Robert Foster, Republican Candidate for Governor of Mississppi, Criticized for Invoking ‘Billy Graham Rule’ on Campaign Trail

Robert Foster, a first-term state legislator, is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Mississippi governor. (Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

A Mississippi gubernatorial candidate who has vowed to push back against the left-wing agenda is facing pushback after he invoked the “Billy Graham rule” when a female reporter asked to go on a campaign ride-along with him this week. 

Republican Robert Foster has been accused of being sexist after he told Mississippi Today reporter Larrison Campbell that she needed to bring along a male colleague if she wanted to go with him on a 15-hour “ride-along” as he campaigned throughout the Magnolia State in the lead-up to next month’s primary election.

Campbell told mainstream media that she was told by Foster’s campaign director, Colton Robison, that she could not be in the car alone with Foster because “they believed the optics of the candidate with a woman, even a working reporter, could be used in a smear campaign to insinuate an extramarital affair.”

As reported by ABC News, Robison was alleged to have told her repeatedly that they “can’t risk it” this close to a primary.

In a tweet, Foster justified his decision by saying that he and his wife committed to following the “Billy Graham” rule.

“Before our decision to run, my wife and I made a commitment to follow the ‘Billy Graham Rule,’ which is to avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage,” Foster wrote. “I am sorry Ms. Campbell doesn’t share these views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife.”

The rule, which was made famous by famed evangelist Billy Graham, is a practice among some conservative Christians in which men avoid spending time alone with a woman that is not his wife. That means that the man will not agree to have a meeting or meal alone with another woman that is not his wife even if for professional reasons.

The rule is one that is also adhered to by Vice President Mike Pence, which he has received much criticism for. Critics believe that the Billy Graham rule puts women at a professional disadvantage if they are not allowed to meet alone with men in power. Some say that such a rule props up outdated gender roles.

Like Pence, the 36-year-old Foster was the center of media criticism following Campbell’s publicized complaint about his refusal.

In an op-ed, Washington Post columnist Monica Hesse claimed Foster demeaned Campbell and all women by invoking the Billy Graham rule. She argued that there is not a “single inch of moral high ground achieved” by invoking the rule.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith