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May 18, 2010

Ind. Rep. Mark Souder to Resign over Affair with Staffer

Indiana Rep. Mark Souder admitted to having an affair with a staffer and said he will resign today. In a 2004 interview with Religion and Ethics Newsweekly where he spoke at length about evangelicals, he described his church as somewhere between fundamentalist and evangelical.

According to news reports, Souder said in a statement that he “sinned against God, my wife and my family by having a mutual relationship with a part-time member of my staff."

“In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain,” he said, according to the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette. “I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process.

Souder said his job in Congress was all-consuming, “especially in a district with costly, competitive elections every two years. I do not have any sort of ‘normal’ life – for family, for friends, for church, for community.” According to the bio on his website, he and his family attend Emmanuel Community Church, a church associated with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, in Fort Wayne.

“As I leave public office, my plans are focused upon repairing my marriage, earning back the trust of my family and my community, and renewing my walk with the Lord,” he said.

In 2006, Souder cited Jonathan Edwards and John Muir as influences on his life in a profile in World magazine (subscription required). "The root word is conserve," he said. "Jonathan Edwards was an early environmentalist who believed we should be stewards of what God created. John Muir, the founding influence on national parks, was an avid evangelical and quoted Bible verses all the time."

Though clearly a part of the Christian conservative movement, Mr. Souder does not follow a movement or party line. He voted against three of the four impeachment charges against President Clinton because he thought the president acted immorally but not impeachably. Back in the 1980s, as an aide to then U.S. Rep. Dan Coats, he helped Mr. Coats develop the notion that Christian conservatives need to compete with liberals in offering better ways to help people in need. Later, Texas Gov. George W. Bush would call it compassionate conservatism and take the idea all the way to the White House.

Souder was aide to former Dan Coats' who is running for his old Senate seat.

Comments

Mark Souder: "In the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain," he said. "I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process."

Nice try at pinning your lack of morals on the beltway environment. You, and others like you, are part of why American patriots are so sick of our government officials.

Oh, and to the right, the Godless hypercritical-hypocritical left will never cut you any slack. So keep that in mind as you head to the no-tell motel.

It's house cleaning time! Stand, be counted, and VOTE!

I can certainly sympathize with him, even if I can't condone or have done what he did. His personal life wouldn't effect my voting if I lived in his district. I'd just make a joke or two and then forget about it, vaguely hoping that his marriage can be repaired and that they will all live happily ever after.

However, when he's a self-righteous jerk... My memory would be long, and my jokes many and more pointed. I don't have to forgive him about his affair, after all, it's none of my business. It's something else that I would very much like to have reason to forgive and forget, which the affair brings into sharp focus, but of which he hasn't asked to be forgiven and which shouldn't be forgotten until he does.

I don't know, I'm getting tired of these people who cheat, than make a big deal of regret by quitting their job and "going back to their family". I know they have lots of temptation but what about all the ones with the same temptation as they have and they don't cheat. I know the media says you jump in bed before you even meet but that's Hollywwod not real life. Why can't these cheaters keep their urges in their pants or panties and divorse and than cheat all they want. It more than likely would save on the sexual diseases being spread to innocents (those not cheating)and stay with the cheaters. I'm getting tired of forgiving when they are in the public eye and know that and the public deserves better morals from them especially when there are those who do better for the public. Let's start giving credence to the good guys and by doing so we the public might teach the bad guys to not even think of cheating.

"Though clearly a part of the Christian conservative movement,"

Is anybody in the least bit suprised to find that the very Christian conservatives so obsessed with the sex lives of others (anti-choice, pro-abstinence, anti-gay) are such pathetic, ethically bankrupt people?

"Nice try at pinning your lack of morals on the beltway environment."

The 'poisonous environment of Washington' was cited as a reason for his resignation, not as an excuse for his sin.

Mark Souder is doing the right thing to resign, and the reason he gives has some validity. Not the "the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C." part, but not wanting to put his "family through (a) painful, drawn-out process".

All Christians must live what they profess, and particularly those who are constantly in the public eye. The frequency with which Christians in leadership in the USA are having to confess to sinning "against God, wife and family" is not saying much for the Christian faith nor the kind of leaders it is producing.

It might help if some leaders were less vocal about their faith and less strident in their moral pronouncements and denouncements until they seriously put their personal lives in order.

Leaders like Mark Souder seem to have no idea what their exposure does to the Church. It does little to endear persons to the Christian life, but instead gives detractors and enenmies of the faith the clear opportunity to "blaspheme".

However it also sends a more dangerous message which is that God is somehow not able to keep those he places in positions of authority from "falling" or from even recognising the potential for a fall before it's too late.

Undoubtedly the leaders who fall are in the minority, but the ones who do fall are helping to put an already beleaguered Church under tremnendous and unnecessary pressure.

It's not so much that people such as Souder fail to live up to one's publicly proclaimed standards that induces schadenfreuden in others, as it's that "family values" activists such as Souder have a reputation for disrespecting the personal and intellectual integrity of "the other," such as Gay people and mainstream scientists (He was in "Expelled," I'm told.)

Doing that suggests a lack of personal integrity in the conservative activist himself, otherwise he wouldn't be disrespecting the personal integrity of his law abiding Gay and/or scientist neighbors and constituents in such a manner. Perhaps unfairly, but predictably, scandals such as his are then seen as confirmations of a systemic general lack of integrity in the group with which Souder is thought to allied.

So, such scandals as his are seen not just as an uncharacteristic personal lapse in one's personal life, to which few are immune, if only in our daydreams, but which one can understand and forgive at election time.

They are not seen as something that can just happen in life that has unusual complications, such as a having a wife who has left me, but which I can't divorce for some reason.

They aren't seen as a lack in one area of one's character, but which doesn't reflect not a general lack of integrity. I can, for instance, be a distant, unsatisfactory husband, yet still have much respect for my occupational/intellectual integrity. If I'm "married" to science, for instance, then anyone who marries me is likely not going to get what one probably wants in a husband...their undivided heart. Think of the story of Rachel and Leah. Only one of them had the husband she wanted a husband to be.

But, such scandals by people with Souder's sort of political record, are instead seen as a general tendency to flagrant hypocrisy, which suggests a compromised personal and intellectual integrity in general.