Punishment is not the same as prizes

In his latest Lightning Round, Free Northerner linked to this article, in which Karen McCullah complains about having to pay her ex-husband alimony after frivolously divorcing him. I didn’t read all of the comments on the article, but the ones I did see mentioned the fact that large numbers of men are saddled with alimony every year with no outrage, but when a female has to pay alimony, it is viewed as unfair. The general consensus could be summed up as “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander because Equality.” The thing is, Ms. McCullah’s situation is not analogous to the typical male-paying-alimony scenario.

See, in the typical divorce situation where the male pays alimony, the female initiated the divorce. Among college-educated couples, 90% of all divorces are initiated by the woman. In this type of a situation, alimony can be regarded as a prize for destroying the marriage. Pretty disgusting, huh? What’s worse is that the prize awarded to the destroyer of the marriage (the female) is financed by the victim of the destruction (the male). Men are literally forced to financially reward their (ex)wives for destroying their marriages! If Ms. McCullah’s husband had filed for divorce, and she had to pay him alimony, that would have been the analog of what happens every day in courtrooms across America where victims are punished and perpetrators are given prizes.

But that’s not what happened.

Ms. McCullah makes it clear that her husband didn’t divorce her–she divorced her husband.

But 18 years later, when I divorced my husband, I had a successful writing career and some money in the bank. He got to take half of it. But it isn’t even the fact that I had to give him half that I find so egregious. It’s the alimony he demanded I pay him on top of it that makes me very, very angry—like scream-really-loud, get-drunk, and eat-gratuitous-carbohydrates angry. On the first day of every month, I have to write him a mother^#%*ing check for six thousand dollars. I’ve been doing this for two and a half years. I’ve got five more left.

In other words, hers was not a case of prizes to the perpetrator and punishment to the victim. Rather, it was a case of punishing the perpetrator and providing reparations to the victim. If Ms. McCullah finds it so “egregious” that she be required to provide reparations to the man whose life and marriage she destroyed, she ought to imagine the outrage of the men who are forced to provide cash prizes to the very women who destroyed their lives and marriages. Certainly one smacks a bit more of justice than the other.

Ms. McCullah is paying her husband a paltry recompense for her sin against him and God. There is no comparison to be made to the man who is forced to actively reward his wife for sinning against God, her husband, and her children.  It brings to mind the words of Solomon:

There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous: I said that this also is vanity. —Ecclesiastes 8:14

God proscribes the perversion of justice. Those who pervert justice will feel His wrath. Ms. McCullah would do well to stop protesting the recompense of her sin, and allow it to lead her to repentance. As for those who are currently being rewarded for their sin, we are instructed to fret not and keep from anger, because God will deliver unto them the recompense of their works.

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