July 2, 2009
Conservatives to Sanford: Get Your House in Order
South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford's saga has taken a turn with the latest revelations that he had "crossed the line" with other women. Al Mohler, Charles Colson, and La Shawn Barber seem pretty disgusted with his "love story" description.
"This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story," Sanford told the Associated Press. "A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day."
David acknowledged the reality of his sin, expressed his hatred of the sin, and became a model for us all of repentance. Governor Sanford, on the other hand, demonstrates the audacity to speak wistfully of his sin, longingly of his lover, and romantically of his descent into unfaithfulness.
Governor Sanford is no King David, and the people of South Carolina -- as well as the watching world -- now observe the sad spectacle of a man who, while admitting to wrongdoing, shows no genuine repentance.
...If the governor is really serious about demonstrating character to his four sons, he should resign his office and give himself unreservedly to his wife and family.
Colson and others discuss Sanford's use of biblical analogies on The New York Times website.
Having read the governor's latest statements about several prior dalliances (enough confessing already, please) I think he needs to go home, and get his own house in order before he can do much for the state of South Carolina.
It's time to bring this tawdry and embarrassing soap opera to a quick ending. I pray for the governor, his wife and his four kids. Get that together, governor, and everything else will fall into place.
Here's what Barber has to say:
But Governor Sanford seems neither humbled by nor contrite about his dishonorable actions, despite the tears. He's admitted to more dalliances and stated publicly that he doesn't love his wife. If he truly were contrite, he'd do the honorable thing and resign. But not only will he not resign, he compared himself to King David of Israel:
The only conservative organization I could find that is tackling the Sanford affair is the Palmetto Family Council in South Carolina, which has started a petition called "Stand with Jenny." I wrote more about Jenny Sanford on Her.meneutics, the Christianity Today blog for women.
A spokesperson told Newsweek that the petition had about 1,000 signatures yesterday.
Oran P. Smith, president and CEO of the Palmetto Family Council, told Mark Barna that the group originally called for forgiveness toward Gov. Sanford. But then the group received pushback from its female constituents. "Women said we should not let this go without people understanding the gravity of what he's done," Smith said.
The AP tries to make sense of how Sanford could be "in love" with his mistress but love his wife and kids at the same time.
So while there are countless romantics out there urging Sanford to follow his heart, he can expect mostly tough love from his own spiritual community.
"The emotions are the icing on the cake," says Ben Witherington, a New Testament professor at Kentucky's Asbury Theological Seminary. "They're not the cake."
Witherington says feelings are a "notoriously unreliable guide" in personal relationships because they tend to change with time. Marriage is not just a commitment of will, he says, but a commitment before God.
"That's why, at a Christian wedding service, you don't say, 'I feel like' and 'I feel like.' You say, 'I will' and 'I will,' 'I do' and 'I do.'"