(Photo: REUTERS/Rebecca Cook)
Despite statements from Herman Cain’s lawyer that a person’s sexual life should not be questioned, Christian leaders contend that discerning voters do have an interest in and a right to know whether or not public officials are keeping their marriage vows.
Family Policy Network Policy Analyst Alex Mason said character is what one does when no one is looking. The marriage covenant, Mason explained, is more sacred and important than any public office. A politician who is willing to break that covenant when no one is looking may not have the character for public office.
“Voters have a right to know if their politicians are making empty promises to their wives about fidelity and honesty and being faithful,” Mason told The Christian Post. “When they’re making those empty promises, voters will immediately think to themselves ‘what makes me think with any amount of certainty that the promises that this politician has made to me are any more valid in his mind than the ones he broke to his wife.’”
Cain’s lawyer, Lin Wood, asserted the opposite in his statement about Atlanta mother Ginger White’s allegations on Monday that she and Cain had an affair that lasted 13 years.
Wood told reporters, “This appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults –a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life. The public’s right to report has boundaries and most certainly those boundaries end outside of one’s bedroom door.”
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler, Jr. countered in his blog, “Character does not end at the bedroom door. Any effort to make this claim will be recognized by the public for what it is. We live in a morally confused age, but there is little confusion about the fact that sexual behavior and personal character are inseparable.”
Statistics seem to support Mohler’s words.
A June poll showed that while many Americans regard sex outside of marriage (60 percent) and even having children outside of marriage (54 percent) as morally acceptable behaviors, 91 percent of Americans say extramarital affairs are immoral.
Mason said that like God, voters are not fooled by the argument that what happens in a politician’s bedroom is nobody’s business.
Mason said of Wood’s explanation, “I think it’s going to ring hollow – not I think – it will ring hollow in most people’s ears because they understand that private morality and public morality can’t be separated. They understand that there is direct correlation between who you are in private and who you are in public; you can’t keep up a façade forever – that eventually, as the Bible says, your sins will find you out.”
As an analyst and mouthpiece for conservative group FPN, Mason had called for former Democratic politician Anthony Weiner and Republican Sen. David Vitter (La.) to resign following their extramarital exploits.
Weiner, a Jew, sexted a woman who was not his wife a picture of his nude torso while Vitter, a self-professed Christian, admitted to having a sexual encounter with a prostitute nearly four years ago.
Mason said he’s not making any judgments regarding Cain, who continues to deny allegations of impropriety. White, who was successfully sued for libel, has not proven without a doubt that a physical affair did occur.
Mason also did not make any judgments about other GOP politicians, namely former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who has a history of marital impropriety.
He did, however, urge Christian voters not to enable the hypocrisy of cheating politicians to continue.
Weiner, Vitter and Gingrich have all apologized to the public and their wives for their misdeeds. Weiner and Gingrich both eventually stepped down from their political positions. Vitter has resisted such calls.
Mason said that Christians should recognize when someone is “repentant and contrite.” However, he added that voters and Christians especially should recognize that though sins can easily be forgiven, the consequences of those sins can be far-reaching and long lasting.