You drive along Interstate 30 in Little Rock, and there it is, a billboard with an astonishing message. It pictures three former U.S. presidents—Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, and Bill Clinton—along with the words:
Who said cheaters never prosper?
Happy Presidents’ Day!
This is the latest campaign from AshleyMadison.com, a highly profitable website with a most unusual clientele—people who are interested in committing adultery. If you register on the website, you can connect with others interested in cheating. As the website states:
Long gone are the days of working late and having an affair with the office secretary, with today’s technology the ability to have a discreet emotional or sexual affair is at your fingertips. You have definitely come to the right website. Ashley Madison’s married dating services can help you find that special someone who makes you feel young and alive again.
And yet Ashley Madison claims it merely facilitates cheating rather than promoting it. One of the more amazing statements on the website is, “No, Ashley Madison does not encourage anyone to stray or have an affair, despite our trademark, ‘Life is short, have an affair.’ In fact, if you are having difficulty in your marriage or relationship, you should seek counseling.”
Ashley Madison’s founder is a Toronto entrepreneur named Noel Biderman. He and his wife say they are happily married with two children. But he also says that “Monogamy, in my opinion, is a failed experiment.”
Biderman tends to make provocative statements like that when defending his company. And he’s a master at deflecting criticism. “You eradicate Ashley Madison, you’re not going to eradicate infidelity. That’s what allows me to sleep at night.” Or, “If you think that all affairs happen on Ashley Madison, you’re very naive.”
Those are clever words. By addressing absurd accusations nobody would make, Biderman deflects legitimate complaints about making money from something most people consider to be immoral.
Apparently helping adulterers is a big business. And you wonder if Biderman considers any publicity as bad. Every time he defends the company against those who despise his product, that means more people are aware of that product. One could argue that even this article is only helping Ashley Madison.
The truth about adultery
In many respects, Ashley Madison only rehashes the excuses people have made for thousands of years about adultery: People can’t help themselves … It can often help marriages … We shouldn’t be too prudish about cheating … You need to let men sow their wild oats … etc., etc., etc.
Statements like these will encourage those who are unhappy in their marriages and are looking for some extramarital spice. But you and I know they are lies. The truth is that cheaters do not prosper.
For one thing, adultery destroys marriages. Ask yourself, why do so many people consider adultery such a betrayal? Why is it that Noel Biderman’s own wife says she would feel “devastated” if he cheated on her? It’s because sex as God designed it is much more than a physical act; it binds a couple together emotionally and spiritually in a way they can only partially understand. If your spouse has sex with another person, the sense of hurt and betrayal cuts to the core of your soul. As one woman said, “My husband wants me to stop bringing up his affair because he has ‘repented.’ What about me? He acts like nothing has happened, but I walk with anger. I cry out to God every day, but the hurt is still fresh.”
Second, adultery harms your legacy. Children feel the impact for many years to come. In most cases, it severely damages the relationship between the parent and child. In addition, the children may repeat that behavior when they are adults. Consider the story of one of the presidents pictured on the Ashley Madison billboard, John F. Kennedy. His womanizing is common knowledge now, but many don’t know how his behavior was influenced by his father, Joseph, who cheated on his wife regularly. His children knew it, and a number of them went on to be unfaithful to their own spouses. Few families in American history have accomplished as much as the Kennedys, but their legacy has also been clouded by reckless immorality.
Copyright © 2014 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.