Maggie Gallagher

Dinesh D'Souza's documentary, “2016: Obama's America,” has grossed $33 million, making him one of the all-time best-selling documentary filmmakers. D'Souza stepped down from the presidency of King's College in Manhattan after admitting he got engaged to a woman before divorcing his wife of 20 years.

We know these facts from D'Souza himself: Three months ago, he met a 28-year-old woman. On Sept. 28, he introduced her at a conference as his fiancée. He did not file for divorce from his wife of 20 years until Oct 4. He claims to have been separated from his wife for two years, at his wife's insistence, but his wife never filed for divorce. (Some media outlets are reporting D'Souza's young woman herself is newly married -- but this has not been confirmed.)

By his own account then, D'Souza decided to divorce his wife only after falling in love with a young woman half his age. He denies committing adultery and makes this astonishing defense:

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

At least, thanks to King's College and World Magazine, there still remains a world in which getting engaged to one woman while married to another raises red flags.

But the scandal in evangelical circles will be short-lived. We know how this story ends. Just ask Newt Gingrich.

D'Souza will jettison his wife. He will then marry whom he chooses. After a few years -- or most likely weeks -- the “scandal” will die down. Forgiveness will triumph for the powerful and important man.

And if this is the way the story ends, D'Souza no doubt wonders, why postpone joy? Why wait until you are actually divorced from one wife before announcing the happy news that you've given in to the urge to merge with a new one?

Sigh.

Adultery is a grave sin for Christians, but it's the sin of giving yourself a partial excusal from the sacred marriage vow -- of unilaterally taking back the gift of your body that you gave at the altar. So how exactly, from a Christian point of view, does breaking the whole vow publicly and explicitly make it better?

I could cite chapter and verse, but let me instead just cite a few examples from the studies published just this year on the harm that divorce causes.

A 2012 study in the International Journal of Public Health looked at 6,928 adults in Alameda County, Calif.. Adults whose parents divorce experienced not only “lowered well-being in adulthood,” but reduced “long-term survival.”


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.