Saturday, April 1, 2017

Pence's stance should be commended, not condemned

Recently Vice President Mike Pence was criticized for invoking the “Billy Graham rule” — that is, not being seen alone with a lone woman other than his wife in private, which the evangelist established in the 1940s. Now, I understand that his connection to President Donald Trump might make him sound hypocritical because of Trump’s rejection of similar decorum.

But, frankly, I think it’s a good idea, especially for a Christian man. It’s good to see someone take his marriage vows seriously not to give even the appearance of suspicion.

Those of you who remember the TV-evangelist scandals of 1987-88 would do well to remember what might happen when such safeguards weren’t in place. Remember, Jim Bakker ended up having an affair with PTL secretary Jessica Hahn, partially when he felt he was losing his wife Tammy Faye (and they ended up divorcing anyway). Then, Jimmy Swaggart was caught in a hotel room with a prostitute. Both men’s ministries collapsed as a result.

Pence has never been an evangelist to my knowledge, but even in Pence’s case — since he is a public figure — the same situation might apply; after all, he would get that tongues would wag were something appear not quite right. Besides, I’ve seen adultery in leadership of my present and immediate past churches and, especially in the latter, how it hurt the church.

Whatever you think of Pence’s politics, and I’m not crazy about them myself, you have to give him a hand for trying to be above board in his personal life. So please — don’t go off on him for, at least in this case, trying to do what's right.


Marjie Stewart said...

You'd be screaming bloody hell if he said he wouldn't eat with black men because he didn't trust himself not to lynch them. No difference. Business IS done over dinner, and refusing to have dinner with women excludes them from that business. And that "I don't trust myself" crap is just that. Men need to take responsibility for themselves, not blame the horrible temptation that women create in the most innocent of settings. And the other equally sexist and ugly assumption is that a woman will naturally - because she can't help herself - she's bound to claim something evil went down.

Rick Nowlin said...

In such places, however, they'd be in still a public place, so I don't see that as an issue.

Besides, I've seen this up-close and personal. Perhaps the one person, then "parish assistant," who sparked a spiritual renewal in my previous church ended up in such a relationship, having an affair with a woman who was also married -- they left their spouses for each other -- and the church still hasn't recovered. (And this was in 1986.)

Charles said...

This cuts both ways. I first learned that decades ago when a cousin went through a lot of misery as a superior would harass him every time she insisted on a private meeting after hours.
Making this about men needing more self-control completely misses the point.
There are some intimate activities (many not involving a bed, yet none the less special) that should be reserved for one's spouse.
I'm okay if a person feels the need to spell those out in our multicultural society.

In other words, let the VP wear his hijab.