Should Marital Infidelity Disqualify a Candidate from Office?

Observers weigh in on questions related to the 2012 election.

Discussion Starter: As the 2012 presidential race gathers steam, probes into candidates' personal histories have raised questions about how much a candidate's marital life should influence the decision of Christian voters.

"If a candidate lacks the moral fiber to honor such a profoundly meaningful vow to his own spouse, children, and extended family, what makes us think he or she has what it takes to keep the promises of their office? Such a person is demonstrating their untrustworthiness. Divorce, of course, can tragically happen to far too many marriages, for far too many serious reasons: abandonment and abuse, among them. A compassionate society must consider such circumstances carefully before automatically 'writing off' one who seeks public office. Key questions should be: 'Was this a person who did all they could to honor their marriage? If they have engaged in infidelity, have they demonstrated evidence of genuine remorse and repentance?' Extra-marital affairs never just happen. The adulterer always searches for a key, unlocks the door, and walks through it with forethought. Adulterers tend to be people driven more by their appetites than an appreciation for consequences. Votes for such people are ill-advised."

"I don't think I can improve upon Harry Truman's statement that he would never knowingly hire a person that had cheated on their wife. When he was asked why, he said, 'You know, if a man will lie to his wife, he'll lie to me. And if he'll break his oath of marriage, he'll break his oath of office.' It's hard to argue with President Truman's logic. Can you trust a man who lies to his wife or breaks his marital oath? I don't think so. Public officers take an oath to uphold the Constitution, to uphold the law of ...

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Christianity Today
Should Marital Infidelity Disqualify a Candidate from Office?
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July 2011

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