August 26, 2019

MEN BEWARE: Following the Billy Graham Rule Could Get You Fired. It Happened to a N.C. Sheriff.

[Manuel] Torres, who worked for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) from 2012 until he was fired in 2017, filed a complaint on July 31 accusing Sheriff Tracy Lynn Carter of discriminating against him by terminating his employment after he requested a reasonable religious accommodation based on his Christian beliefs — namely, Torres asked that he not be forced to spend time alone with a female coworker whom he was assigned to train. Torres is seeking “equitable and monetary relief in the form of present and future lost wages and benefits, compensatory damages for emotional distress and other injuries, and punitive and/or liquidated damages, as provided by law.”

The Billy Graham rule dates back to the 1940s, when Southern Baptist evangelist Billy Graham, who was spending long stretches of time on the road away from his family, made a pact with several other men involved in ministry, called the Modesto Manifesto, vowing to “avoid any situation that would have even the appearance of compromise or suspicion,” according to Graham’s autobiography. The idea behind the rule was to obey the Bible’s command to “abstain from every form of evil” (sometimes translated “abstain from all appearance of evil”). Graham’s desire was that no one should be able to accuse him of sexual misconduct as a result of being spotted alone with a woman. Vice President Mike Pence also follows a variation of the rule and has been the object of much scorn and mockery for his “antiquated” religious beliefs.

Five minutes before Harvey Weinstein became a household name, and Pence emerged looking like the smartest man in the Washington, DC media fishbowl.

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