Why I Respect Pence for Following the Billy Graham Rule
I have avoided until now commenting on the controversy about Mike Pence’s observance of the Billy Graham Rule against dining alone with women other than his wife. Although I myself do not observe the rule, I understand why some men do (and why some men’s wives ask them to) and I respect them for it. I initially thought the controversy would die away quickly because it’s idiotic for people to criticize Pence (or the Pences) for observing it. In a great many cases, it’s also hypocritical for various reasons (including the fact that some of Pence’s critics would never in a million years offer a word of criticism of the various forms of sexual segregation practiced by, say, the Amish, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims). But some people continue to try to depict the Vice President as a nut (or a “sexist”) for protecting his marriage by, among other things, observing the Billy Graham Rule. I’ve got some advice for them. Shift your attention to the consequences for families—especially children—and society of men and women today NOT DOING ENOUGH to shield themselves against the temptation to stray from their marriages. Give me a politician like Mike Pence observing the Billy Graham Rule any day of the week in preference to—where shall we begin?—Bill Clinton . . . Rudy Giuliani . . . Teddy Kennedy . . . Donald Trump. One more moment wasted on worrying about Mike Pence not dining or drinking with women he’s not married to is one too many. So this is my last (as well as my first) word on the subject. As the liberals used to say when the issue was Bill Clinton’s committing adultery (and not merely adultery but the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice): “move on.”
Robert George is Chairman at United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, McCormick Professor of Juriprudence at Princeton University, Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School, and author of Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism.