The media has been buzzing today with all sorts of opinions on V.P. Mike Pence and his position on dining and meeting with women in private – with the exception of his wife, Karen. I have heard takes on this that range from his embracing of Sharia Law to respect and admiration for his position on these topics.
In case you are not aware of Pence’s stance on these issues, he has made it quite clear that he does not dine with women alone nor does he attend events where alcohol is consumed unless his wife, Karen, is present. Women’s groups, in particular, have blasted his position as archaic and that his views make it impossible for women to ascend to higher level positions because he won’t meet with them privately. Others have stated that Pence’s willingness to adhere to such strict standards must mean that Karen, his wife of more than 30 years, does not trust him – and this is the only way that he can stay married.
Before we become too quick to judge the vice-president, it is important to look at this from a different angle. For starters, more than 64% of high level male executives do not want to mentor junior female executives. Are they trying to limit the ascent of female executives to positions of power? I don’t think so. Rather, I believe that they do not want to run the risk of being accused of any impropriety, sexual or otherwise, by their female subordinates.
Another example of careful behavior can be found by studying the rules that Dr. Billy Graham ascribes to. I once knew a man who worked for Dr. Graham and he stated, without exception, that Dr. Graham would not ride in an elevator alone with a woman, other than his wife, Ruth, and that before he would enter a hotel room on the road while traveling, his male companions would check out the room to make sure that nobody was hiding in his assigned quarters.
While some may say that this is over-protective, Dr. Graham believed that it showed good judgment to make sure that there was no possibility of any accusation that could damage his ministry in any way. Why run the risk of being accused of something when you can remove the possibility altogether?
And let’s face some facts here. It is a common occurrence for men, in particular, to be accused of sexual misconduct. That’s not to say that women are immune from these allegations, but in general, men are more often than not the ones that make the headlines. While sometimes the charges are fabricated, for any number of reasons, history also shows that powerful men in office are often swayed by thought of impropriety.
Even President Trump has already been accused numerous times by women who allege that he has either pursued them or made blatant sexual advances to them. Whether true or not is beyond the scope of this post – but it certainly casts doubt on his morality and commitment to his marriage. I believe that V.P. Pence may be doing a smart thing by not allowing himself to be put in a situation that may leave the door open for innuendo or require later defense.
And while I think that Pence will face scrutiny and ridicule for his position, I respect the right of Karen and Mike Pence to determine their own rules of engagement for their marriage. From where I stand, his commitment to fidelity and respect for his wife supercede whatever beliefs outsiders may have of Mike’s position and their promises to each other.
The vice-president’s commitment to his Christian beliefs are also coming under attack. But with the proliferation of ministry oriented people who have fallen from their positions, and with Karen’s commitment to be the vice-president’s prayer warrior, I support their decision to remove any chance of questionable behavior.
Our verse for the evening if from the obscure book of Titus. We are told, in Titus 3:8, “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.” This verse supports the Pence position that they intend to do what is good and profitable for their marriage and it isn’t up to us to disparage them.
My encouragement tonight is that God has given us the capacity to make decisions and exercise free will. My prayer is that you will thoughtfully consider the behaviors that make you the best possible ambassador for the Kingdom of God that you can be. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…