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King’s crisis

After a meteoric rise in the evangelical world, The King’s College president Dinesh D’Souza now faces his board’s likely questions about his relationship to a woman not his wife

King’s crisis

Dinesh D'Souza (Cindy Ord/Getty Images)

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.”

According to San Diego County (Calif.) Superior Court records, D’Souza filed for divorce only on Oct. 4, the day I spoke with him. Under California law, that starts the clock on a six-month waiting period for divorce. D’Souza on Oct. 4 told me his marriage was “over,” said he “is sure Denise is the one for me,” and said he had “done nothing wrong.”

The episode is a strange twist in D’Souza’s otherwise meteoric rise in the evangelical world. He developed a reputation among evangelicals with a string of best-sellers, including The Roots of Obama’s Rage, which spawned a movie, Obama: 2016, which has now grossed more than $30 million. He broke into the Christian conference and megachurch market in 2007 with the release of a book that year, What’s So Great About Christianity.

D’Souza now receives speaking fees sometimes in excess of $10,000 from Christian groups, putting him in the top tier of Christian speakers. In 2010 he became president of The King’s College, New York City, which is supported by Campus Crusade for Christ, now called Cru. At that time he moved from California to New York, with his wife staying in California.

D’Souza said King’s board chairman Andy Mills has known about his marital trouble for at least two years. Mills confirmed that through a spokesman, Mark DeMoss, who added that Mills was “hopeful about restoration and both he [D’Souza] and Andy were praying to that end.” DeMoss said The King’s College board met by conference call to begin “looking into the situation.” D’Souza participated in a portion of that call, DeMoss said. Following that meeting, on Oct. 15, D’Souza wrote in a text message to me: “I have decided to suspend the engagement.”

The King’s board plans further discussion at a regularly scheduled meeting on Oct. 17 and 18, DeMoss said.

See “D’Souza resigns,” Oct. 18.

Warren Cole Smith

Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

Comments

  • Fuzzyface
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    World's main focus is to report news from a Christian perspective and to report news of Christian organizations and trends for it's primarily Christian audience.  World is not dragging them before a judicial court.  How this ministry and it's leaders act is an important issue and they were right to report it.

  • Anonymous (not verified)
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    My question is this. Why does this matter even belong in the "public square?" It seems as though this "affair" belongs in the realm of concern between Mr. D'Souza and those to whom he answered to at King's College, on a "need to know basis". I am not sure that myself, or World Mag's readers needed to know of this matter.
    1 Cor 6 speaks of matters wherein one believer drags another into a judicial court to have a matter heard before pagans. I believe that in the present matter of misconduct alleged against D'Sousa by the editors of World Mag one could make the application from 1 Cor 6 that this matter doesn't belong in the court of public opinion. What good can this possibly serve other than to bring shame and rebuke upon the name of Christ and upon Christians, those who name Him as their Lord? I don't believe that any good or profit can come from the publication of this article.
    Furthermore, how do the actions of World Mag square with the Apostle John's writing in the 13th chapter of his Gospel:
    "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." I don't believe that the publication of this article is the least bit in keeping with the teachings of Scripture. I echo the words of Eric Metaxas that he posted 10/18 to his FB page and I quote: "I have been a great fan of WORLD for years and hope to continue so to be, but this is a tremendous mistake and error of judgment on their parts. I am deeply, deeply grieved over it."
    I would add to Metaxas comment a call for an apology and a retraction of their allegation by the editorial staff of World Mag. If this is the direction that this publication continues to track they will be doing so without my subscription and support! This is all a very SAD state of affairs! May our God have mercy on us all!!!!!!!!!!!

  • April Boneski
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Hello.  Get this one right.  Please don't be hasty. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/10/17/2016-obama-america-film-maker-am-not-having-affair/

  • Ginzan77
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    I'm disappointed in both parties here...WORLD and D'Souza.  Integrity, sound judgement, and concern for the name of Christ all appear to be lacking.  And yes, I fail in all three categories too.  Our frailty is precisely why Christian public figures and institutions need robust internal accountability mechanisms and checks & balances in place.  Clearly such provisions were AWOL here. 

  • Harlan Reinders
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Some comments interestingly "bash" World for someone elses wrong doing.  It is hard for me to "connect the dots" to say World is at fault.  When my sins (and they are many) cannot stand the test of exposure then I deserve to be rebuked by my fellow brothers in Christ.  Should I not look on it as a blessing.  Could it be that we don't see the value of being held accountable.  Is accountability God's way, because without it I would be the worse.

  • Martha Floyd
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Dinesh denies all of this story. He has been separated from his wife for 2 years. He said he did introduce her as his fiancee not knowing that it wasn't accepatable as a Christian.Whatever the truth is, did World go to him one on one and confront him in the Biblical way stated in Matthew? If this is truth why in the world would World mag want to air dirty laundry in front of the whole world. There is a Biblical way to handle this to save us all embarrassment. If handled correctly it doesn't allow sinners to mock God. 

  • Neil Evans's picture
    Neil Evans
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    It is interesting how quickly (and naively) we tend to take every account (first this side - then this side) as the whole truth.   It is probably most true that all sides have a lot of explaining to do before we are able to accurately understand either Mr  D'Suzas behavior or World's reporting.  Hasty judgment is rarely wise judgment.  We need to pray for our discernment as it is as much a part of our Christian testimony as is the behavior of those we judge.

  • mike g
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    as the news spreads the articles continueThe Right-wing Rivalry Behind Dinesh D'Souza's "Sex" Scandalhttp://www.tnr.com/blog/plank/108694/the-right-wing-rivalry-behind-dinesh-dsouzas-sex-scandal

  • Pastor Ed
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    I will be very interested to read Mr. Olasky's response.  World, You've got some explaining to do....

  • bambampk
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    I just received Dinesh D'Souza's response. Shame on World magazine for so quickly spreading nothing more than a gossip piece. This is tabloid material unworthy of a Christian publication.  We have been subscribers for years, and now I am thinking of canceling.  What a shame. World should man up now, and reply to the multiple comments regarding this issue.

  • Graced
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    "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."This sentence raises serious concerns about the teaching he's heard. There
    is also a difference between responding in a Matthew 18 manner as an
    individual or corporate church body, and burying a story or hiding
    something. With Olasky's previous role at King's, not publishing a story
    in which individuals were given the chance to respond could have been
    perceived as "protecting our own" - and too much of that has happened. Having
    said that - the story could use some fleshing out, and if D'Souza is
    correct and the reporter did not personally ask him about the room or
    provide him a chance to corroborate his story by providing two receipts,
    then World erred seriously. Additionally, if Olasky publicly stated his
    reason for leaving King's was in protest (I've never seen that anywhere
    else) - then World should have included that as well. Finally,
    Ree is right on - we have a history of elevating people who are well
    known who become believers and not giving them the support they need to
    grow beforehand. Deion Sanders comes immediately to mind, but there are
    many, many examples.

  • Graced
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    "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."This sentence raises serious concerns about the teaching he's heard. There is also a difference between responding in a Matthew 1

  • another
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    "So let him that thinks he stands take heed least he fall" 1 Cor.10:12"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. " Mathew 26:41I wonder if World did any service to the cause of Christ with the way this issue was handled!

  • another
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    "So that let him
    that thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall" 1 Cor.10:12

    "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The
    spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26:41

    I wonder if World did any service to the cause of Christ with the way this issue was handled!

  • mike g
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    always two sides to a story and usually time will tell which one is the more truthfulhttp://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/10/17/2016-obama-america-film-maker-am-not-having-affair/

  • Sawgunner's picture
    Sawgunner
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    I must say after reading an email Dinesh sent out this manner could have been handled differently and more lovingly  than through what some might call a very  public pillorying.Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, anyone?

  • Major Vic
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    A response - http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/10/17/2016-obama-america-film-maker-am-not-having-affair/

  • Sam King
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    I've read both the Fox News article and the World Mag article. What I can tell you is that while it may be possible that D'Souza's wife refused to reconcile, under no circumstances should anyone have given him counsel to get engaged before he was divorced from his wife. This is Christianity 101. Not only is it the elementary things of our faith, but any public Christian figure should understand the scrutiny that they will be under, especially after writing a book and producing a film exposing the President. Quite honestly, out of all the people in the world, Dinesh should have understood this.

  • thestarsatnight's picture
    thestarsatnight
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    ConcernedIdaho Mom - the author did talk directly with D'Souza - read the article.  Maybe they should have let The King's College play this one out privately, but don't accuse World of not talking to him directly.  Quibble over whether to publish or not, but not whether they talked directly with D'Souza.   

  • Earendil
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    World's handling of this has been disgraceful.  I've been a customer of World Magazine for over a decade, and I am seriously considering ending my subscription over this.  Is World now the National Enquirer of conservative Christians?  World deserves to be sued.  Everyone reading this should know that the "journalist" writing this smear piece was released from his contract by D'Souza at a previous job.  That is the reason for the lies and vitriol.  World needs to issue an apology or stop calling itself a Christian publication.

  • Concerned Idaho Mom
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Did anyone think to talk directly to D'Souza and his mgmt prior to raising this ?  D'Souza has a retort and I'm very displeased with how World has handled this.   In my view World has some explaining and potentially some forgiveness to seek.  D'Souza's account is here:  http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/10/17/2016-obama-america-film-maker-am-not-having-affair/

  • KMinAZ
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    This is very unfortunate as it appears that World has not clarified the information before running it on-line. Since this does not come out till the Nov. 3rd issue (which we will receive in about 10 days) every effort has to be made to man-up or woman-up to the mistake.  I agree with Joe Walker, this is not the forum or method to confront Mr. D'Souza about this issue, even if were true. If this turns out to have been an embellishment on the part of World, then WORLD needs to own up to its mistake and publicly apologize to Mr. D'Souza. I am disappointed with World for how it has chosen to approach this matter.

  • Rob's picture
    Rob
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1

  • Ree
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Thanks for the link, Kent. According to the response, this article just misrepresents the facts completely. I guess I just don't know who to trust.

  • Joe Walker
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    I don't believe this article is how to confront Dinesh D'Souza on this issue.  Irresponsible on World Magazine's part.  Lends itself to gossip.

  • Kent
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    After reading D'Souza's response here: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/10/17/2016-obama-america-film-maker-am-not-having-affair/ it would be interesting to see how things play out.

  • Ree
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    True, Klasko, we all hope and pray for his repentance and restoration. But there's something uniquely strange about this incident that truly makes it newsworthy because it reveals as much about contemporary evangelicalism and its celebrity culture as it does about D'Souza. The fact that this has been going on publicly for two years as he's continued to rise in visibility and esteem in evangelical circles is what's so bizarre. Those to whom he was accountable say that they knew about his marital troubles, but how did they not know that he was courting (at best) another woman? Was there any attempt to bring about reconciliation with his wife? If they were satisfied that he had legitimate Biblical grounds for divorcing her, and reconciliation wasn't an option for whatever reason, was he not counseled, at least, to proceed with the divorce and to complete it before considering remarriage? Was the decision to travel with a woman not his wife, and to share a room with her something that D'Souza wasn't even aware was inappropriate? Dinesh D'Souza is fairly young in the faith, but because of his gifts, he was immediately given responsibility beyond the maturity of his character and not only did he make some really bad choices (whether he had *** with the woman or not), but he did so openly seemingly without even recognizing that his behavior was inappropriate and sinful. This tendency to venerate and elevate young believers, putting them into positions of power and influence because of their gifts has been a problem that's repeatedly been criticized for at least as long as I can remember. Will we ever learn?

  • klasko's picture
    klasko
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    I cannot tell you how disappointed I am to read this, but I also can't help but remember that we are all fallen people in a fallen world.  But for the grace of God...  There will be consequences for D'Souza's actions, to be sure.  But do bear in mind that God uses flawed vessels.  Jacob was a thief who stole his brother's birthright through dishonesty, Moses was a murderer.  David was an adulterer and murderer.  Noah was a drunkard.  Samson frequented prostitutes.  Rahab was a prostitute.  Are you all catching my drift here?  What happens next for our brother Dinesh depends upon how he chooses to deal with his sin, and his relationship with God and to no small extent, the willingness on the part of the church to work with our brother to restore fellowship as opposed to piling on.  We should be grieved and moved to prayer by this.    

  • socialworker
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    I just read this tthis morning:  I Corinthians 5:12:  What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside.  Expel the wicked man from among you.  Before that Paul basically says to confront the sexual immorality within believers so that "the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord". 

  • RT Procee
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Wow people, it's not that complicated.  No matter how you spin it, D'Souza is in the wrong.  Even if he didn't sleep with the lady, he still filed for divorce.  Divorce has never been, nor will ever be sanctioned by God in normal circumstances (the "in normal circumstances" could probably be taken out).  Matthew 19:3-9 makes it clear that unless there has been sexual immorality on the part of D'Souza's wife, D'Souza is committing adultery if he marries the other woman.  There needs to be a call within the Church aimed at D'Souza to bring him to repentance and the church he as a part of needs to discipline him.

  • socialworker
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Stephanie you are getting all self righteous about nothing.   What the article does is DOCUMENT why someone has questioned this guy's actions.  If the article said that he was an adulterer and Gosh, can you believe it?  then you would be right, but it simply said what a credible source observed and Mr. D'Souza's response to that observation.  That's what living in a transparent and technologically hooked up world is like and we better get used to it.  I didn't hear anyone cheering for his downfall.  In fact I'm pretty sure we all hope that this wake up call sets things more to the right, if it's needed. 

  • Stephanie
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    In all the comments posted, not one is going to mention the ridiculous gossip tone this article is saturated with? If I had not paid close attention, I would have thought I could have picked this up in a local grocery check out line. In saying this, I am not a huge fan of D'Souza, but I cannot believe how the majority of people will just read an article and not consider that it is not the whole story? Wow. I am not sure if having a Christian on my jury would be any better than having a well thought out atheist. Come on! Wake up people and pray for WISDOM and GRACE. I am getting sick of the WORLD mag tone, too. Very biased in some opinions and equally immature and narrow minded as many main-stream, liberal news outlets. I am vey disappointed, with World and it's readers. Grow up.

  • Fuzzyface
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    The funny thing is that he thought that his rationalizations would be accepted by the Christian community.  How long did he have to mull that over in his mind before he believed it to be true.  Reminds me of the scene in Sense and Sensibility (I think) where the wife of the heir debates with herself mostly and ends up convincing herself and her husband to give his mother (stepmother?) and sisters next to nothing.

  • Buddy's picture
    Buddy
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    This is so sad. We see in movies and TV the heros committing fornication plus the ever growing list of high level Christians doing the same. What poor role modeling our Christian youth are seeing around us. I thank God for those that stay true to God's word. Their reward will be eternal and not just a moment of pleasure.

  • CaptTee's picture
    CaptTee
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    When I went to The King's College, we had to get permission to got see a Billy Graham movie at the local theater.  That said, these are serious times that we do not need God's messengers bringing disgrace on His message.  In the last several months I have heard several spiritually minded people say that God is going to purify his church by exposing behavior among leadership that He is not pleased with.  J. Tod Zeiger, Dinesh D'Souza, who is next?

  • Roger Goldleader
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Sails, there's nothing morally complex about this. He made a covenant with his wife 20 years ago. He left his wife in California, and has taken up with another woman. He has broken covenant with the wife of his youth, and is apparently involved in adultery. He needs to repent, step down, and return to his wife. We just like to pretend our moral problems are complex as it seems to make it easier to rationalize our bad behavior.

  • michelle's picture
    michelle
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    This sounds to me like it was totally in their faces and then D'Souza offers up the juvenile, "we didn't do anything."I would assume King's College has a moral turpitude clause; that has been violated in simply showing up with a fiancée.

  • John and Nancy Long
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    It's really too bad. Of course, there could be some in accuracy in what was reported, but it certainly looks bad. I don't think I'll advocate anything he has done until this seems to be cleared up in a godly manner. 

  • JoeBancks's picture
    JoeBancks
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Sails, I agree. We shouldn't wax moralistic on complex issues like adultery. It's not like there was ever anything written in stone about it. Oh? huh. As for D'Souza, I reckon he'll be just fine, and sell another million books. Most Evangelicals are cool with divorce. Well, y'know, after a few rounds of "counseling" and some kind of public "I'm sorry if you were hurt, I am disappointed with myself" non-apology.@JoeBancks

  • Sails
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    When it comes to these complex family or marriage matters it is best to refrain from a moralistic stance. Olasky, especially, has an axe to grind with D'Souza. 

  • Missourihawk
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    It's amazing how when we are in sin we rationalize to ourselves and hide the sin. Obviously Dinesh thought he was away from the college and home and people wouldn't know what he was doing. Much like Adam and Eve we hide our sin in the shadows when all along God wants us to bring our wrong doing in the light and allow his forgiveness to wash over us. My prayer is Mr. D'Souza brings his problem to the light of the Savior.

  • Anonymous (not verified)
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

     How utterly disappointed I am in hearing this news.  Ironically, I had just been reviewing an e-mail I received regarding the movie 2016.  I read about the author and how people on the liberal side of politics were attacking him viciously.  The next e-mail I opened up was this article from World. There is a spiritual battle and how I wish that Christian leaders would understand that their private decisions affect more than their personal comfort or happiness as they see it.  May God grant all of your readers spiritual eyes to see beyond the natural course of events.

  • LEE&SUSAN WALTER
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Well, while none of us ought condone sin, none of us should be surprised at it either. God is still on his throne, and there is no sweat on his upper lip. The less power and prestige with the world we have, the more likely we will have to do it Jesus' way. We should pray for Dinesh, and all involved. God knows who all of them are, on all sides of this.

  • Blessings Unlimited
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    Oh Lord.... please bring light in this situation and disclosure that brings honor to your name. And please help us who call you Lord to live above reproach. There but by the Grace of God, go I.... Thank you for your continued work World. Please do all you can to show righteousness if possible Mr. D'Souza...

  • Ree
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    This is so disappointing to read. When will we, the church, learn that a "meteoric rise" in the evangelical world is usually a set-up for an equally dramatic fall. The strange thing in this case is how unashamed he seems about it.

  • outdeep
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    For someone who is a top apologist, there seems to be a steak of insanity. Regardless of how the rational of such behavior can or cannot be justified, how would one possibly think that this would play well in the Evangelical world?

  • michelle's picture
    michelle
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    He's done.

  • Sawgunner's picture
    Sawgunner
    Posted: Mon, 04/11/2016 06:51 pm

    I'm trying to avoid any judgment here. It ain't easy folks.Did Mrs D'souza choose to stay in California while hubby headed up to NY? Whyso (assuming that to be the case)?  Relationships where one spouse has to work out of town and/or commute back and forth will always be far more burdensome and stressful than if the husband took a local job to be at home with wife and kids.Rightly or wrongly this man has suffered or will suffer a big loss of credibility. I think of how Billy Graham always traveled and roomed with a male associate to prevent any rumor-mongering of the type we now read about concerning Dinesh.The sad thing now is probably within a week pix of Dixie, Dinesh and his new babe will be splashed across the covers of all your supermarket check-out journals.And Maureen Dowd et al are likely enjoying this beyond anyone's imagination.