OH FFS: On Mike Pence and Marital Ethics

I cannot believe the brouhaha over VP Mike Pence’s comments that he won’t dine alone or meet alone with women in order to protect his marriage. Gods forbid a man make choices that support his personal and religious ethics and commitment to the woman he married. I wasn’t planning on writing anything on this, but having been in two discussions and recently seen the mess at Patheos Pagan portal, I felt moved to weigh in. Pence doesn’t need “consent culture” as Beckett so naively assumes, but maybe Pagans need to develop a sense of traditional values.

While I disagree with almost every point of Pence’s political policy, I fully support the respect and mindfulness with which he treats his marriage. This isn’t a matter of having little respect for women, or of thinking himself incapable of control. It’s a matter of simple common sense. He is refusing to put himself in a situation where A) he might be tempted to break his vows (temptations happen, we’re biological creatures) and B) where he might be perceived as unethical or worse falsely accused. Frankly, given the insanity of the left I don’t blame him one bit. I would never want to put someone I loved through that.

But moreover, this is common policy in some fields. I teach and my supervisors have always told us not to meet privately with students of either gender. We were counseled to always crack a door open and to meet in the department when and where other professors were present. This protects not only the faculty member, but the student too. It’s also not an uncommon practice across religions. This is every day for devout Muslims, Orthodox Jews, and many denominations of Christians. I do this to some degree. Since I married I don’t meet with male clients privately. My work-around is having studio space where someone else is almost always present and I schedule those client meetings when the CPA in the next office over and his receptionist are going to be present. It’s a matter of respect and avoiding the impression of impropriety. (For the record, my husband doesn’t care whether or not I do this and finds it old fashioned and amusing).

The question that I would ask VP Pence, and that I’d drill hard for an answer is this: what are your work-arounds? How do you ensure that these practices don’t unfairly discriminate against your female co workers?

I have quite a lot of religious taboos and I can tell you that there are always work- arounds. There are always ways of accommodating one’s secular work while adhering to one’s religious principles. It takes a bit of thought and sometimes a bit of creativity but there are always ways to accommodate both (or almost always).

I don’t know why everyone is getting so worked up over this. This is their personal choice, the way they respect their commitment to marriage. The only ones who really have a say in this are Pence and his wife and yet even having or presenting a traditional marriage based on values is so shocking in this day and age that all these people need to jump in and tell them that maybe Mrs. Pence should be doing a slutwalk instead. Have any women come forward alleging discrimination by Pence because of this? Would they be happier if his career was mired in the kinds of scandals that Bill Clinton and Anthony Wiener have? Would they be happier if some poor aide was coerced into a sexual situation with him because that’s the norm in DC today? The culture has fallen so low that they can only wallow in degeneracy, promiscuity, and lack of willpower. The idea of holding to a standard is ‘triggering’ to them. It’s not surprising that many of the Pagans speaking about this were the ones who defended Kenny Klein and attacked the family that he abused. This kind of permissive, anything goes attitude, which is in stark contrast to the values of our ancestors, is going to ensure that there is no future for these communities.

Finally, if you value something you make both choices and sacrifices to preserve it. Virtue doesn’t just happen. As any of our ancestors would tell us, it takes thought and constant vigilance. It takes cultivation. Why is it always about sexual permissiveness? If one really values consent, then that includes the decision to abstain from fucking everyone and everything on the planet; it includes the decision to honor one’s commitments. But no, the person with values is always the one attacked because in the end, they don’t want us to have values because values lead to traditions and culture and the ability to see through hardship.


Posted on April 2, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. It was refreshing to read this Galina. I don’t have the patience to write on topics like this anymore, but I’m glad you do. Anti-traditionalism insufferable. Just can’t do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a lesbian, I find Pence’s claims unbelievable. I am often in AFAB- and/or women-only environments, often with friends and associates, and have had one-on-one conversations with other women. I’m also in a relationship. As a queer person, I don’t have magical powers that make me impervious to attraction, and yet I somehow manage to deal with it as a religious person who respects others’ marriage vows, Hera, my relationship with my girlfriend, and myself.

    On the flip side, I usually don’t have one-on-one conversations with men I don’t know because I’m extroverted, and it’s dangerous to be alone with men who could misread that. (It’s really telling when one sees teenagers brainstorm superpowers or cybertech and all of the boys are talking about laser vision while all of the girls are talking about superpowers that protect them from rape.) However, some of my close friends are straight men. I realize that a lot of conservative men are reluctant to be alone with women because there have been so many sex scandals among evangelicals, but why would one go into a room with a woman expecting that sex is even a possibility? I think that that expectation is what needs to be changed.

    I do agree with you about Kenny Klein. The fact that people are defending someone like that is really gross.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m so with you on the fact that is their relationship and should be respected as their way of honoring it. I am so often irritated by the talk that seems to arise around anything personal that politicians and others in the public eye do. It seems to me that the people flapping their lips aren’t focused sufficiently on their own lives, that they need to entertain themselves to make everyone’s business their own. We are missing respect, we are missing privacy, and as you say, that does follow into traditionalism and the quality of our own reverance for self, others, and religion.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Completely agree with you Galina. I couldn’t believe that people were making such a ruckus over nothing. There are plenty of valid reasons to attack Pence; this is NOT one of them. Frankly, it’s refreshing to see a politician who respects his wife and her feelings so much, especially these days! And I think you are right on the money about them being afraid of values because it leads to traditions.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I think it is projection of people who are traumatized by the election of Trump. They are so enmeshed in trying to see all things evil in Trump and associates, that they really can’t see how human Pence and others are.

    My husband had his fears even though we have been married for nearly forty years. I respect him and discuss this. It has nothing to do with consent culture but with the culture of our own relationship as loving humans.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think it is, as the last commenter mentioned, that Trump and Pence are so hated, that people will jump on absolutely anything they can find as a reason to rip the person to shreds.

    I think Pence is a despicable xtian dominionist asshole who would very happily see a ‘handmaid’s tale’ version of the United States, however I try to reserve my critique for truly objectionable things he does or is part of, rather than what he does in his private life.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. As long as it doesn’t interfere or color his job performance then it is between him and his wife. The moment it does affect his job via not accepting a woman into a position because of the potential for alone moments or something similar, fuck him, do your job right or quit.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I agree with the heart of what you’re saying. I also dislike how this has been used to attack traditional relationships by the Left. I dislike how my fellow Leftists often sneer at anything with the whiff of actual religion.

    I’m also greatly concerned that this attitude can be used to keep women out of important positions or conversations but I also hope that, by now, Mr. Pence has a workaround for that. (Such as having another staff member in the same room.)

    But what’s the problem with Beckett’s promotion of ‘consent culture’? Is it just that it’s a feminist concept? (I know from reading the blog that you’re often critical of feminists or leftists, in general.) Is there something specific about it that you dislike?


  9. Here is something I’ve not seen ANYONE talk about: the women themselves being perceived negatively. I’ve discussed this with my mother, husband, and a few others and all of them never really thought about it before.

    Look at the general climate of politics – be they right wing or left wing it doesn’t matter at all. A man in a position of power meeting with a woman alone in say, a restaurant after work. Or in the office after hours. Perception and temptation are a two way street. The meeting in a restaurant can be completely innocent – but imagine if a tabloid got a picture? The woman would be painted as a slut sleeping her way to the top and the man as taking advantage of the woman’s desperation/ambitions. It’s a tale as old as time. Even though nothing at all improper or immoral took place, and they could have been innocently sitting there, talking about work before leaving and going home to their families. Or pets. Whatever they prefer.

    Imagine being the woman in that situation, knowing that nothing happened and having the rest of your female co-workers suspecting you of sleeping with the boss to get your latest promotion.

    Pence’s personal policy is actually a sensible one – FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED, especially given the talk and scandal surrounding his boss, Trump. This personal policy of his protects him, yes. But it protects the women as well – one poorly timed photograph can absolutely ruin their otherwise promising careers. Rather than hopping up and down and yelling about it, why can’t people stop and consider the other unintended positive benefits of it and develop workarounds and solutions.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Different couples (married or not) have different boundaries they agree upon, and it’s their business. If it’s a person I don’t know very well, regardless of gender, I prefer to meet with them in public. General safety thing. I have heard stories from women of various cultural/religious groups that expected their husband to be invited to any meeting with a male colleague, and once understood, everyone was fine with it. Pluralism goes multiple directions, including for conservative white Christians. However, Pence should remember that in consideration of other kinds of marriages/relationships. Not just same-sex relationships, but in general, for all the supposedly “family values” crowd may claim, what policies do they support that make marriage, children, healthcare, home ownership etc. possible for younger generations. Or taking care of our parents/elderly relatives/disabled relatives.


  11. This is definitely a timely issue where a lot of “enlightened” folks need to check their enthnocentrism.

    Heck, I recently spoke with a trans woman who laughed about her girlfriend’s “quaint” avoidance of even the appearance of being alone with married men- completely forgetting that said girlfriend had previously been married to a philanderer.

    Unless it’s actually harming some third party, there’s no reason for third parties to get involved.


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