I've heard numerous versions of this story, but I'll go with the one reportedly told by Dr.
The bearded Twerski goes to the airport in his Hasidic garb -- the hat, the long coat, the buttoned white shirt. Another Jew, this one modernly dressed, is annoyed by Twerski and unloads on him: "What's wrong with you? Must you insist on parading around in that medieval get-up as if it were Purim? Don't you realize how ridiculous you look? You bring nothing but scorn and embarrassment upon us Jews!"
After letting the angry man continue for a while, Twerski says, "I fail to understand what thee art saying. You do realize that I'm Amish, don't you?"
The modern Jew's anger quickly turns to embarrassment. "Oh, I beg your pardon," he says apologetically. "I didn't realize that you were Amish. You look so much like those Hasidic fellows. You should know that I have nothing but respect for you and your people -- keeping to your ways without bowing to society's wills and whims."
The kicker comes when Twerski says, "Aha! If I were Amish, you would have nothing but respect for me. But since I am a Jew, you are ashamed of me. Hopefully one day you will have the same respect for yourself that you have for others."
But that's not the moral of the story I have in mind.
In response, there's been a lot of cheap mockery from prominent liberal writers and activists. It's an affront to working women! He's a Christian weirdo! He thinks a meal with any woman will lead to sex!
A lot of conservatives have leapt to the Pences' defense -- and rightly so.
I agree. But it's worth pointing out that infidelity needn't be the issue. I doubt Pence would be a lothario save for those rules. Perhaps he followed them simply to reassure his wife?
Or maybe this is none of our business? That would certainly be the attitude of many liberals if Pence were a Democrat and had actually cheated on his wife.
Last summer, when
It's a very strange place we've found ourselves in when elites say we have no right to judge adultery, but we have every right to judge couples who take steps to avoid it.
But ultimately, I don't think the important double standard is about marriage or adultery. It's about traditional Christians.
If the Pences were Muslims and followed similar rules, as devout Muslims indeed might, I doubt there'd be anything like this kind of liberal scorn.
Of course, that's unknowable. But liberals spend a lot of time and energy defending accommodations for religious Muslims -- burqas, veils, gender segregation, etc. -- that they would never make for committed Christians.
Part of it is coalitional. For instance, the feminist march on
But part of it strikes me as a crude form of partisan bigotry born of a kind of self-loathing of America's traditional culture. Orthodox Muslim views on women are exotically "other" and somehow courageous, like the imagined Amish traveler. Orthodox Christians are embarrassing, like the Hasidic one.