Will Gingrich Have to Jump Through Hoops to Win Evangelical Women Voters?

Newt Gringrich's Scandalous Past May Keep Him From Earning Trust of Christian Women

Men are more willing to trust Republican candidate New Gingrich as president than women, according to research conducted by Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

Twice-divorced Gingrich previously admitted to having an affair with Callista Bisek in the mid-90s, during his marriage to Marianne Gingrich. Bisek, 23 years Gingrich’s junior, is his current third wife.

Land conducted 200 informal focus groups with Southern Baptists over the course of three years and found that, on the issue of adultery, the majority of evangelical men would appear more willing to trust Gingrich in light of his past adultery, compared to less than one-third of evangelical women.

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Mike and Trisha Fox of attribute the Landing's findings to the difference in emotional integration between genders.

"[…] most understand that men are more reasoning-oriented, logical, direct and to the point; while women are more emotionally-based, with feelings and environmental factors all playing a part of an 'experience,' " the Foxes told The Christian Post.

Trisha and Mike are marriage coaches, authors, and founders of Marriage for Today. The couple also contributes to The Christian Post as columnists.

The question remains: should a candidate's marital history affect an evangelical's vote?

"Because affairs are quickly shooting into the majority rather than the minority it is becoming more accepted as a given," marriage and family therapist Dr. Karen Ruskin told The Christian Post.

"Yet we all know somewhere deep within, whether we admit it or not; a person's personal choices cannot not be intertwined with one's professional choices," she added.

Ruskin contends that humans are inherently forgiving, although they may not forget past transgressions.

"Perhaps we have become such a forgiving people that candidates do not have to jump through hoops to win back the hearts of their voters," she told CP.

Trisha and Mike Fox argue that although Gingrich did commit adultery in his past, he has made a rare and honorable move by publically confessing his sexual misdoings.

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in March 2011, Gingrich confessed that his affair was wrong and told CBN's David Brody he "felt compelled to seek God's forgiveness. Not God's understanding, but God's forgiveness."

As Mike and Trisha Fox contend, seeking repentance should acompany judgment of past transgressions.

"Marriage is extremely important in a candidate's bio, but their viewpoint on marriage, and right and wrong should also go hand-in-hand. We seek to equip saints of God in the understanding of marriage and relationships, and not having the 'perfect' marriage - but a healthy, right one," the Foxes told CP.

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