By Scott Tibbs, June 30, 2009
Now that South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is the most recent politician mired in a sex scandal, where will his career go from here, and what does this mean for the political landscape?
First, it amazes me how some of these politicians think they can get away with committing adultery, especially in the 24-hour news cycle where information is transmitted into living rooms and computer screens almost instantly. Taking off on Father's Day to see his mistress showed a despicable level of disrespect for his wife and (worse) the Father he is supposed to be representing on earth.
Does this damage the credibility of the Republican Party? Some may want to claim it does. It certainly reduces Sanford's credibility and shatters the trust voters have placed in him. After all, if his own wife can't trust him, how can voters? But this isn't the story of a political party. This is the story of one politician who acted wickedly and should be a man and face the consequences for it. This doesn't have anything to do with the logical merit of arguments on sexual morality, nor does it have anything to do with the Republicans who do not treat their marriage vows like something to be tossed aside when thosw vows are an obstacle to lust.
Adultery holds an interesting spot in how Americans view morality, according to a Gallup poll. 40% viewed sex between an unmarried man and woman as immoral, 45% viewed having a baby out of wedlock as morally wrong, and ironically only 30% viewed divorce as morally wrong. But adultery was viewed as morally wrong by 92% of people answering the poll. The answer seems obvious: with adultery, there is a clear victim: the spouse who was betrayed. The others are viewed with more of a "live and let live" attitude because those involved are consenting adults. Biblical teaching, of course, trumps public opinion on what is and is not moral.
Sanford proclaimed that he planned to remain in office, invoking King David as an example of someone who fell from grace and then was redeemed. This comparison indicates that Sanford does not have remorse for committing adultery, only remorse for getting caught. If Sanford wants to emulate King David, his first priority should be to show remorse for his sin, not immediately speak of how he expects to be redeemed and how he will remain in office. King David suffered greatly before his ordeal was through and his remorse was real.
Sanford is an embarrassment to his state and his party, and his dreams of being President are probably over. It's time for him to leave politics, at least until he gets his life in order, realizes how serious his sin is and truly repents.