Should it matter to Christians if public leaders have had an affair? Choose the best answer, even if it is incomplete, please.

No, as long as they are discreet
0% (0 votes)
No, unless they profess to be born-again believers
7% (1 vote)
Yes, we should hold all our leaders accountable to Judeo-Christian standards
21% (3 votes)
Yes, the Bible concept of home and leadership going together extends beyond the church to government
0% (0 votes)
Yes, a consideration but not cause for removal
43% (6 votes)
7% (1 vote)
21% (3 votes)
Total votes: 14
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There are 8 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

This poll assumes that we are sad to see anyone living a sinful lifestyle.  The issue is not that of personal concern, but political concern and a candidate's fitness for office.


SI had an article recently linked about General Petraeus and his resignation because his affair came to light.

People who are into power are usually into politics, and people who are into power are probably also more likely to be into affairs.  Paul Johnson quotes testimony that JFK had a different woman every day.  We do not really know how many of our leaders are faithful to their spouses, and how many are not. We just know those who are caught.

Ronald Reagan was our first divorced president.  McCain was also divorced, and his divorce seemed to have involved unfaithfulness.  We all watched as Herman Cain's presidential hopes sank with the revelation not only of an affair, but of a track record of improper behavior.

The Bible is clear than spiritual leaders are to be a "one woman man."  Although church leaders have frequently fallen because of marital unfaithfulness (although some seem to survive despite it), does I Timothy 3:1-7 apply in some way to political leaders?

Your thoughts are welcome, because a poll can only tell us so much.  Yet a poll, because of its private nature, can help us freely express our viewpoint.

This could be interesting, folks!  So chime in!



"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture


I want to clarify what I mean here. Paul's epistles to Timothy are completely in the context of the local church. You cannot take prerequisites for spiritual leadership of a group of Christians in a local church and apply them to government.

I am saddened beyond words at the situation David Petraeus got himself into. I was in the military for ten years, from just after 9/11 to earlier this year. I understand what Petraeus achieved in Iraq. I understand what he achieved as ISAF Commander and as CENTCOM. I truly believe he is the most influential and pivotal American military figure since Eisenhower. His skill at counter-insurgency made him a natural fit to lead the CIA, and I was very surprised he did not get the nod for the Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Petraeus deserved a better end to his public service career than he received, and he has only himself to blame. He is a sinful man like the rest of us.

Paula Broadwell is a smart, accomplished, successful and, yes, let's be honest - attractive woman. Petraeus let his guard down and fell into sin. Did this merit a resignation? Apparently he felt it did. I respect him for this. When I checked on-board my first command, my Command Master Chief told me to remember family was more important than any job ever would be. He told me this because military people sometimes worship their jobs above all else, including God and family.  

Petraeus resigned and is now dealing with the consequences of his decision. I have the utmost respect for what he accomplished in the service, and I wish him and his family the best.


Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

Patraeus is accomplished and deservedly popular, until now. Having had the opportunity to talk with an Air Force pilot friend this weekend about the matter, he reminded me of something. If this affair began while active duty he committed a military crime. Knowing this threshold he went ahead anyway, even as CIA Director this standard should hv been ingrained. He went on to remind me of a list of 4 Stars and below who are either currently serving or retired and have not crossed this line. He asked if I thought those men felt they were just like Pet. and I said no, in fact I am sure they are greatly offended by this act of arrogance. He said right, he lied to his wife and country, they did not.

This is strictly a post about Pet. The topic itself is so broad and each circumstance unique that I would shy away from hard and fast general conclusions.

TylerR's picture



I appreciate what you're saying, but I was a military cop for 10 years. The UCMJ offense of adultery might as well be taken off the books. It is the dumbest offense there is. It is always ignored and is rarely prosecuted, precisely because it is so unprovable. I have a basic problem with trying to legislate morality, because outward conformity is not what God is looking for.  

This is a personal gripe based on being a military cop for a while. It is indeed a crime under the UCMJ, but honestly, it is the weakest and least punishable offense out there. Don't expect the military to try to go after him on this. JAGs, and Army CID, has better things to do.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Alex Guggenheim's picture

I am sure your Cop work gave you an interesting perspective. But more face court martials or reduction in rank or denied commands and careers stopped from their cases of adultery being pursued than you know. They are not often publicized even within the military. I know of 2 Colonels and a Lt. Col. in the last year whose adultery cases were adjudicated with one being a court martial and the other two career stoppers.

But you still miss the point. Patraeus may have knowingly and duratively committed a military crime. This substantially separates him from his peers whose integrity has not been compromised.

wkessel1's picture

I said yes it does matter, it goes to the issue of character.  Saved or unsaved it shows a character issue.

Ron Bean's picture

It is my understanding that adultery is a crime in the military.

While adultery is not listed as an offense in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). The UCMJ is a federal law, enacted by Congress, to govern legal discipline and court martials for members of the armed forces. Articles 77 through 134 of the UCMJ encompasses the "punitive offenses" (these are crimes one can be prosecuted for). None of those articles specifically mentions adultery.

Adultery in the military is actually prosecuted under Article 134, which is also known as the "General Article." Article 134 simply prohibits conduct which is of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, or conduct which is prejudicial to good order and discipline.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan