It’s Mike Pence.
It recently came out that Vice President Pence makes it a practice to never be alone with a woman in a meeting, and to never be at an event serving alcohol unless his wife is present. In both cases he attempts to safeguard his marriage. Pence is a Christian man and believes that his vows are sacred. He has doubtless seen many covenants crumble, and he wishes to discipline himself to defuse sin.
Did you read that rightly? Mike Pence actually cares about his marriage! Can you image—in 2017? This man is the worst, the absolute worst. Sure, America is awash in divorce, adultery, ruined relationships, fatherlessness, pornography, sexual addiction, and the vast towering wreckage of unrestrained male lust. But don’t miss this: Mike Pence is our cultural cancer.
The outcry over Pence’s policy reminded me of a line from 27 Dresses. The main male character in this humorous movie dismisses matrimony and Katherine Heigl’s character acidly replies, “How refreshing—a man who doesn’t believe in marriage.” Great line, and telling. Except today our culture directs its withering scorn at a man who does believe in marriage, who dares to prioritize his wife, who actually attempts to protect his family.
Today, you see, it is normal to risk your family on the altar of your career. It is common to think little of flirtatious banter and long meals with coworkers of the opposite sex. It is nothing to spend the heaping majority of your life away from your spouse, away from your kids, away from your home, away from the precious ones who depend upon you. It is customary to be coarse, to skirt lines, to grouse about your husband or wife, to build a connection with the lonely employee in your office.
We are all Marxists now. We love work. We find our value in it. We obsess over our work status. Let’s just be honest: we care little about the home, little about our children, little about our marriage. We crave acclaim, respect, to be known. We fear in the strongest terms missing out on the action, the insiders’ action, the conversations that take place among those in the know, the decisions that are made by the ones who truly count, the levers that are pulled by those who really matter.
The American career has never been stronger. The American family has never been weaker.
In such a climate, Pence’s example reminds me of the lighthouses I grew up around in New England. You’re far, far away from one, but you can hear its owllike horn. You’re miles away from the shore, but at night you can see the beam. So it is with men like Mike Pence and their families. They have many duties; they work hard, as we all should; but they never, ever lose contact with home.
Secular paganism—the dominant ideology of our ruling class—knows nothing of such commitment. It believes that happiness means doing what you want without any personal limits. It thinks that marriage is a temporarily graced contract. It believes that you can fall in and out of love. I don’t. The woman-abusing boy-men of our culture, who seduce one girl after another into a hookup, know nothing of fidelity, so please consider this an excused absence from their morality lectures. The campus feminists who tell me that I am chaining my wife to the kitchen, who miscast love as servitude, may set up their manhood confession booth on the town square, but I regret to announce that I cannot attend. I don’t have time. I have vows to uphold. I have a wife to hold fast to. I have children to raise. I have hide-and-seek to play. I have devotions to lead. I have fairy-tales to read.
I have living worldviews to shape.
When a culture loses truth in general, it loses truth in particular. The loss of absolute truth means the loss of specific truths, including the truth of the home, the desire for family written on the heart of every person. When a culture loses specific truths, though, it does not forget them. It disdains them. Greater still: it persecutes those who dare to walk the old paths. So it is with Mike Pence. He does what bushels of men used to do, he guards his marriage, and for this he is savaged in public, wearing the equivalent of tar and feathers for his transgressions.
Mike Pence may be ridiculed now, but I believe his day will come. There are many around us who presently believe a lie. They read the headlines from their favorite snarky websites, and they laugh as they have been trained, Pavlov-like, to do. But when their marriage crumbles, or when their hundredth hookup goes awry and they are a blasted ruin, or when they see in a very simple way the sustained happiness of a stable family in their community, a bell of recognition will sound in their hearts. They will know that the conventional wisdom was wrong. They will see that the mockery was evil.
They will see, by divine aid, that marriage is God-honoring, God-oriented, and still greater yet, God-revealing.
Image: Mike Pence from Wikimedia Commons