Cubby Culbertson, the man Mark Sanford calls a "spiritual giant."

Who's winning, who's losing, and why.
June 24 2009 5:14 PM

Sanford's "Spiritual Giant"

Who is Cubby Culbertson?

Also in Slate: William Saletan on Sanford's surprisingly honest confession. John Dickerson on the disturbing glee at Sanford's downfall. Plus: A guide to politicians' reactions to sex scandals.

Near the end of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford's jarringly open confessional press conference Wednesday, as the event deteriorated into a storm of questions, interruptions, and half-answers, Sanford paused to give a shout-out. "I see Cubby Culbertson in the back of the room," Sanford said. "I would consider him a spiritual giant." Someone tried to interrupt him, but Sanford pressed on: "And an incredibly dear friend. And he has been helping us work through this over these last five months. And Cubby, I want to say thank you for being there as a friend."

So, who is this spiritual giant who for five months has been advising the governor? Warren "Cubby" Culbertson is a pillar of the Christian community in South Carolina's capital, a Bible study leader and Sunday school teacher who owns a court reporting business.

Culbertson helped form a men's Bible study group with the help of good friend Bill Jones, the president of the evangelical college Columbia International University. (A collection of "Cubby's Talks" can be found here.) The group, called the Round Table, meets weekly in Culbertson's Columbia office. For about eight years, it has attracted some of Columbia's top professionals, including, briefly, Sanford.

Sanford attended the Round Table meetings twice in the last few years, and as a result of those meetings, Culbertson became a part of Sanford's life in a "counselor" capacity, according to another of the group's founding members, Columbia attorney Bill Short. But he's a longtime supporter of the politician. In 1998, years before the Round Table held its first meeting, Culbertson donated $250 to the Sanford for Congress campaign, according to campaign records.

Culbertson is also an occasional teacher at Christ Church of the Carolinas. His podcasts on the Book of James are available online.

Additional reporting contributed by Inci Atrek, Lydia DePillis, and Jeremy Singer-Vine. 

AP Video: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford Admits Affair



The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

The GOP Senate Candidate in Iowa Doesn’t Want Voters to Know Just How Conservative She Really Is

Does Your Child Have “Sluggish Cognitive Tempo”? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

Naomi Klein Is Wrong

Multinational corporations are doing more than governments to halt climate change.

The Strange History of Wives Gazing at Their Husbands in Political Ads


See Me

Transparent is the fall’s only great new show.


Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD

The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
Sept. 30 2014 12:04 PM John Hodgman on Why He Wore a Blue Dress to Impersonate Ayn Rand
  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful.
Building a Better Workplace
Sept. 30 2014 1:16 PM You Deserve a Pre-cation The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.
Sept. 30 2014 1:48 PM Thrashed Florida State’s new president is underqualified and mistrusted. But here’s how he can turn it around.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 30 2014 11:42 AM Listen to Our September Music Roundup Hot tracks from a cooler month, exclusively for Slate Plus members.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 2:56 PM How Faithful Is David Fincher’s Gone Girl?
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 2:38 PM Scientists Use Electrical Impulses to Help Paralyzed Rats Walk Again
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath the Methane Lakes of Titan?
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.