Christian nationalists’ new anti-divorce campaign risks increasing domestic violence: report
In the past, heated debates about divorce were common among Catholics and Mainline Protestants. Catholics tended to be anti-divorce, while Mainline Protestants (Lutherans, Episcopalians, Presbyterians) were all for marriage counseling but were more likely to believe that divorce was a valid option if a marriage was beyond repair.
But in 2023, an anti-divorce movement is growing among far-right white evangelicals. Journalist Katie Herchenroeder examines the Religious Right's campaign against no-fault divorce in an article published by Mother Jones on September 7. And she warns that this campaign risks encouraging domestic violence.
"The push for no-fault divorce began in California in the 1960s ostensibly to alter a system that required public discussion of wronged parties, infidelity, and other private matters for a legal separation," Herchenroeder explains. "Couples fought bitterly in public; some fabricated fights to get divorce papers. No-fault divorce helped simplify the process."
Critics of no-fault divorce, the journalist notes, have ranged from former Trump Administration official William Wolfe to PragerU/Daily Wire pundit Michael Knowles. And the Texas GOP platform calls for ending no-fault divorce.
But ending no-fault divorce, Herchenroeder warns, would "put even more obstacles in front of" women trying to escape from abusive marriages.
The journalist explains, "The most dangerous time for women experiencing abuse is when they attempt to escape, according to research…. Abusers often isolate their victims, cutting off communication with other family members, friends, and support systems. A 2003 working paper in the National Bureau of Economic Research found that total female suicide declined by around 20 percent in states that allowed one partner to solely push for divorce."
Brooke Axtell of The SAFE Alliance, a Texas-based organization that helps victims of domestic violence, told Mother Jones, "Imagine finally leaving a person who's emotionally and physically assaulted you, betrayed you, violated you — and then being forced to combat them in court, sometimes for years, to prove this just so you can be free of them and claim what belongs to you."
Find Mother Jones' full report at this link.
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