Then again, maybe not.
Over a month ago, I wrote about Dinesh D'Souza, a rising star within right-wing evangelicalism whose recent movie, "2016: Obama's America," was taking Hollywood by storm. Not because Hollywood loved D'Souza's embarrassingly non-scholarly attack on our president and his father, but because Hollywood was shocked to find so many Americans did. It was on track to be one of this fall's most popular movies of its genre.
Earlier this week, however, World Magazine's website broke the news that the married D'Souza had brazenly flaunted his girlfriend at an evangelical conference in Spartanburg, South Carolina. According to World's well-placed sources, D'Souza introduced the woman as his fiance to numerous people, and even checked into the same hotel together, and came down together early the next morning to catch their flight outta town.
When confronted with the apparent incongruity between his marital status and having a girlfriend, D'Souza claimed that his divorce was not yet final. But when World Magazine's reporter checked with California's courts, where the current Mrs. D'Souza lives full-time, those divorce papers had been filed... the day World's reporter had asked him about it.
No wonder their divorce wasn't finalized yet.
For the record, when D'Souza became head of the fledgling re-birth of Kings College in New York City, his wife did not relocate to the East Coast, so her husband has been splitting his time between both sides of our continent. Two-timing it, as it were, but in more ways than one, apparently.
Yesterday, the board at Kings College met to accept the resignation D'Souza had begrudgingly tendered in the wake of World's website article. So he's been de-throned by his own doing. Suffice it to say that, even though he insists nothing sexual happened in that hotel, D'Souza is demonstrating no conviction about the sanctity of marriage. He claims to Fox News that he'd been working with a California law firm on his divorce for two weeks prior to his trip to South Carolina, but does it really take that long to file divorce papers in that state? He throws his current wife under the bus for wanting to be separated in the first place, and he sees no problem with checking into and out of the same hotel together with another woman without carefully explaining the situation to the conference host, which means he basically threw his girlfriend under the immorality bus, too.
In his angry outburst to Fox, D'Souza whines, "I had no idea that it is considered wrong in Christian circles to be
engaged prior to being divorced, even though in a state of separation
and in divorce proceedings."
Such cluelessness professed by D'Souza betrays a woeful indifference to what most Christians commonly understand about Christian marriage. Men are supposed to find satisfaction in the wife of their youth, divorce is only a last resort and hardly frivolous, and we are to maintain a witness of moral integrity to observers of our lifestyle. How does any of this sordid episode demonstrate even a cursory understanding of such basic components of Christian holiness?
D'Souza then goes on to blame World's editor and the writer of their online article, claiming they have a vendetta against him, as if D'Souza himself is the victim here. It's all classic Type-A behavior: the defiant obfuscation of personal responsibility and displacement of blame onto others despite the preponderance of evidence to the contrary. Kick up enough dust to obscure the facts, and hopefully, damage to your personal credibility can be minimized.
So sad. Especially if none of it is true. But if none of it is true, D'Souza certainly seems to be spending a lot of energy spinning things his way in a vacuum devoid of Biblical justifications. His contempt for accountability only compounds the misery of this tawdry episode.
Which brings to mind something the writer of another Christian article expressed recently: that it's good for us believers to have mortal heroes of the faith upon whom we can look for encouragement and instruction. I won't name the writer, because he's another celebrated evangelical, and besides, he's not alone in his search for human heroes of Christian virtue.
I, on the other hand, consider such a pursuit to be the work of the Devil himself. Our model is Christ and Christ alone, not Billy Graham, or William Wilberforce, or Corrie Ten Boom, or Nate Saint, or Elizabeth Elliott. To the extent that these famous Christians have added their voices to the evangelical narrative, those voices have simply rephrased the teachings of Christ. They're people who, through a variety of reasons and circumstances, have become known to us throughout history thanks to what we consider to be uncommon valor. But all of those reasons and circumstances were ordained by our holy God, and He is the reason for any success or influence they - or any of us - can claim. Go ahead, read their stories and ponder their testimonies for educational purposes, but don't canonize them. None of them would likely want your adulation anyway, as long as they recognized that what they did, they did through Christ and the working of His Holy Spirit.
D'Souza was on that hero worship track, and who knows, but he may be able to spin his way out of this momentary setback, either through ingratiating himself with evangelicalism's contemporary kingmakers, or through a supernatural working of repentance and dependence on God's grace.
In the meantime, the story of Dinesh D'Souza isn't that powerful men have an uncanny knack for self-destruction, but that we all do. Only men like D'Souza fall longer and harder because the pedestals we've helped them build are taller than our own.
He's just a moral, just like you, and just like me. Pray for him, as I do, that, just like anybody else, he'll find that God's grace is more than sufficient.
Especially since ours isn't.