On the Pence “Dinner Rule”

I grew up attending very conservative Christian churches in central Ohio. We believed that Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross as a sacrifice for the sins of fallen humanity, and that the only way to ensure an afterlife in heaven was to “accept Christ into your heart.” We believed that anyone who failed to do this would spend a fiery eternity in the flames of hell, which is why we evangelized to people to prevent this fate.

We also believed that sex outside of marriage was sinful and evil.

The Vice President, Mike Pence, is an evangelical in this mold. From my vantage point today these views are fantastic, amazing, ridiculous. But millions of Americans are evangelicals just like Pence, and just like I was learning to be.

The so-called “dinner rule” that Pence deploys — he only dines alone with his wife Karen and no other woman, he does not attend receptions at which alcohol will be served unless Karen is there too — must be understood in its proper context. To Pence it’s a symbol of propriety, virtue and right-thinking. To those who have never attended an evangelical church it’s a symbol of flyover state backwardness. To me it’s yet another sign that our “United” States of America are really anything but.

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