Generous Orthodoxy  

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wise words about the marriage crisis

This wisdom is from a most unlikely source. Hendrik Hertzberg of The New Yorker, a magazine totally devoted to the gay cause, wrote as follows (June 19, 2006):
"For more than forty years, the homosexual activist movement has sought to implement a master plan that has had as its centerpiece the utter destruction of the family," James Dobson [Focus on the Family], has written...President] Bush didn't go that far. He...merely said that "changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure."
...In the past forty years, the definition of marriage has indeed been changed, not by any homosexual master plan but by an epidemic of heterosexual divorce. Marriage is a social good--Bush is certainly right about that--but it has become a disposable good. The causes of divorce are manifold, and they do not include gay marriage. (The state with the lowest divorce rate, Massachusetts, is also the only state where gay marriage is legal.)...USA Today reported that "the number of active-duty soldiers getting divorced has been rising sharply with deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq." The divorce rate among Army enlisted personnel since 2003, the year of the invasion of Iraq, is up 28%. For officers, the increase is 78%. Perhaps this, rather than the imaginary threat of same-sex marriage, is something that the President should look into. ("The Talk of the Town," The New Yorker, 6/19/06)
Parenthetically, I noted in Bishop Charles Jenkins' recent journal (Diocese of Louisiana newsletter) that he has put seminarians from his diocese on notice that if their marriage ends, they can no longer expect to be candidates from that diocese. Similarly, he stated that if a rector's marriage ends, he/she must resign. The vestry may or may not accept the resignation, but the step must be taken. I am reminded how, years ago, my parents' beloved rector and his wife announced their intention to divorce. The rector tendered his resignation immediately, not because the bishop told him to but because he believed it was the right thing to do. My father was on the vestry at the time; he and my mother were devastated (they loved the wife too). The resignation was not accepted and the rector continued in his post. Why? It was because he was profoundly repentant, admitted failure, took the blame, and acknowledged the deep pain of the parishioners. If he had not done that, he could not have remained as a trusted pastoral leader. His contrition made it possible for my parents, and others, to accept the situation.