’Nightline’ takes poignant look at adultery

It’s hard to believe you or I could sit here and say we have no control over our emotions or our actions.

Everyone has their moment or two where they completely lose self-control in a myriad of different ways. Often it is in private. Sometimes it’s for others to see behind the wheel or in a mall. Rarely, but occasionally, it’s for the whole world to see as it was for Joe Wilson and Serena Williams.

Yet acknowledging that lack of control doesn’t mean it’s necessarily habitual nor are we doomed to be driven by it.
Now, apply that same idea and apply it to sex and marriage.

That’s what ABC News ‘Nightline’ did Thursday as part of its periodic series looking at 21st century applications of the Ten Commandments. The episode focused on the Seventh Commandment, “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14) and probed whether or not monogamous heterosexual marriages are destined to go the way of the dinosaur.

Give statistics whatever weight you like, but figures “Nightline” quoted that one-third of married men and one-fourth of married women cheat at some point during their relationships. Match that up with a divorce rate which hovers around 40 percent and it’s easy to see how marriage has seen better days from a public relations standpoint.

Just because of these numbers, should we perhaps be more inclined just throw caution to the wind and have sex with whomever we please?

Half of the four-person panel hosted by “Nightline’s” Cynthia McFadden essentially said, “You bet.”

Advocating sex outside of marriage were Jenny Block and Noel Biderman.

Block is an author who has advocated open marriage and has been married for 12 years and has a 10 year-old daughter; she also is in the third year of an adulterous relationship with a woman whom her husband and daughter know about.

Biderman is the CEO of AshleyMadison.com, which Everyday Christian blogger Dani Nichols took to task for its ad campaign encouraging married couples to have affairs. The site acts as a dating service for spouses actively looking to stray and boasts an eye-popping 4.5 million subscribers.

In opposition were Ed Young and Jonathan Daugherty.

Young is the well-known pastor of Fellowship Church, a suburban Dallas megachurch which hosted the event.

Daugherty is a recovering sex addict who cheated on his wife multiple times with multiple women, including prostitutes. He and his wife have repaired their marriage and have formed Be Broken Ministries to help and counsel struggling couples.

Perhaps I’m a bit biased here, but having been married for 17 years without an adulterous relationship, I found it a little odd when Block suggested that a great way to “recharge” a marriage is by sleeping around, checking out pornography and when it came to resisting the urge to cheat that she’s “not sure it’s something we should be overcoming.”

Hmmm, perhaps I’m confused. Maybe all that “for better, for worse” stuff was just some kind of ceremonial jargon. I don’t think so, but maybe Biderman would have a different take.

Um, not really. If anything it was more, shall we say, puzzling.

Biderman says he doesn’t cheat on his wife and also has children. So, McFadden asked, how does he legitimize his business to them? “I’m in the business of making money,” he said.

Oh. Well that makes perfect sense.

Actually, sarcasm aside, it doesn’t, which Young pointed out from a traditional Christian perspective. While he didn’t bite at McFadden’s adaption age-old question asked of pastors of whether or not he thought Block and Biderman were going to hell, he did point out, “God accepts everybody, but I don’t want you to confuse that with approval.”

Daugherty pointed out what anyone who has been married for any length of time when it comes to analyzing this subject: “Yes, we are born with sin, but we’re not destined to cheat.”

The show was stolen, however, by an unidentified teenage girl whose parents’ marriage was shattered by infidelity to the point where she was largely raised by her older brother.

Sepaking to Block and Biderman, she said, “You probably don’t know what it feels like to be a child where parents are torn apart because of adultery and I don’t understand why you continue to encourage that.”

The only thing to say about that comment is, “Bravo.”

To see the unedited version of the debate beyond what was on TV, click here.

The series will continue tonight talking about the Fourth Commandment and the holiness of the Sabbath (Exodus 20:8-11) dealing with Christians closing businesses on Sundays, focusing on Chick-fil-A.


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