Yesterday, a Georgia woman alleged that she has carried on a 13-year affair with presidential candidate Herman Cain. Cain’s lawyer responded with a public statement arguing that a candidate’s private sexual life was a not a legitimate subject for public scrutiny. Albert Mohler
It is sheer nonsense to state that no candidate for public office (or public official) “should be questioned about his or her private sexual life.” Reporters did not just ask these questions out of the blue — they came only with public accusations. Once such an accusation is made, it must be answered. In a situation like this, the public’s interest is not lurid, it is moral. Voters know that a candidate’s sexual life is an essential dimension of character. So is the candidate’s fidelity or lack of fidelity in marriage.
Declaring that the right to know and the right to report meet a boundary that ends “outside of one’s bedroom door” is both moral and political insanity. That boundary was exceeded the moment such an accusation was made and it will be so for so long as the charge remains credible…
Character does not end at the bedroom door. Any effort to make this claim will be recognized by the public for what it is. We live in a morally confused age, but there is little confusion about the fact that sexual behavior and personal character are inseparable. The question of character is among the most crucial issues of a political campaign. Americans may come to different conclusions about the significance of sexual misconduct in its different forms (as in the case of President Clinton), but they know better than to accept being told that it is none of their business.
We do not yet know if Herman Cain had the affair with which he is charged. We do know, however, that the argument put forth by his attorney is shameful. When charges like these are made, a candidate cannot hide behind the bedroom door.
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