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Friday, July 12, 2019

The Billy Graham Rule

Robert Foster, a married man, is taking a lot of unfair flack for not agreeing to meet with a woman for an entire day which would often include time alone with her in his truck. He sticks to the Billy Graham rule, and said no.

Foster is a candidate for governor in Mississippi, and a reporter, Larrison Campbell, asked to tag along with him for a day. After finding out the reporter was female, and having no campaign staff who could join them, he asked her if she could provide someone to tag along. She balked, and the interview/day-long tag-along was called off.

One mistake Foster may have made in this is stipulating that the colleague the female reporter bring along be male. I agree having someone else present is a good idea, but I don't see why the third person would need to be a man. That actually complicates things, because presumably she would need to travel alone with that man in order to meet. Foster was possibly requiring her to violate the same rule he was trying to keep.

Campbell makes the argument that this is sexism because he would allow a man to join him solo for the day, but not a woman. If professional consideration was the only factor in this situation, she would have a point on which to build her case. What she is denying is that there are unavoidably additional dynamics involved when any man is alone with a woman. This is true of times they are alone, times when others may see them go to or return from somewhere else alone, and especially when those alone times are for an extended period.

One interviewer tried to insinuate that one person either had bad motives or assumed the other person had bad motives, and that's not the point. The purpose of following this rule is simply to completely rule out any of those possibilities by never allowing that situation to occur in the first place.

Some on the extreme left in our culture want to make this kind of ethical prevention illegal. In a previous round on this topic I remember reading some thought it may be illegal already. Even if they succeed, that's not going to stop some of us to holding to standards like this. I'm sure Foster would rather allow no ride-alongs at all, than to be forced into one that would violate this good and important rule.

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