One would have to be living as a hermit to not have heard the extensive news coverage as women have come forth accusing Herman Cain of sexual harassment and adultery. No actual evidence was ever presented but Herman Cain decided to step down from the run for president. Conservative radio talk show host Dennis Prager in Adultery and Politics: Religious conservatives often go wrong by focusing on candidates’ sexual sins. wonders:
…whether we should care about a politician’s sexual life, and how much the press should report about these matters.
He doesn’t argue in defense of adultery or sexual sin but rather that one can break their vows before God to their wife and it should not influence our view of their abilities as a leader. An example he uses in support of this premise is King David:
I am a religious conservative, but I know this statement has no basis in fact. It sounds persuasive, but it is a non-sequitur. We have no reason to believe that men who have committed adultery are less likely to be great leaders, or that men who have always been faithful are more likely to be great leaders. To religious readers, I point to God Himself, who apparently thought that King David deserved to remain king, and even have the Messiah descend from him, despite a particularly ugly form of covering up his adultery (sending Bathsheba’s husband into battle where he would assuredly be killed).
While it is true that one’s moral compass may be compromised at times and they sin, that does not mean that they may not be great leaders but there is something that Prager overlooks in this example. The entire nation suffered as a result of God’s punishment on David.
On another note, I recently heard Margaret Hoover the great-granddaughter of former president, Herbert Hoover, on the Rusty Humphries Show. According to Wikipedia, Margaret is, “an American political commentator, political strategist, and blogger.” She was being interviewed on her book, American Individualism: How a New Generation of Conservatives Can Save the Republican Party . Like Prager, she had many good things to say with which I would agree but in her case, when it came to Gay marriage, her position left out some important factual information. She was adamant that those in her generation and younger are not overly opposed to Gay marriage and her claim was that the constitution guarantees the right to marriage. This position is not a new one for her. In her 2010 article, “Why I’m Joining the Fight for Marriage Equality” she writes:
Mr. Olson thinks constitutionally guaranteed rights ought to transcend left vs. right, Democrat vs. Republican divides (he even recruited legal opponent David Boies as co-counsel). I agree with him. And as a proud Republican representing a younger generation of conservatives that cherish individual freedom, I am honored to join the American Equal Right’s Foundation’s Advisory Board.
I encourage everyone, but especially Republicans, to consider Mr. Olson’s arguments on the merits, both in his opening statement and throughout the trial’s ensuing three weeks. The plaintiff’s counsel seeks to convince Judge Vaughn R. Walker that the Supreme Court has already decided in Loving v. Virginia, Turner v. Safely, and in Lawrence v. Texas among others, that the right to marry is a fundamental right currently denied to an entire class of American citizens. This is unconstitutional.
While it is true that the constitution, U.S. and all 50 states, recognize that all have the right to marry, it does not guarantee that all have a right to marry whomever they wish whenever they wish. In other words, there are qualifications on marriage laws in all states. Some have more qualifications than others but many exclusions they are all in agreement. For example, in California, the state Ms. Hoover was writing about, we find these exclusions. On Polygamy:
2. Single, Unmarried:
You must be single or unmarried to be married in California. In other words, no
polygamy is allowed.
If you have been married before, and your previous marriage ended within 24 months prior to your wedding date, then you need to provide a copy of the divorce decree, annulment decree or death certificate from your previous marriage to verify that the previous marriage has ended before a new marriage license can be issued.
On Family Marriage:
3. Marriage to a First Cousin
In California marriage to a first cousin is legal but marriage to any family member closer than a cousin is not.
In some states there are restrictions to first cousin marriage, but in California there are no restrictions on this allowance.
In other words, a father may not marry his daughter or a mother may not marry her son. A brother and sister cannot marry. But, they have a constitutional right to marry, just not to anyone they want. There are exceptions. So excluding marriageable candidates is not unconstitutional. If it were than we would have to eliminate any and all exclusions. Not only same sex, but age, family relationship, etc. Anyone should be allowed to marry anyone else and as many as they choose.
Why is this so complicated? I think there are several reasons. The sexual revolution of the 1960s is now fully part of our cultural make up. Sex is largely viewed more as a recreational activity. This can really be seen in articles like “‘Comfort Sex’: Is It a Bad Thing?” by Jill Di Donato. The line of what is socially acceptable and not acceptable has moved considerably. But it is not as though the line has been removed. I am certain that Dennis Prager, Margaret Hoover and Jill Di Donato would all agree with me that sex with children is not only morally wrong but culturally not allowed. In other words, we would be in agreement that we need to discriminate here.
Dennis Prager’s comments on sexual sin are interesting:
Yes, many Christians cite Jesus as saying that a man who lusts after a woman other than his wife has committed adultery with his heart. But Jesus made it clear that this is adultery with the heart. Jesus, a practicing and knowledgeable Jewish rabbi, would never equate actual adultery with adultery with one’s heart. And if someone believes the two are morally identical, why not start asking candidates if they have ever lusted for any woman other than their wife?
While what he says here is true, it again misses the context. Jesus was speaking to religious leaders who held the view that they were sinless and Jesus was demonstrating that all are sinners. There are some sins that have a greater societal impact than others. A man or woman breaking their marital vows has a greater impact on spouses, children, friends, relatives, and extended community relationships but adultery in actuality or in thought both have the same impact and result on our relationship with God. It brings separation. Jesus sacrifice was to bridge that seperation and bring peace between us and God by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Should we be required to lower our expectations of our leaders in regard to sexual fidelity? No. The higher someone ascends into leadership the more accountable they should be to a larger number of people. There should be a certain sense of fear which brings with it humility. They live in glass houses and all around them have Windex.
Our marital laws and cultural mores have been shaped and guided by Leviticus 18. It is often argued today by those that are pro – homosexual marriage that this is outdated and even wrong. It happens that it includes not only God’s outlining that homosexual behavior is wrong, and that adultery is wrong, but that sex with one’s children, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, a man married to a woman and her sister, etc. area all wrong. Like my question about the federal and state laws on marriage, if we are going to throw out some of this, if we are consistent wouldn’t we throw out all of it and just allow a sexual free for all? If adultery in our leaders is okay, why not sex with children? If homosexuality is okay, why not polygamy? If marriage is a constitutional guarantee and any exclusions are unconstitutional than anyone should be able to legally join with anyone or anything they wish and call it a marriage.
Societal expectations do not prevent bad moral behavior but it does slow it down considerably. Embracing moral relativism only insures the fall of the nation.