And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, they said unto him, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?”
This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?” She said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” –From the Gospel according to St. John.
So who was qualified to cast the first stone at Riell Hunter? Or John Edwards (photos at left)? Certainly not Bill O’Reilly (photo at right), that scurrilous sinner, whose (well documented) sex life would make the Marquis de Sade blush. Yet this shameless Pharisee fulminated at length on his Fox News show about John Edwards’ transgressions.
And what about the other breast beating critics who have rushed to gather stones with which to pelt Edwards? Who knows what they have done under cover of darkness and out of sight of society?
The burden of their rant is that Edwards is automatically disqualified from public service because of his extramarital love affair. If the U.S. Constitution contained such a provision, think how many Presidents and other prominent politicians from Benjamin Franklin to Bill Clinton would have been lost to America. Some of the world’s most valuable public servants, including (to my undying surprise!) the sainted Dwight Eisenhower, have been philanderers.
(I hate to mention it but the list of documented philanderers includes John McCain, so if Edwards had been nominated as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, the scales would have been even – at least in that category.)
As a practical matter, the pious bleating about “family values” is a disservice to voters. We are supposed to elect a person with the skill set required for leadership of a world power, and history has shown some of the best leaders were not the most pious family men (or women, for that matter). I doubt that the Pharisees in today’s media would approve of Elizabeth I of England or Louis XIV of France, yet from what I learned in school they did a pretty good job running their respective countries.
I am not defending Edwards. He did something really shameful. I am sure he is sorry, if for no other reason than the pain he has caused his darling of a wife. He will have to deal with that in the privacy of his thoughts. We all pay for our sins, one way or another. But we all have access to forgiveness.