Joel Osteen, who I wrote about in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, has recently discussed his adherence to the "Billy Graham rule."
What is the "Billy Graham rule," you might be asking?
The "Billy Graham rule" was created out of a desire to "avoid any situation that would have even the appearance of compromise or suspicion."
Osteen was recently interviewed and was asked directly if he followed the Billy Graham rule in order to avoid temptation to engage in scandalous behavior.
In response to the question if he adhered to the rule, Osteen said that, "I do and I always have, and my father did too. I think the key for me on that is to start every day — I take the first half hour of every day to search my own heart to ask God, 'Am I on track and doing this for the right reasons? Am I following what you want me to do?' To me, you can have a lot of accountability and that is important. But I think you can hide things too."
Joel Osteen is not the only high profile American Christian who follows the rule. Last year, Vice President Mike Pence was reported on his adherence to the rule by the Washington Post.
The Post reported that:
"During his 12 years in Congress, Pence had rules to avoid any infidelity temptations, or even rumors of impropriety. Those included requiring that any aide who had to work late to assist him be male, never dining alone with a woman other than his wife, and not attending an event where alcohol is served unless Karen [his wife] was there.
In a 2002 interview with The Hill, Pence called it, 'building a zone around your marriage.'
'If there's alcohol being served and people are being loose, I want to have the best-looking brunette in the room standing next to me,' Pence said."
In the same interview, Osteen was also questioned about the validity of the "Prosperity Gospel." He quickly resorted to apologetics to defend it.
"Prosperity is having good health and being able to sleep at night and having good relationships. It's having money to pay our bills and follow your dreams. It is not about wealth and getting rich. That is kind of what I see when I hear 'prosperity.' I talk about all types of things. On purpose, I stay away from money [in my sermons] because people already think TV pastors are frauds and all that. I try to stay away from that, but I do believe God wants you to be blessed," Osteen said.
Osteen's avoidance of women is in line with the kind of degrading and dehumanizing behavior I constantly see from religion. Women are little more than objects to these religious people. Women are objects of temptation that will lead men astray from their rigorously self-imposed standards. It is not a surprise, but still sad, that these delusional men avoid women for fear of being "tempted" to inappropriate behavior.
The sooner that society throws off these delusional beliefs, the better.