The Systemic War Against Fathers
Most Western family law courts and systems are greatly skewed against fathers. There is an inbuilt bias against dads, and many are turned into criminals for having done nothing wrong. The facts on this are quite clear. Consider which parent is awarded custody of children after divorce: women are, some 85 per cent of the time in many Western countries.
This is not because the dads do not want the kids, but because the family law courts and tribunals invariably side with the mothers here, even if the dad may not be at fault. Indeed, the majority of divorces are initiated by women. And feminism and political correctness have ensured that women will usually get the benefit of the doubt, while men are looked upon as the villain.
Now of course in a marriage it takes both spouses to make it work, and most divorces also entail faults with both partners. Sure there are some dead-beat dads, abusive husbands, and irresponsible fathers. But there are also mothers who are equally at fault. There are irresponsible mums, abusive wives, and so on. Yet the way the law treats these matters, you would think that women are almost always right, while men are almost always wrong.
I know guys who minister to dads after divorce. The grief, depression, and sadly too often, the suicides, are very common indeed. They are bummed out at a system that seems to be fully biased against them, and the lack of proper and regular access to their own children is often the last straw.
I too have known about this firsthand, witnessing the family law system in action. I have seen seemingly happy marriages one minute, and broken families the next, when the wife and children pack up and leave, leaving a dumbfounded, shocked and grieving dad behind.
Far too often in these situations, this may in fact be the last time they see their wife and kids. A police presence or court order will keep them from even being allowed to speak to the spouse or see their own children. No wonder so many spiral out of control in uncontrollable despair and depression, with many taking their own lives as a result.
Many have written about all this and documented it in some detail. As but one example, a very important book appeared in 2007 by Stephen Baskerville entitled Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family.
It is a must read for all who are concerned about how the family law system is siding against men, and causing untold damage to society as a whole. Says Baskerville, “The principle assault on the family today comes directly from government.”
He is referring to no-fault divorce and a legal system which has decided ahead of time that men are the problem. He writes, “Governments throughout the United States and other democracies are engaged, by accident or design, in a massive campaign against fathers and fatherhood, and … this campaign lies at the root of a larger crisis that is undermining parents generally, threatening the institution of marriage, destroying the family, and ruining the lives of children.”
The book details the gross injustice of “the systematic seizure of children by government officials and the criminalization of their parents. A parent today who has committed no legal infraction can have his (or sometimes her) parenthood and relationship with his children criminalized entirely through the actions of others in ways that are completely beyond his control. [The book] focuses largely on fathers and divorce, because these are the ones most commonly involved.”
He notes that custody “is not the right to parent one’s children; it is the power to prevent someone else from parenting his children and to marshal the penal apparatus — courts, police, and jails — to ensure he stays away from them.” And all this has become a vast, entrenched, and often self-serving, industry:
“What we are describing here is the divorce industry, a massive and largely hidden governmental and quasi-governmental machine consisting of judges, lawyers, psychologists and psychiatrists, social workers, child protective services, child-support enforcement agents, mediators, counselors, and feminist groups, plus an extensive host of economic interests, such as divorce planners, forensic accountants, real estate appraisers, and many others.
“These officials and professionals invariably profess to be motivated by concern for the ‘best interest’ of the other people’s children. Yet their services are activated only with the dissolution of families and the removal of parents. Whatever pieties they may proclaim therefore, the hard reality is that they have a concrete interest in encouraging family break-up, and virtually all their power and earnings derive from the harm that divorce inflicts on children. ‘Fights over control of the children,’ reports one former divorce insider, ‘are where most of the billable hours in family court are consumed’.”
In some 370 pages Baskerville provides a wealth of detail, facts and statistics as he documents this process in the US. I encourage all of you who are interested in this to get his book and master its contents. In the meantime, he has written articles on this, which in much briefer fashion makes the same case.
Let me appeal to just one, where he lays out “Five Myths about No-Fault Divorce”. These are:
-No-fault divorce permitted divorce by mutual consent, thus making divorce less acrimonious.
-We cannot force people to remain married and should not try.
-No-fault divorce has led men to abandon their wives and children.
-When couples cannot agree or cooperate about matters like how the children should be raised, a judge must decide according to “the best interest of the child.”
-Divorce must be made easy because of domestic violence.
Each one is well worth looking at, but let me focus on just his second and third myths. As to the second, he says this: “It is not a matter of forcing anyone to remain married. The issue is taking responsibility for one’s actions in abrogating an agreement. With no-fault divorce, the spouse who divorces without grounds or otherwise breaks the marriage agreement (for example, by adultery or desertion) thereby incurs no onus of responsibility. Indeed, that spouse gains advantages.
“Courts therefore do not dispense justice against a legal wrong. Instead, every divorce is granted automatically, and the courts simply divvy up the goods – including the children – according to any criteria they choose, including separating the innocent spouse from his or her children without having to give any reason. Because the divorce creates work and earnings for judges, lawyers, and other court personnel, there is a strong incentive for these officials to reward the guilty spouse in order to encourage more divorces and more business for the courts. As Charles Dickens pointed out, ‘The one great principle of the…law is to make business for itself’.”
As to the third myth, he replies: “This does happen (wives more often than children), but it is greatly exaggerated. The vast majority of no-fault divorces – especially those involving children – are filed by wives. In fact, as Judy Parejko, author of Stolen Vows, has shown, the no-fault revolution was engineered largely by feminist lawyers, with the cooperation of the bar associations, as part of the sexual revolution. Overwhelmingly, it has served to separate large numbers of children from their fathers. Sometimes the genders are reversed, so that fathers take children from mothers. But either way, the main effect of no-fault is to make children weapons and pawns to gain power through the courts, not the ‘abandonment’ of them by either parent.”
Obviously much more can be said about all this, and Baskerville certainly does in his fact-filled and very important book. No-fault divorce laws have been a monumental disaster for Western societies, with men being the biggest losers, but everyone suffers as a result.
Speaking about the Australian scene, law professor Augusto Zimmermann says this: “Ultimately, no-fault-divorce undermines justice as it rewards irresponsible behaviour and makes a complete mockery of marital vows. Perhaps those who are marrying should consider declaring at their wedding ceremonies, ‘I promise you nothing’, or ‘I will leave you whenever I want’.
“To stabilise marriage, the Family Law Act must be amended to remove the present incentive of no-fault divorce, which enables a spouse to unilaterally leave a marriage without any fear of losing custody of children and property. This egregious legal anomaly is a standing invitation to irresponsible behaviour.
“If this urgent reform is not undertaken, the Family Court of Australia will continue to perpetuate injustice by rewarding those spouses responsible for grave marital misconduct and by separating children from their legally blameless parents.”
He is quite right. Whether such vital reforms can be achieved or not remains to be seen. But for the sake of men and women, our children, and society as a whole, we must make a real attempt at it. And not just our Family Law Act, but the entire family court system.
38 Replies to “The Systemic War Against Fathers”
Whilst I might not agree with all that you say at times, you have certainly hit the nail right on the head with this piece. I have just suffered at the hands of the Family Law Court system. I’ve been deserted by my ‘Christian’ wife, who was a ‘Pastor’ no less, who then set about financially robbing me through the ‘biased towards women’ Family Court system. Can you believe it; and yes, the lawyers are the purveyors of misery and death – they don’t care a bit, but just rake in enormous out-of-all-proportion ‘fees’ from miserable couples fighting with each other!
As it happens, I worked for the Attorney-General’s Department in the mid-90’s in the Legal Aid and Family Services section which was populated by about 36 women and 3 men of whom I was one (working on counselling programs). Most of the women were strong feminists. I remember a discussion with one of the women who said that she viewed the Family Court system as a means of “redistributing wealth from men to women” and that the policies she wrote were to that end. That was almost 20 years ago. Is it any wonder we have ended up where we now are.
This rot has of course now spread deeply within the Christian church, which has been suckered into participating in this appalling system rather than having the guts to stick with their marriages and work it out as Christ commanded and God expects. The truly sad thing is that if people did stick with their marriages and worked it out they would be much better and wiser people for it (not to mention the lifelong damage they cause to their children and other relatives). By divorcing and running away they never get to resolve the issues that caused the breakdown in the first place. They are then condemned to repeat them the next time round, hence the high failure rate of second marriages. Such a huge topic.
Anyway, it’s probably best to leave my name off this for a whole range of privacy and legal reasons.
Thanks anon. As you did offer me your full name, and given your circumstances, I am willing to exempt you from my commenting rules in this instance.
And tragically your story can be multiplied many times over.
God says ” I hate divorce” Whey do what God hates?
Divorce is the worst family tsunami ever. It divides, separates and has life long consequences.
The divorce epidemic among Christians, leaders, pastors’ is higher than 50%.
Those is the church are caught in a web of sin more contagious and virulent than anything previously suffered in the past 2000 years.
Divorce is spreading like a plague in every corner of the world, Look at the suicides as a result of divide divorced families
The Bible clearly teaches that marriage is for Life! God is not interested in our feelings, past circumstances, scars or situations, actions or behaviours as reasons for not obeying His laws where Marriage and Divorce and Adultery (remarriage is a notion that is NEVER mentioned in the Bible) are concerned.
Where are those willing to stand for One man with One wife for LIFE. This is Gods right and only way.
Reliable research clearly shows that divorce leads to five times more likely to commit suicide; 32 times more likely to run away; 20 times more likely to have behavioural disorders; 14 times more likely to commit rape; 9 times more likely to drop out of high school and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
Where is stability in that?
Divorce and adultery is a sin resulting in death and separation from God.
It’s not just the father who loses. His children are cut off from one half of their heritage – – grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins and that is a terrible loss.
The old saying, “power corrupts….” can be seen in countries whether it be ruled by feminist chauvinists or male chauvinists.
I often hear women who immigrated here from male dominated countries, that in their former country it’s bad for the women but good for the men. BUT, these same women also recognize that here in Australia it’s bad for the men and good for the women.
Feminists, the Left and the PC lamestream media propaganda machine share the same standards as the male chauvinists they attack.
To save marriage and families, we need to REPEAL no-fault divorce.
A divorce is the worst tsunami a family can experience. The holy scriptures describe it as treachery and violence.
A divorce divides and devalues parents, children, finance and friends.
A divorce impacts children and the next generations.
The sanctity of marriage is reduced and invalidated.
Perhaps your are reading this and you have initiated a divorce. Maybe you are not aware of the life long consequences.
Divorce is the feed bed for division, anger, hatred, animosity, crime and all manners of personal destruction. Parents and children alike are scarred for life as they limp through life after a decree with a missing leg, arm, or other symbolic part of their body.
Emotionally they never totally recover. Divorce and all its “baggage” are forever with the families who are forced to become a part of this anomaly.
Where are people to stand up against the breakdown of families? Where are the people to look to Gods Word and save marriages and families?
Thanks Bill for this very timely article about the ‘monumental disaster’ of no-fault divorce and compliments to ‘Anon’ and ‘Judith’ above for their honest and insightful comments. We would encourage everyone to access the 2nd link at the end of your piece and read the full article by law professor Augusto Zimmermann – it speaks volumes as regards no-fault’s disastrous effects on families and its devastating impact on Western economies/finances, social welfare systems etc.
As regards Professor Zimmermann’s comments, “To stabilise marriage, the Family Law Act must be amended to remove the present incentive of no-fault divorce ….” , there are those of us in the church who have been writing to the Prime Minister for a repeal of the ‘no-fault divorce’ laws and a return to the ‘fault’ system here in Australia. In 2009, Tony Abbott, then Shadow Minister in the Liberal Party, released his book “Battlelines” wherein he indicated a desire to have “laws toughened up to make divorce harder” (see The Australian Newspaper dated July 11, 2009) and this has been an encouragement to many.
A Christian woman comes to mind … one Judith Brumbaugh in the United States …. who has surely gained insight into the Family Law Judicial System there. Her powerful book “Judge, Please Don’t Strike That Gavel … On My Marriage” has been endorsed by four attorneys. Discover why Judith Brumbaugh’s book could just as aptly be called The Court-Ship of Judith. It chronicles a six-year journey through the legal machinations of their judicial system to reach the United States Supreme Court in an effort to overturn the nation’s Trojan Horse, No-fault Divorce. Author Judith Brumbaugh was court-ordered from her home in exchange to “broker” her constitutional right to a court hearing. With a few possessions and cardboard boxes, including what was to become her most important weapon–her typewriter, she began her nomadic journey to show how divorce has impacted and devastated families and society in general (250 pages; 150 illustrations – see her website at http://www.restorationofthefamily.com accessing the link Order Materials to view her publications). Judith’s ‘crime’ was her steadfast belief in God’s Word that marriage is a lifelong covenant relationship, indissoluble except through death of one of the spouses! She has also produced an excellent CD entitled “No-fault Divorce: Yes or No?” taken from a Point of View Radio Interview with herself and Attorney at Law J. Shelby Sharpe, 40 Years Federal and State Constitutional Litigation wherein is raised the question “Is No-Fault Constitutional?” The CD is obtainable from Judith’s website and we would thoroughly recommend it to readers.
As ‘Anon’ has chronicled above, the rot surely has now spread deeply within the Christian church. We could name names of Christian pastors and leaders, some within the political arena, who are in a divorce/remarriage situation today and many of whom are well-known. Resultant upon the introduction of the ‘no-fault’ divorce laws during the 1970’s following the sexual revolution of the ’60’s, the church too went ‘soft’ on the issue of divorce and remarriage by ultimately going along with the idea that marriage could be ‘dissolved’ and ‘replaced’ thus contravening the truth of the Biblical standard. One Dr. Leslie McFall, Cambridge Scholar and former lecturer in Hebrew has some well researched articles on the subject of Divorce and Remarriage and these can be read at the Australian website http://www.wisereaction.org (click Eldership Resources link).
Again quoting ‘Anon’ above, it definitely is a HUGE topic and one, considering the current threat to the survival of the family unit, which of necessity requires a fresh look at the words of the writers of the N.T. However it needs be said that polluted Bible versions will not suffice in helping to exact the true meaning of the words Jesus and his disciples spoke in the Greek language.
This topic hits very close to home for me. My parents divorced in 1966 (which after doing a bit of research, predated the first official no-fault divorce law passed in California in 1969) I was always under the impression that theirs was a no-fault divorce since my mother filed it against my father who was blameless. Everything that has been said by yourself, Judith and Anon rings so very true to me. The destructive aftermath of the divorce in our family is still being felt over 50 years after the fact. I also found this interesting factoid in the Wikipedia article that takes it out of the personal for me and into the more global ramifications.
“The earliest precedent in no-fault divorce laws was originally enacted in Russia shortly after the Bolshevik Revolution. They were legislated in the series of decrees that issued in early 1918. The decrees included nonjudicial dissolution of marriage by either party and mandatory provision of child-support. The purpose of the Soviet no-fault divorce laws was ideological, intended to revolutionize society at every level. They were the subject of significant revisional efforts from World War II to the 1960s. Major revisions were concluded in 1968. The Soviet 1968 and California 1969 no-fault divorce laws bore many detailed similarities of terminology, substance, and procedure.”
Why am I not surprised?
Commentators opposed to shared parenting and overnights for infants and toddlers post-divorce have been relying on misleading interpretations of very flawed research such as the widely publicized Australian study by Dr Jennifer McIntosh to argue that young children need to spend most of their time and every night in the care of one “primary” parent.
Properly disciplined research has safeguards built in to protect it from the prejudices of the researchers. This is not the case with the results–orientated research by McIntosh and colleagues. (Lamb 2012; Nielsen 2014) Lawmakers and courts often take this research that forms the picture of society on which government policy is based, not to mention the general public, as being simply objective truth.
In order to clarify where social science stands on these issues, a February 4, 2014 study by Dr Richard Warshak, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre, published in the prestigious American Psychological Association’s peer-review journal, Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, with the endorsement of 110 of the world’s top authorities from 15 countries in attachment, early child development, and divorce, concludes that in normal circumstances, overnights and “shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children.”
Unlike the flawed work by Mcintosh et al this important study sheds much needed light on what is best for infants and toddlers whose parents live apart and its importance cannot be overstated.
The names and affiliations of the 110 distinguished scholars are listed in the Appendix of the paper and the eminent signatories include:
Judith Cashmore, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Sydney Law School,
Professor Don Edgar, Ph.D., Foundation Director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies
Barry Nurcombe, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Queensland.
The consensus report ends with a number of recommendations. Of particular note:
“We recognize that many factors such as cultural norms and political considerations affect the type of custody policy that society deems as desirable. To the extent that policy and custody decisions seek to express scientific knowledge about child development, the analyses in this article should receive significant weight by legislators and decision makers.”
“1. Just as we encourage parents in intact families to share care of their children, we believe that the social science evidence on the development of healthy parent– child relationships, and the long-term benefits of healthy parent–child relationships, supports the view that shared parenting should be the norm for parenting plans for children of all ages, including very young children.“
“3. In general the results of the studies reviewed in this document are favorable to parenting plans that more evenly balance young children’s time between two homes. …Thus, to maximize children’s chances of having a good and secure relationship with each parent, we encourage both parents to maximize the time they spend with their children.”
“4. Research on children’s overnights with fathers favors allowing children under four to be cared for at night by each parent rather than spending every night in the same home. ”
“6. There is no evidence to support postponing the introduction of regular and frequent involvement, including overnights, of both parents with their babies and toddlers.”
In the context of the national family law conversation this significant study is essential reading for lawmakers,social science professionals, lawyers and the family court judiciary.
Warshak R A (2014) Social Science and Parenting Plans for Young Children: A Consensus Report. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, Vol. 20, No. 1, 46–67
Nielsen L. (2014, February 10) Woozles: Their Role in Custody Law Reform, Parenting Plans, and Family Court. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/law0000004
Lamb M. E (July 12, 2012) A Wasted Opportunity To Engage With The Literature On The Implications Of Attachment Research For Family Court Professionals. Family Court Review Volume 50, Issues 3, pp. 481–485
The advent of “no-fault” divorce in Western jurisdictions would appear to have something to do with the rise of the Gay Liberation Movement in the 70s: Over the years, I have become aware that divorce in the family is not uncommon in the personal histories of not a few persons in same-sex intimate liaisons. Certainly, the militant feminist critique of fatherhood and marriage is a common adjunct to the undergirding ideological supports often held by women who are in same-sex relationships.
The shared parenting does not set the role model of a father and mother for the child. Children think that divided families and a divided family is norm. Not, they are NOT!
God’s way is One man with one wife for LIFE.
The UNPALATABLE & UNADULTERATED TRUTH..Judith Bond & Ron & Barbara Pirie..yes, once we reject, compromise, disobey, rebel against:
Marriage God’s Way = Covenant Marriage = Holy Matrimony = 1 Man + 1 Wife 4 Life…
we regress into a state of mayhem & chaos in EVERY facet of our own lives & in the lives of our families/children which is perpetuated for generations..
Because the so-called Christian West has played fast & loose with God’s Command on Marriage ( marriage is neither an ideal or an issue with God) today we are suffering as a society with:
– widespread “coward punch” murders
– drug addiction
– widespread & frequent changing of casual sexual partners (men-women/men-men/women-women)
which has reached almost pandemic proportions in society as can be seen by the increase of the incidences of sexually transmitted diseases & HIV/Aids
– increase in murders of children by step-fathers who are in de-facto relationships with their mothers
-the falling apart of families in every sense of the word
– widespread pre-marital sex (fornication) amongst teenagers & youth because they do not have role models in their parents because one or both are no longer living with them
– the fluid definition of family – “anyone is going with anyone”
– “sperm” fathers
– taking over/harassment by immigrants/their cultures (every time Israel rebelled God let the heathens around her harass & intimidate & go to war with her – the same is happening in this 21st Century world against the Christian West – and we have brought it on ourselves)
I could go on & on…
A promise. oath or vow appears to mean little now a days, even with Doctors. I wonder why business contracts do better ?
Once we play with/discard/dismantle 1 Man + 1 Wife 4 Life we, as a society, are then in dire straits.
Then marriage becomes 1 Man + 1 Man….1 Woman + 1 Woman…..1 Man + 1 Man + 1 Man….1 Man + 1 Child….1 Man + 1 Dog…the possibilities for relationships then become endless & DANGEROUS….
We need to stop the rot…do away with no-fault divorce to stop the further destruction/disintegration of Western Judeo-Christian culture..
Thanks for this article. I have just returned home after being on extended holiday with my wife.
Giving oneself time for renewal, for oneself and relationships is a very important. It’s part of worship; and worship is vital for marriage. It gives one time to draw near to God and hear the Holy Spirit. “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” has to be one of my favorite scriptures.
My wife and I were talking this morning and agreed that our own relationship has been very tortured. A lot of this has been my own fault; but not just my own fault. This connects with a major emotional breakdown, I experienced, 30 years ago.
The point I’m making is that God is in charge of the whole show. Injustices occur; but Romans 13 still applies. God uses our most painful experiences if we will give them to Him. While the injustices we experience were not God’s directive will – anymore than our sins – nevertheless, our faith calls us to believe that these sufferings were allowed to occur to us, for a purpose. Believing this makes a lot of difference. It enables us to search for a way forward according to His leading and empowering. We may take some wrong turns along the way. But my testimony is that He keeps turning up and lifting me.
Judgements from God are surely coming to our society. This is both very re-assuring and terrifying at the same time. Sure, we’re called to intercede and make a difference. Your articles Bill, provide a forum for this, and a place where this is encouraged, for which I am very grateful. I’d like to finish with two thoughts, more directly related to your above article. The first repeats and extends an observation I made on previous occasions. The second introduces an unusual source of views which are also contrary to views so frequently promoted within officialdom.
John Wigg’s observation, I note, connects no-fault divorce and the rise of the gay liberation movement of the 70s. While I am encouraged by this observation, I would like to see more evidence for this. Clearly, many of our left leaning ‘friends’ of yesteryear, were in both camps and makes sense. My own observation is with regard to the costs on society of the breakdown of male/female marriages and families. No fault divorce came in with Lionel Murphy’s Family Law Act in 1975. Prior to this divorce was relatively rare. I believe there is clear evidence that this legislation has been a far greater force for evil than than the current moves with same-sex legislation. In my view, same-sex marriage (may God forbid it’s introduction in Australia) has the potential to significantly extend the destructiveness of no fault divorce. No fault divorce has already brought significant abandonment of marriage. A high proportion of couples no longer bother to marry at all. One school I teach at, the stats are, on average, in a class of thirty students, there are only two students that have a mother an father living together. While this moral issue has not been completely ignored by respective churches, I feel justified in saying that there have been few voices seeking to address this. Very few ministers of the gospel teach what our Lord and Saviour taught in Luke 16 v 18. Our Saviour’s teaching is repeated in Mark 10 v 11. In contrast our Saviour’s exception phase in Matthew 5 v 32 is so frequently used to distort and deny our Saviour’s clear statements. For a clear exegesis of these passages I highly commend the following thirteen (13) pages of analysis. See: http://www.wisereaction.org/ebooks/mdr_jonesc.pdf But I also wish to add, while this teaching has been significant in saving my own marriage. I have personally found that this topic is fraught with difficulty. (See the comments at the beginning of Colin Jones article, which give a similar warning.) But, as I am sure Bill would encourage us, this does not excuse us from attempting to find a way forward.
The unusual source of views – which I referred to earlier – opposing much of feminism and the teachings connected with no fault divorce are represented in the writings of Karen Straughan. Karan Straughan is an anti-feminist; but surprisingly, she is also an atheist. She challenges a many of the assumptions and presuppositions of various feminist positions. Her writings clearly draw upon a number of other sources and authors. However, her own articulation of them; as a woman, make them much more powerful to use in addressing other feminists, if you are a man like me, and if you are interested to learn more, I suggest you google: ‘Karen Straughan’ or, as she is otherwise known, ‘GirlWritesWhat’. She has many articles and talks online. Here is one of her links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h97RsyEAPk0&feature=em-share_video_user
Rampant no-fault divorce & remarriage(= ADULTERY) in the so-called Christian Church has rendered it spiritually weak & without moral & spiritual authority/voice. One cause of it is seen in the rise of the SODOMITE demographics. Tonight (1st March, 2014) in Sydney the world will witness one brazen manifestation of the ultimate attempt to neutralize/smash/destroy Western Judeo-Christianity in the Annual Sodomite Parade (Gay “Loud & Proud” Mardi Gras).
Covenant Marriage = Holy Matrimony = 1 Man + 1 Wife 4 Life…want to know more?
True that very few ministers live, teach and preach one man with one wife for LIFE. Many ‘ministers’ conduct adulterous ceremonies, spreading the break down of families further.
Our leaders reflect our society, we have turned our back on God’s commands. We don’t teach our kids about God or morality or standing up against evil, we have allowed divorce to destroy our families and society, and now we no longer desire any morality. If we (that is the west) don’t turn back to God, then we are doomed and soon. We need to pray for repentance and revival.
Peter Hitchens is right when he says that it is easier to get out of a marriage than a car lease.
He may in fact be literally correct. These days, an application for divorce can sometimes be made “on the papers”, that is, without even a court hearing requiring the presence of both spouses. You can even go to the Family Law Court webiste and obtain a “divorce kit” – most helpful!
No fault divorce has turned Western “marriage” into a farce.
The first step to start solving the issue is for the professing churches to stop marrying divorced people.
Way back in 1995, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Family Law Act 1975, my husband, Don Parham, made a film on no-fault divorce for SBS entitled “We’re All Independent Now”. The SBS ad for the film can be viewed via the following link –
He interviewed Australia’s Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam, who was responsible for the law’s introduction. Other significant people included Chief Justice of the Family Court, Alistair Nicholson and Liberal MP at the time, Kevin Andrews, (now Minister in the Abbott government) who has had a long-term interest in these issues and is proposing a scheme of vouchers for engaged couples to receive marriage counselling.
Other strands in the film included readings of the original debates over the bill, filmed in Old Parliament House, Canberra, exploration of research into the effects of divorce on children, teenagers from divorced families expressing their grief and footage of protesting dads hit by the effects of the law. The film received quite a bit of media attention.
As a Christian engaged in the culture wars, he has made many other films on important socio-political issues.
You may be interested in checking them out:
“Jesus may come across as hard-hearted, dogmatic and unyielding, but we have the Holy Spirit to live out the life of forgiveness, and if we forgive ALL their sins (even adulterers), then there is no room for divorce, which is a statement of an unforgiving heart, which cannot be in any Christian” – Dr. Leslie McFall
“We need to get a perfect understanding of what true forgiveness implies for the man or woman “in Christ”. There are no exceptive clauses in Jesus’ teaching about forgiveness. People want to create exceptional circumstances where divorce is possible. There are no such grounds if he is a true follower of Jesus, and has the Holy Spirit abiding in him”.- Dr. Leslie McFall
Baskerville’s book is on my bookshelf and the most horrendous bit to me was footnote number 813 which gave a link to a website devoted to women bragging about how they’d made former husbands their economic ‘slaves’.
Unfortunately the link given in the book doesn’t work anymore. With any luck those b-tc-s (sorry for the language, Bill) got slammed. I hope so.
Yet the Catholic church keeps copping flak for its hard stance against divorce and the remarriage of divorcees.
I’m a Catholic and agree with the Church’s teaching but I admit I’m scandalized that the educated and wealthy seem to be granted annulments.
In my own family an educated sister who married aged twenty one was granted an annulment while an uneducated sister-in-law who married at sixteen and who longs to receive communion doesn’t even know where to begin.
Antonia, I have just finished reading the book “maybe ‘I do’ modern marriage & the pursuit of happiness” by Kevin Andrews the Federal Minister for Social Services and a Catholic, also I understand Andrews is an Adjunct Lecturer in Politics and in Marriage Education in the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne. Andrews in his book wrote on page 142 “religions recognise and bless marriage, but they did not invent it.” Please correct me if I have read this wrong, is Andrews quoting someone else? I have sent Kevin a copy of Casey Whitakers book “Have You Not Read? free copy to download at http://www.WiseReaction.org also worth reading is Dr Leslie McFall’s two part book on Marriage & Remarriage also free to download.
Good comment Antonia;
The Catholic Church’s teaching and hard stance against divorce and the remarriage of divorcees is surely Biblical.
The Christian lady we mentioned in our comment above- Judith Brumbaugh in the United States, is presently working on a book entitled “Finding Loopholes in the Bible to Divorce and ‘Re-marry’ is like riding a bike to Jamaica” (if readers know their geography the meaning of her title will be evident, however to save a google search in ‘maps’, the answer – it’s impossible!).
Sadly though, despite the Catholic Church’s honourable stance on the truth of the Biblical standard, it introduced its own ‘loophole’ in the granting of ‘annulments’ – unscriptural and as you say, scandalizing and not good.
This is a subject close to my heart given that I’ve seen the effect in my own family. My mother divorced my father when I was 2 years old due to the fact that he used her as a punch bag. There was no known adultery involved. According to Judith Bond my mother showed have stayed with my father and if committed sin by divorcing him and would have been an adulteress had she been remarried. I can’t help but speculate what absolute Pharasitical attitudes seem to prevail. Oft wonder if these forever thumpers who preach no escape except for adultery have ever asked God for his opinion on the matter. The former have cherry picked a verse and made it an absolute ruling – end of story. However if you confront them about plucking their eyes out and sin then ‘thats out of context.’ Perhaps the no escape forever thumpers have never speculated that perhaps Jesus wouldn’t want a precious child of his to be beaten, raped, psychologically traumatized by their spouse. Not having to live under such circumstances it’s easy to theologically fingerwag and perhaps one should be glad for them that they’ve never had to experience the theological dilema. I thought the Pharisees died out a long time ago but it seems that such unforgiving dogmatic souls are alive and well in Christian circles encouraging life sentences to those under the worst of physical and/or emotional abuse so we can have a cosy biscuit tin lid view of life. I fully accept that divorce is harmful to spouses, children and society however is it always the worst outcome? Perhaps Judith and the forever thumpers should take a trip to their local battered wives hostel and after counting black eyes and bruises start forever thumping and see how incredulous and extreme that view is. How many deaths would it take for the forever thumpers to just remotely grasp the notion that some have to escape and divorce without proof of adultery. But hey ho lets just thump the tub and be theological finger waggers and play the ‘we are the only faithful ones.’
God’s Word, clearly and plainly says to separate, and reconcile. No where in Gods Word, the Bible does it support divorce or to live in adultery.
When Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman at the well he didn’t tell her to leave the man she was currently with and go back to the first of her five husbands.
Further you say seperate and reconcile. In theory that’s fine but what about the spouse who has almost killed you?
If you wish to push legalism then I hope you’ve never lusted after someone because you’ve committed adultery in your heart right? The Bible makes that very clear. So we are all adulterers, every last one of us. That being the case Judith I think we’re on shaky theological ground tub thumping remarried divorcees.
Sorry Judith but if you want to go down legalism boulevard you can’t have it both ways.
God hates divorce, but I am so glad it is not an unforgivable sin.
This subject is probably the most complex among human interactions. I am with Judy in the case of wife abuse, separation definitely and discipline-punishment for the sin the husband has committed in bashing his wife. Marriage I don’t believe was not designed by God to be a free ticket for rape or assault.
My personal story comes from a different direction though. I am the guilty party of a no fault divorce in my b.c. days I thought I didn’t believe in marriage for life and acted accordingly. Had the law however not given me the easy way I would have not entered into a marriage. The law is supposed to act like the school master that should lead the non believer to Christ. Well, that law did not do that for me. And yes, the church allowed me to remarry, what could they have done seeing I was pregnant to my now husband. See, I did everything wrong in the book and I have spent years of agonizing searching for God’s will and have come to know just a little of the depth of God’s grace and forgiveness. Some suggested we needed to separate after we had 8 children, so you have the 2 extremes. “Oh, it’s okay, it’s all forgiven” or “you have done the wrong thing, you need to undo this marriage you have unlawfully entered after your divorce.” Well, it is just not quite that simple, I wish it was. Is the marriage vow that constitutes a marriage or is it the sexual act that consummates the marriage? Somehow the 2 belong together
I am not sure that it is okay for a church to annul a marriage either, there is too much room for human error and desire for power to influence that decision. Since we are dealing with a living God, a real person, I think we have to make room for his forgiveness to take prevalence after we have done all we can to judge according to his Word. And as to what someone said earlier about how easy it is to get a divorce, yes, I can attest to that, my first husband did not have to attend the court. That is my very personal reason to hate no fault divorce. It’s a bit like abortion, it tells you lies, it tells you “just do that now, it’ll be okay, move on etc.” When you realise later how many lives you have damaged while in your rebellious state, that is hard to take. It would have been better, had they let me run into the brick wall of the law and let me foam at the mouth for a while instead of letting me go along on my merry destructive way.
Jesus sites the hardness of men’s hearts for the allowance of divorce and he recognises that maybe not all can forgive the sin of adultery and makes the allowance for divorce for that reason. “Let those who are strong bare with the failings of the weak”. Rom 15 Unfaithfulness causes such deep pain that I for one do not blame anyone for maybe taking a long time to forgive or don’t trust themselves to be able to rebuild trust after such a betrayal. For those who can, praise the Lord, but I would say they are the very strong ones.
These are God’s judgements (do not shoot the messenger):
God HATES divorce:
Malachi 2 (KJV):14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the Lord hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.16 For the Lord, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the Lord of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
This is GOD’S definition of adultery:
Mark 10:11-12 (KJV)
11 And he saith unto them, *Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
(*Whosoever = EVERY person = Believer & Unbeliever = Whosoever in John 3:16 KJV)
No adulterer will enter Heaven:
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (KJV)
9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither FORNICATORS, nor idolaters, nor ADULTERERS, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall
inherit the kingdom of God.
This is how God continues to see adulterers:
A wicked and ADULTEROUS GENERATION seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. Matthew 16:4 KJV
An evil and ADULTEROUS GENERATION seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: Matthew 12:39 KJV
WHAT PART DID GOD NOT MAKE CLEAR?
Thanks guys. This post is primarily about the family law courts, the harms of divorce, and the bad deals dads are getting. But some of you want to make it into a full blown debate about the biblical and theological perspectives on divorce and remarriage, which is a slightly different topic. So it might be best to wait for that actual debate when I in fact write an article directly on it, thanks.
“and such were some of you, but now you are washed…”
Luke 6:27 New King James Version (NKJV) Love Your Enemies 27 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
I always think of this verse, what do enemies typically do, they murder, they abuse, they hate, they injury, they do anything but honour or respect other party.
So we are to Love then and do good to them… even if it is our spouses or ex’s? or is their some exception for them?
Recommended reading: The New Freedom of Forgiveness, Dr. David Augsburger
When someone sins against you, Jesus says we are to rebuke them first, quietly and privately and then if that doesn’t work, take it to 2-3 witnesses and if that doesn’t work take it to the church. If they still won’t listen we are then to treat them as a pagan and shun them. Forgiveness should only be offered to the repentant. God forgives us when we repent.
Thanks Sharon, it’s a very good point. God cannot forgive sin …….. unless we repent i.e. forsake it, turn away from or as one little boy said, “being sorry enough to quit!”. It is then that we are forgiven – it’s not merely a matter of asking God to forgive us for something but entails actually giving up the sin. Sadly the teaching of REPENTANCE is very much missing from the church today despite the fact they were the very first words which Jesus, Peter and Paul all spoke in the N.T. – ‘repent’.
It is then that we are washed clean and this had obviously been the case in the Corinthian church when Paul says ‘and such were some of you’ – they had forsaken their sins of idolatry, fornication, adultery, theft, drunkenness etc. etc.
Our love ………… the Piries