The Marginalization of Single Women Via The Billy Graham Rule, Fleeing the Appearance of Evil, and James Dobson
There is much more I could say about the Billy Graham Rule (sometimes also referred to these days as “The Mike Pence Rule”) than what I am writing about here and now, but for this post, I wanted to narrow it down a little bit.
In the context of the Bill Hybels scandal discussion, news sites and abuse survivor blogs are mentioning how mega-church preacher Bill Hybels told one of his targets that under the advice of Focus On The Family’s James Dobson, he wanted to watch some pornography movies.
So, Hybels – who was married – asked his target, an unmarried woman staffer at his church, a Pat Baranowski, to run out and buy or rent porn, then he watched it with her while wearing nothing but a bathrobe. Baranowski also lived with Hybels and his wife in their home for approximately two years.
One of the spiritual abuse survivor blogs covering this whole ordeal is The Wartburg Watch in this post, where one of the TWW bloggers, Dee, wrote this:
James Dobson was part of the Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography in the latter half of the 1980s. Note how Hybels cleverly used something that was true to give him plausible deniability.
Mr. Hybels told Ms. Baranowski that he had been told to educate himself on the issue by James Dobson, founder of the ministry Focus on the Family, who had been appointed by President Ronald Reagan to an anti-pornography commission.
Calling it research, Mr. Hybels once instructed Ms. Baranowski to go out and rent several pornographic videos, she said, to her great embarrassment. He insisted on watching them with her, she said, while he was dressed in a bathrobe.
I am opposed to the BGR (Billy Graham Rule), for a few reasons, one of which is because it (like a lot of complementarian teachings, though side note: I don’t believe Hybels was complementarian) assumes several obnoxious things and perpetuates sexist stereotypes: it assumes that men, all men, are unable (or maybe unwilling?) to control their libidos, that all single women are sexual temptresses who have loose sexual morals and are willing to have affairs with married men.
Because of these assumptions, some Christians believe that men and women should not be alone together, especially not married men with single women.