Monday, October 23, 2006

Origins and Dangers of the "Wall of Separation" Between Church and State

By Daniel L. Driesbach
Professor of Justice, Law and Society
American University

No metaphor in American letters has had a greater influence on law and policy than Thomas Jefferson’s "wall of separation between church and state." For many Americans, this metaphor has supplanted the actual text of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and it has become the locus classicus of the notion that the First Amendment separated religion and the civil state, thereby mandating a strictly secular polity.

More important, the judiciary has embraced this figurative language as a virtual rule of constitutional law and as the organizing theme of church-state jurisprudence. Writing for the U.S. Supreme Court in 1948, Justice Hugo L. Black asserted that the justices had "agreed that the First Amendment’s language, properly interpreted, had erected a wall of separation between Church and State." The continuing influence of this wall is evident in the Court’s most recent church-state pronouncements.

The rhetoric of church-state separation has been a part of western political discourse for many centuries, but it has only lately come to a place of prominence in American constitutional law and discourse. What is the source of the "wall of separation" metaphor so frequently referenced today? How has this symbol of strict separation between religion and public life become so influential in American legal and political thought? Most important, what are the policy and legal consequences of the ascendancy of separationist rhetoric and of the transformation of "separation of church and state" from a much-debated political idea to a doctrine of constitutional law embraced by the nation’s highest court?

The Wall that Jefferson Built

On New Year’s Day, 1802, President Jefferson penned a missive to the Baptist Association of Danbury, Connecticut. The Baptists had written the new president a "fan" letter in October 1801, congratulating him on his election to the "chief Magistracy in the United States." They celebrated his zealous advocacy for religious liberty and chastised those who had criticized him "as an enemy of religion[,] Law & good order because he will not, dares not assume the prerogative of Jehovah and make Laws to govern the Kingdom of Christ." At the time, the Congregationalist Church was still legally established in Connecticut and the Federalist party controlled New England politics. Thus the Danbury Baptists were outsiders'a beleaguered religious and political minority in a state where a Congregationalist-Federalist party establishment dominated public life. They were drawn to Jefferson’s political cause because of his celebrated advocacy for religious liberty.

In a carefully crafted reply, the president allied himself with the New England Baptists in their struggle to enjoy the right of conscience as an inalienable right-not merely as a favor granted, and subject to withdrawal, by the civil state:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

This missive was written in the wake of the bitter presidential contest of 1800. Candidate Jefferson’s religion, or the alleged lack thereof, was a critical issue in the campaign. His Federalist foes vilified him as an "infidel" and "atheist." The campaign rhetoric was so vitriolic that, when news of Jefferson’s election swept across the country, housewives in New England were seen burying family Bibles in their gardens or hiding them in wells because they expected the Holy Scriptures to be confiscated and burned by the new administration in Washington. (These fears resonated with Americans who had received alarming reports of the French Revolution, which Jefferson was said to support, and the widespread desecration of religious sanctuaries and symbols in France.) Jefferson wrote to these pious Baptists to reassure them of his continuing commitment to their right of conscience and to strike back at the Federalist-Congregationalist establishment in Connecticut for shamelessly vilifying him in the recent campaign.

Several features of Jefferson’s letter challenge conventional, strictly secular constructions of his famous metaphor. First, the metaphor rests on a cluster of explicitly religious propositions (i.e., "that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship"). Second, Jefferson’s wall was constructed in the service of the free exercise of religion. Use of the metaphor to restrict religious exercise (e.g., to disallow a citizen’s religious expression in the public square) conflicts with the very principle Jefferson hoped his metaphor would advance. Third, Jefferson concluded his presidential missive with a prayer, reciprocating his Baptist correspondents’ "kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man." Ironically, some strict separationists today contend that such solemn words in a presidential address violate a constitutional "wall of separation."

The conventional wisdom is that Jefferson’s wall represents a universal principle concerning the prudential and constitutional relationship between religion and the civil state. In fact, this wall had less to do with the separation between religion and all civil government than with the separation between the national and state governments on matters pertaining to religion (such as official proclamations of days of prayer, fasting, and thanksgiving). The "wall of separation" was a metaphoric construction of the First Amendment, which Jefferson time and again said imposed its restrictions on the national government only (see, e.g., Jefferson’s 1798 draft of the Kentucky Resolutions).

In other words, Jefferson’s wall separated the national government on one side from state governments and religious authorities on the other. This construction is consistent with a virtually unchallenged assumption of the early constitutional era: the First Amendment in particular and the Bill of Rights in general affirmed the fundamental constitutional principle of federalism. The First Amendment, as originally understood, had little substantive content apart from its affirmation that the national government was denied all power over religious matters. Jurisdiction in such concerns was reserved to individual citizens, religious societies, and state governments. (Of course, this original understanding of the First Amendment was turned on its head by the modern U.S. Supreme Court’s "incorporation" of the First Amendment into the Fourteenth Amendment.)

The Metaphor Enters Public Discourse
By late January 1802, printed copies of Jefferson’s reply to the Danbury Baptists began appearing in New England newspapers. The letter, however, was not accessible to a wide audience until it was reprinted in the first major collection of Jefferson’s papers, published in the mid-19th century.

The phrase "wall of separation" entered the lexicon of American law in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1878 ruling in Reynolds v. United States, although most scholars agree that the wall metaphor played no role in the Court’s reasoning. Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite, who authored the opinion, was drawn to another clause in Jefferson’s text. The Reynolds Court, in short, was drawn to the passage, not to advance a strict separation between church and state, but to support the proposition that the legitimate powers of civil government could reach men’s actions only and not their opinions.

Nearly seven decades later, in the landmark case of Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court "rediscovered" the metaphor and elevated it to constitutional doctrine. Citing no source or authority other than Reynolds, Justice Hugo L. Black, writing for the majority, invoked the Danbury letter’s "wall of separation" passage in support of his strict separationist interpretation of the First Amendment prohibition on laws "respecting an establishment of religion." "In the words of Jefferson," he famously declared, the First Amendment has erected "‘a wall of separation between church and State’. . . . That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach." In even more sweeping terms, Justice Wiley B. Rutledge asserted in a separate opinion that the First Amendment’s purpose was "to uproot" all religious establishments and "to create a complete and permanent separation of the spheres of religious activity and civil authority by comprehensively forbidding every form of public aid or support for religion." This rhetoric, more than any other, set the terms and the tone for a strict separationist jurisprudence that reached ascendancy on the Court in the second half of the 20th century.

Like Reynolds, the Everson ruling was replete with references to history, especially the roles played by Jefferson and Madison in the Virginia disestablishment struggles in the tumultuous decade following independence from Great Britain. Jefferson was depicted as a leading architect of the First Amendment despite the fact that he was in France when the measure was drafted by the First Federal Congress in 1789.

Black and his judicial brethren also encountered the metaphor in briefs filed in Everson. In a lengthy discussion of history supporting the proposition that "separation of church and state is a fundamental American principle," an amicus brief filed by the American Civil Liberties Union quoted the clause from the Danbury letter containing the "wall of separation" image. The ACLU ominously concluded that the challenged state statute, which provided state reimbursements for the transportation of students to and from parochial schools, "constitutes a definite crack in the wall of separation between church and state. Such cracks have a tendency to widen beyond repair unless promptly sealed up."

Shortly after the Everson ruling was handed down, the metaphor began to proliferate in books and articles. In a 1949 best-selling anti-Catholic polemic, American Freedom and Catholic Power, Paul Blanshard advocated an uncompromising political and legal platform favoring "a wall of separation between church and state." Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (an organization today known by the more politically correct appellation of Americans United for Separation of Church and State), a leading strict-separationist advocacy organization, wrote the phrase into its 1948 founding manifesto. Among the "immediate objectives" of this new organization was "[t]o resist every attempt by law or the administration of law further to widen the breach in the wall of separation of church and state."
The Supreme Court frequently and favorably referenced the "wall of separation" in the cases that followed. In McCollum v. Board of Education (1948), the Court essentially constitutionalized Jefferson’s phrase, subtly and blithely substituting his figurative language for the literal text of the First Amendment. In the last half of the 20th century, the metaphor emerged as the defining motif for church-state jurisprudence, thereby elevating a strict separationist construction of the First Amendment to accepted dogma among jurists and commentators.

The Trouble with Metaphors in the Law

Metaphors are a valuable literary device. They enrich language by making it dramatic and colorful, rendering abstract concepts concrete, condensing complex concepts into a few words, and unleashing creative and analogical insights. But their uncritical use can lead to confusion and distortion. At its heart, metaphor compares two or more things that are not, in fact, identical. A metaphor’s literal meaning is used non-literally in a comparison with its subject. While the comparison may yield useful insights, the dissimilarities between the metaphor and its subject, if not acknowledged, can distort or pollute one’s understanding of the subject. If attributes of the metaphor are erroneously or misleadingly assigned to the subject and the distortion goes unchallenged, then the metaphor may alter the understanding of the underlying subject. The more appealing and powerful a metaphor, the more it tends to supplant or overshadow the original subject, and the more one is unable to contemplate the subject apart from its metaphoric formulation. Thus, distortions perpetuated by the metaphor are sustained and even magnified. This is the lesson of the "wall of separation" metaphor.

The judiciary’s reliance on an extra-constitutional metaphor as a substitute for the text of the First Amendment almost inevitably distorts constitutional principles governing church-state relationships. Although the "wall of separation" may felicitously express some aspects of First Amendment law, it seriously misrepresents or obscures others, and has become a source of much mischief in modern church-state jurisprudence. It has reconceptualized-indeed, misconceptualized-First Amendment principles in at least two important ways.

First, Jefferson’s trope emphasizes separation between church and state -- unlike the First Amendment, which speaks in terms of the non-establishment and free exercise of religion. (Although these terms are often conflated today, in the lexicon of 1802, the expansive concept of "separation" was distinct from the narrow institutional concept of "non-establishment.") Jefferson’s Baptist correspondents, who agitated for disestablishment but not for separation, were apparently discomfited by the figurative phrase and, perhaps, even sought to suppress the president’s letter. They, like many Americans, feared that the erection of such a wall would separate religious influences from public life and policy. Few evangelical dissenters (including the Baptists) challenged the widespread assumption of the age that republican government and civic virtue were dependent on a moral people and that religion supported and nurtured morality.

Second, a wall is a bilateral barrier that inhibits the activities of both the civil government and religion--unlike the First Amendment, which imposes restrictions on civil government only. In short, a wall not only prevents the civil state from intruding on the religious domain but also prohibits religion from influencing the conduct of civil government. The various First Amendment guarantees, however, were entirely a check or restraint on civil government, specifically on Congress. The free press guarantee, for example, was not written to protect the civil state from the press, but to protect a free and independent press from control by the national government. Similarly, the religion provisions were added to the Constitution to protect religion and religious institutions from corrupting interference by the national government, not to protect the civil state from the influence of, or overreaching by, religion. As a bilateral barrier, however, the wall unavoidably restricts religion’s ability to influence public life, thereby exceeding the limitations imposed by the First Amendment.

Herein lies the danger of this metaphor. The "high and impregnable" wall constructed by the modern Court has been used to inhibit religion’s ability to inform the public ethic, to deprive religious citizens of the civil liberty to participate in politics armed with ideas informed by their faith, and to infringe the right of religious communities and institutions to extend their prophetic ministries into the public square. Today, the "wall of separation" is the sacred icon of a strict separationist dogma intolerant of religious influences in the public arena. It has been used to silence religious voices in the public marketplace of ideas and to segregate faith communities behind a restrictive barrier.

Federal and state courts have used the "wall of separation" concept to justify censoring private religious expression (such as Christmas creches) in public, to deny public benefits (such as education vouchers) for religious entities, and to exclude religious citizens and organizations (such as faith-based social welfare agencies) from full participation in civic life on the same terms as their secular counterparts. The systematic and coercive removal of religion from public life not only is at war with our cultural traditions insofar as it evinces a callous indifference toward religion but also offends basic notions of freedom of religious exercise, expression, and association in a pluralistic society.

There was a consensus among the founders that religion was indispensable to a system of republican self-government. The challenge the founders confronted was how to nurture personal responsibility and social order in a system of self-government. Tyrants and dictators can use the whip and rod to force people to behave as they desire, but clearly this is incompatible with a self-governing people. In response to this challenge the founders looked to religion (and morality informed by religious faith) to provide the internal moral compass that would prompt citizens to behave in a disciplined manner and thereby promote social order and political stability. The literature of the founding era is replete with this argument, no example more famous than George Washington’s statement in his Farewell Address of September 19, 1796:

Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labour to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens . . . . And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion . . . . [R]eason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

Believing that religion and morality were indispensable to social order and political prosperity, the founders championed religious liberty in order to foster a vibrant religious culture in which a beneficent religious ethos would inform the public ethic and to promote an environment in which religious and moral leaders could speak out boldly, without restraint or inhibition, against corruption and immorality in civic life. Religious liberty was not merely a benevolent grant of the civil state; rather, it reflected an awareness among the founders that the very survival of the civil state and a civil society was dependent on a vibrant religious culture, and religious liberty nurtured such a religious culture. In other words, the civil state’s respect for religious liberty is an act of self-preservation. The unfortunate consequence of 20th-century jurisprudence is that the First Amendment, designed to protect and promote a vital role for religion in public life, has been replaced with a wall of separation that, in the hands of the modern judiciary, has restricted religion’s place in the polity.

Legacy of Intolerance

In his recent book, Separation of Church and State, Philip Hamburger amply documents that the rhetoric of separation of church and state became fashionable in the 1830s and 1840s and, again, in the last quarter of the 19th century. Why? It accompanied two substantial waves of Catholic immigrants with their peculiar liturgy and resistance to assimilation into the Protestant establishment: an initial wave of Irish in the first half of the century, and then more Irish along with other European immigrants later in the century. The rhetoric of separation was used by nativist elements, such as the Know-Nothings and later the Ku Klux Klan, to marginalize Catholics and to deny them, often through violence, entrance into the mainstream of public life. By the end of the century, an allegiance to the so-called "American principle" of separation of church and state had been woven into the membership oaths of the Ku Klux Klan. Today we typically think of the Klan strictly in terms of their views on race, and we forget that their hatred of Catholics was equally odious.

Again, in the mid-20th century, the rhetoric of separation was revived and ultimately constitutionalized by anti-Catholic elites, such as Justice Hugo L. Black, and fellow travelers in the ACLU and Protestants and Other Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, who feared the influence and wealth of the Catholic Church and perceived parochial education as a threat to public schools and democratic values. The chief architect of the modern "wall" was Justice Black, whose affinity for church-state separation and the metaphor was rooted in virulent anti-Catholicism. Hamburger has argued that Justice Black, a former Alabama Ku Klux Klansman, was the product of a remarkable "confluence of Protestant, nativist, and progressive anti-Catholic forces . . . . Black’s association with the Klan has been much discussed in connection with his liberal views on race, but, in fact, his membership suggests more about [his] ideals of Americanism," especially his support for separation of church and state. "Black had long before sworn, under the light of flaming crosses, to preserve ‘the sacred constitutional rights’ of ‘free public schools’ and ‘separation of church and state.’" Although he later distanced himself from the Klan on matters of race, "Black’s distaste for Catholicism did not diminish." Black’s admixture of progressive, Klan, and strict separationist views is best understood in terms of anti-Catholicism and, more broadly, a deep hostility to assertions of ecclesiastical authority. Separation of church and state, Black believed, was an American ideal of freedom from oppressive ecclesiastical authority, especially that of the Roman Catholic Church. A regime of separation enabled Americans to assert their individual autonomy and practice democracy, which Black believed was Protestantism in its secular form.

To be clear, diverse strains of political, religious, and intellectual thought have embraced notions of separation (I myself come from a faith tradition that believes church and state should operate in separate institutional spheres), but a particularly dominant strain in 19th-century America was this nativist, bigoted strain. We must confront the uncomfortable fact that the phrases "separation of church and state" and "wall of separation," although not necessarily expressions of intolerance, have often, in the American experience, been closely identified with the ugly impulses of nativism and bigotry.

In conclusion, Jefferson’s figurative language has not produced the practical solutions to real world controversies that its apparent clarity and directness led its proponents to expect. Indeed, this wall has done what walls frequently do--it has obstructed the view, obfuscating our understanding of constitutional principles governing church-state relationships. The rhetoric of "separation of church and state" and "a wall of separation" has been instrumental in transforming judicial and popular constructions of the First Amendment from a provision protecting and encouraging religion in public life to one restricting religion’s place and role in civic culture. This transformation has undermined the "indispensable support" of religion in our system of republican self-government. This fact would have alarmed the framers of the Constitution, and we ignore it today at the peril of our political order and prosperity.


“Reprinted by permission from IMPRIMIS, the national speech digest of Hillsdale College,”

Daniel L. Dreisbach is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at American University in Washington, D.C., as well as the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He received his D.Phil. from Oxford University and his J.D. from the University of Virginia. He is author or editor of numerous books, including Thomas Jefferson and the Wall of Separation Between Church and State; The Founders on God and Government; Religion and Political Culture in Jefferson’s Virginia; and Real Threat and Mere Shadow: Religious Liberty and the First Amendment.

The preceding article was adapted from a lecture delivered at Hillsdale College on September 12, 2006, during a Center for Constructive Alternatives seminar on the topic, "Church and State: History and Theory."

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

By Garry J. Moes


The institution of marriage is grounded in God's very creation of the human race and in His covenant of redemption. According to Genesis 1:27, God made man, male and female, after His own image and likeness referred to as the imago dei in mankind). He created sexual distinctions as part of the very essence of humanity. And God created them, both male and female, as stewards of His creation (Gen. 1:28), commanding them to "be fruitful and multiply" and to have dominion over the earth.

Genesis 2 describes the most fundamental and overriding fact of marriage — the organic unity, both spiritual and physical, of a male and female bound in the marriage covenant.

Since man could not have authentic fellowship with animals, God created woman out of man's side. She is authentically and equally human ("bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh," Gen. 2:23). Their coming together also indicates this fullness of fellowship ("they became one flesh," Gen. 2:24). Verses 24-25 outline the essential features of marriage: the marriage relationship takes precedence over others, even natural family ties ("a man shall leave his father and his mother"); marriage is designed to be a lasting union ("shall cleave to his wife; and they shall become one flesh"); marriage involves an intimacy of fellowship at the most basic level ("and the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed").

Though the institution of marriage is complete without children, as indicated in Genesis 2, children are an integral part of marriage and family. God tells man and woman to "be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth" as responsible stewards of His creation (Gen. 1:28). This command appears to be part of what it means to be created in the image and likeness of God: as God is creative, so mankind is procreative. The revelation of the Godhead uses family imagery: God is Father, Christ is Son. So the community of family is fulfilled in the persons of father, mother, and children. Throughout scripture, children are always viewed as blessings from the Lord, while barrenness is viewed as a curse (Gen. 5:29; 28:3; 30:1; Psalms 107:28; 113:9; 127:3-5; Prov. 17:6). The birth of children is never discouraged, but rather appears to be an integral part of the ordinance of marriage and family throughout scripture.

In sum, the biblical creation account outlines the primary components of marriage as companionship (emotional intimacy), sexual intercourse (physical intimacy), human wholeness (mutual complementarity), procreation, and joint (yet differentiated) responsibility in general dominion over creation.

The Fall

Genesis 3 describes the willful disobedience of the first man and woman to the will and command of God. In this disobedience, they chose their own way, which they believed to be superior to God's order, and thus introduced estrangement into all of their relationships: with God, with the created world within which they
operated, and with each other. Though the act of disobedience did not specifically involve any facet of marriage, it had a disastrous impact upon it.

First, the man and woman, knowing good and evil, experienced estrangement at the most basic level of their existence, a fact which immediately produced shame ("they knew that they were naked," Gen. 3:7). Not only did their attempt to invade God's exclusive realm of comprehensive knowledge ("knowing good and evil") separate them from direct intimate fellowship with God, it separated them from direct intimate fellowship with each other.

Second, the mutual complementarity of the partnership between man and woman became distorted as part of the curse ("Yet your {Eve's} desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you," Gen. 3:16). Marriage mutuality was necessarily now rearranged into a hierarchical order, for the sake of governmental restraints against sin.

Third, both man and woman became estranged from nature. For the man, the joyous nature of work was turned to toil and sweat (Gen. 3:17-19). For the woman, the joyous nature of childbirth was turned to pain (Gen. 3:16).

Thus, disobedience to God resulted in guilt and shame, reordered governmental relationships, and pain in the natural functions of life. God would have clear consciences and a "marriage bed undefiled," mutuality in marriage, and joyous productivity in work and the fulfillment of the natural roles.

Survey of Biblical Law Concerning Marriage

Mosaic Law

The law of God was given to Moses for the direction and protection of God's people. God made explicit what He had made implicit in Creation. The divine instructions of God are given in the form of the Decalogue and elsewhere in a more detailed and applied form with specific laws and punishments. Both forms outline principles for marriage, sexuality, and divorce.

The books of Exodus and Deuteronomy prohibit adultery and the coveting of the spouse of another (Exod. 20:14,17; Deut. 5:18,21). The female slave whose master designates her for himself or his son but then either rejects her or takes another wife must either receive food, clothes, and marital rights, or else be granted her freedom (Exod. 21:7ff). An unbetrothed woman who is seduced cannot be abandoned, but an offer of marriage must be made, and if her father rejects the offer, a money payment had to be made instead (Exod. 22:16ff).

The book of Leviticus exempts from the general penalty for fornication a master and his female slave who have intercourse even though the slave is already engaged to someone else (Lev. 19:20). The owner must make a guilt offering in atonement. A daughter must not be given up for prostitution (Lev. 20:29). Adultery and incest carry the penalty of death (Lev. 20:10ff). It lists prohibitions of marriages with close relatives (Lev. 18:6ff), as well as prohibits homosexuality and bestiality (Lev. 18:24ff). Priests are not to marry widows, divorcees, prostitutes, or any women who have been defiled, but only virgins (Lev. 21:14ff). Polygamy is nowhere specifically forbidden, although most examples of it portrayed in scripture carry evidences of unhappiness, rivalry, jealousies, and other negative consequences. Although prostitution by its very anti-marital nature is morally condemned, there is no civil penalty.

The book of Deuteronomy sternly forbids intermarriage between Israel (God's Covenant People) and the demonically idolatrous inhabitants of Canaan (Deut. 7:3ff). (This has significant implications for what we shall later call New Covenant Marriage.) Several passages of Deuteronomy protect the rights of children and women. The rights of the male firstborn in a polygamous marriage are protected when he is the son of a wife who is disliked (Deut. 21:15ff).

Wives receive protection from husbands who falsely accuse them of shameful conduct and threaten to destroy their reputation (Deut. 22:13ff). Women are protected from rape (Deut. 22:23ff). A betrothed women who is raped and has a chance to cry out but does not do so is to be stoned along with the rapist. If she has no realistic chance to cry for help and be heard, only the rapist is to be put to death. If the woman is unbetrothed, the rapist must marry her with the father's permission or pay a penalty. Widows are also protected. If a man dies without children, his brother (or nearest male relative) must marry the widow in order to perpetuate the family name (Deut. 25:5ff).

Marriage Laws in the Teachings of Jesus

We shall have much to say concerning Christ's announcement of the conditions of marriage under the New Covenant later in this discussion. At this point, however, we continue with our survey of biblical law concerning marriage and now examine what Jesus says concerning the Mosaic law on that subject.

First, Christ endorses the Old Testament priorities in marriage and family. Commitment to God must have priority over all relationships, as the First Commandment had established. Jesus, using forceful language which has perplexed many and confused those who read His words superficially, warns His disciples that they must "hate" their fathers, mothers, wives, children, and their own lives for His sake (Luke 14:26). This scripture, among other things, grounds those who voluntarily remain celibate in their service to God (Matt. 19:11-12).

Second, Christ reaffirms the creation theology of marriage (Matt. 19:4-6). He concludes, "Consequently, they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate" (Matt. 19:6).

Third, the opportunity to marry has an eschatological limit. Marriage is depicted throughout scripture as the supreme and perfect relationship between a man and a woman in their life on earth, but the opportunity to enter that relationship appears to be limited to the earthly existence (Matt. 22:23-30).

Fourth, Jesus goes to the root of adultery by condemning not only behavioral adultery, but also adultery of the heart (Matt. 5:28). Lust for one other than one's marital partner is considered adultery.

Indeed, in summary, Christ used marriage to illustrate the most transcendent of all relationships, His union with His Body, the Church. He said He has become the bridegroom (Mark 2:18ff; 25;1ff; John 3:29). The marriage supper of the Lamb appears to indicate that while earthly marriage does not last, the marriage of God and His Covenant People does (Rev. 19:9; 21:9; cf. Luke 22:30; Matt. 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18), a fact with utmost significance toward a New Covenant view of earthly marriage.

St. Paul and the Laws of Marriage

The Epistles of St. Paul repeat, reinforce, and illuminate the legal principles of marriage as outlined in the Old Testament law, teachings of the prophets, and the proclamations of Christ. But, as Jesus did, Paul goes further in developing a New Covenant theology of marriage. And at one point, Paul announces a whole new commandment related to marriage (see below).

As always, Paul puts obedience to God first. Marriage is a permanent but temporal relationship, reflective of a transcendent, eternal relationship between Christ and His Body, the Church. Celibacy, whether permanent or temporary, is a special gift of God for those utterly devoted or dedicated to God's service (I Cor. 7:7-8; 32-35). Celibacy for this purpose is grounded in that transcendent marriage relationship of Christ and His Church. If the celibacy is of a temporary nature chosen by persons who are married, the choice of celibacy must be by mutual consent, again underscoring the essential nature and obligations of earthly marriage. Paul commands husbands and wives to have sexual intercourse in mutual submission, since they have authority over each other's bodies (I Cor. 7:1-4). Sexual intercourse is an obligation of marriage, a "debt" which must be paid to one's spouse, because it is the seal of marriage's essential quality, union. Indeed, the sexual needs of the partner should be met, says Paul, to prevent Satan from successfully tempting the partners to break their union in adultery. Unilateral refusal of sexual relations defrauds the partner of an aspect of his or her very being as a married person. It is a disintegration of the essential unity of the married person.

Marriage is the legitimate manifestation of something which illegitimately manifests itself in raw passion or lust (I Cor. 7:9). Passion in itself is not a ground for marriage. Rather, righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God are its ground: "That each one of you know how to take a wife for himself in holiness and honor, not in passion of lust like heathen who do not know God.... For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness" (I Thess. 4:4,5,7). Paul explicitly condemns adultery, fornication (I Cor. 6:9-19), and incest (I Cor. 5:1). Since spouses are a united entity, sexual betrayal in marriage is a sin against one's own body, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, Paul portrays homosexual behavior as a perversion of nature, since sexuality as expressed through heterosexual marriage is the natural order (Rom. 1:26-27). omosexuality thus is treason against the created order.

Just as Deuteronomy forbids members of the dedicated nation of Israel to intermarry with those outside the Covenant (heathen unbelievers), Paul forbids Christian believers to marry unbelievers (II Cor. 6:14-20). Paul is much more explicit about the true nature of relations between husband and wife than the Old Testament is. This is because Paul is describing a New Covenant view of marriage, the implications of which we will discuss below. Organized around the central biblical principle of earthly marriage as a symbol of our union with Christ, Paul outlines marital "obligations" as being expressions of self-sacrificial service. As Christ did not come "to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom to many" (Matt. 20:28), marriage is characterized as mutual submission. Husbands and wives must be "subject to one another out of reverence for Christ" (Eph. 5:21).

Under the general theme of submission, Paul outlines an ordered and differentiated equality between the husband and wife. The husband is the head of the wife, and the wife is to be subject to her husband (Eph. 5:23f; Col. 3:18; I Peter 3:1ff). In the spirit of Christ, this endorses neither tyranny nor servitude. Rather, on the premises of equality in salvation (i.e., legal standing before God), service (I Peter 3:7); Eph. 5:21), mutual forgiveness, and discipleship, marriage is an institution and order of equality (not egalitarianism) and love.

The husband is to love his wife as he loves his own body, nourishing and cherishing her, showing her honor and consideration (Eph. 5:28f; Col. 3:19; I Peter 3:7), and exhibiting self-control (Titus 2:6). The wife should obey her husband with a gentle and quiet spirit (Eph. 5:22; Col. 3:18; I Peter 3:1ff), and express her love by being sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive, i.e., deferential to the line of divine authority which runs from God through her husband to her.

Like the law, prophets, and Christ, Paul stoutly affirms the permanence of marriage (I Cor. 7:10f). Partners united in divinely instituted marriage are to stay together and work out all obstacles to the full realization of their union.

Finally, the epistles of Paul offer special instructions to bishops (elders) and deacons of the Church. They must be the husband of one wife (I Tim. 3:2,12; Titus 1:6). Although the specifics of this command have been hotly debated and are beyond the scope of the current study, these instructions underscore the principle that familial responsibilities are both patterns for relationships within the Church and sometimes competitors for the attentions of those devoted to special Christian service.

Romantic Love

Although there are examples in Scripture of "falling in love," divinely sanctioned "sexual attraction," and betrothed or wedded "bliss" (Gen. 29:18-20; the Song of Solomon), these are never established by Scripture as the ground of marriage. "Romance" is, at most, a blessed adjunct to marriage, though it also can result in ruination, as Solomon's experience illustrates (I Kings 1:1ff). Love, not romance, is commanded within the marital relationship. Outside that relationship "romantic" attraction is better seen as what scripture calls "lust," which manifests itself ethically in adultery, incest, rape, or other forms of immorality.

The Covenantal Nature of Marriage

Marriage is depicted throughout scripture as a covenant. There is no more important concept to internalize if marriage is to be correctly understood in its biblical context and is to succeed as God intended. "Jehovah has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have broken faith, though she is your companion and the wife of your covenant" (Mal. 2:14; cf. Prov. 2:17). It is quite understandable that marriage is instituted as a covenant, since it is reflective of and finds it ground in a relationship which is entirely covenantal, God's relationship with mankind. In the Old Testament, the marital relationship is the primary symbol of God's relationship with Israel, and thus an understanding of Old Testament marriage necessitates an understanding of the Old Covenant. The marital relationship is also the primary symbol of God's relationship, through Christ, to the New Testament Church, and thus a New Testament understanding of marriage necessitates an understanding of the New Covenant. It is, furthermore, necessary to understand that there is an essential difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. It should be noted that both of the Covenants are described in both sections of the Bible (O.T. and N.T.) and therefore both sections of the Bible are instructive on the subject of marriage and, as we shall see, on divorce.

Nowhere do the two Covenants and the two views of marriage which are related to them come together better than in Jesus' discourse on divorce in Matthew 19:1-11. In this discourse, Jesus acknowledges that there are two views of marriage and divorce, one related to the Old Covenant — the Covenant of the Law; and one related to the New Covenant — the Covenant of Grace, which is a sovereign act of God designed to restore the created order of organically integrated relationships among God, men, and the cosmos. In one sentence, Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant, recognizes both: "Moses [the mediator of the Old Covenant of Law]
permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning [the Creation Order] (Matt. 19:8, NIV). In the latter part of this statement, Christ is making an appeal to the original, creation-founded essence of marriage; and in that appeal, He establishes for the Church His commandment on the subject of marriage and divorce. If we are ever to have a biblical understanding of these two related subjects, therefore, we must understand what Jesus was talking about in this verse.

He begins to clarify His intent in the very next verse: "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery" (Matt. 19:9, AV). In this commandment, Jesus summarily outlaws all divorce — except on one, and only one, ground. It is more than safe to say, therefore, that all discussion on the subject of divorce outside that one ground ceases. It is forbidden because it is adultery, a forbidden, capital crime under the Law of God. Ninety-nine percent of the debate over divorce is thereby brought to a conclusion, and all that remains to be discussed is that solitary ground for the legitimate dissolution of marriage between living partners.

Unfortunately, it is the debate over and disregard for this one ground that has produced untold misery and disintegration in human society and in the Church. What is this one ground? It is fornication, porneia. That would seem simple enough if it were not for the slipperiness of that word, that is, the difficulty in translating and understanding that key word. William Hendriksen, like many other scholars, demonstrates the difficulty in a footnote to his commentary on this passage:

The term porneia ("fornication") is very broad in meaning. In its widest sense it indicates immorality or sexual sin in general (15:19; Gal. 5:19), illicit (often clandestine) relationships of every description, particularly unlawful sexual intercourse (John 8:41). In Paul's epistles the word occurs frequently. In addition to Gal. 5:19 see also I Cor. 5:1; 6:13,18; 7:2; II Cor. 12:21; Eph. 5:3; Col. 3:5; I Thess. 4:3. In the book of Acts it occurs a few times; also several times in Revelation. In the latter book, as in the Old Testament (LXX), it may at times be used figuratively, to indicate departure from the Lord, who was considered his people's "husband." Hence, in such passages (see, for example, Hos. 6:10 and Rev. 19:2) it has at times been translated "whoredom," "harlotry," or even "idolatry." By reason of the context it is clear that here in Matt. 19:9, as also in 5:32, the reference is to the infidelity of a married woman....

Hendriksen's view that the word is best understood as "infidelity" is typical of the preponderance of opinion expressed in recent scholarship and modern biblical translation work. Some of this scholarship understands "infidelity" narrowly to mean elicit sexual relations within marriage, activity which is tantamount to the common understanding of "adultery." Others, such as R.J. Rushdoony in his Institutes of Biblical Law, interpret porneia as infidelity in the broadest possible sense of the word, leaving Jesus' "loophole" large enough to accommodate virtually any untoward action which tends to hinder fullest fulfillment of the marital relationship, including emotional distress.

The various views interpreting "fornication" to mean "infidelity" coincide with the spectrum of views extent during Jesus' time, and it was this range of opinion which actually prompted the questioning of Jesus on this matter, in a typical attempt to corner Him and trick Him into taking one or another side in a hotly contested contemporary controversy. For the Rabbi Shimmai, the reference was only to sexual unchastity or adultery. This view, similar to that of such contemporary expositors as John MacArthur, was the narrower of the general interpretations. On the other side was the Rabbi Hillel, who took a more liberal view. Hillel emphasized the Old Testament words "If then she finds no favor in his eyes" and allowed divorce for the most flimsy reasons imaginable. In our day, this would be typical of the perspective of Rushdoony, who paradoxically insists that porneia be rendered "fornication," not adultery (moicheia), because he wishes to define "fornication" as broadly as possible.

The operative issue in Rushdoony's view is that "fornication" encompasses everything from the grossest of sexual sins to "insubordination," mental cruelty, and, after Grotius, "plain contempt," as well as, after Milton, "stubborn disobedience."

Jesus, in answering the crafty challenge from the Pharisees, rejected both rabbinical views and thus refused to fall into the trap laid by his critics. Instead, as He always did, He appealed to the scriptures. He proceeded to establish from them a pointed contrast between the generalized views of divorce which grew out of Old Testament practice and the interpretations of the rabbis on one hand and the true biblical view on the other. For Jesus, the true biblical view was expressed in the Creation Order, and it is to this order that He refers:

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate" (Matt. 19:6, NIV).

To this, Jesus' questioners immediately counter with a rhetorical appeal to Moses' alleged leniency. According to them, Moses made divorce easy — the grounds were broadly open, so long as the proper papers were filled out, as MacArthur as described it.

Jesus' answer to this further challenge is to contrast that view with one narrowly rooted in the Creation Order. If Jesus had intended that porneia be defined broadly, He would not have couched His answer in terms of contrast to a broad view. To define it broadly he would have been accepting the traditional broad view that porneia and its Hebrew equivalents refer to any form of unfaithfulness, from sexual to whatever. This practice of teaching from contrast was typical of Jesus' approach; "You have heard it said ... but I say."

What then is the contrast Jesus is establishing? It is a contrast between the Old Covenant view of marriage/divorce (Moses) and a New Covenant view (the re-established Creation Order, the way it was "in the beginning").

What does the divine revelation say about the way it was in the beginning and what does this tell us about the nature of marriage? It tells us that marriage is the establishment of "one flesh," or, as is conversely true, the establishment of a "one flesh" relationship is, in God's estimation, a "marriage" (*See qualification in second paragraph below*). We see from the New Testament revelation, furthermore, that this "one flesh" is more than a physical union, but that it has spiritual dimensions.

Paul uses the term "mystery" in two contexts. In one, he says that the "mystery" of the Gospel has been revealed in Christ and that this mystery is that God has drawn separate peoples from disparate sources and melded them into an organic "new creation," the Church (Eph. 2:11-22). In the other, the "mystery" revealed by the Gospel is that Christ Himself is united to this new creation in the same way that a husband is united to his wife ("This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church," Eph. 5:32, NIV). The two unions — first, the union of disparate peoples (Jews and Gentiles) into a new Body and, secondly, the union of Christ to that Body — have the same essence.

We can conclude, therefore, that under the Creation Order and its re-establishment in the New Covenant, these relationships involve, in fact and reality, an indissoluble organic union or integration of the once separate parties. This is the meaning of "one flesh": an organic union which God has ordained (joined together) and which man cannot "put asunder" without abject violence to God's will and order for human life. *This is not to say that mere copulation creates a marriage in the fullest, covanental sense that we have described above. It does mean, however, that a fleshly union actually does create a integrated organic union which serves as the very foundation of life (procreation), which is, it must be remembered, the essential (though perhaps not exclusive) purpose of human sexuality.

What then is the Old Covenant (Law Covenant) foundation for marriage and divorce to which Jesus is drawing a contrast? To understand this, we must have a thorough understanding of the nature of the Old Covenant. In all respects, the Old Covenant was one based on the faithfulness of the parties. Faithfulness and obedience to contractual terms was the essence of the Old Covenant. There was (and still is, for those who choose to live and operate under its terms) always a cause-and-effect relationship: faithfulness resulting in blessing and good order; unfaithfulness resulting in curses, judgment, and disorder (Deut. 8; Deut. 28-30). When the Law
was given, it covered all of life, including marital relationships. Marriage, under the Old Covenant and its law system, was thus based on faithfulness between the parties. It was logical and necessary, therefore, that Moses would establish a system that allowed the dissolution of marriage on the ground of unfaithfulness. It was to this that Jesus was referring when He said that Moses allowed divorce due to the "hardness of their hearts." As Andrew Murray put it, "The whole Old Covenant was dependent on man's faithfulness: 'The Lord thy God keepeth covenant with them that keep His commandments.'"

In contrast, what is the nature of the New Covenant? Andrew Murray describes it well:

The one supreme difference of the New Covenant; the one thing for which the Mediator, and the Blood, and the Spirit were given; the one fruit God sought and Himself engaged to bring forth was this: a heart filled with His fear and love, a heart to cleave unto Him and not depart from Him, a heart in which His Spirit and His law dwells, a heart that delights to do His will.

Here is the inmost secret of the New Covenant. It deals with the heart of man in a way of Divine power. It not only appeals to the heart by every motive of fear or love, of duty or gratitude. That the law also did. But it reveals God Himself, cleansing our heart and making it new, changing it entirely from a stony heart into a heart of flesh, a tender, living, loving heart, putting His Spirit within it, and so, by His Almighty Power and Love, breathing and working in it, making the promise true, "I will cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments." A heart in perfect harmony with Himself, a life and walk in His way — God has engaged in Covenant to work this in us. He undertakes for our part in the Covenant as much as for His own.

What more apt or beautiful description could there be of marriage, especially in light of scripture's clear teaching that human marriage is reflective of the New Covenant between Christ and His Church? In the New Covenant — announced already in Creation and in the promise of Redemption following the Fall, announced again to Abraham and in the proclamations of the Old Testament-era prophets — the unfaithfulness of man was assumed, acknowledged, and declared irrelevant. In the New Covenant, all was to depend upon God's faithfulness, a mighty, loving faithfulness which would work the desired righteousness within man and eternally establish an indissoluble union between God and man and horizontally among all human members of the Covenant.

This is the essential nature of New Covenant marriage. It is a covenant along the lines of the Divine Covenant of Grace and Redemption. Rather than a cold contract depending upon human ability to remain obedient and faithful, it establishes a fleshly, living, breathing, tender, harmonious, organic union, divinely instituted and permanent, and built upon a heart of sacrificial love. This is real marriage. It is a "one flesh" union in the fullest and best sense, the creation of an entirely new spiritual entity. When a husband and wife are joined together in such a union, a single, integrated new creature emerges in the cosmos, and to divide it in any way is to maim and murder. It is the ultimate adulteration of humanity. This is why Jesus was being perfectly reasonable and truthful when He said man may not separate what God — this covenant-making and covenant-keeping God — has joined together. It is why the Creation account says that a man who is to be married (joined by God to a woman) must leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife. In salvation, as in New Covenant marriage, the old order of physical birth and its natural relationships (law/parents) is passing away, to be replaced by a new order of spiritual birth and union in love (grace/wife).

Why does Jesus yet leave one ground for dissolution of a marriage? In fact, He really does not. He does cite fornication, but in so doing He is underscoring the absolute and permanent nature of establishing a life-embracing, life-giving one-flesh relationship.

As we have seen, Jesus could not have had in mind a broad definition of "fornication," meaning general unfaithfulness. He was specifically offering His position as a contrast to that Jewish tradition, including both the conservative and liberal rabbinical interpretations. No, Jesus meant "fornication" in the commonly understood sense: "pre-marital" sex, the first sexual union between unmarried partners.

But, of course, there is no such thing as pre-marital sex. A sexual union, as we have seen, by its very nature, establishes a one-flesh relationship, a de facto union, according to the Creation Order. So, again, there is no such thing as "pre-marital sex," although there may be, so to speak, pre-wedding (i.e., pre-vows or pre-covenant sex). When that occurs, any subsequent sexual union is nothing more than an adultery of the first, even if the first was immoral. Jesus is saying, therefore, that when a "marriage" is attempted subsequent to a "fornication," which is a prior establishment of a human union, the second attempt is void and adulterous. A legitimate ground for "divorce," the only one, is thus established.

Critics who find this extremely narrow interpretation too tight for comfort will undoubtedly appeal immediately to the Greek lexicon and its entries regarding porneia. It will be argued, as it has been against even less restrictive interpretations, that this word has a wide variety of meanings. That fact may be granted. But among its many meanings is the meaning of "pre-marital" sex, i.e., a sexual union without the benefit of a formalized or ordained marriage — "fornication" in its commonly understood meaning.

What if Jesus indeed had intended to specify such an act as the sole grounds for divorce? Which word would He have wanted the Holy Spirit to give to the author of the Gospel of Matthew writing in Greek? Would it not have been porneia?

Why should we here select this one specific use of a word-of-many-meanings? Because, as we have repeated several times, any broader meaning defies the context in which Jesus seeks to discredit the broad definition of the Pharisees and their progenitors and to re-institute the Creation-Order concept of "one-flesh."


If the foregoing interpretation is correct, and we submit on the basis of scripture that it is, should it be further argued that these principles apply only to Christian marriages, that is, those built on a New Testament or New Covenant foundation. The answer is: yes, and no.

Without a doubt, marriage between Christians is subject to these parameters. There may be no divorce, save upon discovery of a prior one-flesh relationship. Period. This is because all of life for a Christian is lived within the context of the New Covenant. The New Covenant is the context and pattern for all of life, and, most pointedly, for marriage. The Holy Spirit specifically chose to analogize the marriage covenant and the Covenant of Grace. Nothing could be more unmistakable.

A question then arises concerning non-Christian marriages. How do the foregoing principles apply? First of all, it must be noted, perhaps in the abstract, that God forbids non-Christian marriages. No marriage should be established without an acknowledgment of His lordship. In addition, the Old Testament and Paul both specifically forbid a "mixed" marriage between a non-believer and a believer, a non-Covenant person and a Covenant person.

Having said that, it is fully admitted that millions of "marriages" have indeed been entered by non-believers. Concerning these we must say, based on Genesis, that a marriage is a marriage. The one-flesh union is established as a fact of nature when a man and woman consummate a marriage. Divorce, except for the one ground of fornication, is therefore forbidden and it is a sin, no matter what the spiritual condition of the partners may be. Nevertheless, we must also recognized that a marriage between non-believers is in reality a marriage that exists under the provisions of the Old Covenant, simply because non-believers still live under the terms of the Old Covenant. Thus divorces may be granted under the same circumstances that the Old Covenant Law, with its faithfulness/unfaithfulness conditions, allowed. We hasten to add, however, that while divorce among non-believing marriage partners living by their own choice under the Old Covenant may be technically legal, it is still displeasing to God, disobedient to His created order, and therefore cursed and disastrous in its results. That has always been the case with regard to violations of God's ordinances. Sin always brings disaster, sadness, bitterness, disruption, disintegration, captivity, etc. upon those who practice it and upon their societies. And the Old Covenant has always been a failure for those who attempt to find life, fulfillment, happiness, and salvation under it. Divorce will always be a failure for those who try to find life, fulfillment, happiness, and salvation from their distresses under it. For this reason, Christians, especially pastors and counselors, should do everything in their power to turn people, including unbelievers, away from divorce. But because of the "hardness of their hearts," circumstances may arise which make divorce less disastrous than ungodly marriage for those who refuse to submit their lives to the grace of Christ. We must keep in mind, however, that even then, there will be a price to pay for the individuals involved and for the society in which they live. Those who wish to live by the Old Covenant must realize that they will die by the Old Covenant.

We may further inquire, at this point, about professing believers who may be experiencing a lapse in sanctification which results in marital difficulty. It is well known that these lapses can be serious indeed — sometimes even life-threatening. St. Paul's declarations in I Corinthians 7 are instructive.

Paul begins with a general reiteration of the prohibition against divorce. He says this is "from the Lord" (vs. 10) in the sense that it is a rule which scripture and Christ have already enunciated. It is nothing new. This prohibition is underscored when he adds that if a partner "departs" or separates from a spouse, both partners must not marry again. This is, as we have seen, based on the fact that a marriage is de jure permanent, even if not permanent de facto.

Paul continues with a new command ("I, not the Lord," i.e. this is a command newly given through Paul and not previously announced in scripture). This new command is that believers, as a matter of general principle, should not divorce unbelieving spouses who are willing to remain in the union (I Cor. 7:12-13). Paul reasons that the unbelieving partner is actually, in some respect, sanctified by reason of his organic union to a sanctified person, and that which issues forth from that union, namely children, is thus sanctified, i.e., "set apart" or dedicated unto God, children of the Covenant. However, in cases where the unbelieving spouse chooses not to remain in the company of the believing spouse, Paul's new commandment provides that the believing partner may, with divine allowance, release the departing, unbelieving partner from the believer's presence. The only rationale given in this passage for this allowance is God's desire that His people live peaceable lives (see additional discussion below). We may perhaps deduce a further rationale from other scriptures; namely, that a union between a believer and non-believer was not originally based in God's will and can never reach the full realization of the perfect, organic union which God designed into His creation order. This rationale is, however, speculative.

Perhaps the most difficult provision of this new commandment is Paul's further statement that believing spouses deserted by unbelieving spouses are "not bound in such circumstances." Does this mean that the remaining believer is free in the same sense as he or she would be if the spouse died — free to remarry? Or is this simply a restatement of Paul's comment in the previous breath that the believer should just let the departing partner go, i.e., unbind him, but remain unmarried thereafter?

In favor of the latter view, one could return to the general principle stated at the beginning of the discussion (vss. 10-11) that partners should not separate, but if they do, they should not remarry.

In favor of the former view, one could refer to Paul's conclusion that God gives priority to having His people live in "peace," and presumably this "peace" contemplates fulfillment of the human potential, including the completeness that marriage offers. This presumption is based on an examination of the word Paul uses here, translated into English as "peace." The word is eirene, which is derived from the verb eiro, meaning "to join." Eirene thus carries the meaning of peace, quietness, and rest based on the fact of being "set at one again" or "re-integrated." Paul's use of this word strongly suggests, therefore, that the new commandment here set forth includes provision for believing spouses who are deserted by unbelieving spouses to again enjoy the blissful joys of marital union.

Even if this limited-circumstance provision for remarriage of formerly married Christians is conceded, it must be emphasized that on any other basis remarriage is outlawed by scripture. In the Old Testament, adultery was supposed to result in the death penalty, and thus the adulterated marriage reached its eschatological end, freeing the remaining partner to remarry. But in the New Covenant, marriage never ends prior to death; and thus remarriage is a moot point.

It may further be asked whether there are any nuances in meaning to the term "unbelieving spouse." What makes a spouse an "unbeliever"? Obviously, the term would include a person who makes no claim to saving faith in Jesus Christ. But does the term also contemplate a person who makes a Christian profession, but whose sinful life and unrepentant conduct, including elicit marital conduct (e.g., adultery), belie that profession? Is such a person actually living in "unbelief," i.e., living without reliance on the work of Christ? This question is difficult to answer in the abstract, and the answer may depend upon careful, prayerful, and lengthy examination of the life and conduct involved. This calls for great wisdom on the part of the Church and its overseers.


Serious Christians are all too familiar with the depths of depravity to which men and women may plunge in our fallen world. This depravity is manifested with a vengeance in our contemporary society in the area of marriage and family. Pastors and counselors, especially, can attest to the hopelessly complex tangles that can develop among those who refuse to honor God and His Will in sexual and marital relations. The landscape is littered neck-deep in shipwrecked marriages and families, and the consequences are disastrous beyond description. Yet into this awful scene, the grace of God still enters, as individuals are called to salvation through His mercy.

How is the Church to deal with newly won converts and penitents whose past lives have included this sin, even gross sin upon sin in the marital and sexual realm? Frequently the tangles are impossible to untangle according to any course outlined in scripture. In these situations, we may rely upon God's mercy and forgiveness, and the Church's authority to administer it through the Keys of the Kingdom.

Let this promise of mercy and forgiveness never be used in advance as a license for sinning, as Paul warned in his Epistle to the Romans. But we may rejoice in the fact that through genuine repentance and effectual forgiveness, the slate is wiped clean, and Christians thus forgiven should begin to re-establish holy marriages, to the glory of the Bridegroom of the Church.

Error Refuted

Although we have in the course of this study already refuted certain errors in teachings about marriage and divorce, we wish in conclusion to address one other prevalent, but unscriptural view. This error holds that scripture's teachings on marriage and divorce merely outline God's "ideal," but that He has allowed divorce "due to mankind's sinfulness." This argument is usually based on an interpretation of Jesus' reference to Moses' allowance of divorce due to the hardness of men's hearts. It is argued that while God has plainly said He hates divorce, He permits it due to man's weakness in the flesh.

While having a ring of plausibleness on its surface, this argument is utterly wicked, heretical, and blasphemous. It says, in effect, that while God forbids sin, He is lenient about it and allows men to order their lives around it simply because they have hearts of flesh. This is preposterous, and it is an untenable view of grace! God surely knows that sin exists. But He has never been lenient about it. His eternal plan, the Covenant of Redemption, has been to destroy sin and all its works. His provision for sinful man is not one of leniency but one of substitutionary atonement. This atonement wipes away sin, restores righteousness and holiness, and calls men thus redeemed to live in gratitude according to His eternal will.

Is New Covenant Marriage Possible?

The highly restrictive view of marriage and divorce which we have outlined here will likely be criticized as unrealistic and impossible in today's world. We are not deterred by such a charge. Jesus was not deterred by it. His disciples, realizing the implications of His commandment, were astonished and reacted by saying, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry." The disciples and modern critics seem to imply that if conduct within the marriage state has such absolute boundaries that there is no hatch through which a person may escape with impunity, the whole relationship should be avoided.

Jesus came close to agreeing. He acknowledged that New Covenant marriage cannot be handled by everyone. Some have legitimate Kingdom-related reasons for avoiding it, he said, a fact which bachelor Paul underscored later. Others have been rendered incapable by birth of fulfilling the obligations that come with marriage; still others have been rendered incapable through the actions of men. These too should not marry, Jesus said, because such marriages would be frauds.

Who then can enter New Covenant marriages? "Those to whom it has been given," Jesus says. The Covenant of Grace is, after all, a Covenant of Grace. It is a gift given to those whom God has chosen to favor with His love. The same is true of marriage. It is God's gracious gift to His people. To those who are willing to accept the gift and live in gratitude for it, faithful covenant marriage is clearly possible. The Church must affirm this, fearing not to testify to its members concerning the absolute sanctity of marriage and hesitating not to administer loving Christian discipline to those who violate this holy covenant.

This paper was originally written for the North American Protestant Church Council and remains a working document of that project.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Civilization and the Arab World

A View from the Eye of the Storm

By Haim Harari
Chair, Davidson Institute of Science Education

"The longer it takes us to understand the new landscape of this war, the more costly and painful the victory will be."

I have never been and I will never be a government official and I have no privileged information. My perspective is entirely based on what I see, on what I read and on the fact that my family has lived in this region [the Arab world] for almost 200 years. You may regard my views as those of the proverbial taxi driver, which you are supposed to question, when you visit a country. I could have shared with you some fascinating facts and some personal thoughts about the Israeli-Arab conflict. However, I will touch upon it only in passing. I prefer to devote most of my remarks to the broader picture of the region and its place in world events. I refer to the entire area between Pakistan and Morocco, which is predominantly Arab, predominantly Moslem, but includes many non-Arab and also significant non-Moslem minorities.

Why do I put aside Israel and its own immediate neighborhood? Because Israel and any problems related to it, in spite of what you might read or hear in the world media, is not the central issue, and has never been the central issue in the upheaval in the region. Yes, there is a 100-year-old Israeli-Arab conflict, but it is not where the main show is. The millions who died in the Iran-Iraq war had nothing to do with Israel. The mass murder happening right now in Sudan, where the Arab Moslem regime is massacring its black Christian citizens, has nothing to do with Israel. The frequent reports from Algeria about the murders of hundreds of civilians in one village or another by other Algerians have nothing to do with Israel. Saddam Hussein did not invade Kuwait, endanger Saudi Arabia and butcher his own people because of Israel. Egypt did not use poison gas against Yemen in the 60's because of Israel. Assad the Father did not kill tens of thousands of his own citizens in one week in El Hamma in Syria because of Israel. The Taliban control of Afghanistan and the civil war there had nothing to do with Israel. The Libyan blowing up of the Pan-Am flight had nothing to do with Israel, and I could go on and on and on. But enough on Israel. It's a red herring to the root causes I wish to discuss.

The root of the trouble is that this entire Moslem region is totally dysfunctional, by any standard of the word, and would have been so even if Israel had joined the Arab league and an independent Palestine had existed for 100 years.

The 22 member countries of the Arab League, from Mauritania to the Gulf States, have a total population of 300 million, larger than the United States and almost as large as the European Union before its expansion. They have a land area larger than either the U.S. or all of Europe. These 22 countries, with all their oil and natural resources, have a combined GDP smaller than that of Netherlands plus Belgium and equal to half of the GDP of California alone. Within this meager GDP, the gaps between rich and poor are beyond belief and too many of the rich made their money not by succeeding in business, but by being corrupt rulers. The social status of women is far below what it was in the Western World 150 years ago. Human rights are below any reasonable standard, in spite of the grotesque fact that Libya was elected Chair of the U.N. Human Rights Commission. According to a report prepared by a committee of Arab intellectuals and published under the auspices of the U.N., the number of books translated by the entire Arab world is much smaller than what little Greece alone translates. Birth rates in the region are very high, increasing the poverty, the social gaps and the cultural decline. And all of this is happening in a region, which only 30 years ago, was believed to be the next wealthy part of the world, and in a Moslem area, which developed, at some point in history, one of the most advanced cultures in the world.

It is fair to say that this creates an unprecedented breeding ground for cruel dictators, terror networks, fanaticism, incitement, suicide murders and general decline. It is also a fact that almost everybody in the region blames this situation on the United States, on Israel, on Western Civilization, on Judaism and Christianity, on anyone and anything, except themselves.

A word about the millions of decent, honest, good people who are either devout Moslems or are not very religious but grew up in Moslem families: They are double victims of an outside world, which now develops Islamophobia and of their own environment, which breaks their heart by being totally dysfunctional. The problem is that the vast silent majority of these Moslems are not part of the terror and of the incitement, but they also do not stand up against it. They become accomplices, by omission, and this applies to political leaders, intellectuals, business people and many others. Many of them can certainly tell right from wrong, but are afraid to express their views.

The events of the last few years have amplified four issues, which have always existed, but have never been as rampant as in the present upheaval in the region. A few more years may pass before everybody acknowledges that it is a World War, but we are already well into it. These are the four main pillars of the current World Conflict, or perhaps we should already refer to it as "the undeclared World War III":

  1. The first element is the suicide-murder. Suicide murders are not a new invention but they have been made popular, if I may use this expression, only lately. Even after September 11, it seems that most of the Western World does not yet understand this weapon. It is a very potent psychological weapon. Its real direct impact is relatively minor. The total number of casualties from hundreds of suicide murders within Israel in the last three years is much smaller than those due to car accidents. September 11 was quantitatively much less lethal than many earthquakes. More people die from AIDS in one day in Africa than all the Russians who died in the hands of Chechnya-based Moslem suicide murderers since that conflict started. Saddam killed every month more people than all those who died from suicide murders since the Coalition occupat ion of Iraq. So what is all the fuss about the suicide killing? It creates headlines. It is spectacular. It is frightening. It is a very cruel death with bodies dismembered and horrible severe lifelong injuries to many of the wounded. It is always shown on television in great detail. One such murder, with the help of hysterical media coverage, can destroy the tourism industry of a country for quite a while, as it did in Bali and in Turkey. But the real fear comes from the undisputed fact that no defense and no preventive measures can succeed against a determined suicide murderer. This has not yet penetrated the thinking of the Western World. The United States and Europe are constantly improving their defense against the last murder, not the next one. We may arrange for the best airport security in the world. But if you want to murder by suicide, you do not have to board a plane in order to explode yourself and kill many people. Who could stop a suicide murder in the midst of the crowded line waiting to be checked by the airport metal detector? How about the lines to the check-in counters in a busy travel period? Put a metal detector in front of every train station in Spain and the terrorists will get the buses. Protect the buses and they will explode in movie theaters, concert halls, supermarkets, shopping malls,schools and hospitals. Put guards in front of every concert hall and there will always be a line of people to be checked by the guards and this line will be the target, not to speak of killing the guards themselves. You can somewhat reduce your vulnerability by preventive and defensive measures and by strict border controls but not eliminate it and definitely not win the war in a defensive way. And it is a war! What is behind the suicide murders? Money, power and cold-blooded murderous incitement, nothing else. It has nothing to do with true fanatic religious beliefs. No Moslem preacher has ever blown himself up. No son of an Arab politician or religious leader has ever blown himself. No relative of anyone influential has done it. Wouldn't you expect some of the religious leaders to do it themselves, or to talk their sons into doing it, if this is truly a supreme act of religious fervor? Aren't they interested in the benefits of going to Heaven? Instead, they send outcast women, naive children, retarded people and young incited hotheads. They promise them the delights, mostly sexual, of the next world, and pay their families handsomely after the supreme act is performed and enough innocent people are dead. Suicide murders also have nothing to do with poverty and despair. The poorest region in the world, by far, is Africa. It never happens there. There are numerous desperate people in the world, in different cultures, countries and continents. Desperation does not provide anyone with explosives, reconnaissance and transportation. There was certainly more despair in Saddam's Iraq then in [post-Saddam] Iraq, and no one exploded himself [during the former time]. A suicide murder is simply a horrible, vicious weapon of cruel, inhuman, cynical, well-funded terrorists, with no regard tohuman life, including the life of their fellow countrymen, but with very high regard to their own affluent well-being and their hunger for power. The only way to fight this new "popular" weapon is identical to the only way in which you fight organized crime or pirates on the high seas: the offensive way. As in the case of organized crime, it is crucial that the forces on the offensive be united and it is crucial to reach the top of the crime pyramid. You cannot eliminate organized crime by arresting the little drug dealer in the street corner. You must go after the head of the "Family." If part of the public supports it, others tolerate it, many are afraid of it and some try to explain it away by poverty or by a miserable childhood, organized crime will thrive and so will terrorism. The United States understands this now, after September 11. Russia is beginning to understand it. Turkey understands it well. I am very much afraid that most of Europe still does not understand it. Unfortunately, it seems that Europe will understand it only after suicide murders arrive in Europe in a big way. In my humble opinion, this will definitely happen. The Spanish trains and the Istanbul bombings are only the beginning. The unity of the Civilized World in fighting this horror is absolutely indispensable. Until Europe wakes up, this unity will not be achieved.
  2. The second ingredient is words, more precisely lies. Words can be lethal. They kill people. It is often said that politicians, diplomats and perhaps also lawyers and business people must sometimes lie, as part of their professional life. But the norms of politics and diplomacy are childish, in comparison with the level of incitement and total absolute deliberate fabrications, which have reached new heights in the region we are talking about. An incredible number of people in the Arab world believe that September 11 never happened, or was an American provocation or, even better, a Jewish plot. You all remember the Iraqi Minister of Information, Mr. Mouhamad Said al-Sahaf and his press conferences when the U.S. forces were already inside Baghdad. Disinformation at time of war is an accepted tactic. But to stand, day after day, and to make such preposterous statements, known to everybody to be lies, without even being ridiculed in your own milieu can only happen in this region. Mr. Sahaf eventually became a popular icon as a court jester, but this did not stop some allegedly respectable newspapers from giving him equal time. It also does not prevent the Western press from giving credence, every day, even now, to similar liars. After all, if you want to be an anti-Semite, there are subtle ways of doing it. You do not have to claim that the Holocaust never happened, and that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem never existed. But millions of Moslems are told by their leaders that this is the case. When these same leaders make other statements, the Western media report them as if they could be true. It is a daily occurrence that the same people who finance, arm and dispatch suicide murderers condemn the act in English in front of western TV cameras, talking to a world audience, which even partly believes them. It is a daily routine to hear the same leader making opposite statements in Arabic to his people and in English to the rest of the world. Incitement by Arab TV, accompanied by horror pictures of mutilated bodies, has become a powerful weapon of those who lie, distort and want to destroy everything. Little children are raised on deep hatred and on admiration of so-called martyrs, and the Western World does not notice it because its own TV sets are mostly tuned to soap operas and game shows. I recommend to you, even though most of you do not understand Arabic, to watch Al Jazeera, from time to time. You will not believe your own eyes. But words also work in other ways, more subtle. A demonstration in Berlin, carrying banners supporting Saddam's regime and featuring three-year-old babies dressed as suicide murderers, is defined by the press and by political leaders as a "peace demonstration." You may support or oppose the Iraq war, but to refer to fans of Saddam, Arafat or Bin Laden as peace activists is a bit too much. A woman walks into an Israeli restaurant in mid-day, eats, observes families with old people and children eating their lunch in the adjacent tables and pays the bill. She then blows herself up, killing 20 people, including many children, with heads and arms rolling around in the restaurant. She is called "martyr" by several Arab leaders and "activist" by the European press. Dignitaries condemn the act but visit her bereaved family and the money flows. There is a new game in town: The actual murderer is called "the military wing"; the one who pays him, equips him and sends him is now called "the political wing"; and the head of the operation is called the "spiritual leader." There are numerous other examples of such Orwellian nomenclature, used every day not only by terror chiefs but also by Western media. These words are much more dangerous than many people realize. They provide an emotional infrastructure for atrocities. It was Joseph Goebels who said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. He is now being outperformed by his successors.
  3. The third aspect is money. Huge amounts of money, which could have solved many social problems in this dysfunctional part of the world, are channeled into three concentric spheres supporting death and murder. First, there is the inner circle are the terrorists themselves. The money funds their travel, explosives, hideouts and permanent search for soft vulnerable targets. The inner circles are primarily financed by terrorist states like Iran and Syria, until recently also by Iraq and Libya and earlier also by some of the Communist regimes. These states, as well as the Palestinian Authority, are the safe havens of the wholesale murder vendors. They are surrounded by a second wider circle of direct supporters, planners, commanders, preachers, all of whom make a living, usually a very comfortable living, by serving as terror infrastructure. Finally, we find the third circle of so-called religious,educational and welfare organizations, which actually do some good, feed the hungry and provide some schooling, but brainwash a new generation with hatred, lies and ignorance. This circle operates mostly through mosques, madrasas and other religious establishments but also through inciting electronic and printed media. It is this circle that makes sure that women remain inferior, that democracy is unthinkable and that exposure tothe outside world is minimal. It is also that circle that leads the way in blaming everybody outside the Moslem world for the miseries of the region. The outer circle is largely financed by Saudi Arabia, but also by donations from certain Moslem communities in the United States and Europe and, to a smaller extent, by donations of European governments to various NGO's [non-governmental organizations] and by certain United Nations organizations, whose goals may be noble, but they are infested and exploited by agents of the outer circle. The Saudi regime, of course, will be the next victim ofmajor terror, when the inner circle will explode into the outer circle. The Saudis are beginning to understand it, but they fight the inner circles, while still financing the infrastructure at the outer circle. Figuratively speaking, this outer circle is the guardian, which makes sure that the people look and listen inwards to the inner circle of terror and incitement, rather than to the world outside. Some parts of this same outer circle actually operate as a result of fear from, or blackmail by, the inner circles. The horrifying added factor is the high birth rate. Half of the population of the Arab world is under the age of 20, the most receptive age to incitement, guaranteeing two more generations of blind hatred. Some of the leaders of these various circles live very comfortably on their loot. You meet their children in the best private schools in Europe, not in the training camps of suicide murderers. The Jihad "soldiers" join packaged death tours to Iraq and other hotspots, while some of their leaders ski in Switzerland. Mrs. Arafat, who lives in Paris with her daughter, receives tens of thousands of dollars per month from the allegedly bankrupt Palestinian Authority, while a typical local ringleader of the Al-Aksa brigade, reporting to Arafat, receives only a cash payment of a couple of hundred dollars, for performing murders at the retail level.
  4. The fourth element of the current world conflict is the total breaking of all laws. The civilized world believes in democracy, the rule of law,including international law, human rights, free speech and free press, among other liberties. There are naive old-fashioned habits such as respecting religious sites and symbols, not using ambulances and hospitals for acts of war,avoiding the mutilation of dead bodies and not using children as human shields or human bombs. Never in history, not even in the Nazi period, was there such total disregard of all of the above as we observe now. Every student of political science debates how you prevent an anti-democratic force from winning a democratic election and abolishing democracy. Other aspects of a civilized society must also have limitations. Can a policeman open fire on someone trying to kill him? Can a government listen to phone conversations of terrorists and drug dealers? Does free speech protect you when you shout "fire" in a crowded theater? Should there be death penalty for deliberate multiple murders? These are the old-fashioned dilemmas. But now we have an entire new set. Do you raid a mosque, which serves as a terrorist ammunition storage? Do you return fire, if you are attacked from a hospital? Do you storm a church taken over by terrorists who took the priests hostages? Do you search every ambulance after a few suicide murderers use ambulances to reach their targets? Do you strip every woman because one pretended to be pregnant and carried a suicide bomb on her belly? Do you shoot back at someone trying to kill you, standing deliberately behind a group of children? Do you raid terrorist headquarters, hidden in a mental hospital? Do you shoot an arch-murderer who deliberately moves from one location to another, always surrounded by children? All of these happen daily in Iraq and in the Palestinian areas. What do you do? Well, you do not want to face the dilemma. But it cannot be avoided. Suppose, for the sake of discussion, that someone would openly stay in a well-known address in Teheran, hosted by the Iranian Government and financed by it, executing one atrocity after another in Spain or in France, killing hundreds of innocent people, accepting responsibility for the crimes, promising in public TV interviews to do more of the same, while theGovernment of Iran issues public condemnations of his acts but continues to host him, invite him to official functions and treat him as a great dignitary. I leave it to you as home work to figure out what Spain or France would have done in such a situation. The problem is that the civilized world is still having illusions about the rule of law in a totally lawless environment. It is trying to play ice hockey by sending a ballerina ice-skater into the rink or to knock out a heavyweight boxer by a chess player. In the same way that no country has a law against cannibals eating its prime minister, because such an act is unthinkable, international law does not address killers shooting from hospitals, mosques and ambulances, while being protected by their government or society. International law does not know how to handle someone who sends children to throw stones, stands behind them and shoots with immunity and cannot be arrested because he is sheltered by a government. International law does not know how to deal with a leader of murderers who is royally and comfortably hosted by a country, which pretends to condemn his acts or just claims to be too weak to arrest him. The amazing thing is that all of these crooks demand protection under international law and define all those who attack them as "war criminals," with some Western media repeating the allegations. The good news is that all of this is temporary, because the evolution of international law has always adapted itself to reality. The punishment for suicide murder should be death or arrest before the murder, not during and not after. After every world war, the rules of international law have changed, and the same will happen after the present one. But during the twilight zone, a lot of harm can be done.

The picture I described here is not pretty. What can we do about it? In the short run, only fight and win. In the long run, only educate the next generation and open it to the world. The inner circles can and must be destroyed by force. The outer circle cannot be eliminated by force. Here we need financial starvation of the organizing elite, more power to women, more education, counter propaganda, boycott whenever feasible and access to Western media, internet and the international scene. Above all, we need a total absolute unity and determination of the civilized world against all three circles of evil.

Allow me, for a moment, to depart from my alleged role as a taxi driver and return to science. When you have a malignant tumor, you may remove the tumor itself surgically. You may also starve it by preventing new blood from reaching it from other parts of the body, thereby preventing new "supplies" from expanding the tumor. If you want to be sure, it is best to do both. But before you fight and win, by force or otherwise, you have to realize that you are in a war, and this may take Europe a few more years. In order to win, it is necessary to first eliminate the terrorist regimes, so that no government in the world will serve as a safe haven for these people. I do not want to comment here on whether the American-led attack on Iraq was justified from the point of view of weapons of mass destruction or any other pre-war argument, but I can look at the post-war map of Western Asia. Now that Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are out, two-and-a-half terrorist states remain: Iran, Syria and Lebanon, the latter being a Syrian colony. Perhaps Sudan should be added to the list. As a result of the conquest of Afghanistan and Iraq, both Iran and Syria are now totally surrounded by territories unfriendly to them. Iran is encircled by Afghanistan, by the Gulf States, Iraq and the Moslem republics of the former Soviet Union. Syria is surrounded by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. This is a significant strategic change and it applies strong pressure on the terrori st countries. It is not surprising that Iran is so active in trying to incite a Shiite uprising in Iraq. I do not know if the American plan was actually to encircle both Iran and Syria, but that is the resulting situation.

In my humble opinion, the number-one danger to the world today is Iran and its regime. It definitely has ambitions to rule vast areas and to expand in all directions. It has an ideology, which claims supremacy over Western culture. It is ruthless. It has proven that it can execute elaborate terrorist acts without leaving too many traces, using Iranian embassies. It is clearly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Its so-called moderates and conservatives play their own virtuoso version of the "good-cop versus bad-cop" game. Iran sponsors Syrian terrorism, it is certainly behind much of the action in Iraq, it is fully funding the Hezbollah and, through it, the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad. It performed acts of terror at least in Europe and in South America and probably also in Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia, and it truly leads a multi-national terror consortium, which includes, as minor players, Syria, Lebanon and certain Shiite elements in Iraq. Nevertheless, most European countries still trade with Iran, try to appease it and refuse to read the clear signals.

In order to win the war, it is also necessary to dry up the financial resources of the terror conglomerate. It is pointless to try to understand the subtle differences between the Sunni terror of Al Qaeda and Hamas and the Shiite terror of Hezbollah, Sadr and other Iranian inspired,enterprises. When it serves their business needs, all of them collaborate beautifully. It is crucial to stop Saudi and other financial support of the outer circle, which is the fertile breeding ground of terror. It is important to monitor all donations from the Western World to Islamic organizations, to monitor the finances of international relief organizations and to react with forceful economic measures to any small sign of financial aid to any of the three circles of terrorism.

It is also important to act decisively against the campaign of lies and fabrications and to monitor those Western media who collaborate with it out of naivety, financial interests or ignorance.

Above all, never surrender to terror. No one will ever know whether the last elections in Spain would have yielded a different result, if not for the train bombings a few days earlier. But it really does not matter. What matters is that the terrorists believe that they caused the result and that they won by driving Spain out of Iraq. The Spanish story will surely end up being extremely costly to other European countries, including France, who is now expelling inciting preachers and forbidding veils and including others who sent troops to Iraq. In the long run, Spain itself will pay even more.

Is the solution a democratic Arab world? If by democracy we mean free elections but also free press, free speech, a functioning judicial system, civil liberties, equality to women, free international travel, exposure to international media and ideas, laws against racial incitement and against defamation, and avoidance of lawless behavior regarding hospitals, places of worship and children, then yes, democracy is the solution. If democracy is just free elections, it is likely that the most fanatic regime will be elected, the one whose incitement and fabrications are the most inflammatory. We have seen it already in Algeria and, to a certain extent, in Turkey. It will happen again, if the ground is not prepared very carefully. On the other hand, a certain transition democracy, as in Jordan, may be a better temporary solution, paving the way for the real thing, perhaps in the same way that an immediate sudden democracy did not work in Russia and would not have worked in China.

I have no doubt that the civilized world will prevail. But the longer it takes us to understand the new landscape of this war, the more costly and painful the victory will be. Europe, more than any other region, is the key. Its understandable recoil from wars, following the horrors of World War II, may cost thousands of additional innocent lives, before the tide will turn.


This article was first delivered at a meeting of the International Advisory Board of a large multi-national corporation, April, 2004.