I am not a big fan of Lisa Miller; I think that Newsweek could do better with their Religion column, and I’d think that John Meacham (Newsweek’s Editor, and as far as I can tell, a Christian) would be more discerning to see that Miller is not as well-versed as she should be about evangelical Christianity.
But this week’s column landed a sharp jab into the gut. A jab that we should take and agree with. She writes,
"The (John) Ensign story continues to reverberate not because of its delicious best-friend's-girl plotline (for who among us is surprised anymore that politicians sleep around?), but because he said he stood for something else. He is a ‘family values’ Republican who voted for the impeachment of Bill Clinton and in 2004 lent his support to a constitutional amendment defining marriage, saying, ‘Marriage is an extremely important institution in this country, and protecting it is, in my mind, worth the extraordinary step of amending our Constitution.’ To which the obvious retort is: but not the ordinary step of protecting your wife and children from public humiliation? Ensign has become the latest example of what so many see as the failure of the right to retain any credibility on the marriage question."
While Barak Obama has what Focus on the Family’s president Jim Daly calls an exemplary family life, there have been some Republican conservatives in the Religious Right that have been exposed for less-than-stellar morals when it comes to their wedding vows.
While we Christians are making a lot of noise to “protect marriage” (especially by way of the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA]), the shenanigans of these elected officials keep us from being taken seriously.
“When evangelicals are leading the charge in the marriage movement (and now, the anti-gay-marriage movement) arguing that sacred unions between one man and one woman are good for society because they're good for children, one would hope that they'd have worked out the kinks a little better than the rest of us.”
The article talks about how Focus on the Family, Rick Warren, and Gary Chapman are all being honest about how hard it is to keep a marriage healthy. Lisa Miller points to Billy Graham as the example that Christians (especially those in the spotlight) should emulate:
"He gave his ministry colleagues explicit instructions: never leave me alone in a room with a woman who is not my wife."
And so, with the scandals of John Ensign and Mark Sanford and preachers like Ted Haggard, Miller ends her piece with,
"Billy Graham, though politically astute, was rarely self-serving. He knew how to protect his children from his chaotic life—and he did."