Billy’s Rule

Graham in a suit with his fist clenchedI knew it wasn’t biblical, but I didn’t know Mike Pence’s thing with women was traced to Billy Graham. A good commentary here on friendship. This struck me:

Someone recently observed that maybe evangelicals have so much trouble with friendship between men and women because our view of marriage today is focused too much on sex and not enough on friendship.

I would suggest the opposite: The modern companionate model of marriage so emphasizes friendship that when a spouse inevitably fails to fulfill all of our friendship needs, and we seek fulfillment of those needs elsewhere, the resulting friendships are conflated with sexual relationship.

I think Karen Swallow Prior is largely on target here. If the onus is on men to avoid all contact, it takes the whole notion of discernment out of the picture. I can appreciate how evangelical Protestants have been stung by sex scandals of late. Still, I doubt they would advocate for two parallel Christianities: one for men only and the other all women, served by female ministers. 

Speaking as a man with an occasional opportunity to be alone with people, there have been women I avoided. I certainly avoid minors in any non-public situation. I think unequal situations–not just those with adult and non-offspring child–are best avoided in most cases.

Or can some commentator make a case for the rule?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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