Mr. Newt’s personal baggage and 2012

Newt Gingrich has vaulted to the top of the polls, taking his place as the latest “not Romney” candidate with the Republican base. Whether he stays there and can win the nomination remains to be seen, but it is remarkable how he has recovered from his campaign collapsing earlier this year. Gingrich has a long history in politics, and one question that has dogged him is his three marriages, all of which are tainted by the stain of adultery.

We all know the story. Gingrich committed adultery and divorced his first wife to be with his mistress. Then he committed adultery again and divorced his second wife to be with his next mistress. In 2009, Gingrich converted to Roman Catholicism, speaking publicly about his sin and how he repented and asked God to forgive him.

This is the story of every single person who has ever accepted Christ as his savior. We all do wicked things, and we deserve eternal damnation in Hell for it. But Jesus Christ took the punishment for our sins upon Himself so that we might escape the damnation we deserve and instead have eternal life.

  • “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — 1 John 1:9

  • They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. – Mark 2:17

There’s no question that Gingrich has committed wicked sins. What he did cannot be excused. In terms of character and fitness to be president, the main question is this: Is Gingrich’s repentance genuine? Or is he saying what he needs to say in order to minimize the effect of his adultery with evangelical Christians who make up the Republican base?

Gingrich has said a few things about what he did, some of which were off the wall, and some of which indicated genuine repentance. I don’t know him personally, so it is difficult (though not impossible) to discern whether his repentance is genuine. I am willing to let him have the benefit of the doubt, which is the charitable thing to do. Absent evidence of further wickedness, his past adultery would not prevent me from voting for him a year from now.

Gingrich is certainly more qualified than Barack Obama, though that could be said about every Republican in the field. While I am supporting Texas governor Rick Perry in the Republican primaries, I would be more than happy with Gingrich as the nominee. He is a “vision” candidate with a strong record of conservatism (despite a few “off the reservation” moments) and I am confident he would defeat Obama.