Vice President Mike Pence‘s marriage is under scrutiny this week after a Washington Post profile on his wife, Karen, resurfaced his 2002 revelation that he never eats alone with another woman and won’t attend events where alcohol is served without his wife.
In a follow-up piece, The Post‘s Laura Turner suggested that Pence, who has called himself an “evangelical Catholic,” is following the “Billy Graham Rule,” named for the famous evangelist who set similar guidelines for himself and pastors working in his ministry.
As the story goes, after a woman attempted to seduce him following one of his famous evangelistic meetings in 1949 or 1950, Graham resolved never to travel, eat or meet alone with a woman other than his wife, in an effort to avoid temptation.
Many evangelicals and supporters of the vice president were quick to defend his adherence to the rule on social media.
While The Post‘s Turner acknowledges that the intention behind the guidelines (to be faithful to one’s spouse) is a “good and honorable one,” she argues the rule also risks “reducing women to sexual temptations” and excluding women from “important work and career conversations simply by virtue of their sex.”
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Her sentiments were echoed by many on social media, who labeled the rule sexist.
Turner and others also pointed out that while the rule may have been okay for an evangelical pastor, it’s problematic for Pence as a leader.
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“How on earth can he be expected to represent half the country if he won’t eat at the same table as us?” Turner asked.