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Published on December 18th, 2012 | by Dr. Joel McDurmon


Why is there no national conversation about the divorce?

Dutch_Painting dividing artworkAmid all of the ridiculous politicization of the gun angle in the wake of Sandy Hook, and even a few calls for a national discussion on mental illness (one more back door for tyrannies, many), why is there so little discussion—or even mention—of what acquaintances of Adam Lanza are calling the turning point in his life: his parents’ divorce?

The Daily Mail reports,

Family friends said Lanza’s  problems started to escalate when his parents divorced in 2008 after 18 years together.

His father Peter, a wealthy executive for General Electric, who is believed to earn $1 million a year, moved out of the family home in 2006, citing ‘irreconcilable differences’. . . .

One of Lanza’s former classmates spoke of his ‘noticeable decline’ after his parents’ divorce. ‘He was a loner at school and hyper intelligent,’ he said. ‘But in recent years he disappeared off the radar.

[product id="1230" align="left" size="small"]‘The word is that he was badly affected when his parents split and that might be what pushed him over the edge.

‘He was always weird but the divorce affected him. He was arguing with his mother. He was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.’

There is very little public discussion, awareness, or education on the effects of divorce upon the children of divorcees. There may be tons of psychological research done on it, but if so, it hardly penetrates into the public sphere.

In this particular tragedy, several news outlets even combed through the parents’ divorce papers, but missed the elephant in the room. They gleaned all kinds of factual data about the mother and father from those papers, but made no point at all about the impact of the divorce itself.

Divorce rates began to spike in the U.S. in the mid-1960s. Feminist and humanist activism in law and the courts, not to mention culture in general, infused the atheistic, marxist attack on the traditional family into family law through the National Association of Women Lawyers (NAWL) and the American Bar Association.

In 1969, NAWL wrote and pushed a “no fault divorce” law in California. It passed, and was signed by then-governor Ronald Reagan, making Cali the first no-fault divorce state. By 1985, all but one state (NY) had followed suit.

The divorce rate has since quadrupled. According to one researcher:

Married adults now divorce two-and-a-half times as often as adults did 20 years ago and four times as often as they did 50 years ago… between 40% and 60% of new marriages will eventually end in divorce. . . . Perhaps 25% of children ages 16 and under live with a stepparent.(1)

Even now, as we hear that this was the turning point for Adam Lanza—the tipping point, after which he went from odd and awkward to murderous—the new reports contain absolutely no discussion of this crucial factor. Why not? [product id="1508" align="right" size="small"]

We hear no discussion at all in the media of the need for the presence of a strong and loving father. None. The concept is laughed at, tossed aside in TV shows to be replaced by the portrayal of homosexuals, independent women, single mothers, and womanizing men as healthy lifestyles.

When a husband-wife couple is portrayed, inevitably the male is a dolt, a clown, or an adolescent in a grown man’s body, while the female is the smart go-getter who keeps him in line and holds everything together.

Today we tolerate easy divorce and don’t even stop to question the effects of this on the children involved or on society in general. We have tolerated it for so long the question has been forgotten and replaced by more “progressive” social questions. We—including Christians and conservatives—are culturally desensitized to divorce. Between work and home, I drive by billboards advertising easy divorce legal services for a few hundred dollars. You can buy DIY divorce software in a box for $49.95.

The legal system used to force struggling married couples to try to work through their differences. This meant confronting personality clashes, selfishness, stubbornness, and many other failures. This is the refining, sanctifying fire of marriage. Divorce would only be granted when one party victimized the other through abuse or adultery, and the other party sued for the fault.

This was Jesus’ position, and Paul’s. Old Testament law allows the death penalty for adulterers. God is far more serious about marriage and divorce than most modern Christians and conservatives are willing to hear.

When our former legal system was replaced by no-fault divorce, couples no longer have social pressure to improve themselves and their relationships. They can quit at the slightest quibble, calling it an “irreconcilable difference.” Thus, a powerful sanctifying power is removed from society. And this means that we have society composed of many people who, when confronted with certain personal deficiencies, rather than go through much soul-searching, gave up on psychological or spiritual growth—and thus, we have adolescents in grown-up bodies. This is a much condensed account of this phenomenon, but it must be said to begin with. [product id="1244" align="left" size="small"]

It’s time we reignited the discussion of the social importance of the traditional family. This discussion must begin with Christians and in churches across America. We are up in arms over the homosexual marriage question, and rightfully so. But that issue is merely the current wave atop a deep dark raging sea of social dysfunction. The roots of the problems lie in the way Christians and churches have allowed the state to redefine marriage and family already, and have willingly broken the power of their families through various means, including tolerating easy divorce, public education, wicked media, and more.

The personal and social effects of this are enormous. I can speak from experience, as a child of divorced parents. It’s time churches and Christian leaders make this a very loud and prominent social issue.

There is of course, much more that needs to be said here. My purpose at this point is to raise the issue to the fore.Endnotes:

  1. Brian K. Williams, Stacy C. Sawyer, Carl M. Wahlstrom, Marriages, Families & Intimate Relationships, 2005.()
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About the Author

Dr. Joel McDurmon

Joel McDurmon, Ph.D. in Theology from Pretoria University, is the Director of Research for American Vision. He has authored seven books and also serves as a lecturer and regular contributor to the American Vision website. He joined American Vision's staff in the June of 2008. Joel and his wife and four sons live in Dallas, Georgia.

11 Responses to Why is there no national conversation about the divorce?

  1. Michael Riemer says:

    Arrow, that is a good question. Now, whether or not I can answer that does not invalidate the points I made. The points I made were not just illustrations, but come from the law and real life experiences of myself and others. Let me also point out, that I had to “argue” with the U.S. immigration officials about this issue. I had to explain the law to them. For they, just like most “Christians,” do not know the law dealing with this issue. Let me also say, that what I did does not always go as well for others as it did for me. I know of another couple that encountered problems with immigration over this matter. But they did not fight it, but went and got a “license” from the state.

    The way I understand it, since there would be no state issued license, for a divorce, there would have to be a trial, you know, judge, and a jury of your peers, based under the law of the U.S. constitution. For one to divorce, there would have to be cause, evidence, witnesses etc. Now that may not answer your question. So you would have to study the past. Before the no-fault divorce laws were passed. Back when EVERY marriage was without a “license” from the state. Back when all that was needed (probably how your grandparents “tied” the knot) to show that you were lawfully married, was the page from your family Bible; where there were just a few lines to sign for the parties involved. And that my friend, was all that was needed to show that a couple was now lawfully married. A lot less divorce back then also.

    Now that was called a Christian marriage. There was also the “civil” kind, you know, the one that only an “insane” person would bind themselves too. Of course, back then, 60 to 100 years ago, most of the judges were much more favorable to Christianity and made much better decisions. However, the one that for so many, “now-a-days, enters into, with so many divorces, that contract (license) issued by the state, called the marriage license, will tear a Christians life apart. For a Christian to enter into that kind of contract, to sign that kind of license, knowing the facts, would have to have a mental disorder or some kind of dementia!!!!

    One large problem with the state issued license, most people have no idea of what the “fine” print binds them too. They do not realize, that by signing that contract, the state has now taken 1st “place.” And that what should be the Lords domain, has been given to the state. Yes, they never read the “fine” print!

    For most people, the state issued “license,” they believe, is the only way that one can become lawfully married. But that is not true. If that is correct, before state issued licenses, how did a couple become lawfully married? A little “education” goes a long way!!!

    If you are standing on the “right” side of the law, if you are following the Scriptures, you just may have to “fight” or stand your ground. That is what I was prepared to do. But being “right” does not always mean you will win. Doing the right thing, sometimes will cause you a lot of headaches and problems.

  2. Michael Riemer says:

    Good post brother. I think you hit very close, or maybe, to the heart of the problem.

    “The roots of the problems lie in the way Christians and churches have allowed the state to redefine marriage and family already, and have willingly broken the power of their families through various means, including tolerating easy divorce, public education, wicked media, and more.”

    That is true. However, the state, and in most cases the Churches themselves, have conned the people into thinking a state issued marriage license is needed to be “lawfully” married. A state issued “license” is at the heart of much of what is wrong. The license gives the state the power to pull the family apart, to harm and cripple those who enter into the marriage contract with the state. My marriage “license” from the state gave the state the power to pull my family apart. The “no fault divorce” law gave the state power over my marriage, but there is power in that “law,” only to those who have given it power!!! You give it power, when you get a state issued marriage license!!! If there is no state issued marriage license, that “law” does not apply!!!!

    And with many things that are hurting our nation and its families, much of the time, we have “done” it to ourselves. Christians, please stop giving the state power over you. DO NOT GET A STATE ISSUED MARRIAGE LICENSE!!! You do not need one to be lawfully married.

    I went through all this with immigration. (long story I will make it short) They said we needed a state issued marriage license to be “legally” married. But they were wrong, we didn’t get a state issued license, and they knew we didn’t have a state issued marriage license (we did not hide this fact, but I was “in their faces” about it), and my wife was not deported. She even got her “green” card, without a state issued license.

    Brother, this issue, the state issued license or contract (not just marriage license, but all license, churches incorporating…) is near, or close to the heart of the problem. American Vision has given “power” to the state, because they have incorporated. Churches have given power to the state over them because they have incorporated. Brother, why not start the healing process, right at home, get rid of the license (incorporation) from the state, and become a “full” and real Christian ministry? You keep writing posts about this type of issue, but never put it into “full practice” what you preach. How can we really heal this nation, when this festering issue, “license” is practiced by American Vision????

    • John says:

      I must disagree with part of your assessment, Michael. While it’s true in a sense that a state marriage license would not be required for the Church to recognize the marriage, the state DOES require the marriage license if you intend to file for taxes as married, filing jointly. I truly cannot imagine why you would not do so, precisely because the State DOES recognize, for now at least, that there is an economic and moral benefit to society from married couples.

      I think it would be quite foolish to fail to get a marriage license. It’s a means of ensuring that you make good use of tax law.

      • Michael Riemer says:

        John, you make a perfect example of the lack of understanding most Christians have concerning this major and oh so important issue. A state issued marriage license ripped my life apart. It gave control of my children to the court and what they thought would be best for them. The children should have been placed in my hands, for I was and still am a godly parent. But, no, the court gave their mother a large portion of my wages and the major amount of time with her, who at the time was living anything but as a Christian. She had committed adultery and was doing other “things” which were not good.

        I am not alone. The same thing has happened to millions of Christian men and women. They have had their children taken away from them by the courts. Some have been jailed. Many have a hard time supporting themselves, because of the “insane” wage assignments and fines placed upon them by an evil judge or court. And many of those children are placed in the care of an evil and wicked parent by the court!!! The Christian parent should in most cases have the children placed in their care.

        “I truly cannot imagine why…” I am sorry for being so blunt…but are you nuts? Do you not understand all the heartache that has been caused by that state issued marriage license? The license gives the court the right to hand over your children to an evil parent if the court, so determines it would be “best” for the child. I know a number of fathers and a few mothers that, the marriage license ripped their life apart, for now they subjected themselves to the no-fault divorce laws and the whims of ungodly judges and courts. Why would anyone in their right mind want to subject their children to that? Why would anyone in full control of their mind, give unlimited control to their future earnings, all their property, and the lives of their precious children over to some stranger, who will not have the best interest of the kingdom of God in mind when he/she makes a decision concerning things that will affect the rest of their lives? Why would anyone enter into, or become part of an “insane” contract like that? Why would you invite evil into your life and the life of your family? And not only invite the evil into your home, but give it permission to control and destroy your family, home and life?

        “While it’s true in a sense…” What sense, you are either married or you are not married. If you are lawfully married, which can and should be done with out state permission. The government does have to accept your documentation. For lawful means just that- you are married in the eyes of the church and the government! Did you really read what I wrote? The government, immigration, accepted our documentation we wrote out, as proof, that we were lawfully married!

        “the state DOES require the marriage license if you intend to file for taxes as married, filing jointly.” If you are lawfully married, you may file as married and file jointly. You can be lawfully married without state permission. If that was me, and I filed as married, and the state gave me a problem because I did not have a “license”, they would have a big legal fight on their hands. I am sure I would win. I am not just talking. If there would have been a problem with immigration concerning our marriage convent we put together, I would have fought tooth and nail with any and all government agencies.

        “there is an economic and moral benefit to society from married couples” What has that got to do with the issue at hand? A moral benefit to society? If you are lawfully married, you are lawfully married, and that would be a benefit.

        “It’s a means of ensuring that you make good use of tax law.” No, wrong, dead wrong! It’s a means of control. Just one way the state tries to force you to enter into contracts that are ungodly. And income taxes, and tax “returns” is another whole issue. However, if you have and use an SS number, you have given the state control and you had better file your “tax returns.” For it’s the same issue, giving the government control by entering into contract with it. And I can make the same point, you do not need an SS number to open a bank account, get a drivers license (it is hard to do, but can be done) , work or any other thing you want to do to earn a living.

      • Arrow says:

        Mr Reimer, you make good points and I tend to agree.

        But I need you to help me out here. In your scenario, with no license, in the case of a divorce and BOTH parents say “you’ll have the kids over my dead body”, who decides and enforces the decision?

        Not trying to argue against you here, just looking for explanation.

    • Alex A, UK says:

      Amen! God stamps the marriage “certificate”, not the state!
      Alex A

      • DVD Bach says:

        “Amen! God stamps the marriage “certificate”, not the state!”
        False. Show me one marriage certificate stamped by a deity.

  3. Brother Les says:

    Divorce needs to be talked about more in the church cultis to have any major impact in the secular world. With the divorce rate so high in churchanity of the ‘holy’… how can it not be rising amoung the dogs? ‘the church’ was told to remove itself from ‘the world’ and it did for so many years…. ‘the church’ has recieved what it has sown. A Full decline and collapse of society is now what is in store. What will you do when it comes? We have a choice, prepare for the lie of a Rapture….(and then) prepare for untold hardship and die a painful death, or get right with God and sell your cloak and buy a sword and fight for The Kingdom of God on Earth.

  4. MAUREEN says:

    There is only one person that can answer the question why they divorced and I do not think you will get the full truth. Money was not and problem according to the press, the mother got a quarter of a million dollars in support each year.
    Having grandchildren, one with issues her father denied that there was something wrong and made getting help more difficult. The schools give the parents a hard time also getting help because they do not want to pay for special needs is what we experienced in our town.
    They are divorced, their daughter is in a foster home for now.
    Adam could have been on the wrong meds his eyes tell a scary story.

  5. Len says:

    Discussing something like divorce would be getting too close to discussing the ultimate source of the problem. It’s much easier to simply concentrate on controlling the symptoms rather than treating the disease itself, which is man’s inherent falleness and sinfulness.

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