D’Souza: ‘Traditional Values’ for You, Freedom to Follow my Heart for Me

As Sarah Posner has noted, anti-Obama propagandist and Christian college president Dinesh D’Souza has found himself in an uncomfortable position vis-à-vis the right-wing movement that has funded and shepherded his career as a conservative “scholar.” It seems he’s been traveling to religious right events and sharing a hotel room with a woman he has been introducing as his fiancée. But it also seems that he is still married, and didn’t even file for divorce until he was questioned about the situation by evangelicals, according to WORLD magazine.

D’Souza told the WORLD reporter that his marriage was over and that he “is sure Denise is the one for me.” D’Souza’s breezy assertion that he had “done nothing wrong” in sharing his hotel room with a “fiancée” while still married would be more surprising if we hadn’t all gotten used to lectures on the sanctity of marriage from the likes of Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh.

I can’t stomach too much delving into D’Souza’s writing, but here, courtesy of Amazon’s “search inside” function, are a few excerpts on marriage and morality from his book, What’s So Great About Christianity:

  • “…abortion, adultery, and homosexual marriage, can be largely understood as a clash between traditional morality and secular morality.” (page 252)
  • “As fallible human beings we can be wrong about a lot of things but we cannot be wrong in how we feel about someone else. At the same time, Christianity emphasized that free choice should also be binding choice. As we have consented to marry without coercion, we should live up to our vows and preserve marriage as a lifelong commitment.” (page 60)
  • “Christianity did not contest patriarchy, but it elevated the status of women within it. The Christian prohibition on adultery—a sin viewed as equally serious for men and women—placed a moral leash on the universal double standard that commanded women to behave themselves while men did as they pleased.” (page 69)
  • “High rates of divorce in the West can be accounted for by the moral force generated by the secular ethic. Today the woman who leaves her husband says, ‘I felt called to leave. My life would have been a waste if I stayed. My marriage had become a kind of prison. I just had to follow my heart and go with Ted.’ So divorce has become, as it never was before, a form of personal liberation, what Barbara Dafoe Whitehead terms ‘expressive divorce.’ Here we have the first hint of a serious problem with secular morality. In its central domain, that of love, it is notoriously fickle.” (page 256-7)

It turns out D’Souza has lots in common with his hotel roomie Denise Joseph. Wonkette culled from Joseph’s Facebook writings a few Ann Coulter-ish denunciations of feminists and liberals and their rejection of “traditional morality” and “traditional institutions such as marriage.”

Even though the WORLD story on D’Souza’s complicated relationships is titled, “King’s Crisis,” it is not clear how damaging these revelations will be. D’Souza’s attacks on Obama have reached wide audiences and made lots of money, both of which are highly valued on the far right. If he is considered useful, he will find redemption and acceptance. Just ask Ralph Reed.

Peter Montgomery, an associate editor for Religion Dispatches, is a Senior Fellow at People For the American Way Foundation where he was on staff for 15 years. Before that he was associate director of grassroots lobbying for Common Cause and wrote for Common Cause Magazine, an award-winning journal featuring investigative reporting about the federal government.