Monday, February 12, 2007

The Public Acceptance of Adultery

David Bernstein wrote about a curious wedding announcement in The New York Times. An older couple gets together decades after a teenage romance:

Very nice. But if I follow the story correctly, the groom hooked up with the bride well before he was separated from his wife of about thirty years, and apparently well before he made it clear to her that he was pursuing other relationships. The Times's story contains this choice line: "He suggested to Dr. Drager that they meet in Las Vegas the next year and go on a group river-rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. He told his wife about the trip but not about his companion." I understand these things happen, I haven't walked a mile in their shoes, I'm not being judgmental, I certainly wouldn't want my private life to be judged by others, and so forth. But what interests me is how social mores have changed. When did such things become not only not at least somewhat embarrassing, but something a prominent doctor (the bride) would willingly (eagerly?) share with friends, family, and millions of strangers? And isn't this the sort of things that newspapers would have refused to publish in their wedding pages not too long ago?

And how did the presiding pastor at the wedding feel about couple's infidelity?

Rabbi Jacqueline Mates-Muchin, who married the couple, spoke to them about love “kept in the recesses of your hearts.” As the ceremony was ending and the procession was leaving the room, the bride turned to her friends and family and gave two thumbs up and silently mouthed the word, “Yes!”

I'm not a pastor yet, but if an adulterous couple came to me seeking a wedding, I'd refuse.

Hat tip: Glenn Reynolds


Allan R. Bevere said...

Unfortunately, this is now the prevailing attitude, even in some sectors of the church.

Years ago, a couple came to me to be married and they were very upfront about the fact that their relationship had broken up both of their marriages.

I refused to do the ceremony. They told me I had no right to judge them, and I told them that the church must never give its blessing on adultery.

They went across town and found another "less judgmental" pastor to do the wedding.

gavin richardson said...

i'd have trouble with doing a wedding under those circumstances as well.

doodlebugmom said...

I have to wonder if the bride will still be giving the "thumbs up" when the groom cheats on her.

the reverend mommy said...

I agree. Only after remorse/repentance and after time and professional counseling. Otherwise their relationship is really doomed to begin with. (Stastics agree with me, too.)

Sin will beget sin. Pure and simple.

JD said...

Not being a pastor either, I would have to agree. This, as Allen unfortuneately, but truthfully stated, is a problem with the double standards of most Christian churches today...accept adultery since counseling and forgiveness change things, but ostracize(sp) other sexually immoral folks because it is uncomfortable. Forget about even providing needed counseling, just ignore it. We are supposed to be in the world, not of the world. I appreciate Allen standing up for God.


JD said...


Either everyone is asleep in "Blogoworld," or there are a great deal of people with doble standards. I find it interesting that there is no discussion on this topic, but discussion about homosexuality almost shuts down the Blogger servers.



rev-ed said...

I find it interesting that there is no discussion on this topic, but discussion about homosexuality almost shuts down the Blogger servers.

I don't think there is "no discussion" on this topic, but I do think this area hits too close to home for some people.

I am a pastor. I have refused to marry a young couple who was living together unless they separated residences until the wedding (they refused). This fall I am marrying a couple who are living together now and have a baby at home. I agreed to marry them because A) I would not ask the baby's father to move out for 8 months, and B) it was the birth of this baby which made a huge spiritual breakthrough in this couple's lives.

Is that hypocrisy? I don't think so. I think it's a matter of attitude. They aren't necessarily sorry for living together or for having a baby outside of marriage, but now they want to do what is right.

Sanctification is a process.

JD said...

Rev-Ed said:
"Sanctification is a process."

I understand this, but the problem I have is the pressure put on other sexually immoral things, but not so much on divorce because it is so accepted. Divorce should only be contemplated due to infidelity or abuse, and to be unfaithful, get a divorce, ask forgiveness, then move on like it is ok, knowing what you've done, is both selfish and wrong. We all make mistakes, but there are those that look for sexual immorality and try to somehow convince themselves and others it is ok. We are ready to de-frock a minister because she lives a homosexual lifestyle(which I agree with for many reasons), but how often do you see a minister that had an affair or got a quicky divorce de-frocked? Should be the same treatment...