Love that title.
I have just a few minutes to write a start for a more complete post with citations, but I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.
The religious right is handling one issue with kid gloves. It’s a practice clearly condemned in the New Testament, and indefensible with the logic used by religious conservatives– who claim not to understand why we can’t all just stick to the Rule Book.
That issue is divorce.
I’ve often thought that standing up for abortion rights is somewhat like standing up for divorce rights. You’re not enthusiastically pro-divorce, as if everyone should get one. But blocking the exit door to a bad marriage caused so much suffering for so long that over the past few generations more liberal laws have become the norm.
No one would say there is not a cost. Seeing friends and family grieve over failed marriages has left me wondering where these ‘casual divorces’ are happening. Not to anyone I know.
As much as it disturbs my world to see loved ones break up, and as much as I try to support their relationships– I don’t know what happens between them. As a matter of simple respect, I have to acknowledge that an outsider can not fully understand why a marriage works, or doesn’t.
It’s tough on children. So is an unhappy marriage. Children are acutely aware of what is not right in relationships.
About a decade ago there was a move to legalize a more Biblical type of marriage contract, called Covenant Marriage. This was closer to the kind of strict laws of the past, and brought the State more in line with religion.
It failed to catch on. This Moral Majority in its millions did not choose this option over the more liberal laws. Maybe we all have seen enough bad marriages to acknowledge the need, sometimes, to end it.
When a friend says something like, ‘we just went in different directions’, I don’t assume that they broke up casually. I assume that they are keeping some discretion and not pulling out a laundry list of hurts inflicted by someone they loved. I assume that they don’t want to air out issues that might come back to hurt their children. It’s called, ‘privacy’. One consequence of no-fault divorce is that it is not mandatory to assign blame.
This is pretty much how we live in an imperfect world.
I think that divorce is something men can understand, and that’s why the religious right is going after women. Attacking divorce would be unpopular, especially when so many conservative leaders have had divorces. It’s not pure religion, it’s calculated politics.