Mark Souder: Almost a Good Confession

Mark Souder

Mark Souder has been the Republican representative of the 3rd District of Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives.  He also attends Emmanuel Community Church in Fort Wayne, IN.  He has now admitted to being an adulterer with a part time member of his staff.  He will be resigning from Congress on Friday, May 21st.  In preparation of his resignation, he has released a statement through his office.

Since this site is in part about leaders who commit adultery and the consequences of adultery, I feel it is important that I comment on his actions and statements.

His actions:

He joins the ranks of hypocrites by being an advocate of abstinence only sexual ethics.  In fact, the mainstream media has already reported that he and his co-adulterer recorded a video promoting abstinence with regard to sexual ethics.  Adultery is always wrong.  Hypocrisy about adultery is the height of arrogance.  I know.  I recall when facing church discipline over my actions, that I was charged with this kind of hypocrisy.  It was true.

Souder’s Statement:

(You may read the full statement at Souder’s website).

So much of what Souder proclaims in his statement are parts of a solid confession.  I commend him for owning his sin, acknowledging the harm he has caused, and setting on a path of rebuilding his life.

However, I am troubled by a few aspects.  First, just a bit of nitpicking.  He claims that,

It has been a privilege to be a part of the battle for freedom and the values we share.

Unfortunately, he does share these values with too many.  I am sure he meant that he shares strong moral values.  However, his actions (more so than his words) reveal what his values have been.

Here is the part about which I am most concerned:

In the poisonous environment of Washington D.C., any personal failing is seized upon, often twisted, for political gain.

By stepping aside, my mistake cannot be used as a political football in a partisan attempt to undermine the cause for which I have labored all my adult life.

Not many people doubt that the environment of Washington is poisonous and that things often are twisted for political gain.  But this environment has nothing to do with his sinful actions.  I am left wondering if he would have continued in leadership if Washington was a kinder and gentler city.  If so, then I’m glad it is not.  He should be resigning because he has violated the trust of his constituents.  He has publicly proclaimed one thing and privately done another.

It is not partisan attempts that will undermine what he has proclaimed.  It is his own actions that serve to undermine what he says he values.  He continues by giving another reason for resigning,

I am resigning rather than to put my family through that painful, drawn-out process.

On one hand this is good.  On the other, he and his actions have already assured that his family will experience a painful process.  A good indicator of a person “getting” the seriousness of his sin is when he is less concerned about himself and now hurts for those whom he has hurt.

If Souder had omitted just a few sentences, I think it would be a great statement of confession.  Let’s pray that he lives it out now that he has said it.