I remember a while back that a few friends of mine had brought up the subject of Newt Gingrich and infidelity on Facebook. I honestly, hadn’t known much about Speaker Gingrich’s personal past*and while I did do a little research at the time, I didn’t feel as driven at the time to become offended as I do now.
And likely, not in the way you would think.
Tonight, an interview will air on ABC with Speaker Gingrich’s second wife Marianne talking about why he lacks moral character to be the president. And, I know this might come as a shock, but this sickens me and not because Newt Gingrich has been a cheater in his past, but because his ex-wife, a cheater herself, has waited until now, a decade later, while he’s surging in the polls, to publicly decimate his character.
Now, let me be clear, there is nothing in me, nothing in my being, that makes me happy to hear about infidelity in anyone’s life.
But, I do have to wonder, what place does a man’s marital failures have in his professional life?
I can get where it might make one question the integrity of a man, but when the infidelity occurred 10 years or 20 years prior and forgiveness has been sought, at what point do we actually forgive???
At what point do we actually allow a man to re-set, or don’t we?
What I find alarming, I suppose, is that I, a woman who has been cheated on, can find it in my heart to forgive and allow my husband and, honestly, any cheater who asks forgiveness, to have a chance to prove himself and yet those who haven’t stood in my shoes can not. (Or, perhaps they have stood here and didn’t forgive and therefore, don’t know how?)
Back when Speaker Gingrich was originally surging in the polls, prior to Iowa, was when his infidelity first came up and I was surprised that it seemed most of the people that were truly offended by his actions were not only women, but Democrats. And, when I questioned them as to why it mattered so much to them if the Republican candidate had been unfaithful in his marriage when it didn’t matter that President Clinton had cheated, the response surprised me:
“Because conservatives say they care so much about family values and it would be hypocritical to have a candidate who had been cheater.”
Are they right?
Would it make me a hypocrite if I supported a man who had been a cheater?
Or, would it make me more of a hypocrite if I, as a Christian, couldn’t forgive him?
And, what would matter more?
If I was a hypocrite to society or a hypocrite to God?
(clearly, the answer for me is a simple one.)
83% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. And 42% of Americans consider themselves to be conservative and I’d like to believe that at least 20% of those people live by their faith and walking by your faith often means finding the ability to forgive even when the ability to trust might come only through hope.
It’s not easy. (trust me)
But isn’t that what blind faith is supposed to be about?
Main Entry: blind faith
Part of Speech: n
Definition: belief without true understanding, perception, or discrimination
Trusting someone in a political office who has led more than a “sketchy” life isn’t something new.
Infidelity and the presidency have sadly gone hand-in-hand almost dating back to the very beginning (with Thomas Jefferson). Infidelity has touched both political sides more than a few times and while the character of the married man can certainly be called into action, many of the men in question still somehow managed to be incredibly respected Presidents (ie Eisenhower, JFK, FDR, Clinton) …
So, what does this all mean?
Can a man who was unfaithful become a decent leader?
If a man who is unfaithful while in office has been a decent President, why couldn’t a man who was unfaithful while out of the office?
So, then it begs to question, do we as a society have a right to judge?
If we are Christian, we know the answer and we know there is one true judge.
We know it isn’t our place.
Now, I am not saying go out and vote for Newt Gingrich, but I am saying, vote based on the man you see before you today.
Remember that people make mistakes and unless you have led a perfect life, judge not lest ye be judged.
So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. ~ John 8:7
*I do want to note that the site I have referenced, while informative, may or may not be completely accurate.
Just FYI, if I was voting today, I’d be voting for Rick Santorum. So this post is not based on who has my vote but rather on my feelings alone.