Appetizers and Affairs

By now people have heard of Vice President Pence���s ���policy��� of avoiding eating with women except his wife. Many are applauding his stance as ���respecting his wife��� and ���protecting himself from adultery���. Let's be clear, if you have an affair, you can't blame that on a chef salad. The Devil didn't make you do it and neither did the lunch.

First of all, this type of thinking impedes women���s ability for upward mobility. For years people used the excuse that females should be excluded from various professions (including ministry) because men and women in close working relationships would inevitably lead to rampant sexual encounters. And it's troublesome that someone at the highest levels of government subscribes to this logic. What if by some blessing from God unforeseen event, Donald Trump doesn't complete his entire term? If Pence becomes the President of the United States, will his wife be invited to closed door talks with Chancellor Merkel? Will Prime Minister May get the stiff arm unless they have an adequate chaperone? And if he runs in 2020, he's already excluded the possibility of any female running mates. The POTUS and VP spend lots of unsupervised time together. So obviously, a female Vice President for a hypothetical President Pence would be categorically out of the question regardless of qualifications. Men who think like this inadvertently (and sometimes intentionally) block women's upward mobility because of their insecurities.

For an administration that has so much to say about radical Islamic extremists, they share many beliefs: including the idea that women need to have barriers around them to protect everyone from unrestrainable sexual energy. In one case, the barriers are visible���burkas. But these invisible barriers are no better.

And, beside the very valid secular arguments against this line of reasoning, it's disturbing from a spiritual aspect too. It is disheartening to see so many people lauding Pence's thinking as something admirable. Listen, if he can't be with women unsupervised because he knows he has difficulty with controlling himself, then by all means, take necessary precautions (we don't need multiple gropers in the executive branch). But let's not pretend like this is a virtue to be emulated. If I told you I need supervision around lighters and matches to keep myself from setting buildings on fire, you would be happy that I know my limits, but you���d also admit that my behavior is abnormal. You���d recognize that I have pyromania. You���d urge me to get help. Because it's not an aspirational quality ��� it's a problem. Say it with me: it's a problem. If a man can't eat a meal with a woman without the threat of���oops���having sex, that's not a good thing. This doesn't prove his marriage is strong, it proves that it is damaged. If you can't be faithful to your spouse except when their eyes are on you, you have an issue. This is not a relationship goal.

Unless we recognize that the source of infidelity lies in the heart of an individual, we will be tempted to kick the can of responsibility down the road. ���It was the lunch���s fault! If only we didn't eat lunch together I would have never slept with him!��� Or like this article ( one could blame text messages���because unlike snapchat, email, or phone calls, texts are the primary pathway to affairs. Or ���it was the fault of her shoulder���if only we had covered her in opaque cloth, I wouldn���t have strayed!��� Or ���it's just all those single parishioners at that church���how could one expect a pastor to have been faithful? Let's simply move the pastor to another church in the conference and it surely will take care of the issue!��� The more we center our attention on these artificial ���reasons��� why people cheat, the more we avoid dealing with the emotional and cognitive roots that are really the source of it all. That's why Christ admonished that ���anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart��� (Matthew 5:28). If your heart is guarded, a soup and sandwich isn't going to change that. But if you haven't dealt with your heart issues, no artificial rules or barriers will prevent you from straying.

It's no secret that there is a significant imbalance in the number of male and female seminarians. During my time there it was unavoidable, being the only female in many settings. I tutored guys. I was a graduate assistant for the late great Dr. Larry Richards , so I proctored for guys. I studied with guys one on one, and���gasp���I even ate with and hung out with some! Even today many of my most enduring friendships and closest colleagues are male. However, an incident I still remember involved one of my fellow seminarians taking it upon himself to tell the girlfriend of a mutual classmate that he felt I was spending ���suspiciously��� too much time with her boyfriend. We had no romantic involvement at all. However, after this seed was sown, she had a negative disposition toward our friendship. My friend felt it necessary to distance himself for the sake of the feelings of his then girlfriend (now wife). I obliged, but I���m still saddened that our friendship was adversely affected by unfounded meddling. Incidentally the gossipy classmate is now a pastor in an estranged marriage due to his own infidelity. Another example of the fact that the things we hate about ourselves are often that which we unfairly project onto others. This brother who was so worried about others��� external actions didn't adequately monitor his own internal struggles. This is the danger of focusing on arbitrary boundaries such as ���no eating together��� or ���no texting each other���. It lulls one into a false sense of security under the belief that hiding behind artificial hedges will protect your relationships. The truth is, fidelity and faithfulness are choices one must consciously make each day.

Sex is a choice. Unless you are coerced, raped, or otherwise unable to consent, you choose to sleep with someone or not. With all the male colleagues, supervisors, coworkers, members, acquaintances and friends I���ve spent time with, I���ve never chosen to commit adultery. Now this isn't a Luke 18:11 ���thank God I���m not like them��� boast I���m doing: I have plenty of my own struggles that I have to work out! Adultery just isn't one of them. But there are many ways in which I fall short of God's glory; there are many times when I deliberately choose to go outside of God's will. And just like my willful sinful choices, adultery is also a willful choice. And just like it is imperative for me to accept my volition in those actions, likewise it is necessary for those who struggle with infidelity to own up to it as an act of volition, not something that just ���happens���. And just like I am only able to overcome my sin through God's grace, the same grace is available to those struggling with adultery. And all of us���regardless of our struggle���are all afforded the opportunity for forgiveness and reconciliation to God. But this happens when we seek God's mercy, admitting our own culpability. Stop blaming the lasagna.

Courtney Ray is an ordained pastor in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Signs of the times… a pastor mocking a public figure’s bold show of fidelity to his wife of 32 years.

Married people have no need to have close friends of the opposite sex. Not even if it’s Courtney Ray.

Everybody is vulnerable at some point. The natural ebb and flow of marriage happens, burnout, stress, fatigue, boredom- the appeal of something new and interesting, attractive and exciting comes along at the wrong time…Nobody is immune from temptation; this is why indiscretion is rampant.

I like what Pence has done and it is a good example from a leader. The Clinton’s could learn a lot from the Pence’s.

Well, hopefully, they aren’t married.[quote=“spectrumbot, post:1, topic:13243”]
he can’t be with women unsupervised because he knows he has difficulty with controlling himself,

No! The only person in the world that could know that for sure is Mike Pence. More likely, a good man has just been slandered AGAIN. Way to go, Courtney, thanks Spectrum. That’s how to deprecate a fellow Christian. Actually it is much like a teacher’s policy to never be behind closed doors with a student alone. That, by no means, makes every teacher that follows this policy a pervert-at-heart! Avoiding all appearance of evil is wise. Transparency is good. There is always a way to accomplish what needs to be done in such a way that naturally avoids potential issues and suspicion.

Not a good analogy. More like you need to smoke after you pump gas. You don’t want anything to happen, and chances are nothing will happen but you may as well avoid the possibility when you consider the consequences…

@HigherChange - Excellent! Forsaking all others is what we promised, isn’t it? If we would only live by that principle, there would be very few marital casualties.

@cincerity-[quote=“cincerity, post:22, topic:13243”]
My husband has meetings alone with women, has dined alone with women

That’s too bad.



Thankfully Jesus was willing to engage one on one with the Samaritan woman at the well. The religious guidelines of the day said that He shouldn’t have had that conversation with her.


Maybe a bit of empathy is in order if an issue is not a problem you struggle with.

Wow. First, the “this impedes women” argument is spurious. That a man takes the effort to avoid impropriety does not impede women. In fact some women might appreciate such a position…

Second, he has not said anything about whether he could have a women VP if he ran. What kind of assumption is that? I bet he could handle it.


Here a guy takes responsibility for himself, and get brickbats! So you might like how he does it? Is that your business? Why not criticize Trump or how about Bill Clinton? But no, the pastor goes after the guy who takes action.

You know, I get the feeling that this piece is pure politics. I can’t see how it could be any other. I would not say a word if you had laid into Trump for his infidelity. But Pence? Takes some action to avoid inappropriate behavior, and you don’t approve. Really?

What does Trump say, Sad…


What was the purpose of this article , if in the end you admit that it is the grace of God that we all need .One man’s weakness is this , and another man’s weakness is something else . So What? If a married man has made an agreement with his wife to do a certain thing , of which they have consented to, What is it to you? Is it the food ? The bible says to draw water from your own well. Is it the water ? What is it to you Courtney ? Women are protective by nature . So, you being single is alright with you , but it might bother another woman looking on at how much time alone you spend with her boyfriend , just helping him. As a social worker , let me say, you have said more about yourself than maybe you intended . I can hear what you are saying, I can hear what you are not saying, and I can hear what you are trying to say . So Courtney, This might mean that you need to have a deeper look into your own heart. This article is so revealing . Don’t knock another man until you have walked a mile in his shoes.


What a thoughtful, insightful analysis of multiple levels of issues relating to relationships between women and men. Thank you so much. Ignore the obnoxious responses you have gotten!


That’s about as bogus as an argument can get. Women have to have dinner dates with male colleagues to advance their careers? Really???

This criticism of Mike Pence is indicative of the low state of morals in modern culture (never mind that the left hates Trump and his administration, and will do anything they can to discredit them, no matter how ludicrous the criticism may be). 50 years ago this would not have raised eyebrows, and would have been commended, even by the soundbite media. We are counseled by the apostle Paul to avoid all appearance of evil. If I were eating in a restaurant with another woman, it would look questionable to anyone who knew me. I can’t imagine why I would want to have a lunch date with another woman anyway. Business can be easily contracted during business hours at a place of business, or by phone, Skype, or some other means, thus avoiding any suspicion of impropriety.


Can any of the political defenders of Pence (so far, all male) stop long enough to consider how this issue does impact the professional equality of women, or at least be calm in responding to a woman’s concern about it?

4/12. The perfect solution occurs to me. Let’s avoid one-on-one dining with either men or women. That would eliminate the likelihood that one sex is missing out on job related information and connections. And this 21st century version of the Billy Graham rule would avoid giving any kind of wrong impression, plus prevent the temptation possible from same sex dining.


Billy Graham had a similar practice. Are you going to take him on too? It appears to be their approach to “avoiding the appearance of evil.” No one has cited any evidence that his declining to dine alone with a woman has negatively impacted the careers of women in his office. After the abusive practices of John Kennedy, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump toward women, this seems admirable. If this is his way of trying to be a faithful husband, then I think you need to give him a bit of a break.


i hate to make this point, but i seriously doubt most normal men would be in danger of lapsing into an affair as a result of a one on one dinner with either theresa may or angela merkel…theresa may has an aggressive edge to her that i believe would be an instant turn-off for many men, and poor angela merkel really struggles with her wardrobe and general look…

what i think courtney may be missing here is the fact that men, if they’re oriented towards women, have a serious physical response to deal with when they’re alone with an attractive woman that i don’t think women deal with when they’re alone with an attractive man…in a man, there are distinct biological changes that occur at the moment of sexual attraction that can actually inhibit and even block normal cognitive thinking…this isn’t because the man doesn’t have principle…it’s because he’s caught in the throes of a physical response that overpowers every other consideration…women don’t generally deal with this…their response to sexuality is on a much more calculating plane…they don’t seem to experience the same tension between what their body has to have and what their mind tells them is best (would eve have eaten of the forbidden fruit had adam offered it to her)…in my view, it is the measure of a man to exercise forethought to prevent himself from being engulfed in a sexually charged situation that has spiraled out of control…and it is this forethought - not having a dinner date with someone other than his wife, which he likely knows from experience involves him in difficulty - that i think is commendable in mike pence…

i also wonder how valid is the point that men’s sexual insecurities are responsible for the glass ceiling women face…does courtney really believe that most men have principle when it comes to affairs…for instance, does she believe donald trump is evincing poorly controlled sexual insecurities when there are never any women in photographs of trump’s white house round-tables…maybe women just don’t want to be in the same room with him…or maybe the studied neglect to include women is a front for the fact that he’s seeing them one on one on the side…bill clinton, JFK and other presidents had serious problems with women…does courtney think women rose to higher positions under these presidencies than they would under a pence presidency…i think this article may be looking for an opportunity to discredit the trump presidency while reminding us that women face a glass ceiling…but there is no nexus between trump’s flailing presidency and the fact that women still have an uphill climb…furthermore, there are many men who have very little sympathy for donald trump, who would love to see women given full equality…for instance, they likely voted for hillary…

there is one consideration that this article doesn’t touch on which i think would be a more natural fit for the point i think courtney is making…this would be the reality that when women do achieve what men have traditionally achieved, they sometimes find that the men around them have lost all sexual interest in them…it seems to be the case that the lure of an affair with a powerful woman isn’t for a man what it seems to be for many women when it comes to powerful men…is this a secret plot to keep women down, by saying to them that no-one will have any sexual interest in them if they climb too high up the ladder of success…to me, this would be a much more intuitive inference from pence’s dining policy, if one wanted to look askance at it…


If my sexuality is the overruling factor determining the way a man decides to treat me, then I don’t really feel more respected as a human being just because he’s trying NOT to sleep with me rather than the reverse.

I am not a professional. There are still, however, times when I need to be in a one-on-one setting with a man. I am always keenly aware, when that happens, of the complexity of the situation. It doesn’t feel the same as it would if I were meeting with another woman, or in a group. I am more careful to manage the subtleties of the conversation, and to be respectful of space. It is complicated to have working relationships and platonic friendships with the opposite sex. But it’s a learn-able skill. An arbitrary rule, like the one being discussed doesn’t solve the problem, it just ignores it.

The “Billy Graham rule” was far more practical many years ago, when men had few relationships with women outside the family. As men and women work together more, we serve them better to teach them the skill, rather than a rule.

I don’t hate Mike Pence for the choice he’s made, but I wouldn’t hold him up as a practical role model for others to follow.


Had to throw in a dig about women’s looks and dress. Have you not noticed the many men who have nothing to brag about on looks are considered very marriageable and married? There are men who like an intelligent, and savy partner over model beauty like Trump.


In your opening paragraph you state, “Vice President Pence’s “policy” of avoiding eating with women except his wife.” Please be accurate: He avoids eating alone with women except his wife. As a successful senior executive I have followed this policy for over 30 years and it has never, ever prevented me from hiring and promoting women. In fact, I’ve hired and promoted more women than men the last 10 years! I think your distaste for the Trump Administration has negatively impacted your logic and and ability to accurately report facts.


A close friend once shared the book “Hedges” with me saying how it had been so helpful in clarifying concerns she’d had in her marriage. In reading the book (which details the philosophy of “building hedges around your marriage”) I was continually disturbed by the similarities of it’s lifestyle recommendations with those of addiction recovery program principals. If one has a history of substance addiction and abuse, they need to reorient their life to avoid situations or people that allow accessibility to the substance. I have known RNs and MDs with addictions to drugs they used in patient care who moved from clinical practice to research or other non clinical jobs after rehab EVEN if their licenses had not been revoked. I also know of some who successfully continued in the clinical setting after receiving help for their issues. Just as applying absolute barriers of narcotic access to all clinical health care professional is neither practical or effective, absolute barriers of separation in marriage protection seems equally misguided.
I agree also with the more spiritually poignant point already stated that fortunately Christ did not adhere to this philosophy or practice.


Many many leaps of logic in this article. (a) The VP has a policy of not eating alone with women; he does not have a policy of not working with women, not holding business meetings with women; not hiring women; not promoting women; not having group dinners with women, etc. His only “policy” is avoiding “tête-à-tête” dinners with women. (b) Mr Pence never stated that he is trying to “protect himself from adultery” - ascribing such motives without evidence is a bearing of false witness. I’ve worked with many women; I"ve hired women, fired women, promoted women, had women clients, secretaries, partners, bosses, etc. I’ve never had a one-on-one dinner with a woman other than my wife. It never even occurred to me to do such a thing - and I never thought of it as a “policy”; it was just something that I wouldn’t do. In our culture, dining one-on-one is a like a date. Similarly if I had two tickets to a concert, a hockey game, a performance, etc. I would never ask a woman other than my wife to accompany me. If I had 3 or more tickets, I wouldn’t hesitate to include a woman in the group. I suppose in the eyes of this author this makes me a horrible person.

As for Christ’s example, there is no record of Him having a one-on-one private dinner with a woman other than His wife.


As a male feminist ally, I care a lot about women and the inequality they face in the world and the subject of Mike Pence’s rule has been a hot topic on the subject of marriage this week. Because I’m a man, I want to be sensitive and careful to respect that it’s a privilege to be able to comment on the subject and I’ll admit that I could get it wrong and misunderstand because I’m a man. Before commenting on the Mike Pence/Billy Graham rule, we need to acknowledge some points:

  1. Women are discriminated against in the work force where many industries are a “boys club.” That was evident to me in the information technology industry near DC where I had few female colleagues. Women were not taken seriously as programmers. Women in DC have expressed collective concerns about the good ol’ boys club that prevents them from shattering that glass ceiling. Who are we to question that collective experience?

  2. Women are paid differently still in almost every state.

  3. While I personally believe chivalry actually has great intentions, whenever it becomes a rigid RULE, it is often used inadvertently to keep women “in their place” and relegate them to an inferior status. This has been historically the case.

  4. I also agree that a boundary set with the opposite sex should not be used to discriminate against the opposite sex. Anything we won’t do with the opposite sex, we should not do with the same sex, or it could be construed as discrimination in a workplace.

  5. Mike Pence is no poster boy for women’s rights. He’s not somebody I would want to side with as a feminist ally.

As much as I’m not a fan of Mike Pence, I personally doubt that he had a sexist intention in describing the Billy Graham rule and his personal boundaries of his marriage. (We can debate the merits of intention vs. appearance, but let’s save that for another discussion.) I believe that the media took what he said out of context and smeared him with baseless, false allegations of discrimination, without any hint of evidence connecting his personal boundary (not a formal policy) with actual discrimination. I tend to react when false allegations are made about people. That does not mean that the concerns for potential discrimination are not justified, and that’s why I need to offer empathy here based on the collective experiences of women. However, it’s just unfortunate that they could not back up their claims with evidence that would connect Pence’s boundary with discrimination.

As a feminist ally, I want to listen to the perspectives of a diversity of women, not just those who support a liberal worldview. In fact, in the only personal testimonies I’ve seen, Pence’s female staffers testified that they had never experienced any discrimination under him and actually felt like they grew under him. Additionally, he may have actually fostered a work environment that was MORE empowering for women than others had, simply because having clear boundaries means they did not have to worry about sexual harassment as much. (I wonder about Bill Clinton’s work environment for women.)

When I separate my students during exams, I always tell them, “It’s not because I don’t trust you; its because I want to maintain the integrity of the exam process.” I was taught the Billy Graham rule in college when I was studying to be a pastor, and I followed that principle because I believe it makes a lot of sense. Having a boundary with the opposite sex has nothing to do with seeing women as evil temptresses, but simply about maintaining the integrity of the current relationship and avoiding the appearance of evil. Out of respect for my wife, and the protection of myself and the women I work with, I don’t want to put people in an awkward situation where questions could arise. Out of respect, I should not make my wife ask me to never fraternize with women alone at the office.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of men who could care less about respecting their wives’ wishes. “Male privilege” means that men often act as they please without regard for their wife’s concerns. I have heard couples complaining about their partners keeping “best friends” with the opposite sex besides them and those relationships didn’t work out too well. In my opinion, my wife should be my best friend of the opposite sex and I have no need to be fraternizing with other women besides her. I ask people these questions:

POP QUIZ :slight_smile:

  1. Let’s imagine that your partner asks you to not hang out alone with another man or woman after work at a dark office or go to “work” dinners at a restaurant late at night alone with another coworker of the opposite sex. You discuss it and, perhaps with the help of a Marriage & Family Therapist, you try to understand where the question comes from. You explain that it’s for the purpose of work, but your partner says that these meetings alone at night at a restaurant or by yourself at a dark office make him/her feel nervous or insecure about the relationship and is concerned that it might lead to other things. Through the discussion, you express that you love your partner and hear your partner’s concerns even though its hard to understand given that its for work and you love your partner. Which of the following will you respond with?
    A) "It’s 2017, and you are an independent, secure person who doesn’t need to be controlling and jealous."
    B) “Honey, of course! I’m so sorry that you had to ask. I’ll try to accommodate your request and reschedule my meetings for a more appropriate time and place.”

  2. A wife catches her husband watching pornography and she asks him to stop. However, he grew up in a family that watched porn and sees absolutely nothing wrong with it and believes he only uses it for stimulation and that it does not reflect on his love or attraction for her at all. So he tries to ask her questions to understand how it affects her self-image and how she feels that its degrading to women, but he doesn’t understand. So he takes her to a Marriage & Family Therapist (like myself, ha ha) because they cannot agree. The therapist sees that they have already clearly communicated their concerns to each other. The emotionally-focused therapist helps them to express their feelings more so that they understand where each other comes from. While he absolutely loves his wife, he still sees absolutely nothing wrong with porn and he says it does not change his love and attraction for her one bit. So, in the end, what would you do if you were in his place?
    A) You would say to her, "Honey, I want you to know I love you and you are a beautiful, attractive woman, so you should just remember that my porn use has no bearing on how attracted I am to you."
    B) You would tell her, “I’m sorry. Even though it is sometimes hard for me to understand it, I won’t do it again because I love you and respect your needs.”

As you can see, I think it’s laudable for any man to self-limit himself and his power out of respect for his wife. This is something I hope all of us can applaud, particularly in an age when marriage and commitment do not seem to be valued and appreciated anymore.

In the same way that I should “think twice” before commenting on the experience of women because I cannot experientially understand what it’s like, I also feel that people who have never been in a monogamous marriage cannot really experientially understand nor comment on the social accountability that comes with marriage. Nevertheless, just as much as I can learn about and understand women through listening to their stories, I also acknowledge that many can learn about and understand marriage at least cognitively, so I want to be willing to hear their counsel and viewpoints too.

Because I stood in front of a hundred people and made a vow to my wife, anytime I’m around women who are not my wife, I know people are watching. Shoot, if I go to church for just ONE weekend without my wife, people are already asking me questions, “What happened to her?” If I am walking down a hallway at school with a single female beside me, I’m asked, “Where’s your wife?” That’s because people are holding me accountable.

I should add another point to acknowledge above:

  1. Relationships often hurt women more than men. Women are typically less happy with their relationship and suffer more when they break up. Marriage is not a fool-proof safeguard. In fact, many women feel stuck in abusive marriages and have difficulty escaping because of the social taboos that comes with leaving it.

With that being said, it seems that research also indicates that compared to being in an unmarried relationship, marriage may also offer women protections so that if they do break-up, she’s not left abandoned with the children to feed. He’s less likely to walk away and leave her. Marriage offers social accountability and the unity of two families coming together to support the couple.

Research shows that couples who get married without living together first are far more successful than unmarried couples who live together or couples who elope. Cohabitators are, I believe, 5-6 times more likely to break-up, while elopers are 12.5 times more likely to divorce. That’s because accountability and family support helps strengthen marriages.

I get and understand that gender discrimination still occurs in the workforce, and we need to hear those concerns. They are valid. I also hope that we as a society will not forget the importance of protecting boundaries around marriage so that we will have happier relationships that also respect women too. We just need to do so in a way that doesn’t also give the appearance of discriminating against women in the workforce too. I also hope that we as a country will continue to foster work environments where women not only feel that they have equal opportunities to succeed, but they also will not have to worry about sexual harassment, and be treated with dignity and respect.


This has been a delightful, provocative essay. Thank you. I read it primarily as a feminist statement (disclaimer: for me the term “feminist” is NOT pejorative in any way, but descriptive of an attitude I also like to live).

If, however, you read it as a line of argument, you might be interested to know that the marital unfaithfulness of females has passed that of males - and that development can be shown to be synchronous to women entering the work force (or as Gottman would say: before women were in the job market, there only was the postman and the milk man). In other words - more opportunity creates more desire (not only true for sex, I’d say).

In the realm of counseling and therapy there are many who advocate strict gender separation - due to the initimacy the therapeutic process can produce (more than a sweet souffle). If indeed there are no safeguards of self reflection, assisted through professional supervision (a form of accountability) such a gender separation is meaningful. To me the better way is acknowledging my own vulnerability (this indeed is what Pence seems to do), reflecting on situations, self-monitoring my motivation and then come to appropriate decisions and responsible behaviour in all my interactions.


“a pastor mocking a public figure’s bold show of fidelity to his wife of 32 years.”

If you believe that this is “mocking” then you need to read the article again…in context, Ben.

“Married people have no need to have close friends of the opposite sex. Not even if it’s Courtney Ray.”

Seriously?? So, one is supposed to cast off all the other opposite sex relationships that one had prior to marriage for example? What an odd way of thinking…well, some might even say it is backward.

“Transparency is good. There is always a way to accomplish what needs to be done in such a way that naturally avoids potential issues and suspicion.”

I completely agree and this can be done without the extreme that Pence has gone to.

“You don’t want anything to happen, and chances are nothing will happen but you may as well avoid the possibility when you consider the consequences…”

And so…by your reasoning…if I never drove a car then I would never get into an accident?!? Just think of all the trouble/danger that we could save ourselves by just not using knives or other dangerous instruments just like our mothers warned us about. :wink:


“For me, I love my wife so much that I wouldn’t even think of putting myself in a situation that could be misconstrued because I wouldn’t want her to ever have cause to doubt me.”

As a person who has been married to someone who has traveled extensively overseas and statewide, I can tell you that there is no need for the extreme that Pence has gone to (not eating dinner alone with female). My husband has meetings alone with women, has dined alone with women, etc., the only thing that he has not done has been to invite a woman up to his room. I have never had even a moments concern/doubt about my husband because I know the quality of our relationship and his character.

“It’s especially important for the Vice President to protect appearances, because he may have people out to make false accusations against him, and the consequences of even the appearance of wrongdoing is enormous.”

Again…you can never silence the voices that want to make something out of nothing. The Vice President is a man surrounded by the Secret Service and has many “eyes of accountability” upon him. He was simply making an outdated gesture that has negative connotations to woman which makes no real sense in today’s world- hence this article. We can disagree on this but it isn’t as simple as you state.

So sorry that your relationship situation isn’t as secure as mine, Ben :wink:


After getting half-way into this letter I said to myself, “This has to be written by a woman.” God bless women, but most can’t know the testosterone fueled volcano of desire many men experience before the fire starts to ebb with age or illness. Note I said ‘most’ and ‘many’, not ‘all’. This woman clearly doesn’t. The VP/BG safeguards are there for a reason.


I think the writer meant friends that are closer than one’s spouse. If the other person is closer than your spouse, then either they married the wrong person or they try to put more distance with the other person. They did not say to cut them off completely, just not as close. If you still think this is backward, please see my separate post on the subject.

What alternative do you propose that creates transparency and helps to avoid issues of suspicion?

The key phrase is “consider the consequences.” It’s more like not driving drunk. Sure, you might be able to get home safe, but why risk your license and your life or the life of others?

The important idea here is that the more you value your relationship, the less you want to play around with it. By keeping the Billy Graham rule, Pence actually shows that he extremely values the relationship with his wife.

This may be hard to understand for those who have less to lose, those who aren’t in relationships, those who don’t care so much about their spouse, or for those who are not public figures. For me, I love my wife so much that I wouldn’t even think of putting myself in a situation that could be misconstrued because I wouldn’t want her to ever have cause to doubt me. As someone who is often in the spotlight as a church leader, I know how much people are watching me and how important it is to not be a stumbling block for others (Romans 14). It’s especially important for the Vice President to protect appearances, because he may have people out to make false accusations against him, and the consequences of even the appearance of wrongdoing is enormous.