Recently much as been made of the factoid that Vice President Mike Pence follows the “Billy Graham rules”. There are actually four rules, but the first one is the one that gets all the attention- the one about interactions with women. Simply put, Mike Pence, arguably one of the most powerful men in the world, refuses to be alone with a woman who is not his wife, even in a public place like a restaurant. He also will not drink alcohol without her present. I should add that these rules were created in 1948, a full 11 years before the VP was even born.
This is asinine to me.
Before I get any further, I need to dispel two arguments that I’ve seen many times this week online. #1 No, THIS isn’t why folks think our VP is a misogynist. That had been displayed over and over again well before this story broke. #2 No one is “digging into his private life”. He and his wife have both stated in public interviews that he follows these rules, making it something we all have access to and can address.
Now I didn’t read about this and think “Wow, that’s really sexist” at all. I thought “Wow, that’s a really unhealthy marriage.” But, I now believe that the truth is even worse.
I think everyone, whether married or not, can agree that without trust there is no marriage. If you don’t believe your spouse will behave appropriately once he or she is out of your sight then you should not be married to that person. That being said, there would be only two reasons, as a married man, to abide by such a restrictive code of conduct regarding the opposite sex. Either your spouse doesn’t trust you, or you don’t trust yourself. Based on everything I’ve read, it would appear that the latter is the case here- Mike Pence doesn’t trust himself. That’s not a good thing for his marriage, or America.
We have a Vice President who fears he would be so overcome with desire he would not be able to control himself if left alone with a woman. To me it is unnerving to say the least that the man “one bullet from the Presidency” has such little confidence in his own impulse control (and, an interesting counterpoint to the President’s comments on the topic, but I digress).
There are a TON of logistical nightmares going about day-to-day life in 2017 this way no matter who you are. What if your boss is a woman? What if you go to a new medical facility and discover your new doctor is a woman? What if you go to a gas station late at night and the only employee working the cash register is a woman?
Now, think of all the possible implications for his work as the Vice President. What if he needs to meet with a foreign head of state who also happens to be a woman? What about staff meetings? What about passing folks in the hallways every day?
So no, I will not agree that on any level that this code of conduct demonstrates maturity, Christian values, respect for his marriage, or anything else that is positive. It demonstrates a lack of self-respect, a lack of respect for his wife, and a lack of understanding of modern society in general. It’s yet another way that Mike Pence is demonstrating how completely out of touch he is and I will not celebrate that.