Cover Story

Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong

"Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong" Continued...

Issue: "Don't run, Newt," April 14, 2007

Vin Weber argues that Gingrich's second marriage by all accounts was very troubled for a long time, and what seems to be a strong home life now has made a big difference. But Weber has endorsed Mitt Romney-noting that Gingrich is not currently a candidate.

If he becomes one, will Gingrich's adultery of the 1990s be an issue? Southern Baptist leader Richard Land has said that he would not expect either Gingrich or Rudy Giuliani to gain lots of Southern Baptist votes. Gingrich himself has differentiated between relatively recent actions and those of "35 years ago." Many evangelical voters will wonder about the trustworthiness of a national leader who at full maturity indulged his passions in such risky ways.

When WORLD asked Gingrich whether voters should trust him, he said, "I've never said they should trust me." He said voters should ask, "Am I the one most likely to help them achieve the future they want for their children?"

Disclosure

Marvin Olasky: I met Newt Gingrich early in 1995 after I wrote a book, The Tragedy of American Compassion, that he read, liked, and recommended to others. I became an unofficial advisor to him regarding welfare reform that year, and met many of what are now his "former close advisors." I retain a great respect for him but I also wrote a history book in the late 1990s, The American Leadership Tradition, that views unfaithfulness to a wife as often a leading indicator of unfaithfulness to the nation.

This does not mean that a person who has committed adultery will necessarily be a bad president, and it certainly does not mean that someone who is faithful in marriage will be a good president-but, as Gingrich said in 1999, voters "have the right to know everything about a presidential candidate, everything, because they're going to be in an Oval Office with nuclear weapons, and you have the right to know in advance 'Who is this person?'"

Newt's theology

During Gingrich's WORLD interview at the end of January he spoke only reluctantly about his own religious beliefs, stating rightly, "I'm not running for chief theologian." When pressed he said he was "born a Lutheran, raised as a general Protestant, became a Baptist, married to a Catholic." He describes himself as "psychologically a Protestant" because of "the opportunity to go directly to God," but he likes "the depth of the Catholic church" and has gone to Mass with his wife, who sings in the choir, for the past six years.

Gingrich also praised the Psalms and "the degree to which salvation is ultimately based on faith, is in fact a leap of faith." He also said he valued "the moment in history when God came to earth, accepted the burden of all our sins, suffered for all of us, and was resurrected." He spoke as he had in the mid-'90s about Christian theology and its historical and social accomplishments. Although Gingrich has frequently spoken and written about the importance of religion, the evangelical fervor of his Dobson interview last month surprised former close advisors.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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