- (Photo: REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)
Newt Gingrich, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who is fast becoming the Republican frontrunner along with Mitt Romney, has been the focus of debate between conservative Christians troubled by his marital history.
The candidate is on his third marriage after leaving his two former wives for mistresses – even while his first wife was struggling with cancer. Gingrich has been campaigning hard to win evangelical Christian support in Iowa, and currently 25 percent of likely Republican voters would give him the nomination, the Guardian reported
In an effort to explain how conservatives may be able to forgive him for his past transgressions and even vote for him for president, conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace compared Gingrich with King David from the Bible. The evangelical Christian explained that David also committed adultery and sunk to great lows, but God forgave him and allowed him to remain king. Deace described King David and Newt Gingrich as two “extraordinary men” who had been gifted by God to achieve great things, despite both being “morally compromised heroes.”
The biblical account in 2 Samuel 11 reveals that King David slept with and impregnated another man's wife and then ordered that the man, a soldier in his army, be placed in the hottest part of battle and abandoned, guarenteeing his death.
Gingrich has admitted to cheating on his first two wives, and has publicly spoken about asking God for forgiveness for his misdeeds. Gingrich, who grew up Southern Baptist, converted to Roman Catholicism to marry his current wife, Callista Bisek.
The 68-year-old presidential hopeful recently pledged to remain faithful to Bisek in a written statement to The Family Leader, an influential conservative group in Iowa.
Deace's King David comparison and the issue of Gingrich's past, reported on by The Daily Best, has stirred a great deal of discussion among readers, with nearly 600 comments posted to the article. The large majority of the comments, however, appear to be from readers unsympathetic toward the King David-Gingrich comparison.
A user named “Chris” said that it might be too late for the Republican candidate to make amends: “No way Newt. I'm not buying that a career philanderer-politician has had a late-in-life change of heart and is now a "conservative". No way, I'm not supporting Newt.”
Another user, “DavidKnight,” added: “Unfortunately, Gingrich has treated American voters like he's treated his former wives. While his serial adultery should give the even the casual observer a clue to his character, a closer look will show that rather than saying one thing, THEN doing another later like Romney, Gingrich has a long history of saying one thing WHILE doing the opposite.”
“Mario T” remarked that the bigger problem for voters might not be forgiving Gingrich himself, but his wife, Callista Gingrich:
“The Evangelicals may forgive Newt's adulteries because he's found God “again” but can they forgive Callista? She seduced her boss while his wife is in the hospital fighting cancer. In some of the countries she would be visiting as First Lady, she would be untouchable or even stoned! At a minimum she would make the US the laughingstock of the World.”
Another reader, commenting on the Guardian report, pointed out that the Bible does not paint King David in such a redemptive light.
“An important part of the story not mentioned here is that God took the life of the child David fathered with Bathsheba, despite David praying and fasting for 7 days. He forgave him, but it wasn't as if there was no consequence,” wrote “jonappleseed.”
“Perhaps God should forgive Newt for his adultery, but take the nomination from him,” he added.