I just heard that Governor Mark Sanford was not hiking, but had in fact sneaked off to visit a woman in Argentina. Also at issue is that he seems to have lied to his staff and his family about his whereabouts. In a press conference today, he opened up about the whole thing. I really wanted to feel sorry for him… But he managed to offend me anyway. I can’t find a full transcript yet, but the video on MSNBC starts when he’s saying:
“I guess where I’m going with this is that there are moral absolutes, and that God’s law indeed is there to protect you from yourself. And there are consequences if you breach that. This press conference is a consequence.”
You broke a vow you made to your wife and your actions have hurt her. That’s not contrary to God’s law, it’s contrary to human decency.
According to Steve Benen at Washington Monthly,
The governor proceeded to apologize, in order, to:
* his wife
* his four boys
* his staff
* his constituents
* his friends
* his in-laws
* people of faith in South Carolina and nationwide
Why a special apology to people of faith? Why do they deserve an apology but the rest of us don’t?
I’m not offended that he didn’t apologize to me – I think his marital problems are something he needs to work out with his family. No, I’m offended that he felt nontheists didn’t deserve an apology while people of faith did.
Nontheists care about compassion, we care about honesty, and we care about integrity. If you let down people of faith by failing to uphold those values, then you let us down as well.
UPDATE: Just found a transcript:
But I am — I am here because if you were to look at God’s laws, there are in every instance designed to protect people from themselves. I think that that is the bottom line with God’s law — that it’s not a moral, rigid list of dos and don’ts just for the heck of dos and don’ts. It is indeed to protect us from ourselves. And the biggest self of self is, indeed, self. That sin is in fact grounded in this notion of what is it that I want, as opposed to somebody else.
And in this regard, let me throw one more apology out there, and that is to people of faith across South Carolina, or for that matter, across the nation, because I think that one of the big disappointments when, believe it or not, I’ve been a person of faith all my life, if somebody falls within the — the fellowship of believers or the walk of faith, I think it makes it that much harder for believers to say, “Well, where was that person coming from?” Or folks that weren’t believers to say, “Where, indeed, was that person coming from?” So one more apology in there.
It’s difficult to parse the somewhat rambling response, but I think he’s apologizing for reflecting badly on his faith? Am I reading it right? If so, he doesn’t owe us an apology for betraying our club – only for implying that God’s law was what he abandoned.