If you’re like me, you’d never heard of “Ashley Madison” until very recently. Who knew there was a website aimed at married folks with the tag line “Life is short. Have an affair.”?!

But there is such a website. They  promised security to their tens of millions of users in exchange for the chance of illicit encounters. The first mistake their customers made was signing up for such a website. Their second mistake was thinking no one would/could ever find out. In today’s world, it’s safe to assume that nothing remains secret for long.

It is sad to me that potentially millions/tens of millions of spouses are finding out perhaps for the first time that the person that promised to love and cherish them at least until death do they part didn’t want to keep that commitment. My heart aches for the many innocent women and children (and the few men whose wives have Ashley Madison accounts) who are facing broken trust and heartache.  So many of them – most of them – are likely spouses who have no blame in the philandering of their partner. I am frankly shocked and dismayed to see assertions that if infidelity occurs, somehow the spouse who doesn’t wander “always” shares a portion of the blame. What a load of hooey. That’s like blaming the young woman who was raped by saying she was somehow asking for it. Get real.

We live in a world where porn addiction is at epidemic proportions and it is destroying lives across the globe. It’s a scourge of Biblical proportions. My suspicion is that many of these “customers” are also porn addicts, looking to act out fantasies they’ve been viewing. No real-life spouse can live up to the artificial world created by purveyors of porn. Porn is robbing viewers and their partners of the opportunity to have a healthy relationship, built on trust and mutual respect.

With the release of such an extensive database of (mostly) men in search of a fling, it is inevitable that public figures will be on that list. Whether it’s because they thought they were too clever to get caught or they weren’t thinking at all, right now, karma is catching up with them. Reputation management companies are swamped with frantic phone calls right now and some customers are undoubtedly hoping no one will notice them. Here’s a tip to avoid having make those frantic phone calls: Don’t do stupid stuff. You’re welcome.

It’s sad that there are some for whom the spotlight will hurt their loved ones even further. It is sad that their arrogance and disregard for their marital vows will play out in a public forum. People make mistakes and should have an opportunity to repair deep hurts – in private. If they are elected officials, they should step down and focus on their families. It may be that the wounds are too deep and the trust too broken to be repaired and I do not fault anyone for choosing divorce. It may be that after enough time, sincere repentance and true accountability from the perpetrator that marriages may be salvaged.  It may be a combination of a divorce now and a remarriage down the road. Again, those issues can be worked on privately.

There is one thing, though, that pretty much everyone agrees on – regardless of political ideology –  we as a people simply have no tolerance for hypocrisy. That’s one of the reasons there is such an outcry over Josh Duggar’s name being on the Ashley Madison list – he was a “spokesman” for family values and as it turns out, embodies the antithesis of family values. Is it any wonder that he is receiving the kind of flack coming at him, from the left AND the right? He is a liar, a cheat, an addict and has been a sexual predator for years. His poor wife feels she needs to shoulder the blame for “not being there” for him. I just want to hug her and tell her she deserves so much better. (And if Anna were my daughter, I’d be actively helping her get the heck out of Dodge. A sexual predator is not going to just “get better.”)

For those who self-righteously proclaim that we shouldn’t judge, may I remind you that you have judged plenty of times in your life. Here are some policy issues where I KNOW you made a judgment call: immigration, non-discrimination, bakers and wedding cakes, Planned Parenthood and body parts. Sorry. Claiming we can’t do or say anything because it might be “judgmental” is a cop-out at best. It can also be seen as condoning, encouraging or even complicity. Turning a blind eye to wrong-doing doesn’t make it less wrong. It just allows the wrongs to be perpetuated longer. Remember Edmund Burke’s statement? “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing.” I’ll not sit idly by, thanks. Adultery is wrong. Porn is wrong. Lying is wrong. Blaming and shaming victims is wrong.

For those on the Ashley Madison list, please do the right thing. Come clean, go home and fix the damage you have caused. Take responsibility for your actions and don’t pass the blame to others. And if you’re in the public eye, please step down out of office, out of the spotlight and out of the news. It will be ten times worse for your family if you stay in the public eye and try to explain it away. You can’t.  If your name is on the list maliciously and it’s not you, defend your honor. But you better not be lying.

Finally, there is this: Luke 12:2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.

Dudes – you had it coming.

Originally posted at Holly on the Hill

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