Time to Rethink the Pence Rule on being alone with Women
For the past four years, Vice President Mike Pence has been mocked because he will not share a meal or be in a room alone with a woman. They’ve joked that he is weak if he cannot control himself or keep his pants on. Yet, the headlines are littered with stories of men who cheat on their wives because they could not control themselves EVERY DAY. Instead of being mocked, he should be honored for his godly stance.
I can understand why some women, not thinking this whole thing through, would be offended. We live in an era where there are more opportunities for women, in every sector of society, than ever before. I just watched an interview with Tina Fey, the first female lead writer for Saturday Night Live, where she talked about how the number of open doors for women in comedy have increased in the past several years. I understand that a situation in which they cannot meet with their boss alone can be problematic. They feel that it is putting a clamp on their opportunity to interact with an influential person. I understand that, appreciate that, and I think that there are ways to overcome it—such as glass windows in the office.
But let’s get back to the wisdom of the Pence Rule. Just last week, clips were released from the new Borat 2 movie. Sacha Baron Cohen secretly taped people from all walks of life, hoping to catch them in racist comments or compromised positions. Former mayor Rudy Giuliani became a target and found himself alone in a hotel room with an attractive reporter, probably a third his age. While there may or may not have been more people in the interview area of the suite, Giuliani follows her into a bedroom later.
Now, I am no fan of Sacha Baron Cohen or Borat, but nobody forced Giuliani to be in that incredibly compromised position.
After she flirted with him, touched his leg several times (that is when you run, by the way!) and he seemed to flirt back, she asked him to go into the bedroom. In its best light, she is simply taking off his microphone and then he leans back on the bed to tuck his shirt back in. In the worst light, it appears that he thinks he’s about to have relations with this pretty young reporter.
Do you still think that Mike Pence is a fuddie-duddie? Better to be a fuddie-duddie than to have half the world thinking you are a pervert. Rudy Giuliani, certainly not known for his fidelity, made a huge mistake by not having another person in that room on his team. Now he looks like a dirty old man. Mike Pence, on the other hand, still looks like an amazing father and husband.
I’ve been in ministry for 32 years and I have sought to live by the Pence Rule long before it was called that. By nature, I’m not a very handsy person, but I know that the wrong move at the wrong moment could be escalated into a scandal. I understand that if I had allowed myself to do what Giuliani did, even if I was 100% innocent, my life as a minister would be over. And rightly so. Sadly, in many ministry circles, even in cases of actual adultery and not just the appearance of adultery, the leader just apologizes and continues in ministry, without any accountability (after the proverbial apology to friends and family, etc.). Next, he starts a church for “non-perfect people” … I’ve seen it many times … but isn’t every church for non-perfect people?
The Bible doesn’t say to just “avoid evil,” but to “abstain from all appearances of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). If you put yourself in a compromising position, like being alone in a hotel room with a young lady, you cannot control what she might tell people you did, even if you didn’t do it. Don’t put yourself in a position for someone to make up plausible lies about you.
My guess is that Mike Pence has many meetings with women. He is just not alone when those meetings occur. She can bring someone else or he can bring someone else. As I said earlier, an office with windows will enable you to have those meetings. Maybe these safeguards seem a little bit awkward in our modern society, but “awkward” is far better than being an unwitting star in a movie with your hand in the proverbial cookie jar, or this case, down your pants. I am sure Rudy regrets his lapse in judgment.
Most of the people in Hollywood who would mock Vice President Pence are people with failed marriages and adulterous affairs. Many of them are the very people who ruined their marriages by being alone with someone else. Not exactly the people to whom I would look for marital advice.
May God bless Vice President Pence for sticking to his values and being a godly example to many younger leaders. I am sure his wife, children, and many other Americans respect him for it.