Michael Brown Responds to Dennis Prager on Adultery, Character, and Leadership


In light of the media’s obsession with Stormy Daniels and her alleged tryst with Donald Trump, Dennis Prager has returned to the question of whether one can be both a good president and an adulterer. (He had previously addressed this in 2011 in his article, “What Does Adultery Tell Us About Character?”)

Without a doubt, Prager is correct in stating that, while adultery is always sinful, we should recognize that:

The calling of a president is different than that of a religious leader.

The same left that wants to crucify Trump for his alleged (past) affairs gave Ted Kennedy a free pass, defended Bill Clinton against his accusers, and has no problem celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr., despite his many alleged infidelities. In Prager’s words, “It should be clear that this whole preoccupation with Trump’s past sex life has nothing to do with morality and everything to do with humiliating Trump — and, thereby, hopefully weakening the Trump presidency — the raison d’etre of the media since he was elected.”

The Never Trump conservatives shouldn’t be so focused on the president’s alleged past failings; they should look, instead, at his positive accomplishments in the White House.

Accordingly, if America was under attack by ISIS militants, I would rather have a philandering, battle-tested general leading our troops than a faithfully married pacifist who was afraid of his own shadow. And, with Prager (in his 2011 article), I agree that a twice-married Ronald Reagan was a far more effective president than a once-married, Sunday-school teaching Jimmy Carter.

I also concur with Prager when he writes, “That ’60 Minutes’ correspondent Anderson Cooper and many in our country found it acceptable to ask a woman, ‘Did he use a condom?’ on national TV is a far graver reflection of America’s moral malaise than a man having a one-night affair 12 years ago.” (For my own reflections on this, see here.)

At the same time, I don’t believe we are left with an either-or question. Could it be that Trump and Clinton and Kennedy and King could have done their jobs better without the adultery? Is it possible that we are being too compartmentalized? And what of the larger, moral effect that a president has on the nation?

According to a 2010 article on CBS News.com, “Researchers point to former President Clinton’s infamous statement, ‘I did not have sexual relations with that woman,’ as the pivotal turning point in society’s changing views about oral sex. The attitude shift has been dubbed the ‘Clinton-Lewinsky’ effect.” And with that, “virginity” took on a new meaning as well. What will be the ripple effect of the constant talk of Trump and a porn star?

To be clear, though, my purpose here is not to throw stones from some imaginary moral high ground. How many of us have committed adultery in our hearts, numerous times? According to Jesus, that is quite serious too (see Matthew 5:27-30). On the flip side, every sin can be forgiven in God’s sight, and even adultery can be overcome within a marriage.

But are there serious consequences to adultery, even for the President of the United States? And does adultery tell us something about character?

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Source: Christian Post