The Pink Elephant in the Room
Amid all of the discussion surrounding the so-called Pence Rule and also the forthcoming book from my friend, Aimee Byrd, there is one lacuna that is slightly puzzling.
It is certainly the case that what the Rule seeks to achieve for Mike Pence are good and proper things, and the mockery to which it was subjected by the wider world was simply silly. And it is also true that our highly sexualized culture means that the matter it addresses cannot be ignored by anyone. But, given the nature of that culture, why is it that the Rule is only being applied to heterosexual temptations? Two of the biggest evangelical scandals of the last twenty years -- that of Roy Clements in the UK and Ted Haggard in the US -- involved inappropriate relationships with men. And men leave marriages for other men and women for other women every day of the week. The polymorphous pansexuality of our highly pornified world means that it is simply naive to prioritize one particular form of sexual temptation over another.
Which would seem to leave those who regard the Pence Rule as a virtual Kantian imperative, and not simply as the wise and prudential strategy of one man which may or may not be useful for others, in a bit of a bind: Can they ever be alone or have a meeting or offer a lift in a car to anyone, regardless of gender, without a chaperone? And can anyone therefore be friends with anyone else?