The Pence Rule: When Common Decency Spurs Outrage

In another morally enlightening New York Times op-ed, American Christians receive a timely lecture on why “the Pence Rule” isn’t merely mysogynistic, but actually harmful to women in the workplace.

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Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, in Raleigh, North Carolina

In a guest column titled, “A Christian Case Against the Pence Rule,” author Katelyn Beaty writes that, in light of Hollywood’s laundry list of sexual exploits, some are advocating that we embrace “the Pence rule.” Vice President Mike Pence’s namesake rule dictates that he does not meet alone or drink alcohol with women in the absence of his wife.

The rule, Beaty argues, “is inadequate to stop Weinstein-ian behavior.

“In fact, it might be its sanctified cousin. It’s time for men in power to believe their female peers when they say that the rule hurts more than helps.”

Women, Beaty says, are at a disadvantage if their male superiors refuse to meet with them alone. It’s during these one-on-one meetings that associates engage in the “informal and strategic conversations” that lead to “workplace advancement.”

The obvious solution, if this is anything more than a make-believe social justice crusade, applies as much to male superiors dealing with females as it does to females dealing with males subordinates: keep the door open.

The writer goes on to state that the Pence Rule is not a “solution to male predation,” and that Weinstein’s victims “wouldn’t have been helped by greater isolation from men.”

First, the vice president’s personal rule was never upheld as a “solution to male predation.” It was a protection against gossips who might witness Pence with another woman—a colleague, congresswoman, his sister—and try to ruin his reputation.

Second, Weinstein’s victims in fact would have been helped by the Pence Rule had they or Weinstein lived by it: they never would have been exposed (pun intended) to Weinstein’s perversions if they weren’t alone with him.

At a time when it’s revealed daily anew that Hollywood, America’s moral bellwether, is packed full of rapists, child molesters, and sexual assaulters, Pence’s personal moral philosophy to honor his marriage, respect his wife, and protect his reputation is an outrage in search of a crime.

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