On the other hand, rather than defending or denying his past transgressions, Gingrich has acknowledged and renounced them. Considering that the great majority of potential Gingrich voters will be professing Christians, should they extend him forgiveness? Or is forgiveness granted but trust earned?
In a 2007 radio interview with Dr. James Dobson, Gingrich said, “There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong. But I was still doing them. I look back on those as periods of weakness and periods that I'm not only not proud of, but I would deeply urge my children and grandchildren not to follow in my footsteps.”
Has Gingrich learned from the error of his ways, gotten to the roots of his destructive behavior, and moved forward as a loyal husband and devoted father and grandfather, worthy of serving as the leader of our nation? Or can we put our confidence in someone who engaged in such immoral and hypocritical acts in the past? Or is this whole discussion completely irrelevant?
As one of my Facebook friends asked, “Are we electing a president or appointing a church elder?” After all, many Americans are far more concerned with the economy and foreign policy than with the private lives of their presidents, and it can be argued that you can be a good family man and a lousy president or a lousy family man and a good president.
I personally believe in the power of forgiveness and the potential of redemption and restoration, and, in many ways, I hold Newt Gingrich in the highest regard. At the same time, I have serious concerns.
What about you? Would you vote for him as president?
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.