Adultery still matters

General Petraeus, who effectively led American troops in the “surge” in Iraq and Afghanistan, resigned as director of the CIA.  He confessed to having an affair with a woman who had written a book about him.

CIA Director David H. Petraeus resigned Friday and admitted to having an extramarital affair, bringing a shocking end to his brief tenure at the spy agency and highly decorated national security career.

The affair came to light as part of an FBI investigation into a potential security breach involving Petraeus’s e-mails, according to federal law enforcement officials and a former senior intelligence official. The investigation uncovered e-mails describing an affair between Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, a former military officer and co-author of a glowing biography of Petraeus, according to two law enforcement officials who were briefed on the investigation.

Petraeus, a retired four-star Army general who once was seen as a potential presidential candidate, met with President Obama on Thursday and said he intended to step down because of the affair, Obama administration officials said. The president accepted his resignation Friday.

“After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair,” Petraeus said in a statement distributed to the CIA workforce Friday.“Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours. This afternoon, the president graciously accepted my resignation,” he said. . . .

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Friday that she believed Petraeus’s infidelity did not require him to resign.

“I wish President Obama had not accepted this resignation, but I understand and respect the decision,” she said in a statement. She described Petraeus’s resignation as an “enormous loss for our nation’s intelligence community and for our country.”

via David Petraeus resigns as CIA director – The Washington Post.

Here are some of the ugly details.  But some are saying that his transgression in itself is not considered necessarily a reason to lose his job.  (Dianne Feinstein’s response is telling.)  Petraeus could possibly have hung on to his job.  And yet, he felt shame and guilt to the point of resigning his office and ending his extremely successful career, which many were hoping might lead to the Presidency.

Notice that sexual morality has not entirely faded away.  Though pre-marital sex, homosexuality, and pornography have become socially acceptable, adultery retains its stigma.  And rape and sex with children remain abhorrent, deserving harsh punishment.  This is evidence that sex has an objective moral significance that cannot be easily evaded.  Then again, if we accept pre-marital sex, how long can we still oppose extra-marital sex?  If sex is “no big deal” between adults, why is it a big deal when it is between adults and children?  Or perhaps, before we slide further down that slippery slope, we will perceive once more, from bitter experience, that sexual morality is real.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Rich Kauzlarich

    This is also about judgement, integrity, and honor.

  • Rich Kauzlarich

    This is also about judgement, integrity, and honor.

  • EricM

    Perhaps this also has something to do with people’s perception of the individuals involved. In the case of General Petraeus, he was perceived as a great leader (in some cases a hero) for what he did in Iraq. When the information about his affair came out, he became “yet another failed human being” and therefore people were very disappointed.

    We have other examples (President Clinton comes to mind) where adultery did not cause his downfall. Perhaps he was perceived as something less than a great leader of the country so his sins did not destroy people’s view of him.

  • EricM

    Perhaps this also has something to do with people’s perception of the individuals involved. In the case of General Petraeus, he was perceived as a great leader (in some cases a hero) for what he did in Iraq. When the information about his affair came out, he became “yet another failed human being” and therefore people were very disappointed.

    We have other examples (President Clinton comes to mind) where adultery did not cause his downfall. Perhaps he was perceived as something less than a great leader of the country so his sins did not destroy people’s view of him.

  • Michael B.

    I was listening to the radio and I heard a real interesting argument. The guy claimed while women, gays, blacks, and others have all had various progressive movements during the 1960s, the ideas about men are still very relatively conservative and what he claimed were “sitill n the 1950s”. So while there’s been a gay-rights movement, a feminist movement, and a civil rights movement, there’s never been what he called a “masculinist” movement where the traditional ideas about men were challenged. And he brought up these various examples. One concerned the draft. If men and women were equal, why should only men have to register for the draft? He also brought up child support. If a woman can just walk away from a pregnancy by getting an abortion, why should a man have to pay child support — i.e. why can’t he just walk away? And he brought up some very unusual views on adultery.

    He basicially stated that
    “society expects a guy to marry young, and not so much as even look at another woman for the rest of his life — 30, 40, even 60 years. This is completely unnatural, and men just simply aren’t wired this way. One day this idea will be classified with the idea that all people are attracted to the opposite gender, which we know to be false”.

    I couldn’t completely tell if the guy was liberal or conservative — conservative by trying to advocate a slippery-slope argument.

  • Michael B.

    I was listening to the radio and I heard a real interesting argument. The guy claimed while women, gays, blacks, and others have all had various progressive movements during the 1960s, the ideas about men are still very relatively conservative and what he claimed were “sitill n the 1950s”. So while there’s been a gay-rights movement, a feminist movement, and a civil rights movement, there’s never been what he called a “masculinist” movement where the traditional ideas about men were challenged. And he brought up these various examples. One concerned the draft. If men and women were equal, why should only men have to register for the draft? He also brought up child support. If a woman can just walk away from a pregnancy by getting an abortion, why should a man have to pay child support — i.e. why can’t he just walk away? And he brought up some very unusual views on adultery.

    He basicially stated that
    “society expects a guy to marry young, and not so much as even look at another woman for the rest of his life — 30, 40, even 60 years. This is completely unnatural, and men just simply aren’t wired this way. One day this idea will be classified with the idea that all people are attracted to the opposite gender, which we know to be false”.

    I couldn’t completely tell if the guy was liberal or conservative — conservative by trying to advocate a slippery-slope argument.

  • Cincinnatus

    This is wishful thinking. Of course, I don’t deny–and, according to studies, a vast majority of American’s don’t deny–that adultery constitutes an immoral act.

    But Petraeus didn’t resign because he committed an immoral act. He resigned because adultery by intelligence officers is considered a credible threat to national security. And for good reason: there are very few acts that serve as better grounds for blackmail and extortion.

  • Cincinnatus

    This is wishful thinking. Of course, I don’t deny–and, according to studies, a vast majority of American’s don’t deny–that adultery constitutes an immoral act.

    But Petraeus didn’t resign because he committed an immoral act. He resigned because adultery by intelligence officers is considered a credible threat to national security. And for good reason: there are very few acts that serve as better grounds for blackmail and extortion.

  • Pete

    What Cincinnatus said. Can you say “Mata Hari”? This is also as much about the propensity to keep one’s pledge (or not) as it is about sex.

  • Pete

    What Cincinnatus said. Can you say “Mata Hari”? This is also as much about the propensity to keep one’s pledge (or not) as it is about sex.

  • Nathaniel

    I think Cincinnatus has it right that this is not about sexual morality. His resignation is based entirely on the rules of the military – “conduct unbecoming of an officer” was mentioned in several articles I read. I would go farther, however, to say that the public’s reaction that what he did was wrong also has little or nothing to do with sexual immorality. As Mr. Veith’s own book, Postmodern Times, points out the only virtue of the postmodernist is genuineness or authenticity. Lying to your ‘life partner’ betrays the scraps of morality our postmodern culture has left.

  • Nathaniel

    I think Cincinnatus has it right that this is not about sexual morality. His resignation is based entirely on the rules of the military – “conduct unbecoming of an officer” was mentioned in several articles I read. I would go farther, however, to say that the public’s reaction that what he did was wrong also has little or nothing to do with sexual immorality. As Mr. Veith’s own book, Postmodern Times, points out the only virtue of the postmodernist is genuineness or authenticity. Lying to your ‘life partner’ betrays the scraps of morality our postmodern culture has left.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    In many places and societies it is not considered unacceptable to have a “fling on the side.” And I fear it may become more commonplace to hear about this apathy. Found out not too long ago that there’s a community of “swingers” in our local area. Sad but not surprising.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    In many places and societies it is not considered unacceptable to have a “fling on the side.” And I fear it may become more commonplace to hear about this apathy. Found out not too long ago that there’s a community of “swingers” in our local area. Sad but not surprising.

  • Joe

    We should also remember that the the General is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice under which adultery can be prosecuted and the guilty sentenced to up to a year in prison.

  • Joe

    We should also remember that the the General is subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice under which adultery can be prosecuted and the guilty sentenced to up to a year in prison.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    If only he were President. Then he could have had all manner of sexual encounters, even in the Oval (Oral?) Office. He could have lied about it and committed perjury in civil case…and STILL have gotten away with it!

    Oh, it’s great to be a Democrat!

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    If only he were President. Then he could have had all manner of sexual encounters, even in the Oval (Oral?) Office. He could have lied about it and committed perjury in civil case…and STILL have gotten away with it!

    Oh, it’s great to be a Democrat!

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    But didn’t Petraeus leave the military when he took the CIA job? And if you come clean about your bad deeds so that everybody knows about them, doesn’t that take away the ability to blackmail you?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    But didn’t Petraeus leave the military when he took the CIA job? And if you come clean about your bad deeds so that everybody knows about them, doesn’t that take away the ability to blackmail you?

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I’m thinking that there is real shame and guilt in his statement, accompanied by a desire to punish himself.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    I’m thinking that there is real shame and guilt in his statement, accompanied by a desire to punish himself.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dr. Veith,

    1) The rules against affairs apply in the CIA as well. What applies to the rank and file should apply many times over in the case of the brass in this case.

    2) You ask whether coming clean takes away the possibility of blackmail. Um, exactly. It was either come clean and resign or be fired. Those were his two options. That he screwed up so dramatically once provides grounds for future mistrust. One can lose one’s security clearance for a lot less.

    3) I have no doubts that Petraeus (as opposed to, say, Bill Clinton) is ashamed. He seems like a man with some sense of honor. But that isn’t why this is a federal issue. If he had “just” had an affair, he would say what most political figures do at such moments: “I’m resigning to spend more time with my family.” Case closed.

    All that said, while I don’t want to indulge in too much conspiracy-mongering, there is something about the timing of this resignation. Obama has known for months, apparently. Rumor has it–again, rumor has it–that the Obama Administration was hoping to pin the Benghazi debacle on Petraeus (which may be somewhat justified), but he decided to get ahead of the game by resigning for these “personal” reasons. Dunno.

    In any case, the CIA maintains a very strict policy against extramarital involvements, and the reason for the policy has nothing to do with maintaining a morally spotless work environment. CIA officers are also supposed to avoid gambling, etc., for the very same reason. Anything that could be held against an agent is grounds for discipline or dismissal.

  • Cincinnatus

    Dr. Veith,

    1) The rules against affairs apply in the CIA as well. What applies to the rank and file should apply many times over in the case of the brass in this case.

    2) You ask whether coming clean takes away the possibility of blackmail. Um, exactly. It was either come clean and resign or be fired. Those were his two options. That he screwed up so dramatically once provides grounds for future mistrust. One can lose one’s security clearance for a lot less.

    3) I have no doubts that Petraeus (as opposed to, say, Bill Clinton) is ashamed. He seems like a man with some sense of honor. But that isn’t why this is a federal issue. If he had “just” had an affair, he would say what most political figures do at such moments: “I’m resigning to spend more time with my family.” Case closed.

    All that said, while I don’t want to indulge in too much conspiracy-mongering, there is something about the timing of this resignation. Obama has known for months, apparently. Rumor has it–again, rumor has it–that the Obama Administration was hoping to pin the Benghazi debacle on Petraeus (which may be somewhat justified), but he decided to get ahead of the game by resigning for these “personal” reasons. Dunno.

    In any case, the CIA maintains a very strict policy against extramarital involvements, and the reason for the policy has nothing to do with maintaining a morally spotless work environment. CIA officers are also supposed to avoid gambling, etc., for the very same reason. Anything that could be held against an agent is grounds for discipline or dismissal.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    His rumor-mongering aside, Cincinnatus has the most reasonable explanation of this that I’ve heard, and I agree.

    There still is an element of morality to this. It’s not, as such, that the CIA (or other intelligence agencies) want to maintain morality qua morality. It’s that, because we still hold to morality, transgressions like this are still something we want to hide — so much so that we would make horrible decisions to keep them hidden, such as paying vast amounts of money to a would-be revealer, or sacrificing some element of our job.

    It’s the fear of being found out that is the problem. But this is a post-transgression form of morality, if you will. I know I’ve done something wrong, so I’ll just go hide in the garden over here and hope no one finds out. Maybe these fig leaves will help.

    Besides, he’s the head of the CIA. Doubtless his subordinates would be fired for having an affair, because of the policies in place. You can’t very well have the head enforcing such policies if they don’t apply to him.

    And Cincinnatus, if you’re going to spread rumors like that, the least you could do is link to a source, so we can assess the quality of the information you’re spreading around here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    His rumor-mongering aside, Cincinnatus has the most reasonable explanation of this that I’ve heard, and I agree.

    There still is an element of morality to this. It’s not, as such, that the CIA (or other intelligence agencies) want to maintain morality qua morality. It’s that, because we still hold to morality, transgressions like this are still something we want to hide — so much so that we would make horrible decisions to keep them hidden, such as paying vast amounts of money to a would-be revealer, or sacrificing some element of our job.

    It’s the fear of being found out that is the problem. But this is a post-transgression form of morality, if you will. I know I’ve done something wrong, so I’ll just go hide in the garden over here and hope no one finds out. Maybe these fig leaves will help.

    Besides, he’s the head of the CIA. Doubtless his subordinates would be fired for having an affair, because of the policies in place. You can’t very well have the head enforcing such policies if they don’t apply to him.

    And Cincinnatus, if you’re going to spread rumors like that, the least you could do is link to a source, so we can assess the quality of the information you’re spreading around here.

  • RomGabe

    In some societies (Italy, Romania, etc.) it is considered “normal” to have a side-girlfriend, even to pay for her apartment rent/basic utilities and casual expenses. In Denmark, the company Christmas party is a time when many ppl. try to make a short-affair/flame with a coworker. It is not accepted in general, but a common stereotype.

  • RomGabe

    In some societies (Italy, Romania, etc.) it is considered “normal” to have a side-girlfriend, even to pay for her apartment rent/basic utilities and casual expenses. In Denmark, the company Christmas party is a time when many ppl. try to make a short-affair/flame with a coworker. It is not accepted in general, but a common stereotype.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@13:

    I really don’t have a credible “source.” It’s purely rumor-mongering from blogs and such (not that anyone would explicitly admit, “Yeah, we were trying to set up Petraeus as a scapegoat).

    The reason I even mention rumors, though, is that there is some question about the timing. Apparently, everyone involved has known about this for months: Petraeus, Obama, relevant congressional committees. Why suddenly resign and make a show of it three days after the election? Maybe it is what it is, but in highly political moments and scandals like these, there is generally more than meets the eye.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@13:

    I really don’t have a credible “source.” It’s purely rumor-mongering from blogs and such (not that anyone would explicitly admit, “Yeah, we were trying to set up Petraeus as a scapegoat).

    The reason I even mention rumors, though, is that there is some question about the timing. Apparently, everyone involved has known about this for months: Petraeus, Obama, relevant congressional committees. Why suddenly resign and make a show of it three days after the election? Maybe it is what it is, but in highly political moments and scandals like these, there is generally more than meets the eye.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@15):

    Apparently, everyone involved has known about this for months: Petraeus, Obama, relevant congressional committees.

    Again, I would like a source on this. Help me out.

    And of course you think your source is credible, at least somewhat. You did bother to repeat the rumor here.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@15):

    Apparently, everyone involved has known about this for months: Petraeus, Obama, relevant congressional committees.

    Again, I would like a source on this. Help me out.

    And of course you think your source is credible, at least somewhat. You did bother to repeat the rumor here.

  • George A. Marquart

    How shall I put this without being thought of as a pimp or a whoremonger?

    There are people who have sexual encounters, whether they are married or not, without having any qualms of conscience. There is really no reason they should, unless they are Christians. Obviously this kind of behavior is reprehensible.

    On the other hand, there are those for whom it is a one on one encounter that is caused by an attraction and a need that does not start with sex, and goes far beyond sex. Who knows what kind of a home life Gen. Petraeus has? Who knows what goes on in the soul of his inamorata? Someone else’s tawdry affair can be your own Magnificent Obsession. No, I do not justify it, but I don’t think we should cast all those stones. Strange as it may seem, this kind of an affair can have elements of genuine love for one another; something you cannot say about murder, theft, and all other sins we can think of. Pity them! You don’t know their suffering.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    How shall I put this without being thought of as a pimp or a whoremonger?

    There are people who have sexual encounters, whether they are married or not, without having any qualms of conscience. There is really no reason they should, unless they are Christians. Obviously this kind of behavior is reprehensible.

    On the other hand, there are those for whom it is a one on one encounter that is caused by an attraction and a need that does not start with sex, and goes far beyond sex. Who knows what kind of a home life Gen. Petraeus has? Who knows what goes on in the soul of his inamorata? Someone else’s tawdry affair can be your own Magnificent Obsession. No, I do not justify it, but I don’t think we should cast all those stones. Strange as it may seem, this kind of an affair can have elements of genuine love for one another; something you cannot say about murder, theft, and all other sins we can think of. Pity them! You don’t know their suffering.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • Cincinnatus

    George A. Marquart,

    Your rather weird comment is missing the point. I am 100% certain that the CIA and the FBI (the latter conducted the investigation) don’t care one whit whether adultery is immoral, or whether Petraeus was really in love with his mistress. Doesn’t matter. He was breaking policy, and that policy exists for very good reason. That’s all there is to it.

  • Cincinnatus

    George A. Marquart,

    Your rather weird comment is missing the point. I am 100% certain that the CIA and the FBI (the latter conducted the investigation) don’t care one whit whether adultery is immoral, or whether Petraeus was really in love with his mistress. Doesn’t matter. He was breaking policy, and that policy exists for very good reason. That’s all there is to it.

  • SKPeterson
  • SKPeterson
  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Still waiting, Cincinnatus.

    Meanwhile, here’s a New York Times article that gainsays your rumor-mongering:

    High-level officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department were notified in the late summer that F.B.I. agents had uncovered what appeared to be an extramarital affair involving the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, David H. Petraeus, government officials said Sunday.

    But law enforcement officials did not notify anyone outside the F.B.I. or the Justice Department until last week because the investigation was incomplete and initial concerns about possible security breaches, which would demand more immediate action, did not appear to be justified, the officials said. …

    Some members of Congress have protested the delay in being notified of the F.B.I.’s investigation of Mr. Petraeus until just after the presidential election. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that her committee would “absolutely” demand an explanation. An F.B.I. case involving the C.I.A. director “could have had an effect on national security,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think we should have been told.”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Still waiting, Cincinnatus.

    Meanwhile, here’s a New York Times article that gainsays your rumor-mongering:

    High-level officials at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department were notified in the late summer that F.B.I. agents had uncovered what appeared to be an extramarital affair involving the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, David H. Petraeus, government officials said Sunday.

    But law enforcement officials did not notify anyone outside the F.B.I. or the Justice Department until last week because the investigation was incomplete and initial concerns about possible security breaches, which would demand more immediate action, did not appear to be justified, the officials said. …

    Some members of Congress have protested the delay in being notified of the F.B.I.’s investigation of Mr. Petraeus until just after the presidential election. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that her committee would “absolutely” demand an explanation. An F.B.I. case involving the C.I.A. director “could have had an effect on national security,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I think we should have been told.”

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD:

    Sheesh, man. Some of us have work to do! Anyway, Eric Cantor (House Majority Leader) knew of the affair back in October:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/majority-leader-eric-cantor-knew-petraeus-affair-october/story?id=17696177#.UKFgpoagtKg

    But that doesn’t prove anything except that I was wrong when I said “months.”

    Other than that, I have no other sources I care to find/share/discuss. I’m just wondering about the timing in general. The CIA is involved in some sticky business re. Benghazi, after all.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD:

    Sheesh, man. Some of us have work to do! Anyway, Eric Cantor (House Majority Leader) knew of the affair back in October:

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/majority-leader-eric-cantor-knew-petraeus-affair-october/story?id=17696177#.UKFgpoagtKg

    But that doesn’t prove anything except that I was wrong when I said “months.”

    Other than that, I have no other sources I care to find/share/discuss. I’m just wondering about the timing in general. The CIA is involved in some sticky business re. Benghazi, after all.

  • Helen K.

    I’ve always had an ability to see both sides of a question or situation. While not a devil’s advocate, I understand George A. Marquart’s comment. While not germaine to this discussion, I would then state I pretty much believe what Cinn says re: “conspiracy” theory. Yes, it’s rumor and maybe not totally accurate, but the timing is odd. Benghazi is still not resolved and may never be. And yes, I’m one of those who believe there is/was a cover-up. David Petraeus may be a “fall-guy” as it were. Country above personal shame or disgrace. I pray for him and his family.

  • Helen K.

    I’ve always had an ability to see both sides of a question or situation. While not a devil’s advocate, I understand George A. Marquart’s comment. While not germaine to this discussion, I would then state I pretty much believe what Cinn says re: “conspiracy” theory. Yes, it’s rumor and maybe not totally accurate, but the timing is odd. Benghazi is still not resolved and may never be. And yes, I’m one of those who believe there is/was a cover-up. David Petraeus may be a “fall-guy” as it were. Country above personal shame or disgrace. I pray for him and his family.

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I understand the FBI wanting to complete an investigation, but if you’ve got a person who sees all the important briefs in a position where he’s likely to be blackmailed, maybe, just maybe, you get him for “conduct unbecoming an officer” instead of a bigger crime?

    And if the CIA is being set up for the fall with Benghazi….my goodness, what ever happened to the State Department’s responsibility to provide for the security of ambassadors? I’m not saying anybody’s wrong in suggesting this, but in a sane world, we’d be a little bit more diligent on following responsibility up the official chain of command, I think!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    I understand the FBI wanting to complete an investigation, but if you’ve got a person who sees all the important briefs in a position where he’s likely to be blackmailed, maybe, just maybe, you get him for “conduct unbecoming an officer” instead of a bigger crime?

    And if the CIA is being set up for the fall with Benghazi….my goodness, what ever happened to the State Department’s responsibility to provide for the security of ambassadors? I’m not saying anybody’s wrong in suggesting this, but in a sane world, we’d be a little bit more diligent on following responsibility up the official chain of command, I think!

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Also, the reason for the blowup–an angry email at a supposed rival–would that not suggest that the matter could get even bigger? Was this woman the only “error in judgment”?

  • http://www.bikebubba.blogspot.com bike bubba

    Also, the reason for the blowup–an angry email at a supposed rival–would that not suggest that the matter could get even bigger? Was this woman the only “error in judgment”?

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Michel B.’s (3) response led me on a semi-tangential thought.

    When speaking of the [fill in your preferred repressed/minority group] rights movement, it implies a certain paradigm of social interaction, namely, that one group relates to the rest of society by claiming or reclaiming certain suppressed rights. (Will to power anyone?) The individual Michel B. was quoting then applied that same rights-claiming paradigm to marriage, which I think is precisely how many spouses already exist in their marriages. In my experience, husbands and wives often assume the role of relationship accountants, tallying up their deposits and withdrawals for the family on either side of some great marital ledger: picking up the kids, playing a golf, mowing the lawn, helping with homework, girls night out, etc. So fights often break out when one (or both) spouses perceive an imbalance in the workload (“you’re not pulling your weight!”) and a violation of their implicit rights as a spouse.

    The Christian vision (for lack of a better term) for marriage as laid out in Ephesians 5 is not rights-oriented but sacrifice-oriented vision. Instead of a balance sheet, there is a cross, and husbands specifically are called upon to love their wives as Christ loves the church. I probably don’t need to belabor this point.

    So here’s the question: outside of Christendom, can we expect anything but a rights-oriented view of marriage? Is there any other non-Christian basis (Natural law, perhaps?) upon which marriage could be embraced as a sacrificial relationship?

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    Michel B.’s (3) response led me on a semi-tangential thought.

    When speaking of the [fill in your preferred repressed/minority group] rights movement, it implies a certain paradigm of social interaction, namely, that one group relates to the rest of society by claiming or reclaiming certain suppressed rights. (Will to power anyone?) The individual Michel B. was quoting then applied that same rights-claiming paradigm to marriage, which I think is precisely how many spouses already exist in their marriages. In my experience, husbands and wives often assume the role of relationship accountants, tallying up their deposits and withdrawals for the family on either side of some great marital ledger: picking up the kids, playing a golf, mowing the lawn, helping with homework, girls night out, etc. So fights often break out when one (or both) spouses perceive an imbalance in the workload (“you’re not pulling your weight!”) and a violation of their implicit rights as a spouse.

    The Christian vision (for lack of a better term) for marriage as laid out in Ephesians 5 is not rights-oriented but sacrifice-oriented vision. Instead of a balance sheet, there is a cross, and husbands specifically are called upon to love their wives as Christ loves the church. I probably don’t need to belabor this point.

    So here’s the question: outside of Christendom, can we expect anything but a rights-oriented view of marriage? Is there any other non-Christian basis (Natural law, perhaps?) upon which marriage could be embraced as a sacrificial relationship?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@21):

    But that doesn’t prove anything except that I was wrong when I said “months.”

    Well, you were also apparently wrong when you claimed (@12) that “Obama has known for months, apparently.” Or that “relevant congressional committees” had “known about this for months” (@15).

    Eric Cantor, yes, seems to have gotten a tip from someone in the FBI a week or two before this broke. Which is certainly curious. But I still don’t see any reason to believe in the vast “everyone knew long ago” conspiracy that you assert.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@21):

    But that doesn’t prove anything except that I was wrong when I said “months.”

    Well, you were also apparently wrong when you claimed (@12) that “Obama has known for months, apparently.” Or that “relevant congressional committees” had “known about this for months” (@15).

    Eric Cantor, yes, seems to have gotten a tip from someone in the FBI a week or two before this broke. Which is certainly curious. But I still don’t see any reason to believe in the vast “everyone knew long ago” conspiracy that you assert.

  • kerner

    Would it be indelicate of me to point out that Dwight Eisenhower’s relationship with Kay Sommersby didn’t seem to do him any harm. Back then (see also JFK) the press and “investigators” just looked the other way. Nobody was going to try to bring down Ike because he had gotten too close to his chauffeur. Adultery was considered far less important than it is now, at least for people who were considered important.

    Oh, and if books like M*A*S*H and The Right Stuff are even remotely accurate, that code of military justice section is pretty rarely enforced.

  • kerner

    Would it be indelicate of me to point out that Dwight Eisenhower’s relationship with Kay Sommersby didn’t seem to do him any harm. Back then (see also JFK) the press and “investigators” just looked the other way. Nobody was going to try to bring down Ike because he had gotten too close to his chauffeur. Adultery was considered far less important than it is now, at least for people who were considered important.

    Oh, and if books like M*A*S*H and The Right Stuff are even remotely accurate, that code of military justice section is pretty rarely enforced.

  • BS in Texas

    Helen K @ 22: And yes, I’m one of those who believe there is/was a cover-up. David Petraeus may be a “fall-guy” as it were. Country above personal shame or disgrace. I pray for him and his family.

    Agree. It’s kind of sickening when you think about it – people in the BHO administration would, of course, know where Petraeus would fall if (when) it came down to country v. personal shame or disgrace. What a perfect “target” for the administration to pin the whole mess on.

  • BS in Texas

    Helen K @ 22: And yes, I’m one of those who believe there is/was a cover-up. David Petraeus may be a “fall-guy” as it were. Country above personal shame or disgrace. I pray for him and his family.

    Agree. It’s kind of sickening when you think about it – people in the BHO administration would, of course, know where Petraeus would fall if (when) it came down to country v. personal shame or disgrace. What a perfect “target” for the administration to pin the whole mess on.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The fact the America’s chief spook got caught conducting these covert operations is enough of an embarrassment I’m sure. That’s the real reason he’s not for for the job.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The fact the America’s chief spook got caught conducting these covert operations is enough of an embarrassment I’m sure. That’s the real reason he’s not for for the job.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “not fit for the job” I meant.

  • http://facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    “not fit for the job” I meant.

  • Jon

    She said she was “embedded” with Gen P in Afghanistan. Ha!

  • Jon

    She said she was “embedded” with Gen P in Afghanistan. Ha!

  • Jon

    So much for General Order No. 1 in theater. Guess it doesn’t apply to the commander.

  • Jon

    So much for General Order No. 1 in theater. Guess it doesn’t apply to the commander.

  • George A. Marquart

    Cincinnatus @18

    As I read the last paragraph of Dr. Veith’s posting it appeared to me to go beyond the point you are making. That is what I responded to. My point being that every affair, every adultery is a unique event between two unique individuals. You may recall that Luther gave some advice to one of his followers about having a bigamous relationship that does not necessarily follow the Law of God as we know it. And Luther has taken a lot of flack for it over the centuries. But at least he looked at the person as an individual and entered into his situation.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    Cincinnatus @18

    As I read the last paragraph of Dr. Veith’s posting it appeared to me to go beyond the point you are making. That is what I responded to. My point being that every affair, every adultery is a unique event between two unique individuals. You may recall that Luther gave some advice to one of his followers about having a bigamous relationship that does not necessarily follow the Law of God as we know it. And Luther has taken a lot of flack for it over the centuries. But at least he looked at the person as an individual and entered into his situation.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • WebMonk

    Jon, if you’re not joking, check out the timing on when the affair happened. It wasn’t until after Petraeus was out of Afghanistan and the CIA Director that the affair started. (though the ‘embedding’ of observers in the military is a widespread joke/issue! :-) )

    As this unfolds, it seems that there are several security concerns coming to light of the possibility of classified information being released. As has been mentioned above, the main reason for his resignation is the security violation of the affair. Had he not resigned, he would have been fired.

    I’m also very sure that it will come out that Broadwell got access to classified materials she most definitely shouldn’t have had. If she got them through Petraeus, that might be grounds for prosecution.

    I can’t know his thoughts, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t resign just because of the affair. Rather he knew a lot of things were going to start coming to light, such as security leaks, and so he resigned to head off some of the damage if possible, and because he knew he would be fired anyway.

  • WebMonk

    Jon, if you’re not joking, check out the timing on when the affair happened. It wasn’t until after Petraeus was out of Afghanistan and the CIA Director that the affair started. (though the ‘embedding’ of observers in the military is a widespread joke/issue! :-) )

    As this unfolds, it seems that there are several security concerns coming to light of the possibility of classified information being released. As has been mentioned above, the main reason for his resignation is the security violation of the affair. Had he not resigned, he would have been fired.

    I’m also very sure that it will come out that Broadwell got access to classified materials she most definitely shouldn’t have had. If she got them through Petraeus, that might be grounds for prosecution.

    I can’t know his thoughts, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t resign just because of the affair. Rather he knew a lot of things were going to start coming to light, such as security leaks, and so he resigned to head off some of the damage if possible, and because he knew he would be fired anyway.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@34), you forgot to try to make political hay out of this by buying into a conspiracy of some sort. What about Benghazi? You forgot about Benghazi.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    WebMonk (@34), you forgot to try to make political hay out of this by buying into a conspiracy of some sort. What about Benghazi? You forgot about Benghazi.

  • WebMonk

    Benghazi? Imperfect communication and poor decisions abounded. Conspiracies or purposefully letting it happen – nope. Sorry. I’ll try to do better with the next loopy conspiracy theory possibility. :-)

  • WebMonk

    Benghazi? Imperfect communication and poor decisions abounded. Conspiracies or purposefully letting it happen – nope. Sorry. I’ll try to do better with the next loopy conspiracy theory possibility. :-)

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@35: Calm down. I shouldn’t have indulged my inner conspiracy theorist. I merely wanted to raise the question of timing.

    At the very least, as WebMonk suggests, this is almost certainly about more than merely adultery. Security leaks at the very least (which is why adultery is forbidden in the CIA in the first place). Does it have anything to do with Benghazi? Dunno. Maybe, maybe not. That’s just what some armchair pundits were speculating. I do not have the full complement of facts, and neither, apparently, does anyone else at the moment.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD@35: Calm down. I shouldn’t have indulged my inner conspiracy theorist. I merely wanted to raise the question of timing.

    At the very least, as WebMonk suggests, this is almost certainly about more than merely adultery. Security leaks at the very least (which is why adultery is forbidden in the CIA in the first place). Does it have anything to do with Benghazi? Dunno. Maybe, maybe not. That’s just what some armchair pundits were speculating. I do not have the full complement of facts, and neither, apparently, does anyone else at the moment.

  • Cincinnatus

    Wait, does anyone think that Benghazi was “purposefully” allowed? If such a conspiracy exists, that was not the one I was attempting to reference earlier.

  • Cincinnatus

    Wait, does anyone think that Benghazi was “purposefully” allowed? If such a conspiracy exists, that was not the one I was attempting to reference earlier.

  • Joe

    Here is my personal conspiracy theory. The CIA was continuing its enhanced interrogation operations around the world despite the Executive Order from Obama to stop doing so. (Does anyone really think the CIA listens to the president about its clandestine operations? Presidents come and go, The Company is forever). The good General’s girlfriend claimed that the CIA was holding prisoners at its annex in Benghazi. The General is either responsible for this or will be made to take responsibility for it.

  • Joe

    Here is my personal conspiracy theory. The CIA was continuing its enhanced interrogation operations around the world despite the Executive Order from Obama to stop doing so. (Does anyone really think the CIA listens to the president about its clandestine operations? Presidents come and go, The Company is forever). The good General’s girlfriend claimed that the CIA was holding prisoners at its annex in Benghazi. The General is either responsible for this or will be made to take responsibility for it.

  • WebMonk

    Cinn, as an example of someone who believes just such a conspiracy theory, see Joe 39 immediately below your comment at 38. Ain’t timing wonderful!

    I wasn’t saying that you gave that particular theory, but when you start pulling in random, unsubstantiated spewing by loonie bloggers from grotty corners of the Internet, you start getting their associations too.

  • WebMonk

    Cinn, as an example of someone who believes just such a conspiracy theory, see Joe 39 immediately below your comment at 38. Ain’t timing wonderful!

    I wasn’t saying that you gave that particular theory, but when you start pulling in random, unsubstantiated spewing by loonie bloggers from grotty corners of the Internet, you start getting their associations too.

  • Joe

    Well, I guess the Wall Street Journal is a “loonie blogger” in a “grotty corner of the Internet” because that is where I learned that Broadwell had claimed the CIA had prisoners in its annex in Benghazi. The CIA has stated that they did not. Perhaps they didn’t, I made my comment mostly in jest (although a friend who was a CIA spook has lead me to my belief that the CIA feels free to ignore executive orders when they feel it is the right thing to do).

  • Joe

    Well, I guess the Wall Street Journal is a “loonie blogger” in a “grotty corner of the Internet” because that is where I learned that Broadwell had claimed the CIA had prisoners in its annex in Benghazi. The CIA has stated that they did not. Perhaps they didn’t, I made my comment mostly in jest (although a friend who was a CIA spook has lead me to my belief that the CIA feels free to ignore executive orders when they feel it is the right thing to do).

  • dust

    Wasn’t it the FLOTUS in another administration that started all of this conspiracy paranoia in the first place?

    You know, the “vast right wing conspiracy” or perhaps it was just “lip service” if you will, to satiate the true believers making up the vast left wing conspiracy :)

    cheers!

  • dust

    Wasn’t it the FLOTUS in another administration that started all of this conspiracy paranoia in the first place?

    You know, the “vast right wing conspiracy” or perhaps it was just “lip service” if you will, to satiate the true believers making up the vast left wing conspiracy :)

    cheers!

  • Cincinnatus

    Joe@41,

    Yes, that’s probably what happened. No, that’s definitely what happened! I’m sure of it!

  • Cincinnatus

    Joe@41,

    Yes, that’s probably what happened. No, that’s definitely what happened! I’m sure of it!

  • WebMonk

    The idea that the CIA would be having a secret detention and interrogation center in an EMBASSY building is about as likely as 9/11 being carried out by government directed energy weapons from space.

    The WSJ was reporting what she said – not advocating that she was right. It’s only those who belong in the grotty corners of the Internet that believe she was telling the truth. My guess is that she was making her speech more interesting – reporters and book writers have been known to … embellish at times, no?

    Do you have any idea what an embassy is like, even in Libya? Hundreds of people from foreign nationals to contractors to citizens to government employees from every department walk through there every day. Not only that, but embassies in general are some of the most closely watched buildings in the world by outside watchers.

    The LAST place in the world that the CIA would have a secret detention and interrogation location would be in an embassy building. I wouldn’t be surprised that the CIA is still detaining and questioning foreign nationals in secret, but there’s no way that they would do it in an embassy building.

  • WebMonk

    The idea that the CIA would be having a secret detention and interrogation center in an EMBASSY building is about as likely as 9/11 being carried out by government directed energy weapons from space.

    The WSJ was reporting what she said – not advocating that she was right. It’s only those who belong in the grotty corners of the Internet that believe she was telling the truth. My guess is that she was making her speech more interesting – reporters and book writers have been known to … embellish at times, no?

    Do you have any idea what an embassy is like, even in Libya? Hundreds of people from foreign nationals to contractors to citizens to government employees from every department walk through there every day. Not only that, but embassies in general are some of the most closely watched buildings in the world by outside watchers.

    The LAST place in the world that the CIA would have a secret detention and interrogation location would be in an embassy building. I wouldn’t be surprised that the CIA is still detaining and questioning foreign nationals in secret, but there’s no way that they would do it in an embassy building.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X