We live of course in an age that mocks faithfulness, derides marriage, and pokes fun at personal holiness. Anyone who takes his marriage vows seriously and seeks to be very careful in honouring that by taking care of how he or she interacts with members of the opposite sex will be the stuff of ridicule and insult.
But what do we expect from the sensual, secular and sexual world that we live in? However, we DO expect better from those claiming to be conservatives – and maybe even Christians. I am not an authority on Fox News and all those that work there, but I was rather disappointed in an interview I just saw.
Fox News host Martha MacCallum did a 6-minute interview with Christian politician Robert Foster who is running for governor in Mississippi. He evidently had made the headlines for simply adhering to his long-standing principle of not being alone with women other than his wife.
So Martha spoke to him about this, but seemed to be unnecessarily hostile to him. On the other hand, Foster the Christian kept his cool and handled himself quite well. She seemed to find it incredible that Foster was seeking to avoid temptation and even the very “appearance of evil” as the Apostle Paul says we should do (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
Foster sought to make a sensible and realistic case for his principled stance, but Martha just could not seem to get it. She kept saying over and over again, ‘but she is a reporter, she is a professional’. Um, has there never been a journalist who has betrayed his or her calling or misused their position of trust? Journalists are just as fallen and fallible as anyone else.
Have journalists never been known to seek to set traps for people, or set them up? Um, I have had many hundreds of journalists interview me over the years, and I can assure you that many were quite keen to entrap me and portray me in the worst possible light.
I have had some journalists seem to be all sweetness and light when they interviewed me, but in the next day’s newspaper it was clear that I was subject to an ugly hatchet job. They were out to get me. So I had to learn how to be very cautious and careful with “professional journalists”.
I am not sure why this should be so hard for Martha to grasp. In sum, I just did not like the whole way the interview was done, so I found her Facebook page and posted a message there. Thus far it is still there:
Bill Muehlenberg to Martha MacCallum
So disappointed to see Fox News host Martha MacCallum give Christian politician Robert Foster a hard time for refusing to be alone with women other than his wife – just like Billy Graham and Mike Pence have done. Shame on you Martha – we need more people defending marriage and faithfulness, not fewer. We expect CNN hacks to go on the attack like this.
As I say, I am not an authority on her or Fox. I watch it irregularly, but I am fully aware that we have a real mix there. A number of hosts are not Christian, some are homosexuals, and some seem anything but conservative! The few times I have watched Martha before, she seemed to do a good job. But as I say, I know little about her.
Hopefully this was a one off, and not a case of yet more anti-Christian bigotry, and mockery of the sanctity and seriousness of marriage. You can decide for yourself whether I am being too harsh or unfair to her. The clip is here:
And as Foster said toward the end of the interview, there is nothing new about this concept of being guarded and prudent in how we interact with those of the opposite sex. It is a long-standing Christian principle, and a very wise one indeed. The late great evangelist Billy Graham was especially known for this.
And when Vice President Mike Pence last year said that he takes the same steps, all the usual suspects came out of the woodwork to attack him. I wrote about both men in this piece: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2018/03/08/integrity-in-ministry-lessons-from-billy-graham/
Let me quote some of it here:
One of the easiest ways to destroy the credibility of the church and harm the cause of Christ is when Christian leaders and those believers in the public eye get caught out in some sort of sin and scandal. Whether it be financial scandal or sexual scandal, when it happens the reputation of Christianity is damaged, and more importantly, the name of Jesus Christ is dragged through the mud.
It happens too often when some high-flying preacher or teacher is caught having an affair or fleecing the flock of its hard-earned cash. These big three are always a major temptation: gold, girls and glory. If a sex scandal or a financial mess does not drag down a leader, arrogance, pride and ego will.
Thus we all need to be so very careful here, especially those in leadership and those with a very public ministry. Steps must be taken beforehand to ensure that scandal and sin and sacrilege do not take place. And the Bible gives us many examples of this.
I looked at the life of Joseph in the Bible and how he had determined in his heart ahead of time to avoid sexual temptation. Then I looked at Graham in some detail, including his resolutions on sexuality and money. I then went on to say this:
Two recent events have showed how vitally important this second commitment was, including the insistence on not being alone with another woman. When it was recently reported that US Vice President Mike Pence does not dine alone with other women, but only his wife, he was blasted by leftists and mercilessly ridiculed by the leftist media.
But at the same time we had the Harvey Weinstein affair and others like it, where sexual harassment, sexual predation and even sexual assaults and rapes were being reported all over the place. It seemed that everyone was coming forward with more lurid stories of sexual assault and the like. Hmm, it sounds like the resolution made by Graham and his team was 100 per cent sensible and absolutely essential to help prevent this culture of sexual sleaze and sexual abuse.
So I say three cheers for Robert Foster. You sir have my deepest respect. You take your faith seriously and you take your wedding vows seriously. I wish many more Christians would do the same. As to Martha, I hope she might learn from this. It is one thing to seek to be some sort of objective reporter, just asking hard questions in the interests of a news story.
It is another thing to let your biases show. That is how this interview appeared to me. She seemed to be incredulous that a person could take radical steps like this to maintain sexual purity, and avoid any hint of scandal. I could be wrong. If I am, my apologies to Martha. But my highest regard remains for Foster. He is a champion in my eyes. God bless you richly.