New Reasons to Combat Divorce

Aug 8, 2012 by

There were some interesting thoughts published recently on the Atlantic Wire Blog pointing out that social conservatives in the United States, and especially within the Christian Right movement, appear to be renewing their efforts to get tough on the rising rate of divorce in this country. Blog author Ray Gustini postulates that with California’s Proposition 8 recently overturned and public support for same-sex marriage on the rise across the country, social conservatives appear to be shifting their focus from preventing gay marriage to simply combating divorce among heterosexuals.

Gustini hints at the reason right might be ready to punt on the issue of same-sex marriage when he points out that the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary contends the nation’s rising divorce rates restrict the ability of evangelicals to lay claim to the moral high ground in the ongoing culture wars in the United States. Seminary president Albert Mohler was quoted as saying he thought the tendency to see divorce as less of a problem than gay marriage or abortion represents a failure of the evangelical conscience. The fact that the divorce rates of evangelical Protestants are about the same as society as a whole creates a credibility gap when evangelicals attempt to speak in defense of the traditional definition of marriage.

Mohler said “Divorce harms many more lives than will be touched by homosexual marriage. Children are left without fathers, wives without husbands, and homes are forever broken. Fathers are separated from their children, and marriage is irreparably undermined as divorce becomes routine and accepted.”

Gustini goes on to note that instead of indicating a retreat, Politics Daily columnist David Gibson puts a smile on the new focus on combating divorce by claiming it simply represents the ongoing evolution of the religious right. Gibson was quoted saying “The new focus on getting Christians to practice what they preach marks an important shift in the culture war front and if successful, could prove to be the most potent cultural argument evangelicals have ever deployed.”

Whatever the reason, defending a marriage of any kind against divorce apparently makes financial sense in these uncertain economic times too, as Gustini quotes columnist Mona Charen as saying “Marriage knits the couple into a kinship network in which interest-free loans, baby-sitting, elder care, and other forms of assistance in hard times are more readily available.”  Add in the facts that married people live longer, make more money and are happier than their divorced counterparts, attempting to combat divorce in any marriage seems like a great idea no matter what the underlying reason might be.


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