One of the articles most recently written on Mike Pence and the Rule is by Richard D. Phillips (click here for bio). Now the purpose of reviewing this article is not to give an assessment of either the Billy Graham Rule, which I religiously do not follow, or of Mike Pence. Rather, this blogpost is written to focus on Phillips's reaction to criticisms of either Pence or the Rule (click here for the article).
Now just as disclosure about myself, I tend to have as many female as male friends. I figured that is because I grew with 3 sisters. I've hung out with female friends and I have only done that after checking with the wife first. She has veto power over all my activities. I should also note that I have male friends too. Now all of that doesn't mean that I automatically criticize the Rule or someone's adherence to it. I think that following some version of the Rule, and not necessarily refraining from eating meals, can be wise especially for ministers especially in counseling sessions. Where I would take issue here is where Christians would automatically judge men, Christian or not, for not following the Rule.
But again, neither the Rule nor Pence is the issue here. What is the issue is how Phillips handles criticisms of the Rule. How does he do that? He divides the criticism into that which comes from the secular media and the Left, and there is no more ambiguous or vague term in American English that the term 'the Left,' and that which comes from religiously conservative Christians. Phillips says that the Left has forgotten the pain caused by adultery. In addition, he states that the Left doesn't understand the temptations that close working relationships with members of the opposite sex can bring. Finally he claimed that the rule was being mocked by the Left.
However, Phillips did not make the same charges against conservative critics of the Rule. Why is that? We should note here that Phillips didn't acknowledge legitimate concerns about the Rule from the Left some of which were shared by some conservatives.
An example of valid concerns about the Rule coming from the Left was in a Washington Post article (click here for the article), Laura Turner praised the reason for the rule. At the same time, we should note some of the concerns she listed about the Rule. In that article, she wrote:
In this case, the Billy Graham Rule risks reducing women to sexual temptations, objects, things to be avoided. It perpetuates an old boys’ club mentality, excluding women from important work and career conversations simply by virtue of their sex.
Now do her comments about the Billy Graham rule verify what Phillips said about the Left's apathy for adultery or disdain for the Left's ignorance of temptation or its mocking of the rule? See, some on the Left might have done that, but not all and Turner's article is proof of that.
But Turner isn't the only writer to note problems with the rule. Writing for The Atlantic, Olga Khazan notes research that shows that when those in politics or business follow the Rule, career advancements for women suffer significantly (click here for article). She goes on to write that women's voices are not adequately represented in Trump's Cabinet. And, btw, there is no mocking of the Rule in her article. And Robin Abcarian echos some of the same concerns in her Los Angeles Times article on Pence and the Rule (click here for the article). She also cites the views of some that such a rule when applied in business or political settings amounts to sexism. And there is no mocking of the rule in her article either.
Now when Phillips cites criticisms from fellow conservative believers, he gives a different list of concerns. And he emphasizes the differences in the criticisms made by the two groups. But with minimal research, Phillips's complaints about the mocking of the Rule by the secular media has been proven to be a gross overgeneralization and thus he has not fairly represented all who are on the Left and/or are writing for the secular media.
So now this is the problem: Phillips is imitating Trump when the latter attacks criticisms from the Left. This is not to say that Phillips did not see or hear the kinds of criticisms he listed from nonconservatives. It is to say that valid concerns, as well as respect for the intention of the Rule, have been expressed by the secular media and Phillips chose to either neglect to do proper research on the Left's reaction to Pence and the Rule or neglect to mention valid concerns and even admiration for the Rule by the secular media and the Left.