- (Photo: Screen Grab via YouTube/Vance McAllister)
A well-known conservative blogger and journalist has described U.S. Rep. Vance McAllister as the "sleaziest politician in Louisiana" after a security video, released Monday, showed the married congressman locking lips with one of his former female staffers, who is also married.
In a post titled "Vance McAllister, Homewrecker," conservative writer Rod Dreher states, "This guy, my Congressman, for whom I voted, blaming the liberals for everything, exploiting his wife and children to get himself elected, then running off and having an affair with his friend's wife. Thanks, Dad, you're a prince. Vance McAllister has got to be the sleaziest politician in Louisiana, and brother, that's saying something."
Dreher, former conservative editorial writer and columnist for The Dallas Morning News, elaborated to The Christian Post that his reaction was strong given that McAllister (R-La.) had touted himself as a family man.
"I use that phrase to describe him because McAllister was a guy who trotted his wife and kids out constantly to show what a good family man he was, unlike all those Washington politicians who lose touch with what's real. Had he not made such a big deal of his character, and specifically used his status as a husband and father to sell his candidacy, I wouldn't have batted an eye. I mean, it would still have been a bad deal, his adultery, but he wouldn't have been such a hypocrite."
The video was released by The Ouachita Citizen on Monday, showing McAllister kissing aide Melissa Hixon Peacock, who has since resigned. Her husband, Heath Peacock, said in a recent interview with CNN that the congressman has "wrecked [his] life" and he and his wife are "headed for divorce." The couple, married for six years, has one six-year-old son, while McAllister and his wife, Kelly, have five children together.
Dreher noted that McAllister had only been in office for a few months when the scandal happened.
"I think part of the intensity of my reaction had to do with the fact that this happened so quickly. This wasn't something that came upon a man who had been in political life for some time, and who let his standards slip," he said.
"Besides which, he cheated with the wife of a longtime friend and a financial backer of his campaign," he added.
Christian ministry founder Justin Davis, meanwhile, advised that the congressman own his mistake.
"Vance McAllister isn't the first person, or the first Christian, to ever experience failure or public failure. My first piece of advice would be to come clean and own the mistakes," Davis told CP, adding that there's "something very appealing about contrition."
Owning one's mistake "usually helps scandal go away too," he noted. "When somebody is forthcoming and honest, there's a sense of forgiveness that people want to extend to that person."
Davis and his wife, Trisha, had suffered a four-year journey of "pain, grief and ultimately the restoration of our relationship by the grace of God" after Justin had an affair with a staff member, who was also Trisha's best friend, after successfully planting his first church.
The couple fought through their hardship using love, grace, and redemption, and founded RefineUs Ministries in 2009 to help others find a healthy marriage and family life. Along with their ministry, Davis works part-time as a pastor at Cross Point Church in Nashville, Tenn., one of the fastest growing churches in the country. The couple has also written a book, Beyond Ordinary: When a Good Marriage Just Isn't Good Enough, to share their story of redemption with others.
When The Christian Post asked Justin via telephone interview what advice he would give to McAllister moving forward with his scandal, the RefineUs Ministries founder suggested the congressman look to Psalm 51:17, which according to the New International Version states: "My sacrifice, O God, is [a] a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise."
Davis went on to address McAllister's healing with his wife and children, suggesting that there is hope for the future of their family, despite the infidelity. "I've had personal experience in seeing how a marriage can be stronger on the other side of infidelity if both people are committed to pursuing God and pursuing reconciliation."
McAllister told the Monroe News Star that he confessed his infidelity to his wife earlier this year and they are now trying to work through this difficult time together. Heath Peacock, however, said he only learned of the affair hours before it became public Monday when his wife told him via phone call.
While McAllister has apologized, he said he has no plans to resign from his political post, saying he will seek re-election in the fall "unless there is an outcry for me not to serve, and so far there has been an outpouring of support, not for my actions, but for me to continue to represent the people."