Evangelicals and the GOP

Slate's latest article on Newt Gingrich claims that the evangelical right can forgive and forget Newt's past sinning ways.

Bob Vander Plaats, head of the Iowa FAMiLY Leader, says
“There’s been a sincere life change for Newt Gingrich...Since four or five years ago, he’s shown a very transparent grace and maturity. He’s been married to Callista for over a decade. He’s healed his relationship with his children.”

What's wrong with a little forgiveness among Christians, after all? Nothing. Forgiveness, you might say, is our bread and...butter. But this forgiveness thing, at least for evangelicals, is tempered by something else: change of life, and a change of actions.

Well, you might say, Newt's been on the wagon for ten years. No more philandering ways. Calista's got a hold on him and he doesn't seem to be straying. Wasn't King David an adulterer (and murderer) but didn't God forgive him? But ask yourself this: Are we only talking about sexual sin here? Sin comes in a variety of colors. There's the red light sin of the bordello, the green stained sin of jealousy, the yellow stained sin of dirty politics, and the dark stained sin of hypocrisy. There's probably as many sins as there are colors. More.

To an evangelical a sin is a sin. One isn't of a higher (or lower) order than any other. To say that Newt is a fine and dandy Christian with a fine and dandy character...just because he no longer struts his stuff with young interns is to forget his other foibles. Didn't Newt just say he wasn't a lobbyist? Mmmm. But calling yourself a historian and getting paid mucho pesetas to do this "historical" work sounds pretty bogus. Sounds like he's lying, in other words. If lying is too difficult a word to pronounce among evangelicals, then how about just saying Newt is just being dishonest. Newt being Newt, in other words.

OK, and how about his hypocrisy? Denouncing politicians enabling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the Dartmouth debate...while he himself had been working for them! Libya, Global Warming, and the individual mandate for health insurance: all flip-flops. As Ron Paul states in a recent campaign ad, Gingrich is a serial hypocrite. That doesn't sound like a good Christian to me. So why do evangelicals feel they can look beyond all that? Beats me.

Jennifer Rubin recently wrote of Gingrich in the Washington Post:
Gingrich’s serial adultery and his current hypocrisy suggest not a immoral man, but an amoral one. Rules, shame, punishment, consistency and transparency are abstractions for him, tools to be wielded against political opponents while his own supposed brilliance and patriotism exempt him from the standards that mere pols must follow. Really, is this a person whose values and judgment you’d trust to manage a charity or hold a leadership position in your church, let alone occupy the Oval Office?

That Gingrich has confessed to some wrongdoings in his past affairs on a call-in radio show with James Dobson does not wash away all of this man's sins and make them white as snow. "Go and sin no more," Jesus told the adulteress. Evangelicals out there, please take note that this applies to the adulterer as well.


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