June 24, 2009
S.C. Governor Admits Affair, Asks Forgiveness
Mark Sanford, the governor of South Carolina, admitted that he had an affair with a woman in Argentina after mysteriously disappearing from the public for several days.
"God's law indeed is there to protect you from yourself, and there are consequences if you breach that," he said in a press conference today. "I've been unfaithful to my wife. I've developed a relationship with what started out as a dear, dear friend from Argentina."
He also alluded to getting counseling through "C Street," which Dan Gilgoff connects to The Fellowship, the Christian group behind the National Prayer Breakfast.
Reporter: Did your wife and your family know about the affair before the trip to Argentina?
Sanford: Yes. We've been working through this thing for about the last five months. I've been to a lot of different - as part of what we called "C Street" when I was in Washington. It was, believe it or not, a Christian Bible study - some folks that asked members of Congress hard questions that I think were very, very important. And I've been working with them. I see Cubby Culbertson in the back of the room. I would consider him a spiritual giant. . . .
Family Research Council had Sanford on their weekly radio show on June 12 to ask Sanford why he objected to taking stimulus money.
"The Bible is very, very clear about the principle of debt and who owns who in the equation of debt," Sanford told Tony Perkins.
Perkins replied, "The Bible says the borrower is the servants to the lender and I think the concerns here is the strings that may attached to these federal monies." Sanford was also invited to attend to the 2009 Voters Values Summit but his photo has been taken down.
A Newsweek profile in May says he thought the religious right has been too influential in recent years, but the profile doesn't offer more details.
A 2007 New York Times article indicated that several conservative evangelical leaders courted Sanford, but he declined their requests to be a guest at their meeting.
Finally, in a measure of their dissatisfaction, a delegation of prominent conservatives at Amelia Island tried to enlist as a candidate Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a guest speaker at the event. A charismatic politician with a clear conservative record, Mr. Sanford is almost unknown outside his home state and has done nothing to prepare for a presidential run. He firmly declined the group's entreaties, people involved in the recruiting effort said. A spokesman for Mr. Sanford said he would not comment.
Sanford's wife Jenny said in a statement that she asked her husband to leave home and stop talking to her two weeks ago.
I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.
Psalm 127 states that sons are a gift from the Lord and children a reward from Him. I will continue to pour my energy into raising our sons to be honorable young men. I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.
This is a very painful time for us and I would humbly request now that members of the media respect the privacy of my boys and me as we struggle together to continue on with our lives and as I seek the wisdom of Solomon, the strength and patience of Job and the grace of God in helping to heal my family.
Fox's Neil Cavuto asked Rudy Giuliani whether he had any advice for Mark Sanford.
"Tell the truth. Just tell the truth. You're human. You make terrible mistakes. You commit sins. Think of it from a religious point of view. He's a religious man. The whole Christian religion is about salvation and redemption and it's for real. And I really believe that. He really believes that."
Sanford's announcement comes one week after Republican Sen. John Ensign admitted he had an affair.
Update: World Magazine reports that Sanford considered the evangelical Seacoast Church in Mount Pleasant, S.C. as his home church. Sanford's pastor, Greg Surratt declined to tell reporter Jamie Dean whether he knew about Sanford's affair before today.