Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania — A church in Pennsylvania has postponed an event with author, speaker, film director and former college president Dinesh D’Souza following recent revelations that he had become engaged while married.
Calvary Chapel of Delaware County in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania had scheduled D’Souza to be a guest speaker this Sunday during “Compassion and Justice” weekend, during which he was to address the matter of suffering in the world and what Christians can do to help alleviate it. His book, Godforsaken, was to be one of the centerpieces of the visit.
However, those plans were postponed after reports about D’Souza erupted in the media, advising that he had become engaged to another woman while separated from his wife.
As previously reported, D’Souza, 51, filed for divorce from his wife Dixie, 44, earlier this month according to court records. However, during an evangelical Christian conference in September, D’Souza was accompanied by a younger woman that he introduced as being his fiance’.
When questioned by the media, D’Souza confirmed that the woman, Denise Odie Joseph II, who appears to be in her late twenties, was engaged to be his wife. He claims that he has only known Joseph for three months, but believes that she is “the one.” Joseph is also believed to have been married herself up until at least May of this year according to her online blogs, but it is not known if she was married when she became engaged to D’Souza.
“My wife Dixie and I have been separated for two years. Dixie approached me and demanded this before I came to King’s College to become its president in late August 2010,” D’Souza wrote in an article that he released to the media yesterday. “I informed the chairman of the college about this at the time.”
“I sought out advice about whether it is legal to be engaged prior to being divorced and I was informed that it is,” he continued. “Denise and I were trying to do the right thing. 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.”
Following extensive meetings this week with the board of King’s College, an evangelical institution in New York City, D’Souza submitted his resignation. He continues to contend that he has been involved in no wrongdoing.
“The Board of Trustees of The King’s College in New York City has accepted the resignation of its president, Dinesh D’Souza, effective immediately,” the college wrote in an official statement Thursday. “The Board has asked Andy Mills to assume the position of interim president and will immediately begin a search for the new president. Mills urged the King’s community to pray for Dinesh and his family during this difficult period.”
Following these developments, Calvary Chapel of Delaware County posted an announcement on its website this morning, advising that it had decided to postpone its event with D’Souza.
“Internet allegations this week arising from an article published in World Magazine have caused suspicion concerning Dinesh’s personal life. I have spoken with him several times, and he has informed me that the information is not factual, but he will resign his position as president of King’s College to clear his name,” wrote Pastor Bob Guaglione. “He has admitted to ‘an error of judgment,’ but not to a moral failure.”
“My job is not to cast judgment in this situation,” Guaglione continued. “I told Dinesh that if there is any role I can play in seeing the matter come to a God-honoring conclusion, I would. I only pray that this can be resolved in such a way that Dinesh will come through as a greater ambassador for the Gospel message, and that all parties involved would be comforted.”
The national headquarters of Calvary Chapel agreed that the service with D’Souza should not go forward.
“I would not have allowed him to speak under these circumstances,” Brian Brodersen, Associate Pastor at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, told Christian News Network. “Even if he’s repented, there needs to be a season of sitting out and getting right with the Lord.”
“This is a case of — at best — super poor judgment on Dinesh’s part, and — at worst — sin,” Broderson continued, who stated that he knows D’Souza personally. He opined that if D’Souza’s situation allowed for divorce, “[M]y challenge to him would be, ‘You should not be engaged to a woman while you’re still married to your wife. You need to wait until your divorce is final before you can get engaged.'”
When asked if he would consider it to be a moral failure if D’Souza was indeed engaged to another woman while married, who had also been married herself, Broderson agreed that by all indications it was. However, he stated that he believes divorce is a complex issue that often times depends on the particular facts at hand.
“I think you have to look at every situation individually and see what the circumstances are,” Broaderson said. “You have to look at what really happened. What are the issues? … Life is more complicated than you can put down on paper.”
He outlined, however, that he believes there are very narrow circumstances that would permit an individual to divorce and remarry, such as the commission of fornication.
“Our position is unless there was one of those things [occurring], we would not support a divorce,” he explained.
On the other hand, some hold to the position that divorce is never an option, and that re-marriage is always impermissible, noting that “til death do us part” means exactly that.
Calvary Chapel of Delaware County plans to reschedule its service with D’Souza at a later date despite indications that he still intends to marry Joseph. Guaglione did not return calls requesting further comment.