Divorce as the ‘other’ marriage crisis
R. Albert Mohler, Jr., is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and one of the best thinkers, in my view, on the so-called Christian right. He spoke to religion reporters on the future of evangelicalism at our recent conference in Denver, where Archbishop Chaput also spoke.
One reason I (and others — he is the cover story on the latest Christianity Today) find Al Mohler convincing and compelling is his fair-minded, level-headed approach to tough topics and his willingness to turn his critical eye on his own flock.
An example of that was Mohler’s blog column last week titled “Divorce — The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience.” The title tells it all, and in case that’s not enough, I also wrote about it at PoliticsDaily and put it in the context of a potential shift, or broadening, of the conservative Christian agenda beyond a focus on gay marriage.
That monofocus seems to still characterize the Catholic hierarchy — as evidenced by the earlier post and debate here over Archbishop Nienstedt’s campaign. I think that is unfortunate as the crisis of straight marriage is so great and the threat of gay marriage so small.
Mohler is not about to backtrack on his opposition to gay marriage, but his jeremiad seems well phrased and targeted. He concludes:
The sanctity of human life is a cause that demands our priority and sacrifice. The challenge represented by the possibility (or probability) of legalized same-sex marriage demands our attention and involvement, as well.
But 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. Divorce is not the unpardonable sin, but it is sin, and it is a sin that is condemned in no uncertain terms.
Evangelical Christians are gravely concerned about the family, and this is good and necessary. But our credibility on the issue of marriage is significantly discounted by our acceptance of divorce. To our shame, the culture war is not the only place that an honest confrontation with the divorce culture is missing.
Divorce is now the scandal of the evangelical conscience.