Herman Cain Sex Scandal: Adultery Charge 'Worse' Than Sexual Harassment Claims?

Christians offer perspective on the sexual allegations against GOP presidential hopeful

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  • Herman Cain in Ohio
    (Photo: Reuters/John Sommers II)
    Republican presidential contender Herman Cain addresses campaign supporters during a campaign stop in Cincinnati, Ohio, November 30, 2011.
By Luiza Oleszczuk, Christian Post Reporter
December 1, 2011|10:13 am

Allegations of an extramarital affair with 45-year-old Ginger White, a resident of Atlanta, Ga., now threaten GOP candidate Herman Cain's presidential campaign, just as the businessman attempted a comeback from sexual harassment allegations from two other women. While vehemently denying the allegations, Cain, an ordained Baptist minister, announced this week that he is "reassessing" his campaign.

In the face of the possibility that he is indeed an adulterer, Cain's ethical conduct is being questioned by the Christian community.

Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Robert Jeffress, who introduced Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Value Voters Summit in October, told The Christian Post Wednesday that both adultery and sexual harassment represent unacceptable behavior. However, he added, the charge of adultery will, in his opinion, damage Cain's candidacy more than the sexual harassment charge for two reasons.

"First, the term 'sexual harassment' can refer to everything from a misinterpreted comment to pressuring a subordinate for sex. The specific sexual harassment charges against Cain appear ambiguous," Jeffress told CP in an email. "Second, unlike the harassment charges which have been unproven, the charge that Cain has engaged in a 13-year adulterous relationship with another woman appears to have more substance, especially given Cain's lawyer's early 'non-denial denial.' "

The so-called non-denial denial made by Cain's attorney, Lin Wood, was: "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."

While some people may not be bothered by a consensual sexual affair between two adults, many Americans, including evangelical Christians, would be greatly troubled if it turns out that Cain violated the "[most] sacred vow a person can make," the pastor added.

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An expert on evangelical perspectives on marriage, Michael Fox, founder of "Marriage for Today," a radio show helping couples with marital problems, which he hosts together with his wife, Trisha, echoed that concern Wednesday.

"When it comes to sexual harassment and adultery, we see two different worlds that can but not always collide," Fox told CP. "On the one hand, you have adultery. … It either happened or didn't happen. There are only a few narrow deviations of debate regarding this. Namely, online affairs, emotional infidelity and such like. And this topic alone demands untold amount of writing and delivery to help us as Christians that are married, yet fall into the continually increasing category of infidelity &mdash: yes even in the Church."

On the other hand there is sexual harassment, which, Fox claims, "is not so 'black and white,' " because it is a lot harder to define. The minister suggested that "the majority of today's allegations, from either sex, are in fact along the lines of political correctness [and] run amok."

"It is unfortunate in every level of the current allegations brought against Cain by a number of women. And while many on both sides bring up solid points to ponder - what we do know is that as Christians, even more &mdash: MARRIED Christians, we must follow yet more closely our own Bible's teaching when it comes to potential sexual harassment circumstances. First Thessalonians 5:22 clearly tells us to 'avoid the very appearance of evil,' " Fox wrote in an email to CP.

He added, "We have seen multiple times when Christian married leaders will often minister to another of the opposite sex in their office, close the door for privacy, and think nothing of it. For married Christians, it is imperative that we realize that we are in fact, 'giving place to the devil' (Eph. 4:27 KJV)."

"We can learn from Herman Cain many things, both good and bad &mdash not only that the power of the press has yet won again &mdash but that as married Christians, our lives are not [hidden] from others," he concluded. “And if we endeavor to keep our marriage paramount, than whatever we can do to preserve its sacredness, its importance, its presences in the lives of others &mdash that's what we need to do [sic]."

Some stoutly believe in Cain's innocence. A popular Christian blog "Faith in Action" posted an entry recently in which the author reminds readers: "It's critical to keep in mind the philosophy both Americans and Christians must adhere to: A person is innocent until proven guilty. The Bible has it as, 'One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.' "

Some supporters of the Georgia businessman created a Facebook group called "Christians for Herman Cain prayer group," which only has 11 "likes."

But others are more skeptical and less patient with Cain's handling of the scandal threatening his campaign, including some conservative women voters, as CP reported recently. Penny Nance, president of the conservative organization Concerned Women for America, is asking Cain to address the allegations.

Luiza.o@christianpost.com; @Luiza_CP (Twitter)
 

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