The ever-widening scandal surrounding Democrat Congressman Anthony Weiner provided Republicans with plenty of ammunition in their quest to rid themselves of one of the nation’s most liberal politicians. Without a doubt, Congressman Weiner’s behavior was reprehensible. His repeated lies and efforts to cover up his actions, not to mention the actions themselves, were indicative of a man unfit to serve in his position. Resignation was the right thing to do.
Now that Democrat Congressman Anthony Weiner has resigned, Republican Senator David Vitter should resign, too. In fact, Vitter’s resignation is long overdue.
Almost four years ago, a very similar scandal to Weiner’s was unfolding on our television and computer screens. Louisiana Senator David Vitter, who fashions himself as a Christian, pro-family, conservative Republican, had just been exposed as a client of a high-profile prostitution ring in our nation’s capital. Vitter, who had once called for President Clinton’s resignation over the Lewinsky scandal, was now mired in his own tawdry sex scandal.
So what did Republican leaders do about Senator Vitter?
They let him off the hook.
Perhaps the Republican leadership feared that if they forced Vitter to resign, Louisiana’s Democrat governor would appoint a Democrat replacement, thus increasing the Democrats’ control over the Senate. Later, some of them even contributed to Vitter’s successful re-election campaign. Politics, you know?
Fast-forward to 2011, when several of the same Republicans who supported Senator Vitter in the wake of his sex scandal were now calling for Congressman Weiner to resign.
Something is wrong here.
Americans saw conservatives demanding the resignation of Congressman Weiner and remembered the deafening silence from many of those same “conservatives” in the aftermath of Senator Vitter’s scandal. Both politicians engaged in similar behavior, but Vitter had spent years portraying himself as a conservative family man. As such, his scandal seriously damaged the credibility of pro-family conservatives in America.
Furthermore, the public’s perception of Vitter as a sleazy, hypocritical Christian only served to tarnish the name of Christ among unbelievers. The vast disconnect between Vitter’s public persona and his private behavior was heartbreaking and wrong.
Why should we expect our leaders to privately adhere to their own public standards? Because private morality and public morality cannot be separated. They are linked, and unalterably so. In the Bible, God condemns those whose lips speak His praises, but whose hearts are far from Him (Isaiah 29:13).
Jesus Christ decried those who were more concerned with their outward appearance of obedience to the law rather than their personal obedience in both heart and mind. Indeed, some of Christ’s harshest and most stinging criticisms were reserved for the Pharisees, a religious sect known for its hypocrisy (Matthew 15:1-9).
It is important to note that Christians should not see Senator Vitter’s personal hypocrisy as a license to shun him. It is quite possible that he has truly repented of such sin. After all, Christians often struggle with hypocrisy at certain points in their lives. Even the Apostle Paul, perhaps the most well-known Christian in history, admitted to his own struggle with hypocrisy when he wrote his letter to the Romans: “For what I want to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do” (Romans 7:15). Such is the Christian life sometimes. It is not for us to know definitively whether Vitter has truly sought and received God’s forgiveness. Indeed, the authenticity of his repentance will only be shown with time.
But while God requires Christians to willingly forgive others, He does not encourage naiveté. Even if Vitter’s repentance is genuine, the earthly consequences of his past adulteries are not automatically removed. Scripture teaches that there are often long-lasting results of sin. Betrayals of trust, even if forgiven, don’t immediately restore confidence in the offender. Even if God and Vitter’s wife have forgiven him as a private person, it is still legitimate for the rest of us to be wary of him as a public figure. Why? Because the role of a Christian husband (something Vitter claims to be) is far more eternally significant than the role of a national politician.
Every Christian husband is commanded to love and honor his wife just as Jesus Christ loves and honors His Church. This is a Biblical allegory reserved for no other human relationship. As such, a husband’s vow of faithfulness is even weightier than a politician’s oath of office. While failure as a politician may bring shame on a nation, failure as a Christian husband brings reproach to Christ, who is never unfaithful to His Church.
In this, Scripture teaches Christian men that the role of husband is one of the most important in life. If Senator Vitter could not remain faithful in such a significant spiritual role, it is not unreasonable to wonder why anyone should trust him in a temporary political role. If Vitter’s wife couldn’t trust him to uphold his covenant vows in marriage, why should others trust him in less significant matters like national leadership?
Republicans were correct in demanding that Congressman Weiner resign on account of his moral failures. But it’s high time Republicans exhibit the courage of conviction required to hold one of their own to the same standard.
Anything less is hypocrisy.
FPN Urges Sen. Vitter to follow Weiner’s lead and resign:
Vitter planned to plead the Fifth Amendment at trial:
Commentator wants Vitters to apologize to Clintons for Lewinsky scandal statements:
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (NKJV).