eDivinity: Is Promising To Find “God’s Choice” For Your Mate Misleading Advertising?

Recently, I have been seeing more commercials for Christian dating. We have previously discussed new dating companies offering racially correct matches and the implications of such trends. However, ChristianMingle.com raises an interesting legal question in telling subscribers that they can “find God’s Match for You.” When does such an appeal to consumers become deceptive advertising as opposed to hyperbole?

The question came to mind because I recalled reading a story about a church in New Zealand being required to take down a billboard viewed as falsely claiming miracles.Notably, a government agency called the Advertising Standards Authority ruled that a church had to pull down its billboard proclaiming that ‘Jesus Heals Cancer” is deceptive advertising. Napier’s Equippers Church was told that it could not promise such miracles. I disagree with that decision as curtailing freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It seems to be that the church is allowed to proclaim its faith in miracles — though we have seen tragic examples of people who forgo life-sustaining treatments.

Now back to ChistianMingle. On the commercials, the announcer says that the viewer should join and “Find God’s match for you.” Not to be too Clintonesque, but it comes down to the meaning of “find.” One could easily view the site as promising an ability to locate God’s choice for each person. However, their more mundane lawyers are likely to argue that it refers to the ability of each person to find such a person — promising an avenue not an answer to your prayers.

While I do not view this as deceptive advertising, I would be interested in whether they claim first amendment protections under the religion clauses when sued over any later tortious conduct. They are competing with secular sites, but could claim that any lawsuit would intrude upon their free exercise of religion. The case that comes to mind is Nally v. Grace Community Church (1988) 47 Cal. 3d 278 [253 Cal. Rptr. 97, 763 P.2d 948], where the California Supreme Court refused to impose a professional duty of care on pastoral counselors who provided spiritual counseling to a suicidal church member.

I would be a bit careful however. After all 1 John 4:1 warns “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Moreover, God has a mixed record on matches, such as his match for Hosea: “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” (Hos. 1:2). When his wife Gomer later went back to sleeping around, God said “Go, show love to your wife again, even though she loves another man and continually commits adultery.” He eventually buys her back in a slave auction and appears to have worked out their marital difficulties. It was not what most people would have viewed as a perfect match but then again that does not appear the point of the story.

Replacing eHarmony with eDivinity is probably not a good idea if you are expecting a selection directed by the Almighty.

42 thoughts on “eDivinity: Is Promising To Find “God’s Choice” For Your Mate Misleading Advertising?

  1. Then why pay the subsription fee? Just let God do it all for free or accept your chosen fate of owning many cats. .

  2. All kidding aside, as difficult as that might be, are not organized (or disorganized) religions getting close to the line or is the line moving to accomdate the extreme and the silly? As a follower of the Church of the Apothetic Agnostic (We don’t know, we don’t care) I have tried to live and let live but it is getting more difficult.

  3. I immediately distrust anyone who claims to have an inside line to God. By the way DrMike, I like my 6 cats. I wouldn’t give them up for anything or anyone. The dog is okay with them too.

  4. We have a new dog in our dog pack named Gomer and he takes his role in life finding mates very seriously. In fact we have nicknamed him “Rearender Gomer” because he will hump a human leg, any dog, and sometimes tries to get with Jesus by humping cats. His human pal put a cross on his collar and Gomer takes this all seriously and thinks he is acting in God’s name when the worst he is doing is defiling Dog’s name.

  5. Caveat Emptor. And thank you, Jon, for referencing scripture. May I add another? 2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. From the sounds of it, it’s not just their ears that are itching, so to speak.

  6. As a rector in the church of Murphy, I can only promise you eternal misery, just like all other religions.

  7. ChristianMingle.com raises an interesting legal question in telling subscribers that they can “find God’s Match for You.” When does such an appeal to consumers become deceptive advertising as opposed to hyperbole?

    I think it depends on jurisdiction and venue. Secular courts cannot determine religious questions.

    Churches are permitted, under U.S. law, to have their own courts. See e.g. PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH v. HULL CHURCH, 393 U.S. 440 (1969).

    Compare ideologically The Vatican with a Communist Regime, a Hindu society, or an Islamic society like Saudi Arabia, for examples.

    I would not expect the same result from the jurisprudence of those differing venues.

    As a matter of fact, seeing as how there are ~450 denominations in the U.S., I would not expect the same jurisprudence even within a so called Christian venue.

    For example, there is very little text with the word “marriage” in the Bible.

    So, it would end up being secular power entering into the religious realm trying to adjudicate which dogma / doctrine has the holy ground, should a secular court put its foot in those waters.

    On the other hand, since states issue marriage licenses, and determine who is or is not married, based on common law marriage concepts, there may be a slice of facts that would allow secular courts to exercise jurisdiction.

  8. There is nothing wrong with people trying to weed out others who do not share their values. At the end of the day, it is up to the individual after much prayer to determine if the mate is right or not.

  9. I’d be very careful about accepting God’s match.
    There is an unspoken belief here that the match would be blissfully happy.
    God might be a vengeful white guy in a beard and nightie. Be careful what you wish for.

    Sometimes the Lord sends us things to try us – or so I’ve been told.

    The legal question might come to were the burden of proof lies.
    Does the organisation have to prove that the proposition it true? Does a complainant have to prove that the proposition is false?

  10. I don’t care if it rains or freezes,
    Long as I got my plastic Jesus
    Riding on the dashboard of my car

  11. I don;t think it would be litigatable (is that a word? (: ) After all how could you prove or disprove it was G-d’s match? If it didnt work out then they would say it was not G-d but you and if it works out then it was G-d.

  12. The devoutly faithful, including young children, have been murdered, blinded, maimed, raped, dismembered and tortured to death while praying for God to save them.

    So no matter who you get, eDivinity can always point to the many instances in which their all-powerful God was too busy helping a football team to be bothered saving the life of a 7-year-old rape victim, and tell their clients, “God works in mysterious ways. Brutal, horrific, terrifyingly mysterious ways. But have faith, the mate you hate and the misery you feel is all part of God’s secret plan.”

  13. What we dogs do when our pals (no dog calls a pal and owner) hook up with a human mate is wag our tails if we approve and pee on the leg if we do not. The pal can follow our advice or ignore it. But you know what dog spelled backwards is. If you are in doubt about a mingle and have some second thoughts, then walk him or her by your favorite dog and watch for a response. I wonder if they can copyright that name Christian Mingle? We might name a particular pup that name. He has mingled enough and when he gets done he is always cussing and saying DogDamn.

  14. Anonymously Yours 1, May 1, 2012 at 9:34 am

    If you are chosen she will let you know….
    ====================================
    The female goddess … sounds like you have read the book of Proverbs.

  15. Which supreme being are we talking about exactly? Yahweh? Lovitar? Demeter? The Late Sir Ralph Richardson? Also, some people – myself included – don’t like it when humans play matchmaker. Why would we be interested in matchmaking by a being with the ability to really screw things up performing that function? False advertising or not, the whole idea sounds sketchy to me. Call me old fashioned, but I’ll continue to use the personal interview/free will option.

  16. I think a quote from Mark Twain’s Autobiography fits: “…she had great faith in prayer and employed it in all ordinary exigencies, but in not in cases where a dead certainty of results was urgent.”

  17. I think it’s alright to say that you are creating a place where people of the same faith can find a match based on values, but, to say that it’s God’s will in the interwebs just seems silly more than anything.

  18. I should mention that I don’t follow any particular religion. The only thing I find divine is bacon.

    So, maybe the Bible does mention something about a Godly website for finding true love (none more truer than God’s, I would assume).

  19. DrMike1, May 1, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Then why pay the subsription fee? Just let God do it all for free or accept your chosen fate of owning many cats.
    —————————————————
    you make this sound like a bad thing…..or mutually exclusive….it is neither and oh yeah…. bite me :)

    ps:the G*d of which you speak only sends cats to the worthy….the rest get bad dates ;)

  20. LoveBacon.com

    Coming soon to a startup near you!

    Be sure to visit our sister sites PorcinePassion.com and HeartsandHambones.org.

  21. JT can’t cover up his wisdom forever:

    Moreover, God has a mixed record on matches, such as his match for Hosea: “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the LORD.” (Hos. 1:2). When his wife Gomer later went back to sleeping around, God said “Go, show love to your wife again, even though she loves another man and continually commits adultery.” He eventually buys her back in a slave auction and appears to have worked out their marital difficulties. It was not what most people would have viewed as a perfect match but then again that does not appear the point of the story.

    Pigs should marry pigs, but pigs, being into denial, have always wanted to … well … pig out on cats. That is why the Pope invented bacon. It was a balanced approach, i.e. scale sales went through the roof.

    That is because low class sells.

  22. Frankly 1, May 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Remember – many are cold, few are frozen.
    ====================================
    Well said.

    That is the best way to stay thirsty my friends.

  23. What sort of folk would use this site — I think the type that would fall for a smooth talking huckster. Sounds like they just created a target rich environment — for wolves in sheep’s clothing.

  24. Oro Lee 1, May 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    What sort of folk would use this site — I think the type that would fall for a smooth talking huckster. Sounds like they just created a target rich environment — for wolves in sheep’s clothing.
    =====================================
    Spoken like a true patriot.

    The hucksters were defeated by the jingoists 4-0 …

  25. To Wootsy still a cat… That video is the saddest thing i have seen in a very long time. It makes my heart hurt that a poor little critter couldn’t find anyone to care and love him until he was on his death bed. I would take a look at all those that threw things and did disgusting things to another creature and see them as the most selfish evil people one could be surrounded by. What has come to our society when giving a little helpless creature a little care and understanding is instead abused and neglected. Thank you for sharing. A tear is still coming down my eye. Poor ugly. He would never had been ugly in my world!

  26. W=^..^

    In re Ugly: This is why I adopt animals. They ask for so little and give us so much. Domestic cats and dogs would not exist but for our intervention. We have a duty to care for them and as a species it is a duty we fail miserably at fulfilling.

  27. bluepearlgirl’s world 1, May 1, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    To Wootsy still a cat… That video is the saddest thing i have seen in a very long time. It makes my heart hurt that a poor little critter couldn’t find anyone to care and love him until he was on his death bed. I would take a look at all those that threw things and did disgusting things to another creature and see them as the most selfish evil people one could be surrounded by. What has come to our society when giving a little helpless creature a little care and understanding is instead abused and neglected. Thank you for sharing. A tear is still coming down my eye. Poor ugly. He would never had been ugly in my world!
    ===================================
    I feel that way about humans too.

  28. Gene H. 1, May 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    W=^..^

    In re Ugly: This is why I adopt animals. They ask for so little and give us so much. Domestic cats and dogs would not exist but for our intervention. We have a duty to care for them and as a species it is a duty we fail miserably at fulfilling.
    ============================
    Well said.

  29. Jimmy1, May 1, 2012 at 10:29 am
    There is nothing wrong with people trying to weed out others who do not share their values.

    Jimmy, you’vr completely missed the point. I think we probably all agree there’s nothing wrong with searching for someone based on similar values, ethnicity, geography, etc., but the ad goes quite a way beyond that. They’ve staked out a claim to be your god’s representation on earth for matters of love. You do see that don’t you?

  30. @Gene H: Which supreme being are we talking about exactly?

    Aphrodite? Goddess of love, pleasure and sex? I like her, if she cannot answer your prayers to find a human love, there is a decent chance she will answer the call herself, if she happens to be in the neighborhood.

  31. Gene,

    Those websites you mentioned may already exist but serve a FAR different purpose than to gather those who love bacon together.

  32. OMG! Went to a oil county tax sale today.
    They bought that those deeds like it was warranty deed? The thing about big oil country is if you don’t have permission, you are not allowed to make any money.. They didn’t ask. Oil companies always open the gates right before the end and let the public “speculate”.

    And now so we see that Delta Airlines is buying a refinery – REALLY? What oil company said they could do that? The one that is bailing out of lost profit?

    My Grandfather worked for a drilling company for over 25 years. As he was ready to retire, the drilling company GAVE my grandfather stock in the drilling company. But the drilling company ONLY gave my grandfather the stock BECAUSE they knew if they “gave” it away they wouldn’t have to pay the taxes on the “speculated” price of the stock.

    That show called, “That’s Incredible” asked by grandfather to appear with other retirees, whom, were also gifted with this same stock as a retirement gift, to also appear on that show. Why? As they were now all supposed to be “rich” oil men. Rich Oil men, my ass. It was right before the mid 1980’s. Those hard working retirees had ro pay their accumulated retirement money to uncle sam as well as having to sell the stock they were “gifted” right back the the waiting drilling company.

    Don’t buy into “The Dollar is Dead” BS, because if the US dollar is truly dead, this country is dead as well. Right now our country is based on an “oil” or a “fossil fuel” only ecomony. When that goes, and it is about to, than you will know the true mean of the word – depression.

  33. treemonkey1, May 1, 2012 at 6:33 pm
    ——————-
    sorry monkeyboy, I don’t agree. Oil is not the E in the equation. It hasn’t played fair but it won’t have the last word….bank on it…. ;)

  34. I don’t see why religion always gets a pass from the law. it is absolutely false advertising. They are making a claim that they cannot support with the facts. Just like the cancer claim in NZ. It is all snake oil.

  35. Forget about the prayer. You can tell by the way they’re looking at you. Who is the more determined gender?

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