Everyone has by now heard of Nevada Senator John Ensign’s admission that he had an affair with a campaign staffer, Cynthia Hampton, whose salary as a staffer doubled and whose 19 year-old son was put on the payroll when the affair began. Not unrelated to this is Ensign’s attack on same-sex marriage and his defense of the Federal Marriage Amendment. It makes you wonder if there’s not some connection between those with relationship “problems” and their condemnation of the relationships of others, especially those relationships that differ from what they want people to think they have or believe in.
Long married, Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who was caught not so long ago for solicitation in a men’s airport bathroom (he pleaded guilty to “disorderly conduct”), was also an outspoken critic of same-sex marriage and of general civil rights for gay men and lesbians. It makes you wonder.
And of course we all remember the case of Jimmy Swaggart, media minister and outspoken critic of fellow media minister, Jim Bakker, for his indiscretions, and who spoke long and loud against civil rights for gay men and lesbians, was caught with prostitutes more than once—even after his tearful speech of apology: “I have sinned against you, my Lord, and I would ask that your precious blood would wash and cleanse every stain until it is in the seas of God’s forgiveness.” WOW! It makes you wonder.
As a working hypothesis, I wonder if this would work: Those with relationship dissonance are more critical of the relationships of others (especially relationships that are different from their own) than are those without relationship dissonance, with the degree of dissonance experienced being positively correlated with the quantity and forcefulness of their criticism. Alternatively, one might hypothesize that relationship satisfaction and the criticism of others’ relationships (that is, the degree of dissatisfaction with the relationships of others) would be negatively correlated; the more satisfied one is in one’s own relationship, the less critical that person is likely to be toward the alternative relationships of others.
Yes, it makes you wonder. Why are people like Ensign, Craig, Swaggart—and these are just three (who are familiar to us because they made the front pages) out of a likely host of others—so against the granting of civil rights for gay men and lesbians? What are they trying to protect?