While sexual escapades have always been with us, we now seem to have a bipolar approach to such behavior. On the one hand we condemn it, at least when it is practiced by someone who preaches "family values," or is identified with a party that promotes morality; on the other hand we promote, especially in the media, what we simultaneously decry. Some in Congress stand up for family values, while they lie down with prostitutes. Their rhetoric may add to the cultural debate, but their behavior nullifies any credibility they might expect to enjoy. Anyone who can't impose morality on himself is unlikely to be successful in legislating it for others.
God called the ancient Israelites a "wicked and adulterous generation." In context, that meant they lusted after false gods, worshipping and following idols made of wood and gold instead of the real thing. Today in America, adultery is no longer regarded as a big deal, except for those hurt by a cheating partner. Laws have been so watered down in many states that while an adulterous partner in a marriage might sue for divorce on grounds of sexual infidelity, increasing numbers of family courts do not penalize the cheating partner when it comes to alimony and other financial considerations, or even child custody. Cheating wives can still win custody or joint custody of their children.
Whether one commits adultery with a White House intern, or a prostitute, it's all the same and it isn't funny, except for the hypocrisy part. Sex is a powerful force. It can bond, or it can destroy. In our culture, sex has been used as a commodity to make lots of money and in doing so it has mortgaged the souls of those who use it irresponsibly.
Ask Sen. David Vitter, who is now making his mortgage payments - in public humiliation and private shame.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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