The Marriage Conspiracy

I’m not usually a believer in conspiracy theories. I’m naïve enough to believe that John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Bobby Kennedy, and George Wallace were not all shot by members of the same clandestine organization. I don’t believe that the Communists are behind the busing demonstrations, labor strikes, or the high cost of pantyhose.

And usually I don’t think that one thing always leads to another. I don’t think rock music, for example, leads to fornication and pregnancy out of wedlock as does the Reverend Charles Boykin of Tallahassee, Florida. (According to his statistics, “out of 1,000 girls who became pregnant out of wedlock, 986 committed fornication while rock music was being played.”)

But I am concerned about trends. And a trend I’m concerned about in the evangelical wing of the Church is our new attitude toward no-no’s.

I can remember in the good old days when dancing, drinking, smoking, and moviegoing were considered on a par with the unpardonable sin. But slowly we loosened up. Dancing didn’t necessarily lead to group sex, we discovered, so we let our kids go to school dances, and we even danced some with our spouses “in the privacy of our own homes.” We read again Paul’s admonition that a little wine was good for the stomach’s sake, and we had some. Smoking cigarettes may have been bad for all except Southern Baptists, but we learned that pipe smoking was almost a spiritual experience. And certainly many movies had intrinsic artistic worth. Gradually (and in many cases appropriately) some no-no’s faded into the sunset.

But there are other no-no’s in the process of fading that I think need to be re-examined. One is divorce. Years ago, marriage was thought of as a lifelong commitment. If you ...

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