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Monday, November 27, 2017

Mike Pence won't dine alone with a woman who's not his wife. Is that sexist?

Last week, the Washington Post profiled second lady Karen Pence, a devout Christian and devoted wife who is, as the story put it, her husband’s “prayer warrior,” “gut check” and “shield.”
Ashley Parker, the reporter, noted that Vice President Mike Pence once had told The Hill, a political newspaper and website, that he never dines with women alone, nor does he attend functions without his wife if alcohol is being served.
This tidbit popped off the page like a spark from a burning log. Twitter, which is always highly combustible, exploded.
Was this a sign of marital devotion and respect? Or a signal that the Pences don’t trust Mike Pence to be alone with a woman? Or perhaps don’t trust a woman to be alone with Mike Pence?

I figured this fusty-seeming practice must spring from the couple’s well-known religiosity.
They were married in the Catholic church, later became evangelical Christians and frequently talk about their faith. Mike Pence often describes himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order.”
Some people said the vice president simply was following the “Billy Graham rule” — created by the famous evangelist in 1948, when he was on the road proselytizing. Graham and his male colleagues vowed to avoid situations that would “have even the appearance of compromise or suspicion.”

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