“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” ~ Hebrews 13:4
Vice-President Pence’s wife Karen was recently the subject of a lengthy and largely favorable profile in the Washington Post. She, it turns out, is his number one confidant and prayer warrior. The profile also repeated something that has been public knowledge since 2002. Mike Pence has made it his practice never to dine alone with any woman other than his wife.
For this, he has been lampooned, ridiculed, and mocked by a virtually unanimous cacophony of voices on the left, who are scandalized at what they perceive to be a Neanderthal-like sexism. The Atlantic says his practice “hurts women,” and Vox, if you can believe it, tries to argue it’s “clearly illegal.” His treatment of women has been scorned as little different than Sharia law (which is an odd criticism, considering that the left has had a blindly obsessive love affair with all things Islamic for virtually this entire century).
Of course, the comparison to Sharia law is ludicrous in the extreme. Under Sharia law, wives are little more than chattel who can, with Allah’s blessing, be beaten literally into submission. Karen Pence, in stark contrast, is Mike Pence’s queen, a woman who is honored, loved, and served by her husband.
In all this braying from women on the left, I wonder if down underneath all that contempt is a secret jealousy for what Karen Pence has that they don’t. I wonder how many of them, when alone with their thoughts, wish they had a man in their lives who was so unreservedly devoted to them and to their marriage. Sadly, people are often contemptuous of what they do not and cannot have.
Pence’s critics are in full howl over what a nightmare it must be to be a woman who works in such a benighted and Cro-Magnon world. Yet here is what Mary Vought, who used to work for Mike Pence and is the author of the Washington Post profile, said:
“Pence’s personal decision to not dine alone with female staffers was never a hindrance to my ability to do my job well, and never kept me from reaping the rewards of my work. In fact, I excelled at my job because of the work environment created from the top down, and my personal determination to succeed.”
Erika Anderson, who also worked for the Vice-President when he was head of the House Republican Conference, chimed in:
“The Vice-President never treated me with anything but respect and I found him to be a warm, genuine man who truly valued his staff and more importantly, his family. From my vantage point, he made decisions thoughtfully and prayerfully — in a way that should make you glad he’s now sitting in such an influential role with President Trump....I’m glad I got the opportunity to work for Mike Pence. It’s done nothing but great things for my career.”
I made a similar decision in my own professional life, never even to be alone in a room with a woman other than my wife. As a pastor, I limited the number of solo counseling appointments I would take with any one woman, and always counseled them with my secretary in a position to see directly into my office through a window.
The only exception I made to Pence’s dining rule was to occasionally break away for lunch or coffee or Shakespeare in the Park with my adult daughter. In fact, I told my congregation, “Look, you ever see me having a one-on-one lunch or even coffee with any woman other than my wife or my daughter, I want you to come up to me and say to my face, ‘What in the world are you doing?’”
Pence is affair-proofing his marriage, and for good reason. Adultery shatters families, and leaves deep and permanent wounds on the betrayed spouse and on their children. As Pat Conroy said, “Each divorce is the death of a small civilization.”
My parents divorced when I was 20 and already living away from home. Yet it still shattered my world to its foundation. All of a sudden, I had no home to go to for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Children are never old enough for their parents to divorce.
I remember how good it felt to be able to tell my children when they were that age, “Look, your mom and I are never going to divorce. We are always going to be together. You will always have a place to come home to.”
The world needs a whole lot more husbands like Mike Pence, and most people, were they honest with themselves, would agree. His kind of virtue is not something to be sneered at but something to be admired and emulated. Virtue like that never goes out of style, never goes out of date, and never becomes antiquated. May his tribe increase.