fellow "believers".

Shouting Thomas said...

Ironically, Andy R is the most uptight moralizer on this blog.

Most penetrating insight on this blog in a year.

Yes, Andy is a moralizing prude... for other people, of course!

Fr Martin Fox said...

The thing is, if you're a Christian--and if you make a point of rejecting the mindset that everything about the Faith is subject to re-interpretation as the times may suggest--then you are stuck, really stuck, when it comes to what our Lord taught about marriage, divorce and remarriage.

Our Lord said: that he who divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery. He didn't allow for divorce, period. He shocked those who asked him about it, and his own followers, who said, if that's how it is, it's better not to marry. He didn't disagree. Instead he took that very occasion to highlight celibacy: i.e., being a "eunuch for the sake of the kingdom."

(So, as an aside, this--combined with Jesus' repeated invitation to join him in going to be tortured and killed, i.e., "take up your cross and follow me"--should settle the question of what he had to say about so-called gay marriage or various forms of "sexual expression." One can imagine him saying, with a puzzled look, "what part of 'take up your cross' isn't clear?")

So you have Christians who take this teaching seriously. Catholic teaching attempts to, yet then we get into whether an attempted marriage might be invalid from the get-go. Conceptually reasonable, yet in practice, it looks like a huge "loophole."

Then you have the question I ask. Evangelicals are known for being very serious about respecting the hard teachings of Scripture--and not "reinterpreting" them out of the picture. So there's a huge question for Evangelicals about the issue of divorce and remarriage.

Andy R. said...

Yes, I read the statement. This is the part I was referring to: "I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced".

Oops.

traditionalguy said...

The adultery statues are all repealed. The only remedy left there is murder.

So it's a Religion's Rule that is relevant. For example, the Catholics are told that they can not get a divorce so they have to pretend and apply for a Church bureaucracy's finding of a defect in one spouse that they say means the marriage never was completed and then decree an annulment after 20+ years of marriage.

That same restriction is why "separations" are given a quasi status among the Religion's rules thinking as an act of mercy.

But legally there is marriage until a court dissolves it . And that can happen any time. So why did he remain married so long...maybe to have an excuse not to marry the young lady he was acting married to.

Bottom line is to try to respect the morality of the Religion you attend or work for. This sly fox had it both ways.

Balfegor said...

You broke up with your wife 2 years ago. You're on the path toward divorce. The legalities aren't tied up. Can't you promise to marry the new woman in your life? What's the morality problem— beyond the basic moral problem of divorce?

Shouldn't you have the decency to wait until you actually are divorced? Morally, you're still married until you have actually effected the divorce (at least as recognised by your tradition or religion), so while announcing a fiancee before actual divorce isn't outright polygamy, it's close enough that people are understandably queasy. Those who disapprove of polygamy, at least, which is certainly the case for evangelical Christians.

edutcher said...

Somewhat reminiscent of Andrew Jackson and Rachel Donelson, but this was my problem last night; I couldn't see what was so wrong if there was a divorce in the works.

Andy R. said...

Isn't this an affair? Don't uptight right-wing moralizing Christianists frown on affairs?

No, genius.

When a man's heart is broken, he doesn't go looking for a man, despite what Dan Savage might say.

The marriage ended and they're getting a remedy at law. AFAIK you're allowed to date under those circumstances.

Aridog said...

Andy R. said...

Isn't this an affair? Don't uptight right-wing moralizing Christianists ...blah blah...

Uhmmm...how do the faithful adherents in your *faith of convenience* think of Shiksas?

Those damn Christians are the problem, eh? Your repetition of that meme has passed its use by date.

Shouting Thomas said...

Fr. Fox, I move around several parishes in my role as a church musician.

Most priests are soft peddling hard church doctrine for fear of alienating the congregation. And, I know priests who are just pragmatists who shrug their shoulders and say: "We are all sinners. Who am I to cast the first stone?"

I attended a funeral recently. The priest cautioned the congregation and visitors not to take communion unless they had recently been absolved through confession. Hadn't heard a priest say that in decades.

tiger said...

Dinesh was tone deaf AS WELL as not paying close attention to his Christian beliefs.

Not casting stones, just pointing out the obvious.

Balfegor said...

Also, it's not clear to me that D'Souza was really on the "path" to divorce at the time he was introducing the new woman as his fiancee -- article says he only got around to filing divorce papers "a few days later" (maybe because one of the organizers confronted him about it?) I'm not a Christian, so I don't know how they think about these things, but that all seems rather inappropriate.

Paddy O said...

Some thoughts from a representative Evangelical:

1 -- this is indeed very Evangelical subculture stuff. Dating while still legally married is frowned upon. Getting engaged while still legally married would be seen as wrong by almost every one I know. I've had three very good friends who were divorced while involved in church work--in each of the three instances I'm thinking of the wife had an affair. They experienced the same kind of disapproval. I can't imagine anyone not just waiting out the process.

2. World Magazine tends to be a bit like the National Enquirer of conservative Christianity, leaning a bit more towards the Fundamentalist side of things. This isn't new, and so his point #5 stands out to me as being the really important one. I've seen that happen elsewhere. I know a very brilliant Christian scholar who had been given a job as a dean of a school of theology in a Christian university. Another professor who already was there wanted that job. She started a campaign with alumni and donors about how this Christian scholar was watering down Christian faith with his work on studying other religions. The job offer got yanked, went to someone else.

It happens all the time.

As most of us know, sexual sins and sins against perceived orthodoxy (often more strict than official statements) are at the top of the list of no-nos. So, bearing false witness is a common practice to indulge in less than noble goals.

D'Souza left himself open to the attack, however. The appearance of impropriety is a big one--especially at colleges that utterly need alumni and outside support.

Ann Althouse said...

"And most of us are going to die all alone and neglected in the nursing home."

Do you know the actual percentage of Americans who end up in nursing homes? It's quite small.

Chip Ahoy said...

#4: Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity.

It's appears to be a radical rule, so I'm good wid'it.

Darcy said...

I really run from religion. The keepers of the rules. I love my Savior, though.

Shouting Thomas said...

Do you know the actual percentage of Americans who end up in nursing homes? It's quite small.

A quick Google search produces these results:

Women over 85... 21%
Men over 85... 11.6%

For ages 75-85... 3-5%

Yes, the primary purpose of the nursing home is to provide for the last few years before death.

Still, my great-grandpas both lived in their homes and with the families into their 80s and 90s, and died in their own homes or in their childrens' homes.

Aridog said...

Mitchell said...

Hot chicks really go for a guy with a long necktie.

Bwahahaha. Is that old trope still around? Back in the 1950's when I was in high school we guys all believed that if you tied a necktie short, it meant your dick was short as well. It was de rigueur to always have the end below the belt buckle....or u wuz a weenie punk. :-))

mccullough said...

Typical Baby Boomer behavior.

Colonel Angus said...

I'm not seeing beauty in either photo but I confess I have higher standards than some.

Joe said...

You're on the path toward divorce. The legalities aren't tied up.

It doesn't take two years to get a divorce. In most jurisdictions it takes 90 days. Due to a quirk in Utah, my divorce took 20 days.

Colonel Angus said...

Maybe homosexuals like AndyR should take note that marriage can be a pain in the ass.

No pun intended.

Aridog said...

Balfegor said...

... it's not clear to me that D'Souza was really on the "path" to divorce at the time he was introducing the new woman as his fiancee ...

Agreed. The article is a blatant whack job, but in his own statement he gets rather vague about the issues of separation legal separation, and initiating divorce proceedings, relevant dates, etc. etc. Maybe he really didn't understand them or the general concepts within a Christian church, let alone an Evangelical one.

For the life of me I can't imagine why he thought it was acceptable to become *engaged* before the finality of divorce. As I understand it...engagement is a legal concept, a bilateral contract, even if it is no longer consider vulnerable to a breach as cause for action.

I'm no lawyer, but how does one convene a bilateral contract while one party is still unable to consummate that contract in a predictable manner?

In the olden days, we'd just say he up and "stepped in it." Whoops.

Paddy O said...

"I can't help suspecting that some people are bridling at the difference in age, beauty, and — perhaps — race."

So, again as a representative Evangelical, I'd suggest that these three aren't what caused the bridling.

I looked up The King's College, and it seems they went entirely bankrupt in 1994, was revived by Campus Crusade for Christ. CCC is a very traditionally Evangelical organization, really reflecting a very 50s and 60s approach and values. My suspicion--only a suspicion my you--was that D'Souza was brought on as primarily a money raiser, a public intellectual who could be an influencer and build the college's reputation and support. I suspect that his being a Catholic already was a big problem for many, and only inasmuch as he played the part of a good Evangelical did that not get used against him from the beginning.

So, you have this question of moral propriety that is likely coupled with, it sounds like, him wanting to not only raise money but actually shape the college's identity. Add his Catholic commitment to this, and it really makes sense to me that he was asked to leave. There was, no doubt, a large constituency that was looking for a reason to push him out already.

Not because of his race--that's a very outside-Evangelicalism assumption, especially in NYC--but because of his Catholicity.

Colonel Angus said...

As I understand it...engagement is a legal concept, a bilateral contract, even if it is no longer consider vulnerable to a breach as cause for action.

Engagements are broken all the time with both parties going their seperate ways. If say, my fiance decides I'm not the one she wants to spend the rest of her life with, what is my legal recourse?

madAsHell said...

I don't know why anyone responds to Andy.

....and what happened to his goofy hat picture??

Lem said...

Its all entropy..

mojavehicular said...

"Race"? Joseph is a common surname among Christian Indians from Kerala state, so it's possible any racial difference is just a matter of uneducated perception.

clint said...

Race?

I looked at the pictures. I couldn't tell you what race either of them is.

Is it just me?

Amexpat said...

Yes, the Jante Law

bagoh20 said...

I'd say D'Souza has made an optimal decision, and if I was him I'd take advantage of my new-found free time to open that binder regularly.

Hagar said...

A college president's chief function is to be the head fund raiser.
Has D'Sousa brought in enough donations to be worth a million dollar salary?

Andy R. said...

....and what happened to his goofy hat picture??

I didn't do it intentionally. I'm not sure what happened. If you miss it, I can bring it back.

Martha said...

Joseph II is Denise Odie's married name--she married Mr. Joseph II on December 30, 2011.

Assume she too is still legally married.

D'Souza met Denise 3 months ago--thus the recent haste to file for divorce.

Lem said...

Hard to tell, what "race" is she?

I'm going with Wise Latina... until shown otherwise.

Joseph of FP said...

Is Ann joking? Race?

If not, the I truly feel sorry for her. What a burden it must be to see race in everything. Hmmm... Crystal Pepsi must have blown her mind!!!! Ack! No color! What to do? What to do? lol

Balfegor said...

Re: Colonel Angus:

Engagements are broken all the time with both parties going their seperate ways. If say, my fiance decides I'm not the one she wants to spend the rest of her life with, what is my legal recourse?

Depending on what jurisdiction you are in, you may be able to sue her for breach of promise to marry.

aronamos said...

I'm more troubled by his engagement to a someone he's known three months. Maybe he should slow down; he's not THAT old.

chickelit said...

Andy R. said...
Isn't this an affair? Don't uptight right-wing moralizing Christianists frown on affairs?

Shorter Andy R: Isn't this part of a gamechanger? Should right-wing moralizing Christinists stay home from the polls over this?

dbp said...

As far as I recall (I haven't been a practicing Catholic in about 30 years), Catholics are not permitted divorce within the church.

The dilemma here is that in all 50 states, either member of a marriage can file for divorce and the other member can do nothing about it. So, your spouse may divorce you and what? You go through the rest of your life alone?

If what Dinesh D’Souza says is true--a big if, then he committed a faux Pas and is not guilty of any moral failing. There are things which can only be known to the members of a marriage. Could he have saved his marriage? Only he and his wife have access to this information.

Joseph of FP said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph of FP said...

Now that I think about it for a minute, the seeing race in everything reminds me of how some lefty bloggers went after Ann for drinking. If I remember correctly, they interpreted anything and everything as evidence of a drinking problem. It was tedious, lame, and wrong.

Aridog said...

Balfegor said...

Depending on what jurisdiction you are in, you may be able to sue her for breach of promise to marry.

Dang. I thought that cause for action had been eliminated nationwide. Whoops. Suggest anyone flipping through the "Binder Pages" record every conversation carefully :-))

hombre said...

News Flash: King's College board aligns with lefties, forgets we're all sinners, condemns conservative celebrity President publicly for behavior common in secular progressive world.

Lem said...

Wouldn’t it be funny if while trying to save the company money DSousa stayed in one room but did not engaged in carnal lust of the kind we are assuming…

Think Andy Warhol.

Of course he would never admit it fearing the enormous amount of disbelief... not enough for me to speculate of course.

Entropy... entropy...

sean said...

I am not sure why Prof. Althouse feels compelled to play the race card. Has she ever been to King's College? Does she know anyone there? She spent a year teaching in Brooklyn, she could have visited, but I doubt she did. A lot of people from the college go to my church, and I highly doubt that race was the issue so much as adultery. So why does Prof. Althouse make hateful accusations against people she doesn't know?

David McMillan said...

"Fr Martin Fox said...

Our Lord said: that he who divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery. He didn't allow for divorce, period."

That is a Catholic only position. Most evangelicals allow for the exception listed in Matthew 19

Balfegor said...

Re: Aridog:

Dang. I thought that cause for action had been eliminated nationwide. Whoops. Suggest anyone flipping through the "Binder Pages" record every conversation carefully :-))

Yes, they are gradually whittling away our old rights. What has become of the antient liberties of infangthief and outfangthief? Or the benefit of clergy and the defense of compurgation. They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow; the days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.

Renee said...


"The dilemma here is that in all 50 states, either member of a marriage can file for divorce and the other member can do nothing about it. So, your spouse may divorce you and what? You go through the rest of your life alone?"


Single people are not lonely.

Synova said...

I don't think it matters that much because an engagement isn't a contract in the US.

Other than the divorce itself, which I just have to accept is acceptable in our culture, the moral issue I have is if the relationship predates the break-up.

It's actually what the legalities are *supposed* to represent, that one relationship is over before the other starts.

Joseph of FP said...

"So why does Prof. Althouse make hateful accusations against people she doesn't know?"

Who knows? It seems everyone's a racist lately. lol - I never would have guessed she had so much in common with Charles Johnson of LittleGreenFootballs.

Synova said...

"The religous view (and it used to be the law too) would be that as long as you are married, you need to act like you are married even if you are on the path to divorce."

I would think that the religious view is that you are married until at death do you part.

Churches may have accepted divorce but it's an acceptance of a secular custom not a religious rule.

Balfegor said...

Re: Joseph of FP:

Who knows? It seems everyone's a racist lately. lol - I never would have guessed she had so much in common with Charles Johnson of LittleGreenFootballs.

Mmm. Lots of people are probably feeling a little anxiety about race and racism nowadays, since they're considering voting against the historic first Black president of the US.

chickelit said...

Mmm. Lots of people are probably feeling a little anxiety about race and racism nowadays, since they're considering voting against the historic first Black president of the US.

They should just divorce his blackness from his bleakness and vote against the latter.

Believe in America

Peter Hoh said...

D'Souza's "I didn't know it was in bad form to become engaged while awaiting a divorce" is an attempt at distraction.

Joseph of FP said...

Balfegor said...Mmm. Lots of people are probably feeling a little anxiety about race and racism nowadays, since they're considering voting against the historic first Black president of the US.

I bow to Balfegor's insight on this matter.

DADvocate said...

If you miss it, I can bring it back.

I was just getting ready to ask where your hat was. Yes, please bring it back. My life has no meaning without seeing your hat. I have a poster size blow-up of it in my living room, but I need to be able to see it where ever I am, which I can do on my phone if you bring it back.

Thank you from the deepest, darkest recesses of my heart.

Synova said...

From the statement Tank (I think it was) posted it sounded like...

His wife demanded a divorce... he left her and went to his new job at the college.

She didn't do anything about *getting* the divorce and since she asked for it, he didn't either. Because what is the rush?

(I have two pious christian friends who got divorced. The first intended to be "single" for the rest of her life after she was literally abandoned. She didn't file for divorce until she was told that because she was married any real property she acquired could be taken from her in settlements against her "husband" and it was highly likely he'd get in financial trouble at some point. She had a son to protect, so she filed. Almost simultaneously she met a young man, a worship leader and AF officer, and they fell in love. My other friend was advised by her pastor that as long as she didn't leave HIM until the cops came and evicted her from the house (I'm sort of exaggerating, but not by much) she wouldn't be the one sinning. So she *also* would never have filed the papers.

So I'd expect that a Christian who doesn't approve of divorce and who's spouse made the decision to split, would let the situation slide until circumstances changed.

After being separated for almost two years he meets a nice girl and falls in love. Now it matters if the paperwork is done or not, so he gets a lawyer in California to start working on it.

I would say that the college would reasonably expect him to be a good example, but if they knew he was separate and expecting a divorce at the time he was hired, it becomes a matter of them deciding to believe his version of separate rooms at a conference or a possibly slanderous article.

Julie C said...

I'm inclined to like D'Souza but I have to say, the part of his statement where he says he had no idea it was frowned upon in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced reminded me of George Costanza, who slept with the cleaning lady in the Pendant Publishing offices and when confronted by the boss, said, "was that wrong? Is that frowned upon? Because no one ever told me that was the case".

He's not a bad looking guy, by the way. Just a bit of a double-chin.

Aridog said...

Balfegor ...no fair, ur tryn 2 hurt my mind on a pleasant Day of Frigg.

Had to look up "Compurgation." :(

Compurgation: what the Obama administration is doing with the Benghazi affair. :)

Modern equivalent: "first liar stands no chance."

sleepless nights said...

Aren't they both non-white?

It's not a secular institution, that's probably part of it. You are supposed to give off the vibe that you have a higher-than-secular priorities.

My background is a combo of agnostic and Catholic. I don't know about Evangelicals, but a very serious Catholic friend of mine is so serious about marriage that he's never gotten remarried even though his wife cheated on and divorced him. It's very complicated - there might be something he can do to get an annulment and blah blah blah, but he's very hardcore and still considers himself married to her. He'd take her back, in other words, because according to his tradition marriage is forever.

sleepless nights said...

Oh I remember now. He can't get remarried *in the Church* unless he can get an annulment. The annulment would of course be BS and he knows this. Nevertheless, there probably is a way to get, but he's ambivalent about it and still considers himself married to her. (It's been years.)

And yeah, he's not a loser, and no he's isn't running around with 12-yr-olds, and no he's not gay. He's just a very. serious. Catholic. I think he works with orphans or something when he's on break from his storied career the military.

IOW, he really is deep. Maybe he should run Kings College. Dinesh - mmmm. Not so much - although I always thought of evangelicals as thrice-divorced sluts whose wives have big hair. (Kidding. I don't know real Evangelicals from a hole in the ground.)

Freder Frederson said...

I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be engaged prior to being divorced,

The man was raised Catholic. I don't know how he expects anyone to believe this statement.

Hazy Dave said...

Rules of Engagement? As I understand it, you're not supposed to shoot until you see the whites of their eyes. And ask questions later, something like that.

Texan99 said...

My religious take on it is that I don't believe in divorce in the first place.

But most people do, so assuming divorce is OK, it stills strikes me as taking a rather vague approach to one's marriage to get engaged before you're even divorced. Frankly, it seems a little tacky to get sexually or even romantically involve with someone before you're divorced.

I've never understood "It's not a real marriage so it's not really adultery" approach. If the marriage isn't real, how about ending it instead of dragging everyone into a confused, tacky mess? If children are involved, it's particularly ugly. It strikes me as a total inability to commit. Everything hinges on always being supplied with a friendly partner and never having to suffer any consequences of one's choices.

KenK said...

I wonder how attractive D'sousa would be to the opposite sex minus the $1 mil salary? Chicks care about stuff like that. A lot. Fat bank accounts have the same effect on females that beer goggles have on men.

Side note: WTF would tiny little KC pay D'sousa that kind of money for? That's serious money for a college with so few students.

Geoff Matthews said...

From a racists POV, what does race have to do with it? Neither are white.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Darcy:

When it comes to marriage, no one has tougher rules than our Savior, Jesus Christ. Matthew 19 is very tough. No one, whether the Jewish teachers, or his disciples, expected the answer he gave.

DPB:

What "exceptions" in Matthew 19 are you referring to? I think I know what you have in mind, but it's not polite to assume...

Paddy O said...

The right answer is that he should do the equivalent of what Henry VIII did and just start his own college.

Lynn Meadows said...

If some guy is dumb enough to propose while still married, one guesses that there is an equally crazy woman who accepts a proposal from a married man - regardless of where he is in the timeline.

Lynn Meadows said...

If some guy is dumb enough to propose while still married, one guesses that there is an equally crazy woman who accepts a proposal from a married man - regardless of where he is in the timeline.

dbp said...

"Is there some rule that says you can't get engaged while still married?"

There is a rule, but it is not a rule rule.

dbp said...

Fr Martin Fox,

It was David McMillan who mentioned Matthew 19.

I know little of theology beyond what I got from parochial school which ended at 8th grade. We knew of Catholics who had gotten annulments, though I never knew the details. Would your wife divorcing you in secular court be grounds for an annulment?

Fr Martin Fox said...

DPB:

Sorry about that.

What an annulment is, within Catholic belief, is very confusing, but the answer to your question is "probably no."

What happens is that a couple, having broken up irrevocably, asks for a "declaration of nullity"--meaning that the Church, through what's called the "tribunal," determines whether the attempt at marriage was lacking something essential. And that almost always depends on a defect in giving consent, or on a lack of sufficient freedom or maturity, etc.

It is not about whether the marriage went south, later; but whether something was lacking at the beginning--or before the beginning.

Also, you asked about whether Catholics are permitted civil divorce. The answer is, yes, they can be. But a civil divorce cannot have any effect on the sacramental bond.

So what happens is this. Say an individual or the couple comes to the end of living together in peace; if, for good reason, they need to seek a civil divorce (perhaps one party needs to protect him- or herself legally), then they are supposed to seek permission from the bishop. Few actually do, and if they don't--because few know about this--then it's a matter forgiven in confession.

Make sense?

Again, the fact that one has a civil divorce does not affect whether the marriage, as a sacrament, persists.

In fact, Catholics are very serious about this; once a couple is sacramentally married, nothing at all can dissolve it, except death.

dbp said...

Thanks, yes this makes sense.

David McMillan said...

The Matthew 19 exception is adultery.

SugarDwayne said...

Oh Ann, get off it. The racial paranoia is becoming worrisome. Really. I've been coming to your site since 2001 and am on the verge of deleting you from my regular reading list. It's becoming hard to distinguish you from Chris Matthews on matters of race.

chickelit said...

2001 is -3 in blog years around here.

Fr Martin Fox said...

David:

What translation are you relying on?

I think if you dig deeper--both in looking at the parallel passage, and also at the word frequently translated "fornication," or "immorality," and sometimes, "adultery," you'll find that the Greek word at use is "porneia"; and you'll find there's a lot of history to this word, and that it can also refer to an unlawful marriage--i.e., between two people who are too closely related.

Taken that way, it makes perfect sense: a marriage that was unlawful--because it's immoral--can be dissolved, but that's the only case.

That is an answer that justifies the response from the Pharisees and the disciples.

In this context, however, it makes no sense to read it as adultery. It must--I say must--mean something else.

Why do I insist?

Because the response from those questioning Jesus makes no sense otherwise.

They approached him, asking whether he permits divorce. The existing schools of thought were divided between those who allowed few cases, versus those who allowed many. If the Lord's answer was to allow some divorces, then his response would be in line with one of those schools.

Consider this dialogue:

Jesus: "So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

Pharisees: "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

Jesus: "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning."

Then he says what you cite:

"I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for (porneia), and marries another woman commits adultery."

The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."

(Matthew 19)

If, as you say, our Lord is permitting divorce, neither the pharisees' nor the disciples' response makes any sense.

Strelnikov said...

Way to go straight to race.

On that point they both look like some variation on brown. Is that interracial? How concerned would you have to be on this to even look that hard at it?

Balfegor said...

re: Strelnikov:

On that point they both look like some variation on brown. Is that interracial?

Well, maybe not to an American, sure, but to most people around the world, similar skin colour is not mutually exclusive with miscegenation. Americans' conception of race and racism is childishly unsophisticated compared to the exquisitely calibrated degrees of racial prejudice which foreigners can bring to bear. Foreign racists can look down their long, snooty noses at our humble homespun notions of what it is to be racist. We have no idea.

Penny said...

Surely Althouse wasn't talking about RACE race?

It was merely a nod to Dinesh's "race to the alter".

Penny said...

Ha ha

Who else besides me wants to go "fly fishing" with Althouse?

Penny said...

Wouldn't be polite to say our hostess was "trolling", for cripes sake.

Penny said...

Course, since so many of you are too busy to enjoy the pleasures of "fly fishing" with Althouse ... I am going to suggest her "Trawler Excursion"!

chickelit said...

Penny said...

Who else besides me wants to go "fly fishing" with Althouse?

No thanks. Hip waders are required and I don't have any. I will however, buy you another drink.

chickelit said...

Hip waders are required to wade through all the "hip"

mccullough said...

Married guy who is President of a conservative faith-based college is engaged to a married woman.

He's a fucking moron if he thought he could keep his job. What kind of shitty conservative is this guy? By 2016 he'll be a liberal.

caradoc said...

"race" Ann?

This is why you voted for Obama. You can't pry the lens from your eye, and still see race everywhere.

Paddy O said...

Fr. Fox,

Thanks for that thoughtful study. Made me curious to look at more.

What follows isn't the usual bloggy being contentious but just me engaging your comments.

The idea of porneia is indeed the key, of course. I looked in a some commentaries and a few different translations and some have adultery and others have likely more accurate sexual immorality--the latter being more accurate because it's a broader definition that fits the word better.

Don Hagner, a Protestant NT scholar, notes a similar approach to what you're saying, adding it's an especially popular Roman Catholic interpretation (that's not a reason for or against it, just interesting to note trends in different traditions).

The difficulty is that if the marriage was unlawful it's not actually a marriage to begin with, so no divorce is needed, as there's no marriage to end.

Hagner notes that there was a debate in Jewish interpretation of the time, and it seems that Jesus is taking the Shammaic approach that interpreted the earlier Leviticus passage as itself emphasizing sexual immorality as an exception, not merely just about a man being able to send his wife away.

So, Jesus was contradicting them with another, then, approach to debates over the Law.

The issue, of course, was that divorce was not something that God intended. Yet like with the other teachings of Jesus, there was seen as the ideal then the human experience in this life.

In short, the idea of exceptions are more of a pharisaic discussion. Porneia likely is just a general "sexual immorality" with all that present implies, and suggests that there is indeed an ideal but life often doesn't live up to the ideal. Fortunately, just like with all the other demands that we can't live up to, there's grace.

Which is good for whenever we get angry or call someone names on the internet--we might just yet avoid hell fire.

Paddy O said...

Note also the following narrative in Matthew 19 on the Rich Young Man.

Jesus says the man should sell everything. The disciples give a similar answer to what they say in 19:10, shock. Jesus doesn't back off. Who then can get into heaven?

It's only possible with God.

I dare say the Church has not been quite as strict on getting rid of wealth as it has about marriage (monastics being a huge exception)--yet the passages are pretty clearly parallel.

Fr Martin Fox said...

Paddy:

Thanks for your comments.

As far as the rich young man, I would say--and this is me, I'm not the pope, speaking for the whole church--but it seems clear to me that what our Lord is urging him to do--sell all you have, give it to the poor and follow me--is not a universal command, but an invitation especially for him, which any of us may find resonates with us. One thinks of Francis of Assisi for example.


But marriage, and it's laws, do apply universally, for good reason.

For what it's worth, in connection to marriage, it makes me laugh when folks say, oh that terrible Catholic Church, they add all these rules!

Look...if it were up to the priests, we'd have carved out all manner of loopholes on marriage a long time ago! Why in the world wouldn't we want to have folks be able to come, get married again, and move along? What possible benefit does the Church get from being tough-tough-tough on remarriage?

It's the Lord who makes it tough.

Folks like to say, oh Jesus was so sweet, it's those meanie preachers who are tough.

All I can say is, have you actually read the New Testament? Our Lord was rougher on folks than any priest or most preachers will ever dare to be.

"Hey, I'm going down there and they are gonna torture and kill me. Come along." That's pretty rough. No priest or apostle would have ever come up with that one on their own.

Penny said...

Chicklit?

Kids NEVER get wet when fly-fishing.

They don't need waders, honey.

They aren't even looking to catch a fish, for heaven's sake.

They're phishing for flies hangin' round their computer screens.

Penny said...

Fall is "harvest season" for flies.

Penny said...

They're slowing down.

Half dead, really.

Penny said...

Or is that a fly trait ONLY in the more temporate zones?

Astro said...

"[He] broke up with [his] wife 2 years ago."

Broke up with? Or did he just forget where he left her.

David McMillan said...

Fr Martin Fox

I appreciate your position and your explanation.

I have always had the word fornication explained to me as sex outside of marriage, which in the context of this verse means adultery. The definition comes from the protestant Vines biblical dictionary. We will have to agree to disagree. :)



Andy R. said...

We will have to agree to disagree.

There is no inherent truth to the Bible. People just like to tendentiously argue that the Bible supports whatever they want to believe anyway.

Kirk Parker said...

"Most penetrating insight"

ISWYDT.




"'race to the alter'"

Now that's really big news!

AllenS said...

I can't tell what race Denise Joseph is. Blond hair means nothing.

Paddy O said...

"All I can say is, have you actually read the New Testament? Our Lord was rougher on folks than any priest or most preachers will ever dare to be."

Indeed I have. In English and in Greek. :-)

Our Lord certainly was rougher, there's no doubt about that, but there's seems to be a curious distinction made about which rougher part is actually applied to people.

The tendency is for us to apply the rougher bits to other people. And give ourselves allowances why what sounds rougher is not.

Jesus, as you note, took the rougher part on himself, while giving grace to others.

Again, it just seems curious that of all the very tough demands Jesus makes on us, some are seen as selective and some are seen as absolute, the selective ones seeming to be applied to that which we would rather not give up, and the absolute seeming to be applied to others who we would like to manage.

Back to the word usage, I went to see where porneia and its equivalents were used in the NT, and found it, again, a pretty broad word. Rev 2:20-23 seems to connect it to adultery.

Which isn't to say that you're definitely wrong, just to say that reading, and translating, the Matthew passages with the adultery exception is certainly well within exegetical justification.

Personally, I do think that money has caused more problems for the Church than divorce, so it wouldn't be bad for the Church to take the Rich Young Ruler more seriously for a while. That's not just a critique of the Catholics, but for every Christian community.

Paddy O said...

"People just like to tendentiously argue that the _____ supports whatever they want to believe anyway."

Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια;

People like to tendentiously argue about everything. Scientists argue about data and findings and such. People argue about politics. Tendentious arguing is not proof that there is no right answer. Someone is wrong. Maybe both sides. But there is truth.

Shana said...

I thought I'd read somewhere that D'Souza converted to Protestantism several years ago. I don't think he's Catholic anymore. Either way, no conservative Protestant that I know would be ok with two not-yet-divorced for who-knows-what-reasons people being engaged or sleeping together. This doesn't have anything to do with race.

Shana said...

I thought I'd read somewhere that D'Souza converted to Protestantism several years ago. I don't think he's Catholic anymore. Either way, no conservative Protestant that I know would be ok with two not-yet-divorced for who-knows-what-reasons people being engaged or sleeping together. This doesn't have anything to do with race.

Kirk Parker said...

Shana,

"I thought I'd read somewhere that D'Souza converted to Protestantism several years ago."

[borrowing the representative-evangelical hat from Paddy for a moment...] Well, except you can't really do that, at last not from the evangelical Protestant perspective. The term "conversion" is reserved for the situation for someone becoming a Christian who is not already one; and even then we would say someone has converted to Christianity, not to "Protestantism". In fact it's a matter of some offense that the Orthodox, in particular, insist on using this term for Christians who become members of an Orthodox body.