LifeWay Christian book stores still carry Dinesh D’Souza’s books. For now.
The journalistic scoop belongs to Warren Cole Smith of the very conservative World magazine, so we’ll quote from his report first:
About 2,000 people gathered on Sept. 28 at First Baptist North in Spartanburg, S.C., to hear high-profile Christians speak on defending the faith and applying a Christian worldview to their lives. Among the speakers: Eric Metaxas, Josh McDowell, and — keynote speaker for the evening — best-selling author, filmmaker, and Christian college president Dinesh D’Souza.
D’Souza’s speech earned him a standing ovation and a long line at the book-signing table immediately afterward. Although D’Souza has been married for 20 years to his wife, Dixie, in South Carolina he was with a young woman, Denise Odie Joseph II,* and introduced her to at least three people as his fiancée.
Finally, near 11 p.m., event organizer Tony Beam escorted D’Souza and Joseph to the nearby Comfort Suites. Beam noted that they checked in together and were apparently sharing a room for the night in the sold-out hotel. The next morning, around 6 a.m., Beam arrived back at the hotel and called up to D’Souza’s room. “We’ll be down in 10 minutes,” D’Souza told Beam. D’Souza and Joseph came down together, and Beam took them to the airport.
The next day another conference organizer, Alex McFarland, distressed by D’Souza’s behavior, confronted him in a telephone conversation. D’Souza admitted he shared a room with his fiancée but said “nothing happened.” When I called D’Souza, he confirmed that he was indeed engaged to Joseph, but did not explain how he could be engaged to one woman while still married to another. When asked when he had filed for divorce from his wife, Dixie, D’Souza answered, “Recently.”
Amy Sullivan describes “The Right-wing Rivalry Behind” that scoop:
Needless to say, this sort of thing is frowned upon in the conservative religious circles in which D’Souza is usually celebrated. So it is perhaps unsurprising that the story was broken by Warren C. Smith, a writer and associate publisher for the evangelical World magazine. The publication has a history of covering problems within the evangelical world, and it has not shied away from stories about preacher scandals or church abuse of women. But this particular story may have interested the magazine for a different reason: World’s editor-in-chief is Marvin Olasky, the sometime Bush advisor who is no fan of D’Souza.
Olasky served, briefly, as provost of The King’s College. He resigned shortly after D’Souza became the school’s president. Read the whole thing for Sullivan’s take on the nasty history between these two nasty men.
Christianity Today’s report notes that “D’Souza has regularly appeared in CT’s pages.” One example of that is CT’s report on D’Souza’s hiring at King’s, which emphasized that the conservative activist’s Roman Catholic faith should not preclude him from membership in the evangelical tribe:
D’Souza’s wife, Dixie, is an evangelical, and the family has attended Calvary Chapel, a nondenominational evangelical church in San Diego, for the past 10 years. He has been invited to speak in several churches and colleges, including Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church and Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University.
“I do not describe myself as Catholic today. But I don’t want to renounce it either because it’s an important part of my background. I’m an American citizen, but I wouldn’t reject the Indian label because it’s part of my heritage,” D’Souza said. “I say I have a Catholic origin or background. I say I’m a nondenominational Christian, and I’m comfortable with born-again.”
He said that his views align with the Apostles’ Creed and C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity.
That’s the imprimatur — the stamp of approval.
But D’Souza wasn’t embraced by the evangelical tribe just because he affirms the creeds and C.S. Lewis. What made CT and King’s College and the rest of mainstream evangelicalism decide that D’Souza was one of us was his political history — a former policy aide in the Reagan White House, D’Souza is fiercely opposed to abortion, gay rights, feminism and progressive taxation.
As Sarah Posner said, “D’Souza’s … rise in the evangelical world is due in no small part to his conspiracy-minded claims about President Obama’s ‘Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior.’”
Yes, conspiratorial warnings about Africans and anti-colonialism contributed to D’Souza’s legitimacy among evangelicals.
Bruce Garrett notes some of D’Souza’s odious political history:
How the man who, while editor of the Dartmouth Review, penned a racist parody of African American students titled “This Sho Ain’t No Jive Bro” and later outed a gay student using stolen mail between members of the Dartmouth Gay Student Alliance can in any sense be labeled a Christian is something confederate Christianists can explain I suppose.
Those two themes — racism and anti-gay sentiment — have endured as the hallmarks of much of D’Souza’s “scholarship.”
Alvin McEwen highlights a 2008 article of D’Souza’s titled, “Gay Rights vs. Democracy,” in which he pulls the man-on-dog nonsense.
Here is D’Souza’s idea of scholarship: “Why doesn’t the Fourteenth Amendment protect the fellow who wants to walk down the aisle with his poodle on the grounds that ‘I love my dog and my dog loves me’?” (What is it about the idea of consent that confuses these folks so much?)
Grace at Are Women Human? echoes Garrett’s observation, noting — savoring — the irony that D’Souza’s adultery has done what his nasty racism and homophobia never did, diminished his standing amongst evangelicals. The entire post — a Snoopy-dance of schadenfreude — is great fun, but the kernel of it is summed up in this one tweet from Grace:
Does it matter than D’souza peddles racist, colonialist lies? Nope. But he shared a hotel room with a woman he’s not married to! OH NOES
Or, as she writes in the post itself:
Sarah Posner writes for Religion Dispatches that this (presumed) sex scandal may spell the end for D’Souza’s once rising star. Note, not the fact that he’s been peddling racist and colonialist lies to white Christians for fun and profit for the past forever, but because of what’s assumed about his marriage and sex life. PRIORITIES.
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Feminists and liberals … tore the traditional family to shreds until they reduced us to the shining bastion of zoological (but even animals aren’t this bad and do not depend on the state to care for them) cesspool equality that we have now in every American ghetto and which is seeping out into the middle and upper classes in less animated ways.
Her bogeymen are just like those of her boyfriend: Black.
As women spearhead the demise of the ideal, the alternative to hypocrisy, they spearhead the demise of social order as we know it and love it. Henceforth, all of us will be staring down the barrel of life in a hip hop video or government-funded project. …
Buzzfeed snagged a cached copy of Odie Joseph’s blog (which disappeared when the story broke), which reveals her to have been a fan of D’Souza’s books — and of Ayn Rand.