I Agree With Vice President Mike Pence

Yeah, that’s not a sentence I expected to say or write any time in the next (hopefully only) four years. But then I saw his name trending on Twitter this morning, because of this:

Mike Pence’s ‘Billy Graham Rule’ has Internet yelling sexism

Vice President Mike Pence demanded an apology from The Associated Press after the agency published his wife’s personal email address. Instead, he got a letter expressing “regret.” (Photo: Jenna Watson/IndyStar)

One line from a Washington Post profile of First Lady Karen Pence is garnering reactions from many on social media.

Ashley Parker’s profile of Indiana’s former First Lady cites a 2002 Mike Pence interview with The Hill. In it, the former Indiana congressman and governor said he never ate alone with a woman other than his wife, Karen. Pence also said he wouldn’t attend an event where alcohol would be served without her by his side.

Evangelist Billy Graham followed a similar rule, not traveling, meeting or eating with another woman alone. It is sometimes referred to as “The Billy Graham Rule.” The practice is still common among many evangelicals.

This 15-year-old paraphrase resurfacing has led to many tweets. A simple search of “Mike Pence” shows some of the reactions. Many question Vice President Pence’s self-control and see the practice as sexist.


People are actually criticizing him for this?!? A married person, who also happens to be a public figure, says he goes out of his way to avoid temptation, or even the appearance of impropriety, because he’s married, and that’s…bad?!?

It’s so funny (but not in a good way) to me to see all these folks mocking him saying this shows that he doesn’t trust himself or that he knows that he doesn’t have self-control. But during my lifetime I’ve known a lot of “good” people who have committed adultery, whether it’s cheating in a marriage or just a relationship. I’ve seen interviews with people who’ve cheated. I’ve read the stories from admitted cheaters on Reddit over the past 3 years. And what are the most common defenses I hear?

“I didn’t MEAN to do it.”

“It JUST happened.”

“One thing lead to another. . .”

Yeah, over and over again, people love to make excuses. Things often start off innocently. Y’know,  you have that nice co-worker of the opposite sex you like to talk to in the office. Maybe you start to flirt a little, it’s harmless, right?

Then you start going to lunch together a couple of days a week.

Then it’s every day of the week.

Then you start going out for drinks after work too.

And you’ve exchanged numbers, so you’re texting each other on the weekends. And the next thing you know…

And people act like they aren’t at fault because this wasn’t their original intention. But that’s the point of this practice that Pence is talking about. It’s about watching your behavior so that you don’t even put yourself in situations where “something” could possibly happen. Don’t wait until you get “caught up in the moment”, just avoid it altogether.

This doesn’t sound like a problem to me, nor like something so outlandish. I don’t think he’s arguing that everyone has to follow this rule. Sometimes it’s not always possible. Heck, I’ve had business lunches alone with women who were married or in relationships. That’s not wrong, but I do think that watching your behavior and considering how things could look is a practical thing, and is good advice.

Then again, I’m also the guy who gets accused of playing “respectability politics” whenever I talk about personal responsibility, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this reaction. But I do think that it’s a sad commentary on our society when the story of a politician going out of his way to remain faithful to his wife is a controversy.

Now, in other Mike Pence news today…

Pence casts tie-breaking vote to let states block funds for family planning

THAT I vehemently disagree with him about! And that’s the story that should be trending!


  1. Although I can’t stand the uptight azzhole for being a homophobic pig, I don’t see anything wrong with this. When you are a public figure, people can easily start lying about the nature of your relationship and can make false allegations.


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