Jane Mayer’s New Yorker piece titled, “The Danger of President Pence” was trending on social media on Monday, with the article presenting scores of reasons why some critics fear the possibility of seeing Vice President Mike Pence one-day become the leader of the free world.
Among the claims and purported revelations presented in the piece were some comments on the so-called “Billy Graham rule,” Pence’s personal policy of not eating meals alone with women who aren’t his wife and of also not attending parties where alcohol is served without his wife’s presence.
The New Yorker presented critics’ arguments against that policy as well as a defensive reaction from President Donald Trump’s counselor, Kellyanne Conway.
“Critics have argued that this approach reduces women to sexual temptresses and precludes men from working with women on an equal basis,” Mayer’s writes. “A Trump campaign official said that he found the Pences’ dynamic ‘a little creepy.'”
As for Conway — a political operative that has worked for Pence since at least 2009 — she defended him during comments offered to Mayer.
“I’ve been a female top adviser of his for years, and never felt excluded or dismissed,” she said. “Most wives would appreciate a loyal husband who puts them first. People are trying to bloody and muddy him, but talk about narrow-minded — to judge his marriage!”
What is perhaps most interesting about the “Billy Graham rule” controversy is that it continues to be framed as an extreme position, one that is out of touch with Americans more generally. But, as Faithwire previously reported, polls paint an entirely different picture (these polls are missing from the New Yorker piece).
According to a New York Times poll released earlier this year, 60 percent of women and 48 percent of men believe that it is inappropriate to have a drink alone with someone “who is not your spouse.” On the flip side, 29 percent of women and 41 percent of men said doing so is appropriate.
And it doesn’t end there, as 53 percent of women and 45 percent of men also said that having dinner alone with someone who isn’t a spouse is inappropriate, though 35 percent of women and 43 percent of men have no problem doing so.
It’s important to note, though, that people seemed to differentiate between leisurely and work-related meetings, as the proportions dramatically changed when the poll asked whether it is inappropriate for a married individual to have a work meeting with a person of the opposite sex.
In the aforementioned case, only 25 percent of women and 22 percent of men find such a work gathering inappropriate. You can read a full analysis of the poll results here.
Earlier this year, Pence’s personal policy of not eating dinner alone with a member of the opposite sex — comments he made in a 2002 interview that resurfaced in 2017 — created quite a stir, with conversations ensuing over whether his marital rule puts women at a disadvantage.
The policy, which was crafted back in the 1940s, is named after the well-known evangelist who followed the same standard in his own life and ministry. Billy Graham is said to have drafted the rule in 1948 as part of a four-pronged moral approach to ministry — a series of regulations that became known as the Modesto Manifesto, according to NPR.