Does It Matter? *UPDATE*

We interrupt this chirpy little mommy-blog for a moment of political postulating…

When I was in school, and I was first feeling my way around the world, trying to determine what my political footing would be, I wrote a research paper with the premise that the private life of a politician is irrelevant to their performance as a leader.  I asserted that JFK and FDR were both known philanderers, and they were both excellent presidents–why, then, should it matter if a presidential candidate had been unfaithful to his or her spouse? 

I wrote that years before I became someone’s wife.  It makes me shudder a little now.

The next presidential election is in full-swing, and already we’re hearing more than we ever wanted to know about the people running.  And I’ve been interested to observe that many of the candidates I might consider supporting have been blatantly unfaithful to their spouses. 

And this bugs me.  I’m trying to decide just how much it bugs me.

It’s not that I expect the president to be the model of the perfect spouse (there is no such thing)–it’s just that, sitting smack dab in the middle of a marriage myself, I see how closely intertwined your character is with your treatment of your spouse.  Can I fully trust a leader who cheated on the most important vow he or she ever took? 

I bring this up simply because I thought it would be an interesting point to throw out for discussion.  How big a deal is it to you that your president is a faithful spouse?  How much does that impact your voting?  If a candidate who had cheated (but with whom you agreed otherwise politically) ran against a candidate who had been faithful (but with whom you greatly differed politically)–how much weight would you give to the issue of marital fidelity?

My favorite posts are always the ones where y’all jump in for a hearty discussion, so get to it.   (And even though I referenced the US election, you international folks feel free to jump in.) 

*UPDATE*  Thanks for a hearty discussion, everyone.  Just a heads-up that I’ll be closing comments on this at 2 pm Central on Sunday, simply because these things need to have an end point.  If you have something left to say, please remember to stay on-topic.

*UPDATE#2*  Comments are now closed.  Feel free to continue the discussion at your own blogs!  Thanks–

106 thoughts on “Does It Matter? *UPDATE*

  1. veronica says:

    I think there is a difference between someone who cheats and rationalizes it and someone who cheats but repents of it. That would make a significant difference to me.
    I don’t think I could vote for someone who blithely betrays his/her spouse. Apart from what it reveals about a candidate’s character, I think a president stands symbollically for the country, and the country needs a better symbol than that.

  2. margalit says:

    I believe that probably EVERY candidate has cheated. Those that have admitted it or have been caught aren’t any different than those than haven’t yet been outted. Powerful men (and we’re discussing men here… the lone woman was cheated on) do tend to both get hit on by women hoping to advance their own careers, and also tend to forget that their power can overwhelm common sense.
    Honestly, I look at someone like Mitt Romney, who may or may not have cheated on his wife, but so decimated MY state, and is such a sleazy lying scumbag that took the position of Governor of MA as a complete and total stepping stone to the Presidency and didn’t even bother to hide it from his constituents, and I see such a moral emptyness that cheating on his wife wouldn’t even bother me a bit. Not after he almost wiped out the department of social services, subsidized housing, health care for the poor, and food stamps. The man came into the state, pulled the safety net completely and totally out from under the poor, didn’t do a damn thing to help the citizens of this state, traveled constantly campaiging for president, and lied, yes LIED about his views on serious moral issues like abortion and the war, and I’m supposed to think he’s a better candidate than someone that might have had an affair but didn’t screw his constituents? I don’t think so.
    In my book, personal behavior is really secondary to how a person fulfills the office. If they lie and have no compassion for the poor, if they syphon off money for the rich at the expense of the poor, they’re morally bankrupt and would NEVER get my vote. If they schtupped someone outside of marriage but represented their people well, worked hard to help the people they represent, the poor, the indigent, the disabled, and they provided good social programs for their constituents, that’s the guy I’m voting for. Every single time.

  3. TulipGirl says:

    “I think there is a difference between someone who cheats and rationalizes it and someone who cheats but repents of it.”
    That is very well said. And it wouldn’t be a deciding factor for me, but it definitely would be a strong factor in how I perceive the candidates abilities/commitment to keep the promises he’s made to the country, and willing to persevere and do the right thing, even during hard times.

  4. Kim says:

    This has not touched my life personally but has radically impacted the lives of several women who I love dearly. All of them are still committed to their marriages but most importantly, his decision to surrender to the flesh brought them *both* on their knees before holy God. That was true repentance. It was and is a beautiful thing. It healed the marriages of those that I saw crumbling into complete ruins. What a testimony to his complete saving grace! His mercy on the sinner that acknowledges their wretched way…regardless of the sin. I guess without making myself late for the bus this morning, I would say….the issues do weigh heavily in my decision but like you said, what about trust? I would love to see true repentance and a marriage that reflects commitment to the vows….commitment to their Lord….regardless of attacks from the enemy and failure of the flesh. That kind of faith, perseverance and humility might sway my vote.
    Great post!

  5. Lisa says:

    There isn’t even one candidate that I like at all. Not even close. So then what. I guess vote on the lesser of the evils. WE are in a time of history that I am seriously looking for God’s return. Thank God for that.

  6. Susan says:

    I struggle with this because we are all human and therefore we all sin. But I agree with you that I find it difficult to trust someone who cheats on their spouse and lies about it, over and over. And only comes clean when the evidence is overwhelming. If someone cheats, admits it, repents, I would be more able to accept that person as a candidate, I think.

  7. Maggie says:

    Good Question. I think that anyone who runs for high political office is egotistical. They have to be in order to endure the scrutiny they face. I’m not sure where this land me on your particular question, but it seems to me that the personalities of the people who choose for run for President makes them more inclined to think they can do waht they want. They take risks. They also are under a lot of stress. Maybe the philandering is their relief valve. Not that it is right in any way. Would I rather have a president who is a philanderer or who uses drugs/alcohol as their relief valve? I don’t like the conculsiont hat I have drawn that risky behavior and powerful positions tend to go hand in hand. I wish it was not so.

  8. Melessa says:

    I agree that a man who cheats seems less than trustworthy. However, much like actors or musicians; politicians live a life that requires they spend most of their time away from their wives and families. Because most men tend to compartmentalize, a life like that makes it easier for them to forget they are married and easier for them to end up going down a path that they never imagined possible when they took their marriage vows. Again, I’m not condoning it, but I see how it could happen. As others have said here, I would rather worry about a candidate’s issues than his personal life and that his attitude about the infidelity would make the difference to me much more than just the reveal that an indiscretion had occurred. No one, in any walk of life, is immune from making mistakes or exempt from being forgiven for them.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the first commenter. I think it depends on whether or not the person regrets their actions. I’ve always found it so interesting that the only man in the Bible that God calls a “man after His own heart” is King David. But David did some pretty awful things, including adultery (and then having his mistress’ husband killed as well!). God didn’t turn his back on David, though, because David was truly repentant. David was deeply sorrowful for what he’d done, and he repented and changed.
    I always get a negative image of a person when I find out they’ve done something like cheat on their spouse. But if they seem sorry for what they’ve done and they don’t repeat that sin, then I find it easy to look over those actions. If God can forgive them, so can I. So if I were thinking about voting for a politician who was a cheater, I would want to make sure that they seemed like the kind of man/woman who would not do it again.
    I must admit, too, that I would never vote for a person in a certain political party, no matter how good a person they seemed to be, because there is just too much at risk now (appointing federal judges, etc.). I will always vote along party lines and do my best to choose the best candidate within that party. When I look at what each of our two main political parties stand for, my beliefs/views clearly line up on one side.

  10. Fafa says:

    One glaring question that arose in my mind during the Clinton era is “would I want my children looking up to this person?” How do you respond to a child who admires these people, especially in today’s world off media frenzy? I am pretty sure that a seven year old somewhere in this country heard about George Bush’s drug use, and Clinton’s infidelity, and was crushed. Probably never to believe in American Government again. The funny thing…I don’t have kids. I think on some level, as an adult, I too was crushed to hear such horrible news about my president. Too bad Mr. Dryer never had big political aspirations…it would certianly be an HONEST campaign!

  11. Kellyology says:

    I think it’s about impossible to find a truly honorable politician. So if they’ve had an affair, I’d have to look at the rest of his/her package to see how offensive they are to me in all areas. Then I’d make my decision.

  12. Marni says:

    I would never vote for a practicing philanderer. Time, energy, and tax dollars would be spent by a philandering or adultering president hunting down and getting his “fix” (of intercourse) and covering it up. They don’t have that kind of time and energy to waste. A person who has something they’re trying to hide is extra vulnerable to being bribed as well.

  13. mopsy says:

    If a candidate can’t uphold a wedding vow, why should I expect them to honor any other vow? If you can’t be faithful to ONE person, why should you be faithful to 300 MILLION?
    It’s pretty low to cheat on a spouse—it’s not that hard to control the contents of one’s pants.

  14. Tamara says:

    One problem here is that we must rely on the media to give us accurate information. I don’t believe everything I hear or read. This unreliability of the press must be kept in consideration. How do we really know who is faithful? Should I assume the candidate who looks faithful is indeed faithful? Or might he have the money to make the payoff that keeps the story quiet? Has the media chosen to report on all the candidates, or have they chosen only to report on the infidelities of the people they don’t like, so they can sway my vote? A mostly liberal media knows full well that as a conservative, I will be concerned about infidelity and that my vote might be swayed away from a conservative candidate who once cheated. Voter, beware! Don’t let a clearly biased press “give” you your opinion by what they choose to report and what they choose to omit.

  15. susan says:

    I vote for the candidate whose political views are in line with my conservative political views (or as close to mine as possible).
    Does it matter if he is a faithful spouse, yeah, but not so much. This is politics. We are not electing a Pastor, who you would expect to be a faithful spouse, we are electing a President.
    I am not advocating adultery by any means. But as a Christian, I am not surprised that people sin. This includes politicians.

  16. Lynnae says:

    To answer the question, I would give more weight to a person’s political views than to whether or not he had cheated. I agree that adultery reflects a person’s character, and it would definitely bother me, but voting for someone who would most definitely take this country in a direction I don’t want to see it go would bother me more.
    Now in the primaries, where there are multiple candidates who’s views are more in line with my thinking, I’d definitely give the adultery more weight. I think it’s important to have a President with integrity, if at all possible.

  17. Carrie says:

    JFK had affairs. Hitler was completely faithful to his wife (he was also a T-totaler). Still want to vote based on this issue?
    You have to remember that most political marriages are just for show. We live in a country where people want a facade of familial stability and “Christian values,” which is why a Jew, a Muslim, or an atheist (yes, we do have morals) will never be president: they don’t fit the ideal, which is the imaginary 1950’s American image of perfection, even if that is a complete lie. So, politicians have to create the image of a perfect Christian marriage for their constituents. Of course they aren’t happy in these relationships, so they have affairs.
    A person’s marriage relationship has absolutely nothing to do with his or her ability to run a country, nor does it effect his or her ability to make larger decisions. IT DOES NOT MATTER. My husband is the most trustworthy man I’ve ever known, but I can tell you he’s not fit to lead a nation.

  18. Tutorgal says:

    Harry Truman once argued, ‘I would never knowingly hire a man to work for me who cheated on his wife….if he’ll lie to his wife, he’ll lie to me. If he’ll break his oath of marriage he’ll break his oath of office.’
    If the president is working for the American people, then I agree with Truman–I wouldn’t hire a president who broke his oath to his wife.

  19. Dawn says:

    I would vote for someone that I agreed with politically first. If I thought they were going to pay attention to the issues I think are important and if I thought they would make a better president than the others, that’s what I would deem the most important. However, if it came down to two people that I felt equally would make a good president and one of them was a cheater, I would definitely choose the other. I do think someone could be a great president but not a great family man or woman. After all, someone who is vying for the presidency has probably spent a lot more effort on their career than their family.

  20. Emily says:

    I agree with Tutorgal.
    Carrie-That is a ridiculous question. We are talking about electing men who are moral in their personal lives. Hitler was very obviously NOT a moral person and nobody would purposely choose a mass murderer.
    And IT DOES MATTER what a person believes and values. Families are being destroyed. A moral leader who can help protect the family unit is critical.
    I see I’m in the minority here, but I honestly don’t see how so many of you can think that someone who breaks his marital vows can honorably lead our country. Does the United States have any pride left?

  21. Rocks In My Dryer says:

    Emily, I don’t think you’re in the minority at all.
    Carrie, I hope most people have the common sense not to treat this completely as an either/or decision.
    I wouldn’t cast my vote ENTIRELY based on this issue (obviously, I’d choose Clinton over Hitler, for Pete’s sake!) but does it factor in at least somewhat to my decision? Sure. I think that’s totally reasonable. I like how Mopsy said it above, “If you can’t be faithful to ONE person, why should you be faithful to 300 MILLION?” So yeah, I think it’s something to consider.
    And by the way, I personally don’t think being faithful to a spouse is a uniquely “Christian” ideal. Sure, it’s supported by my Christian belief system, but I know plenty of non-Christians with happy marriages, and they have the same expectations and hopes that I do that their spouse will be faithful.
    Good discussion, y’all.

  22. Gail says:

    It bugs me as well if a candidate has been unfaithful….and I agree with Emily. It DOES matter what they believe and value and it matters a GREAT deal what they do in their personal lives. Hubby has long told me, if they cheat or lie in their personal lives they will surely do it in all other aspects of their lives. The family is under attack in our country and I think our leader is so important in what he believes and how he acts in his personal life.

  23. Antique Mommy says:

    I used to feel like you did – but now I feel like you do. The tricky part that we don’t really know everything about the candidates and in a way, I’m not sure we should. Although one candidate may have an issue with infidelity, the other may as well – it’s just not known (yet). Europeans are far less concerned about this kind of issue, but if you look at their political system, it’s a mess too. So then. I remain firmly undecided.

  24. GiBee says:

    This is a very tough topic, because there are so many different turns a conversation on this subject could take. I agree with you on questioning the individuals’ integrity… but I’m also sure you probably have a laundry basket full of weighty political concerns that need to be included in the overall discussion (as I do).
    Maybe you should write down all of the hot topics your are passionate about, and then, see what you come up with through the process of elimination of the candidates that don’t support your overall political agenda. In other words, vote for the lesser of evils, while voting your conscious. Did that make any sense?
    For instance … lets say there are only two candidates left. One (Candidate-A) has cheated on his wife, divorced her, and is now married to someone new.
    The other one (Candidate-B) has never cheated on their spouse, has an excellent spousal relationship, and is a wonderful parent.
    Candidate-A is against abortion, same sex marriages, and stem-cell research from aborted fetuses.
    Candidate-B is for abortion, same sex marriages, and stem-cell research.
    If pressed, I would choose Candidate-A, because his values and support on the overall “greater topics” outside of his infidelity will enable him to bring in judges, etc. that will have a long-lasting impact on our world long after he is no longer President.
    Did that make sense?

  25. Max says:

    “The family is under attack in our country”
    No, it’s not. Can you back that statement up in any way? How exactly are families under attack? Are they dragging families out into the streets and stoning them? Are families’ rights being stripped? Are men with families losing their right to vote? Are women with children having their driver’s licenses revoked? No. The family is not under attack, that’s just republican drivel created to scare people who can’t think for themselves.

  26. Laurie says:

    Wow – interesting post. I agree, that a person who cheated but is repentent is a different case than a person who cheats and thinks nothing of it. In a sense this is how I view the whole Clinton-Bush thing. Clinton was a known cheater before and during his presidency – I would have difficulty supporting him because he was obviously not repentent – maybe sorry he got caught, sorry he hurt his family, but not sorry enough to change (hopefully he has now). Bush made mistakes in his younger years that if he had kept making them in his older years would have cost him my vote. BUT, he obviously made some huge significant changes in his life and was no longer living in that manner.
    And the whole Hitler versus JFK thing is absurd. It’s not an either/or – that’s a pretty silly comparision.
    I do think it would be A factor in my decision, but not THE factor. Not a litmus test, but additional information about the candidate to consider.

  27. Janelle says:

    I think about this often too. For me, it’s not so much that they cheated if it was just once or something that happened 25 years ago. As stated in previous comments, they could repent and it be a one time omission of judgement.
    If it is a “career” of cheating or being divorced multiple times or some other illegal or imoral act, that tells more of a person’s character. Too, maybe the interpersonal skills aren’t where they should be for a president if they can’t keep a marriage together, or say no to peer pressure. Likewise if they put up with a cheating spouse, what else are they likely to put up with as president? Not something I’d like to find out.
    I think I put more weight on it than other people because no matter what their views, if they can keep a commitment to someone they love, they have morales in line with me, and in the end that’s who I want-regardless of their voting record; although I follow that closely too.

  28. ZOOM says:

    I don’t really like either political party and really don’t trust either one to be more noble than than the other. Most of these folks are out for POWER and will say anything or do anything to get elected. As far as cheating on your spouse…. man. None of us would want to be cheated on, but as a leader is that worse than any other vice?

  29. donetta says:

    Politics is now a business. It was once a branch of our government designed to prosper a people.
    Now prosperity is self indulged!
    Our government has become a poluted interprise.
    Our tree is dying and the branch that is suposed to be for the people could well use to be prunned off. The real concern is that with such a poluted well what good could grow or be grafted in? Is there really anything good that could come of it?
    Fidelity is a mute point because the fidelity to the God of our forfathers has been defiled! If the whole of the arena is so perverted our vote is now all but devalued. I am sadden by the state of our Dear America.

  30. Lucy says:

    This is really hard to answer. Not to be subjective, but I guess it will depend on the whole package. There are certain positions which I cannot vote for, regardless of how faithful the candidates are to their spouses. And I would rather not vote for a candidate who cheated, but I may have to. Sadly, as much as I’d like to vote for a third-party candidate, election is not possible. Only in smaller parties do I really find people who believe and live the way I do.
    And to be honest, I *don’t* believe that someone who breaks marriage vows can honorably lead the country. However, I may have to choose between dishonorable and destructive. There is just no great outcome.

  31. HappyGoMommy says:

    (In response to Max, the family unit – as it has always been defined – is most certainly under attack. It is not some “republican drivel,” but a true degragration of conservative family values. Families still work best with two solid, intact parents of opposite genders.)
    Shannon, your question is a tough one. I love to talk politics and engage in dialogue, so thank you for posting this.
    While I would feel very torn between electing a man who had cheated on his wife, and a man who supports views I do not feel are best for America, I would still have to vote for the man who I feel will provide the best for America. And then pray that he doesn’t cheat America as he had cheated on his wife.
    We also don’t know what goes behind in many of these marriages behind closed doors – look at former Governor McGreevey from NJ, for instance. He had what appeared to be a very solid, happy marriage when he was elected.
    I also agree with Tamara, who brought up the point of the media. SO MUCH of what we know is blatantly biased by the views of the media and how they present the information they know.

  32. Max says:

    “In response to Max, the family unit – as it has always been defined – is most certainly under attack. It is not some “republican drivel,” but a true degragration of conservative family values. Families still work best with two solid, intact parents of opposite genders.)”
    How? If conservatives are trying to limit the rights of homosexual couples (which, by the way, there is no solid evidence to back up your claim that heterosexual-coupled families work best), then THEY are the ones under attack, not you.

  33. Gretchen Hanna says:

    “However, I may have to choose between dishonorable and destructive. There is just no great outcome.” I agree, well said, Lucy.
    How funny, I copied this and was going to refer to it even before I saw “Rock’s” above quote. 🙂
    It’s a fallen world, folks. None of us is perfect. Ideally, we would have a man or woman of both personal AND professional integrity to the highest degree. However, I don’t think we can expect our president to be any different than the people s/he leads. Leadership is a gift/talent. It doesn’t mean that the leaders are omniscient and omnipotent. We ask an awful lot of one human being. I’m not writing this as an escape clause for our president, but as a fact–we tend to put our leaders on pedestals that noone could aspire to. I also agree that the presidential campaign is that of big political business. While I would love for the most qualified person to run the country, I feel that the most wealthy campaign is the one which will win. As in most jobs, it’s who you know, not what you know. I’ll still vote, and still treasure the right to vote, but I vote with open eyes.
    Have a great Memorial Day weekend. Pray for those vets and the families of vets and others who’ve passed away.

  34. kittyhox says:

    This is a tough one.
    I’m a moderate and I don’t align with either party on all issues. For example, I agree with Democrats about the war, but agree with Republicans about abortion. So I am always at a loss for whom to vote.
    Something that really bugs me is that the Republican party is the party known for family values and Christian ideals. Yet Gingrich was having an affair while going after Clinton for his indiscretions. While his wife was sick. Guiliana treated his first wife very poorly and left her for his mistress, as well.
    It’s hard not to be put off by that kind of hypocrisy.
    Also, I just read an interview in which George Bush revealed he doesn’t attend church regularly. What the heck!?
    I honestly don’t know where to turn to find a candidate with the values that I feel are essential for the office. And, yes, I do think it is of the utmost importance. An extramarital affair indicates that one doesn’t honor his commitments. That he puts his own selfish needs above the wellbeing of his wife and children. And when he hides an affair or outright lies about it, it’s a sign that he isn’t honest when it is inconvenient.
    All of which are unacceptable character traits for our national leader and role model.
    Finally, to those who argue that all politicians are likely to have affairs and that we just don’t know about it yet, I think that’s a cop out and an excuse to ignore documented adultery. There are certainly politicians who are faithful to their wives, just as there are husbands who are faithful.
    And as far as being remorseful, where is the evidence of remorse when a person marries his mistress? Even Clinton didn’t sink to that level.

  35. Michael Bates says:

    There is a potential candidate whose intellect I greatly respect, but twice he did the trophy-wife trade-up as he ascended the political ladder. However brilliant he may be in his policy prescriptions, I think his marital history points to deep character problems that would prevent him from being an effective chief executive.

  36. mopsy says:

    “I may have to choose between dishonorable and destructive”—great line, Lucy. Sad, but true.
    Of course I look at the whole package. There is no perfect candidate or person. I do not put political figures on a pedestal. I think you have to be *slightly* crazy to want the job of POTUS, anyway.

  37. Sarah Joy says:

    I will not knowingly vote for a liar again. I fear God more than the worse of two evils, and I don’t believe He will do nothing when we elect lying men to keep more wicked men from gaining power.
    True repentance, where you see a complete rejection and abhorrance for that behaviour, is one thing, but the attitude that “everyone does it” is unacceptable to me, that’s lying to your spouse, our lying about your beliefs so that people like me will vote for you. All these people moving to the right for the election have no appeal for me, and it grieves me, because if enough people feel like I do, a truly awful president will be elected, but again, I fear God more than them!
    And in response to Carries interesting comparison of American political figures and Hitler. The only reason Hitler was faithful to Eva Braun was that they both both died right after getting married. Their relationship was completely illegitimate.
    I’ve enjoyed reading this, I know I have a strong opinion here, but it has developed over time. I also have changed my mind on this matter.

  38. Deena says:

    “I think there is a difference between someone who cheats and rationalizes it and someone who cheats but repents of it.”
    Anytime someone does something wrong and rationalizes it, I wonder about their moral fiber. It takes a real man (or woman) to admit to wrong and take responsibility for it.
    Voting based solely on marital fidelity is foolishness…but disregarding how a man treats his wife is equally foolish. Marriage used to be a sacred vow…from reading the comments posted, it is obvious just how far we’ve moved away from that.
    But, if a man (or woman) can’t stay faithful to the one…how will they stay faithful to the many??
    Everybody sins…that’s not the point. It’s what we do in response to our sin that matters. Do we hide it, white wash it, blame it on the radical left or right, or own it and take steps to change??
    Unfortunately, the media plays a big part in perception, and they don’t always care to get the story accurate. So we may vote our conscience, only to find out tomorrow that we were duped.
    Do your homework, weigh what matters most to you, and vote accordingly…but moral fiber does matter, whether we want to admit it or not…and moral fiber is more than marital faithfulness…
    ok, I’m done…

  39. Amanda says:

    “If a candidate can’t uphold a wedding vow, why should I expect them to honor any other vow?”
    I agree with Mopsy on this: marriage vows witnessed by God and our peers should mean no less than vows made to honour and protect a nation!
    Here in the UK, rumours of infidelity would most likely destroy a candidate’s chances of becoming Prime Minister, or even an MP! True, heartfelt and honest repentance could perhaps help change my opinion somewhat, but I would always be suspicious.

  40. julie says:

    I think it completely boils down to the persons characheter.
    People make mistakes. If they admit the mistake and try and make amends I could trust them with our country.
    If they see nothing wrong with cheating on their wife and are a type of serial cheater I would have a problem with this.
    Do we want someone with that type of moral charachter running our country? We live in a great country and only great men should have the priveledge of leading us.

  41. Katy says:

    Isn’t the divorce rate higher among Christians than among non-Christians? If families truly are under attack, maybe we all ought to take a long hard look at ourselves.
    Also, this business about the media kind of irritates me. Journalists do the best they can with the information they are given. And if a journalist learns that an elected official is acting in a way that doesn’t seem to line up with the values of his or her constituents, doesn’t that reporter have a responsibility to write about it? Would it be better to stick our heads in the sand and let it happen without any sense of accountability?
    The fact is, the media plays a crucial roll as a watchdog when it comes to observing government. Lord knows I’ve been to enough city council meetings and economic development meetings and school board meetings to know that voters barely pay attention at the local level where their elected officials are immediately accessible. How much more in the dark would all of us be if journalists didn’t observe and write about what is going on in our state legislatures and in Washington? I guarantee most of us would live happier lives without the knowledge of what is going on in Washington, but living like an ostrich is not the kind of contentment I want.

  42. daring one says:

    I hate that discussions about choosing candidates often degenerate to a “lesser of two evils” debate.
    Of course I want to vote for someone who shares my values and will be honest with the American people. Ideally, I also want someone who is omniscient, infallible and does everything exactly the way I would do it every time.
    From that description, it appears that not even God would meet my ideal of the perfect president so I guess I’ll just have to pick the “lesser of the remaining evils”…
    I think we set future generations up for a life of political hopelessness when we are so cynical about the political process. We have the right to vote. We have several candidates to choose from and checks and balances in place to stop them from screwing up too completely. I’d say we have it pretty good compared to the majority of the world, even the developed world.
    We’re not forced to choose between Hitler and Mussolini or even Hitler and Clinton. I think several of the candidates have good intentions but are flawed human beings who may have made stupid choices in their lives.
    We each have to decide which issues mean the most to us, what values and past experiences will most likely affect the candidate’s ability to govern and focus on what positive things they bring to the table.
    I don’t want to vote for someone who cheated on their spouse but that is far from being the only factor. It does say something about their character but it’s also an easy and obvious target. We don’t even begin to know the character flaws of all the candidates or their strengths. We only know the few things we’re being told.
    I do want to vote for someone who’s a strong leader, who has show past ability to handle tough political situations, who seems sincere in their desire to serve the American people and who knows how to move their head from side to side without their entire torso moving with it.
    I’m going to try to pick out the person with the most positives (according to me because it’s my country and my vote) and go with it.

  43. Cheri says:

    Well, well, I think character is *huge*. I think cheating on your spouse is a character flaw. I think there are many layers and many factors that feed into how I am guided to vote. I think that a person that has committed adultery (let’s just call it what it is KWIM) and has repented is different than someone who’s character is dotted and represented by affairs. We are all human, we are all capable of failing and falling, but what marks our lives is how we live after we’ve fallen. In your scenerio I would have the option to not vote and that is the one I would exercise. My conscience could not vote for someone who supported things that went against my system of beliefs, even if he hadn’t committed adultery.

  44. Trixie says:

    Ahhhh where to start? I’ve never been short of opinions so I’ll just jump right in.
    I would not consider voting for someone that had been unfaithful to their spouse that was not truely repentant towards God and publicly acknowledged this action as SIN.
    Trixie

  45. Addie says:

    Ideally, I also want someone who is omniscient, infallible and does everything exactly the way I would do it every time.
    From that description, it appears that not even God would meet my ideal of the perfect president so I guess I’ll just have to pick the “lesser of the remaining evils”…
    DYM that line will go with me TO MY GRAVE!!! Wouldn’t voting be so much easier, if it was as one dimensional as all our arguments make it look.

  46. Addie says:

    I really meant to put that last comment in quotes, so y’all knew I was quoting the daring one. My own brain is way to tired to come up with anything that smart!

  47. Bailey's Leaf says:

    My take on it is this. I hate infidelity. But, if I were to choose Bill Clinton vs. the current George Bush, I would take Bill Clinton hands down. Okay, George is faithful and all, but look at what an incredible mess that our nation is in. Bill Clinton was unfaithful, but he somehow managed to get troops in and out of Iraq in an incredibly timely manner and it was all good. I hate war. I hate our troops dying. I hate infidelity, but somehow we were a more peaceful nation in the midst of it.

  48. JanB says:

    Personally, my ex was a cheater. He had a sexual encounter at our wedding reception. I am afraid that I equate all cheaters as somewhat worse than oozing sores of humanity.
    I feel that 99% of politicians are liars. Most are wickedly deceitful. I guess the lure of the power and office draw that crowd. I kind of anticipate that most politician are going to be cheaters, liars and thieves. Sad, huh?
    But hope springs eternal. I wish that Colin Powell or Bill Cosby would run for office! The problem is that they are above that sort of life (not that movie stars are much better than politicians).

  49. Anonymous says:

    Quoting Bailey’s Leaf…”Bill Clinton was unfaithful, but he somehow managed to get troops in and out of Iraq in an incredibly timely manner and it was all good.”
    Uh…Bill Clinton didn’t send troops to Iraq.
    The only other President to do so was W’s dad.

  50. Jenn says:

    Lisa wrote: “I guess vote on the lesser of the evils. WE are in a time of history that I am seriously looking for God’s return. Thank God for that.”
    I stopped reading comments after that 🙂 Amen!
    I’m from Canada and our candidates don’t get nearly the publicity that your candidates do and we also don’t get alot of
    “smeering” before elections either. No offence but the US always amazes me in thier ability to dig dirt on pretty much everything. Don’t get me wrong, Canada has thier share of scandals too, our last Prime Minister was involved in a big one and it cost him and the whole Liberal party the government. But on the upside, the Liberals mistakes made me actually want to vote…so they wouldn’t be in office again. Anyway, very interesting topic in blogland 🙂

  51. Jossie says:

    The biggest problem I’m seeing, is that this discussion is being had by Christians. Why is that a problem? Because our country was based on freedom of religion. Americans don’t have to be Christians, and I think it’s unfair to assume that they are. Am I Christian? Yes. Do I think the president should have to be repentent of sin to a God he may or may not believe in? No. Freedom of religion has to mean freedom from religion, too. I don’t think you should have to put your religious ideals aside, but I don’t think you should project them onto the president either.
    Also, saying that “family” is under attack really irks me. I agree with Max and Katy. If a recipe for a perfect marriage/family exists, it should be made known. Until then, live and let live. I don’t think it is our right to decide who marries and who doesn’t. There really is no evidence that heterosexual couples make the best parents. I understand that homosexuality is a sin in Christianity, but it’s not a sin to those that aren’t Christian. Not everyone believes in a Christian God. It all comes back to freedom of/from religion. Judge not, lest ye be judged.

  52. O says:

    Interesting…now being in a marriage with kids I realize I am in no position to judge anyone’s marriage. In high school and college, I had 2 boyfriends who cheated on me (once!) and so I am no fan of the breed. But both guys, while terrible boyfriends on the “faithfulness/trustworthy in relationships” scales, were tremendous successes, including ethically, in their academic and, later, professional lives.
    I can also guess, talking to some of my friends, that I have made decisions in our marriage that some would call compromises that would be unacceptable to some of them, just as in my friends’ and relatives’ marriages, I see things I consider dealbreakers that I would not stand for in my own marriage. But I’m not in their marriage, so I love and support them and their choices.
    So I vote my politics and swallow hard on the personal lives. And I remember that others might think I’m crazy for what I “put up with” that doesn’t bother me at all, and try very hard not to pass judgement on what bugs me about their relationships that doesn’t bother them.
    AWESOME thread, everyone. Thanks for some real head-scratchers and lightbulb moments. Great post Shannon!

  53. Sandy says:

    There have been studies on just this sort of thing. The sort of people who seek power are often either completely non-sexual or they are total cheaters. Adolf Hitler: Never touched Eva Braun, was completly uninterested in women to the point of rumors of homosexuality (most scholars are pretty sure he wasn’t). Bill Clinton: Cheatsie McWomanizer, but, in my opinion, a good president (not a good one, but a great one, and I’ll leave it at that). In my opinion, Kennedy is remembered more for what he wanted to do than what he actually did, but as we all know, he had his share of ladies on the side. I truly believe it’s irrelevant. I don’t think it’s OK to cheat on your significant other, but I think the maturity and commitment required to be faithful is a different skill set from the maturity and commitment required to be a good leader.

  54. Doris says:

    A faithful president is important to me – very important. I would like to say it’s more important than their political views, but in the referenced scenario, I would definitely vote for the one with whom I agreed politically.

  55. Clemntine says:

    In answer to Shannon’s question, I would (and do) vote for the candidate that has a track record of policymaking that lines up with my convictions on what is of most benefit to the citizens (whether local, state or federal level). I examine past public actions (votes, laws or bills authored, committee service, vetos) and rule candidates in or out based on their actions.
    I know exactly how every person who represents my family in any level of government votes (or proposes, or authors, or amends, or vetos, etc.). I routinely communicate with my representatives, whether I voted for him/her or not, as they represent this family in policy making. Certainly there are policies that are deemed “in the common good” that are not my personal preference. I pray for my representatives and I know that God holds the heart of the king in His hand and turns it like a river as He wills.
    I realize that the US is made up of all kinds of people, and I thank God for being so creative. The absolute fact of God’s sovereignty is indisputible, and therefore so is His ultimate control over every aspect of human existance on this planet. We all exist by and because of Him and for His good pleasure, whether or not we acknowledge that fact. All that to say that, while I am an educated citizen and a grateful voter, I exercise the most influence over the political process when I humble myself, pray, and seek the face of God.
    Excellent discussion, Shannon. May you be blessed.

  56. Kathy/ Lessons from the Laundry says:

    Infidelity is not honorable, but humans, even the president is flawed. These flaws, especially those of the heart, do not necessarily dictate their abilities. I will vote for the person most capable and equipped to lead.
    The world is extemely volatile. I need a leader who can preserve stability, in the world, if not in his/her marriage.

  57. k says:

    The real horror of even having these “devil or the deep blue sea” discussions is that these types are our only real choices. Men of faith and principle couldn’t get elected–they’re too “narrow minded and judgmental”. In the Bible when God was getting ready to judge Israel, he allowed them ungodly leaders. That doesn’t speak well for where we are as a nation.

  58. Pamela says:

    Well, I guess it’s time for a little history refresher. Our country was not founded on freedom on religion. It is an amendment to our original Constitution. These ten amendments are called the Bill of Rights and were added to the Constitution in 1791. 17 additional amendments have been added since that time. (see bottom of text).
    You know what ladies? We have BIG, BIG, problems in this country and I personally do not care who any of our politicians are dicking. I want this war to end. I want the worldwide respect we once had as a nation restored. I want the restoration of my Civil Rights. I want good health care of each and every citizen. I want my hands to stop shaking because I’m so MAD. Educate yourself of the BIG issues ladies, and when you can discuss more than one historically prevalent non-issue, maybe some really important dialogue can take place.
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constitution.billofrights.html
    Bill of Rights – Amendment I
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

  59. Pat Kirk says:

    I feel that morality probably comes as a package. I vote for the one I believe to be faithful, because he may not be pro (you’ll pardon the expression) choice or immoral in other ways.
    There is a caveat here though. Is he a man who slipped once, or does he actively seek the company of women not his wife? These men are probably tracked and trapped like game. The women (hereto known as vultures) want the borrowed limelight.
    If one woman managed to bag him before he dejectedly confessed and begged forgiveness of his shocked and forgiving wife, it’s different than a man (Clinton) who bowed to every approach and instigated his own. I remember my respect rising for the black minister who put his career in jeopardy to tell the world he fathered a child out of wedlock. (I can’t remember his name and I will never agree with his politics). Of course he did the wrong thing, but then took the high road.
    In a perfect world, I would probably vote for Christians only. Unfortunately, not all Christians are gifted for the job, and sometimes you have to go with a person who agrees with your own views, even if that person doesn’t parade his Christianity.
    As stated earlier, our only hope is through prayer, that we will pick the right person, and the Lord will bless His own choice.

  60. Rocks In My Dryer says:

    Jossie, I said it earlier, but I’ll say it again–I don’t believe that marital fidelity is a uniquely Christian value. It’s simply about telling the truth, keeping your word, doing the right (and sometimes hard) thing–these are admirable values regardless of your religious leanings, or even if you have NO religious leanings.

  61. Susanne says:

    Whether or not a candidate cheats or not is probably only an issue for conservatives. If you’re a liberal and think that abortion is a-okay, then adultery is nothing. So we probably won’t be hearing much about the Democrat candidates’ fidelity. The media will be finding out all of the details about the Republican candidates’ marriages, though, because the people voting for them actually care about morality.
    As far as the war issue goes, war isn’t pretty…it never has been. No matter who the president is, war is never a positive thing, but it is sometimes necessary. The sad truth is that unless we want to one day be part of a Muslim state, we have to fight the Muslim extremists. Those people hate freedom, and they want to convert the whole world to Islam by force. I personally have no plans to be forced to wear a burka anytime soon. I’m so thankful for our troops for fighting so that we can keep the many freedoms that we have.

  62. Stephanie Scott says:

    One must look to history in order to determine how to answer this question. Truth be told, there are less than 10 former US Presidents who remained faithful to their spouses. While an unfortunate and very sad statistic, the point remains that we have had many leaders who are remembered for their strength and leadership regardless of their own personal struggles. The difference between then and now however, is that a candidate cannot even get a haircut without being scrutinized by the pundits, let alone cheat.
    As a married woman and Christian, I am obviously not a proponent of adultry. However, as a human being created by God, I also realize that regardless of how righteous we are, we are still sinners, and frankly, sin is sin. As such, every candidate is a sinner and is going to have struggles with something that would be viewed as unacceptable. Therefore, I cannot base my opinion of a candidate solely on their personal activities.
    Just because a person has an affair, does not make them incapable of being a good president, in the same way that just because a man “seems” to be the ideal Christian candidate does not mean he in fact will be great. FDR is remembered as one of the greatest presidents in American history, guiding this country through the tumultuous dynamics of the Great Depression and WWII. He died in the arms of his mistress. Does the fact that he had a mistress make him any less of a great president?
    My real concern is that especially in the Christian community, we find ourselves arguing over issues such as whether or not we’d base our vote for a candidate on whether or not known adulterer.
    Christ said “he who is without sin, cast the first stone….” as well as “remove the plank from your own eye, before trying to remove the sliver from you brothers.” Somehow we forget these instructions, and feel justified to judge and scorn others for their infidelities, while we ignore our own struggles. Sure, we may not be adulterers, but we are still sinners in other ways, and we have the luxury of not have cameras pointed in our lives 24 hours a day to provide fodder for our neighbors.
    Christ spent the majority of his short time on earth instructing us to love one another, to be fiscally responsible, and in so doing to provide care for the poor and meek. How about we follow his example and worry about taking care of the poor? Feeding his sheep? Let’s discuss things that will in fact matter in the grand scheme of history. Let’s look at the voting records of these candidates and see who cuts funding to the poor, who cuts funding for health care, who thinks that giving tax cuts to the upper 2% of the population is financially responsible.
    Before you say there are no “good candidates” I challenge you to reevaluate your basis for what makes a good candidate. Do not base your opinion solely on the headlines of the tabloids and what the pundits say on Fox news and MSNBC. Instead, do the dirty work. Take the extra moments to log on to their websites, read their actual platform. Log in to http://www.house.gov, and see what issues the candidates voted for or against. Then listen to them when they speak or debate, do not take the 5 second soundbite for face value, read the transcripts for the entire context. This will show you what kind of person they will be, and whether or not they will in fact have the qualifications to lead us through this very difficult time.

  63. Jane says:

    I think GWB is by all reports a good husband. And, yet I think he has failed our country. I wonder if life in politics causes such a disconnect from one’s spouse. Can you have such a crazy hectic life and a marriage? RG was an excellent mayor, and living near NYC at the time he really made the city a place to visit. Then of course he was amazing during 911’s aftermath. His was a 24 hour job at that time. Could any relationship survive that? I’m not sure. I’m seriously looking at Barack Obama because his wife has spoken honestly about how she feels about his running. She seems real and strong and if that relationship speaks about him, it speaks to me.

  64. Anne Glamore says:

    Although I am a Christian, I don’t feel like I can depend on anyone but my immediate family to share my exact same values, and my boys may change their minds as they grow up. Thus, I’m a strong believer in separation of church and state. I may vote in part based on moral values, but I can’t expect a nation to adhere to them. I live in a secular world and my job is to live according to my beliefs IN this world. But the world and the nation are bigger than just Christians and I feel like Jesus put mercy, care for the poor, etc high on his list of priorities and so I do the same.
    Summary: I vote for a person, not a label. I can’t see inside someone else’s heart.

  65. Melanie says:

    Being married and knowing people who have gone through divorce or infidelity, I can definitely say it matters. What matters to me is not that they were unfaithful, but that they have real remorse.
    I can say that the people I have known who have cheated and continued also have other character issues.
    Everyone makes mistakes. What matters is learning from them and moving on. Continuing the behavior would be a red flag of lack of integrity in all areas.
    Thanks for the discussion!

  66. Jeana says:

    I think history has proven that “good people” can sometimes do horrible things, and horrible people can sometimes do good things. Fidelity is one of many factors I would consider, but I’m pretty sure there are elections where there is not a non-cheating candidate on the ticket.
    The requirements of a life in politics are not conducive to a strong family life–they don’t have the time that is required for building a strong family. I don’t condone infidelity, but neither am I much surprised to find it in a politician.
    I think it would be safe to say that the traditional Christian definition of a family is under attack.
    And I think the job of the President encompasses so many responsibilities that it’s pretty hard to say who was a good President and who wasn’t; especially when the definition of a “good president” is usually one who accomplished the things that are important to you/me personally.

  67. Linda says:

    Wonderful comments, great discussion.
    I just had to say:
    First Clinton did send troops, or actually sent air troops to Iraq. Desert Fox, I think it was called.
    Second, I agree that its hard for us to know what these powerful men have done that has not been discovered.
    I will admit, that I am a liberal, but I have voted in the way I feel is necessary.
    I really don’t know who the best person is out there.
    I am not comfortable with any of the ones that are out there right now.
    I think that personal life is hard to judge and I don’t think it has that much impact on the actual running of the country.
    Sad, but true.
    Not all people who are faithful, Christian and moral are actually that way 100% especially politicians.
    We are all human, and so we all strive to be good and moral….and we all fail.
    So to judge a person on his/her failures is unrealistic when the reason we elect them is to run the country.

  68. Linda says:

    This is a great discussion. I’ve thought about what I would do if both candidates were pro-choice. And I really just don’t know what I would do. I promised myself and the Lord I’d never vote for a pro-choice candidate. However, if we all stayed home….It really is a dilema.
    I’m not sure about his one either. I guess you can tell I have a hard time wrestling with these weighty issues. I suppose if the unfaithful candidate had “mended his ways” and his values lined up with mine I would hold my nose and vote for him. I think…..boy, this is a hard one.

  69. Barbie says:

    I am not going to read the other comments before I give my opinion because this IS something that has touched my life personally. Does it matter? Oh absolutely it matters! IMO if you can’t remain faithful to the vows you made before God and man then I don’t want you running MY country;-) To me that shows that you lack control and you have NO morals. I know that there are men that cheat and do truly repent (I am thinking of David in the Bible) but honestly I think they are few and far between. I think it is an important issue and IMO just as important as your stance on other things I consider “moral” issues. These aren’t separate to me…either you are moral or you aren’t kwim?
    I also know large corporations do credit checks on their employees before they allow them to handle their money…to me it is the same thing… if you can’t handle your own finances then why should they trust you with their millions??!! I may have a strong opinion on this but I can tell you from experience adultery has changed my life and the life of my three beautiful children. It wasn’t OUR choice yet our lives have changed. I don’t care what the excuse is because I think anyone can walk away if they have any morals at all. FTR I am in the anger stage so this might sound harsh lol But don’t worry God is working in our situation…He is awesome like that:-D

  70. Tamara Cosby says:

    WOW…good post. I have often thought about this…and wish I could come up with a way to make other people understand this topic…I appreciate your post…and am linking to it as we speak! 🙂

  71. Michelle says:

    I think the best thing is to vote for the lesser of two evils. I hear you though, it’s a tough one.
    Since I do not know the candidates hearts and whether their repentence was sincere or not, I try to focus on the other issues and stands the candidate has.
    I think of King David, and how God chose him knowing that David, as the King, would cheat and commit murder.
    I say lesser of two evils because a candidate may not have cheated but they may be a theif or or who knows what?
    Good luck and have fun.

  72. Cathyb says:

    I would not knowingly vote for a candidate who is a philanderer, never. I have absolutely zero respect for anyone who would cheat on their spouse. Zero. I hate the thought of Bill Clinton getting anywhere near the White House again. He brought shame to the office if you ask me. And, whoever said Hitler was faithful to his wife is wrong, he had a very faithful mistress from what I have heard.

  73. Faerylandmom says:

    I have to say that my first priority is to be responsible and know the candidates outside the media frenzy…the media should provide unbiased coverage, but the plain fact is that they don’t. That’s not anything that upsets me, really, it’s just the truth. The media is a human-driven industry, just like anything else.
    In this particular situation, if I’ve done my homework, asked the Lord to give me wisdom, and voted accordingly, then my job as a citizen will not be shamed.
    I fully realize that I may end up voting for a man who has cheated on his spouse – however, like so many others have said – sin is sin. There is no sin greater than any other. I myself struggle with it daily. I do not know anyone’s heart but my own. While I will not shut my eyes to adultery on the part of a political leader, I will not shut my eyes to their political performance because of their sin.
    To those posters who have indicated that Christians should set aside their moral convictions because not all Americans are Christians – I can’t do that. Every person must vote according to their own convictions, regardless of what they are. If we don’t, then what’s the point of voting at all?
    And on a side note (kind of). I don’t believe that freedom of religion = freedom from religion. Freedom of religion means just that – freedom OF religion. It means that each person has the freedom to choose what they believe and why they believe it, and have the right to express that publicly. Granted, I believe that wisdom and common courtesy should also be exercised in public, but not at the expense of compromising what I hold to be the Truth.
    Interesting thread here.

  74. Olive says:

    I’m sorry, I can’t even really believe that this discussion is still going on.
    It basically comes down to a person’s sinful nature. We ALL have a sinful nature. Who are we to judge someone? Should all of our sins be used to define our character? What about before we became a spouse? A parent? Ran for PTA board? Would anyone like to be judged by OTHER PEOPLE for thier mistakes (whether they are repentant or not)? I doubt it.
    Sin is sin, plain and simple. Some sin is just uglier by the world’s standards, but it’s all the same. NO ONE is above is ANY sin. But for the grace of God, anyone of us could be the cheater or cheated. If you don’t agree, then I don’t think you understand the reality of sin.
    We do not have the right to judge someone b/c of something they did. Yes, it is a free country and you can vote however you choose; but as a Christian, I personally do not let a persons personal mistakes infulence how I will vote. I just can’t.
    If I claim the forgiveness of the One True God, then I must return that forgiveness to others- frankly, whenther they’ve asked for it or not- and I must not hold thier mistakes over them. Plain and simple.
    — I read this before reading StephanieScott’s post. Well said, Stephanie!—

  75. katy says:

    I always thought that our President should be someone our children could look up to, someone with morals. I too agree that if it happened in the past and his wife and God forgave him it isn’t up to me to condemn. I just wish my children hadn’t learned the words “oral *e*” when they were young and I had the news on and wasn’t paying attention to what was on.

  76. Polly says:

    I agree with Tutorgirl. And again, Carrie that is a crazy question. You totally missed her point.
    No one has mentioned Ronald Reagan. I and those like me, hold him as the standard for a president. He was totally committed to his wife, his issues AND his standards. It can be done.
    I’m sure someone will bring up his relationships with his children. He admitted, as did Mrs. Reagan, that they neglected to foster a close bond with their children in their teen years. I’m sure that was a regret that he took to his grave.
    Anyway, the way I see it we are in sad shape on both sides of the aisle with the candidates that have stepped up. If it’s not unfaithfulness to a spouse, it’s lying, it’s questionable agendas, and more. I wish someone with a backbone would rise to the surface on both sides and let this be a real battle. Our country is going down the tubes and all anyone cares about is when the war will end. We as a country need to wake up and see that we are being destroyed from within.
    Oh heavens, I’ll end now or I’ll never stop.
    Thanks for an interesting topic, Shannon.

  77. margalit says:

    Just one small comment to throw into the mix. It is obvious that the vast majority of the commenters here are Christians (born again or evangelical, I’d guess). So the word “repent” keeps cropping up. I’d just like to say that in MOST other religions, and in anyone who is agnostic/athiest, there is NO concept of repentance. None. So what you’re all saying, while maybe not meaning to, is that you would not consider voting for anyone who is not Christian and who doesn’t believe in Sin and Repentance.
    Which I personally find way more frightening than adultery.

  78. Susanne says:

    I used to read Revelation and wonder how people would let the Antichrist take control. But now that I see so many of these comments saying, “Who am I to judge?” I can see exactly how that might happen. So many of us are trying so hard to be nice and forgiving that we are giving up our morals. Sure, we all make mistakes. Sure, we shouldn’t always be reminding people of their sins. But someone running for president SHOULD be held to a HIGHER STANDARD than anyone else in this country. Can you imagine a church seeking out a new pastor and saying, “Don’t worry about his past indiscretions…we can’t judge him because we wouldn’t want to be judged. And don’t worry about whether or not he’s repented. After all, he’s only human.” How long do you think that church would last? Being president of a nation or pastor of a church is a bit different from being “joe engineer” down the street. You’re a leader. Children look up to you. You must be held to a higher standard.
    And I must let my values/beliefs/morals influence the way I vote, else I shouldn’t vote at all. My vote is MY vote and no one else’s. I will pray to God to give me the wisdom to vote for the person that He knows is best suited for the job. The comfort in all of this is that God is totally in control of the situation.

  79. Susanne says:

    I just read margalit’s post, and I have to add something. I want everyone out there to understand what “repent” means. It is not a Christian term!
    From dictionary.com:
    re·pent
    1. to feel sorry, self-reproachful, or contrite for past conduct; regret or be conscience-stricken about a past action, attitude, etc. (often fol. by of): He repented after his thoughtless act.
    2. to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one’s life for the better; be penitent.
    –verb (used with object) 3. to remember or regard with self-reproach or contrition: to repent one’s injustice to another.
    4. to feel sorry for; regret: to repent an imprudent act.
    When you say that no other religion understands the concept of repentance, you’re saying that they continue in their wrongdoing and never feel badly about it at all. Now THAT is truly frightening. God help us.

  80. Olive says:

    Choosing not to judge someone b/c of personal decisions or mistakes is not the same as saying they are ok and making them right, Suzanne.
    If I choose to not hold a private, sinful act over someone’s head that is not the same as an endorsement of said act.

  81. fully operational battle station says:

    Holy Shenanigans! Iiiiinnteresting.
    Shannon, I just really like you. And THANK YOU for mentioning several times over that the concept of monogamy is not a concept that strictly Christians own.
    I may be in the dark a bit, but can someone just come out and say WHO it is we are talking about here in the upcoming elections? Because I loves me some Barack and I haven’t heard anything along the lines of adultery but I want to make sure before I support him in the elections.
    So, I guess, ya, I do take adultery into consideration when casting a vote. But like others have mentioned, I weigh it against everything else and it would probably end up at the bottom of my priority list in comparison to the other issues at hand.
    Especially being a military wife. I really don’t care about your personal life, if you are bringing the troops home then I am voting for you.
    What’s the bumper sticker? Nobody died when Clinton lied?…… And whoever said that Clinton embarrassed us as a Country, I get so tired of this. Being embrarrassed is causing us to continue in Iraq. Being embrarrassed should not be a factor in the decision process. We are so prideful sometimes.
    I could discuss this stuff all day. Thanks Shannon for a great discussion, hopefully everyone can still be friends after. 🙂
    Jamie

  82. Susanne says:

    Last comment for me…I’m talking too much because I get too fired up when it comes to politics. 🙂 Don’t get me started on Clinton. Sure “nobody died when Clinton lied,” but Clinton’s complete inaction toward all of the Bin Ladens in the world led us to where we are today in our fight against terror. The terrorists in the world are hoping that we’ll vote for a person who will be a complete weenie when it comes to fighting terror. And from what I hear people saying, that is exactly what our country will probably do in the next election. And the terrorists will all cheer. And the terror cells will grow and grow and grow as we enjoy our war-free happy lives and think that all is well with the world. We’ll become complacent and happily ignorant. And then another 9/11 will come, but this time it will be much worse. And everyone will say, “How did we let this happen again?” Hmmmmm.

  83. IRENE says:

    Let me share this with you, as an “International” reader. In the 1980s Andreas Papandreu became Greece’s first Socialist PM. Some years later it has been revealed that he had had an affair in Sweden, resulting in a teen daughter. Some more years later he divorced his American wife , Margaret, mother to his 4 adult children, and got married to an air stewardess.
    What his legacy was? An attitude of “everything is allowed”, no matter who may get hurt on the way. And that applied to both private and public life. In a span of 20 years, children became disrespectful, because respect to the elders didn’t matter, daily prayer at school was abolished, and so on.
    I hope this teaches Greek American and all Americans regarding the forthcoming election.
    Thank you for bringing up this issue.

  84. Barbie says:

    I am tired of reading things about forgiveness and no one is without sin or how we should forgive because all have sinned. I believe someone even said if we don’t that we don’t have a concept of what sin really is…IMO this isn’t about not forgiving them or even judging them. This is about holding people in office to a higher standard. It isn’t a new concept. For Christians doesn’t the Bible give guidelines for those who want to be deacons or elders in the church? That isn’t about not forgiving them. It is IMO about HIGHER STANDARDS. For those who aren’t Christians I don’t believe this is a “Christian” issue. If it was then why do “non Christians” get married? Don’t their vows mean the same thing to them? I also believe we all hold people to higher standards in everyday life when it personally effects us..ftr I am not saying that the President doesn’t personally effect us I just think people chose to stick their heads in the sand about politics. Still in everyday life we do…for example, would you knowingly allow teachers or daycare workers with criminal histories to spend 6 hrs a day, 5 days a week for 180 days with YOUR child? Even if it was a one time thing and they were truly sorry for what they did? would it only depend on the crime? I believe adultery is still on crime on the books in most states. It just isn’t enforced because as a whole we have become accepting of things that at one time would have brought shame to our families.

  85. TL says:

    There are several issues here, as I see it. If a person cheats on their spouse, they are basically cheating on themselves…”and the two shall become one…” That’s from the Creator. If they will cheat on themselves, they will cheat on their friends, their supportors, their nation. However, a person can truly repent, but there will be a change in their behavior.
    To look at Hitler/Clinton, basically they are about the same. Hitler murdered millions of people. The support of prochoice/partial birth abortion is basically the same thing–murder of millions of people, not yet born. What’s the difference? None. Any one supporting prochoice is supporting selective murder, regardless of where you are politically. Lord have mercy on our country. The Lord hates the sheding of innocent blood.
    As far as war is concerned, we are always going to have wars and rumors of wars. We cannot stand by and allow extremists muslims to bring their terror to our shores and if we don’t stand against them, that will surely happen. They hate us, they want us dead and they will do anything to accomplish their goals! They hate everything that our country (USA) stands for. We must stand and fight them. When the soldiers pull out and come home, they will being the war with them, to the shores of the USA.
    Our troops are doing an outstanding job. We have the best military in the history of this country, but we must remember they are all VOLUNTEERS. They signed up for the job. They want to serve their country. They know the risks and are still willing to take the job. We must support our troops and give them all the tools/equipment necessary to get their job done. It would be different if they had been drafted, but after all they did volunteer and I am very grateful for their commitment to their jobs. You have to understand we are only told what the liberal news media wants us to hear–anything that will make the conseratives look bad.
    We must, as a nation, look for a leader that will take a stand to protect our country against enemies that wants to see our country under religious rule and that would surely mean women would be stripped of all their freedom, we can forget civil rights, there will be none for us. Take a look at the muslim countries and how their women live. Do we want that? I think not.
    We must take a long hard look for the next leader of our country. We better be praying hard for our next President.

  86. Melody says:

    I haven’t read through all the comments, but my first thought is that morality is a huge issue for me, and I would want a president who is not able to be swayed from his convictions…infidelity would be a definite sign that swaying has occurred.
    That said, my second thought was, King David. The OT is full of the chronicles of his sins, infidelity being one of the most well known. And yet, the NT is full of what a great man of God he was…despite his sin.
    I suppose if there is any way to look on the heart, that would be the way to go, however, I’m not sure that anyone but God can do that, so I’m in the pray, pray, pray camp. Oh, and I’m still hoping for rapture any day now…(before my first kid becomes a teenager!)…and that would pretty much take care of it for me anyway. LOL.

  87. Lisa (qtpies7) says:

    My husband cheated on me. Sort of like Clinton, many times, it was a sexual addiction. Most were people he didn’t know, one ended up being an emotional affair, too. I do not tell most people about it because I do not want my family to judge him by that for the rest of our lives. We are through it, he’s had extensive counselling, we’ve had extensive counselling, and he has truely repented.
    But even during the years it was going on I did not let my family know because I did not want to get through it, be healed and restored, and my family to always hate him for hurting me. It is between us, not anyone else. Our children do know, but thats it in the family. (we have told a few friends)
    The point is, it should NEVER be spread around. It doesn’t just hurt the man’s character, it HURTS his family. And the judgement hurts his family. And when you do move on and change, the deed follows you forever and you are perpetually punished for a sin you are forgiven of.
    So, no, it does not make my decision in voting. Every person has a sin in their lives, and not one person can convince me that one is worse than another because my little white lie in the 4th grade caused the same death penalty as my husband’s cheating. It was the same price tag, Jesus’ death. It is the same in His eyes.
    Because I am a gossip, or whatever character flaw, does not mean I am corrupt in everything. I can still be a great mom, a great secretary, a great nurse, and still have a sin I struggle with.

  88. proverbs31 says:

    This is for Max and Katy and all the others…
    I too, feel the family is under attack. I don’t mean that nobody wants there to be families anymore or that families are being dragged out into the streets. No, it is much more subtle than that. Those of us who desire to maintain the traditional family unit as God initially created it to be, are under attack just for even saying that. Look at the few responses here. However, I do think marriage should be between one man and one woman and they should procreate and create a family as God ordained it to be.
    But the real “attack” is this: Parents rights to choose the best schooling for their children is under attack. Do you know that a homeschooling family in Michigan last year was almost sued 3500$ in truancy charges even after they had properly informed the public school of their decision? Parents rights to choose the best discipline for their children is under attack. Earlier this year we heard about California Assembly Woman Sally Lieber who was pushing a bill that would make swatting (even a mild swat on the hand) equivalent to child abuse and a punishable crime. The government is even trying to censor our (all of ours) children’s speech in favor of gay rights. Do you know that a group in California is trying to make it against the rules for children to say ‘mom’ and ‘dad’ in school?? How can you seriously expect a young child to not say the word ‘mom’? And as far as the traditional family being under attack by the non-traditional family goes – I would say to look at all the news stories about speakers and presentations coming into elementary school classrooms without the parents notification to teach about things like m*sturbation, homos*xulity, and other sensitive issues – Issues that parents feel they should have a right to address on their own. Issues that government and public schools are trying to claim they don’t have to consult the parent on before teaching.
    Yes, part of the issue is whether all these things are right or wrong, but also whether or not it is the governments place to decide. Given free reign I am afraid the government would take even more-decision making away from the parents. And while that might initially look in favor of gay parents and as bad news for hetero parents, I think it would eventually end up as bad news for all. In that kind of world the parents would simply be figureheads and have no real authority at all. And friends, I am not willing to live in that world.
    So am I going to pray like I am under attack? Am I going to stay on top of current issues and fight where I can? You’d better believe it. I’ve got three little blessings depending on me to fight for them.
    Proverbs31

  89. proverbs31 says:

    Oh, and as far as the voting goes.. I vote for the candidates that most closely line up with my own stand on the important issues. There is usually no perfect candidate and so then I must vote for the one who fits the best, who agrees with the topics I consider the most urgent. Supposing I had two candidates to vote for who supported the things I wanted and one of them appeared to be adulterous and the other one didn’t, I’d probably vote for the one who appeared to be faithful to his wife.
    But I haven’t had to make any such decisions yet.

  90. The Preacher's Wife says:

    There is something we are all forgetting. It is God who places people in authority for His own good pleasure. As a Christian, we are accountable to vote our moral and ethical concious and in my mind they are one and the same. BUT – if we look all throughout world history, there were some horrible people in office ordained by God to usher in events that would fulfill His plan for the nations. It is called SOVEREIGNTY and all the discussing and voting in the world will not change who wins once God’s ballot is cast. Do you think our last election doesn’t prove that? Love Bush or hate him, He has been God’s man to effect events that will eventually bring about the return of the true King Jesus.
    And can I drop you a little bomb that will get me some ugly emails? The spirit of – if not the actual – AntiChrist and Whore of Babylon are already here: There names are Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey. They’ll tickle your ears with all their new age philosophies but it is exactly their kinds of influence wrapped in wealth and charisma that have lulled the people of our nation to sleep. Do not email me and tell me Oprah is a Christian. Don’t tell me Barack wants to save lives. She prays to everyone from Jesus to Buddha. He and his wife are huge proponents of partial birth abortion. You can not value SOME life. You can not believe in SOME Jesus. It’s one way or no way. And I didn’t say it, Scripture did.
    So there…ya’ll can throw stuff at me now! 🙂 This is me *ducking*.

  91. Jungle Mom says:

    For me, anyone who will beak the marriage covenant/contract, is not trustworthy in any other contract. Why would we put them in charge? I guess I see things black and white. But why would I trust them when they put their own selfish desires above the well being of their spouse and family?

  92. Deena says:

    “The fact is, the media plays a crucial roll as a watchdog when it comes to observing government.”
    And yet how many times have we seen incomplete reporting that has turned out to be grounded in false information, or partial truth?? The media can be manipulated and distorted, and don’t even try to convince me that many reporting don’t have their own agenda to push…
    Use the media…but be wise, pull from different sources, and do your OWN homework before you buy what they broadcast!

  93. Sarah says:

    I’m delurking for this.
    I come from a highly international family, which is the first thing that influences me here. My mother is Dutch. My father is German. And I have lived most of my life in France. Of my three sisters, I am currently the only one living in America: one is in Switzerland, another in Germany, and the third in Italy (but about to move to France to be closer to her French husband’s family). My mother’s father is French, my father’s father is Swiss.
    The only reason I point this out is because it does make a difference. In most of Europe, it doesn’t matter one little bit if your political leader is an immoral or an amoral individual.
    And I agree with that.
    Do I care if my president has cheated on his spouse?
    No.
    Do I care if he has abused his children?
    No.
    Do I care if he has a child out of wedlock or from a previous marriage?
    No.
    Do I care if he has been divorced fifteen times?
    No.
    Do I care if he is homosexual or transgender or a cross-dresser?
    No.
    Do I care if he raped a woman?
    No.
    Do I care if he did drugs (ever) or got drunk (ever)?
    No.
    What I want is a LEADER, not a family man (or woman). I want someone who is RUTHLESS in standing up for his country, someone who REFUSES to step down. Some people may say that being faithful to his wife is a reflection of how faithful he will be to a patriotic cause and I don’t feel that’s true. There are many many factors in a relationship which may lead a man (or woman) to stray and the fact of the matter is that ALL of those are IMPOSSIBLE for me to understand unless I were in that relationship and I am NOT nor will I ever be. Besides that, ALL of those factors are PRIVATE and none of my business.
    What I want from my political leader is a man who is selfish, someone who puts his country’s needs ahead of all others, someone who will not back down when threatened, who will do the dirty deeds like lying to the people when the need arises and not blink an eye, someone who would go down in history as a villain protecting his country and leading them into war before he would pussyfoot his way around trying treaties and the like. I don’t want someone who will march into other peoples’ business unless he thinks it will help us. I want someone who won’t let our country down because he’s too damned proud to fail at putting our country as number one.
    That said, I am not an evil person. I do think that cheating is wrong. I do think that rape, doing drugs, well, anything illegal is wrong. I am religious, I am conservative, I do believe that homosexuality is a sin although in our country it is a right as well. I wear my seatbelt and I drive the speed limit and I am BORING.
    But should a man’s infidelity influence his ability to be voted into the office of president? No. Not really. There have been many morally corrupt individuals who have been the strongest leaders of mankind and that should not be overlooked. Personal life and work life are not one and the same, they can be separated. A good businessman may not be a good husband or a good father and vice versa sometimes the best father and husband in the world is shit as a professional.
    Yeah, you can see the European in me. =P

  94. Sarah says:

    Another thing, when I was living in France, I used to always visit my sister in Switzerland during the US presidential elections. There, and in my mother’s hometown in the Netherlands, and also in my father’s hometown in Germany, although apparently not in France, the US presidential elections are holidays. We always called it the world elections growing up and my mother would keep us home from school to listen to a German radio station relating the counting of the votes and the electoral college, etc.
    Being born abroad and living there most of my life, I have only recently become an American citizen as a result of my relationship with an American man and it is very disheartening for me to think that an election that the entire world hinges on, that the entire world is listening to, that thousands of people in Europe alone are not working or going to school so that they can listen to because it is THAT big a deal…it is disheartening to think that Americans are selecting their leaders based on something that has nothing to do with their political life. A president is to be a leader, and that is what you should look for and vote for, isn’t it? Until I came to America, I had never seen marriage vows referred to with such awe as I do here. Where I come from, marriage vows are special, no doubt, but they are not…uparalleled. The most important vows you make your entire life? Not so much. The promises you make to love your children, to protect your family, to honor your parents? Those are far more significant. A spouse is a life partner, not a god. The vows you make are a promise like any other which can be broken even though it is preferably not, they are to be appreciated and worked at, not to be worshipped.
    How can something like breaking their marriage vows really be a factor of significant consideration of whether or not they have someone’s vote? I mean, you want a leader who represents you, but more than that don’t you want someone who looks out for everyone including your children and your neighbors and your brothers, not just YOU? Should the world elections really be as important as they are if this is the criteria by which the candidates are judged?
    I remember when I was living in France and it came out that one of the main men in government had an illegitimate child. A daughter, I think she was like 16 at the time or something. Anyway, Americans got wind of the news and just were like a dog with a bone with it, it was in the tabloids and my mother sent me newspaper articles and everything, all making fun of them.
    In France, nobody cared. It was on the television maybe once and it wasn’t news and it wasn’t a big deal. Americans kept asking how we could keep someone so immoral in our government and I never got it…he was a strong and ruthless leader, I didn’t care what he did or who he slept with in his free time.

  95. Sarah Joy says:

    Sarah, a Frenchman once said, after studying the source of America’s greatness in her power, her political system, her economy, and her pulpits, “America is great because America is good, and when America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
    I can sense the scorn you have for the heritage of personal goodness and respect for righteousness that is in America’s heritage. I believe you feel this way because you misunderstand the foundation of America’s strength. This entire disscussion to me boils down to that-we were founded by God-fearing, moral people. It’s how our system was developed and it will not work without God-fearing, moral people who are willing to sacrifice thier lives for what they believe in.
    Understand this, you may appreciate the many other things America has to offer, the freedom of concience, the prosperity and comfort. The goodness and love of God in our country is where all that comes from.
    If you really believe in God, you will not be able to set that belief aside for the “good of the country”, because it is NOT good for the country, we will lose everything if we do.
    Being strong does not mean being evil, or being willing to do evil things. That does not make a man a strong leader, and morality never weakens anyone.

  96. Gretchen says:

    Sarah—you don’t care if a leader RAPED A WOMAN? You don’t care if a leader ABUSED HIS CHILDREN? How about murder? Robbery? Where do you draw the line—I’d love to know.
    Seriously, you must not have children. If your daughter were raped by a “leader”, that would be fine with you? You’d understand? If your husband were a great leader and beat the heck out of your three-year-old son, you’d understand?
    You’d really sleep better at night knowing a psychopath rapist/child-beater is leading the country?
    Leaders should NEVER be above any law (I’m not speaking of marriage vows, which are not laws. I mean rape and child abuse). Monsters like Hilter, Stalin, Hirohito, and the rest of the Legion of Doom got their start by thinking of themselves as smart, entitled, and above moral and societal rules.
    Thank you for enlightening me on the views of someone from an “international family.” So interesting.

  97. Sarah T says:

    Hi, not to add confusion, but my name is also Sarah!
    Anyhow, I want to make a comment to the “international” Sarah. I find it interesting that you say that you are religious and think that marriage vows are not as important as those promises that you make to love your parents and children. The reason this intrigues me is that if YOU are a christian and you do in fact have salvation through the acceptance that Jesus Christ is the Son of God then YOU know that He is the Bridegroom and that one day He will return for His Bride(the Church). We as individual husbands and wives are to be types and shadows of Jesus’ relationship with His church, in how we treat our spouses, loving each other and laying down our SELFISHNESS AND our very lives for one another just as Christ did. That to me is a VERY important responsibility and actually takes a whole lot of reliance on the very One who created us. I just wanted to point this VERY important fact out. Take care and God bless you.

  98. Kami says:

    Luke 16:10 (New American Standard Bible)
    10″(A)He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.

  99. Jungle Mom says:

    I also come from a very international family and have lived most of my life oversseas. The international Sarah,scares me!
    We do NOT want to become like Europe! There are absolutes. The Bible clearly states right from wrong and we MUST expect our leaders to have character.
    We also need to remember that our strength as a nation has always come from our Judeo-Christian background. When we discard that…well, as Reagan would say, We are finished!

  100. elizabeth says:

    Was it Jen back there who mentioned that even the behavior of the children declined after the election of a particular Greek official? Now that’s interesting to me. If I were able to figure out which candidate (And my thought is that they all spend WAY too much money on campaigning.) would be able to begin to change the behavior I’m seeing from some children and parents, I’d be wearing some of those buttons and stickers. No child left behind? SOMEONE (parents, perhaps?) MUST drop them off at the station. And… I’d rather the children not be abused… obviously…

  101. janjanmom says:

    Bill Clinton and JFK were great presidents??? Could I please have some facts to back that up? By facts, I mean actual ways the country improved, not pop-culture “coolness”. They made “bad” behavior cool and started our country down moral declines that have reached a shocking crescendo. I would take a crooked Nixon or stammering Carter over a Clinton or JFK. They were not perfect, but they were not celebrated for who their “stud service” while in the White House.
    George Bush is a good man. Honest, fair, sincere. I am not sure what kind of president he has been just yet, but he and Laura have certainly returned respectable behavior to the White House. After the Clinton’s fiasco’s, it is enough for Bush to be respect-worthy and lower my taxes.

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