Rick Warren: no divorce for survivors of abuse

Rick Warren is an evangelical preacher and author of the Purpose Driven Life series of books. He is also strongly politically connected, having hosted presidential debates at his Saddleback Church in California. He was also selected by Barack Obama to speak at his presidential inauguration.

In an audio clip from Saddleback’s website (clip 32), Warren advises the listener that it is wrong for abused women to seek a divorce. As described at The New Agenda:

Warren recommends that couples temporarily separate while they participate in counseling to repair the marriage. According to Warren, it is better to maintain an abusive relationship than seek the immediate relief of divorce.

It’s not like you can escape the pain… You don’t — you don’t escape the pain. And I’d always rather choose a short term pain and find God’s solution for a long term gain, than try and find a short term solution that’s going to involve a long term pain in life.

Warren’s views give abusive spouses one more tool to control their victims: the Bible. His teaching undermines the resolve of women who are debating ending an abusive marriage. According to Warren, a Christian who divorces another Christian will ultimately look back and say, “I told myself it was for a right reason but now I realize it was more my selfishness than anything else.”

More commentary can be found here and here.


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