March 14, 2007

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has acknowledged the affair that broke up his second marriage in 1999. Eight years later, Gingrich's critics have pounced on this announcement as evidence of "hypocrisy" and questioned whether conservative Christians who support Gingrich are themselves hypocrites when they criticize disgraced ex-President Clinton.

What Gingrich did was wrong, immoral and sinful. There's no question about that. But does his past disqualify him from being the President of the United States? Can Christians support a man who abandoned his wife for a much younger woman, in direct violation of the teaching of Jesus Christ?

In an interview with Dr. James Dobson, Gingrich said he repented of his sin and asked God for forgiveness. Obviously, there is no way to know with 100% certainty whether or not Gingrich's repentance is genuine. If he did repent and ask God for His mercy, then the shed blood of Jesus Christ has paid Gingrich's debt.

That is enough for me. Even as Christians, we all sin on a daily basis. Romans 3:10-12 tells us that there is not one righteous person in the world; the only true righteousness comes from Jesus Christ. Through His sacrifice we are redeemed from our sins. We are set free from bondage. Our debt has been paid. What Gingrich did cannot be undone, just as King David could not undo the sin he committed.

Was Gingrich a hypocrite for carrying on this affair while supporting impeachment? On some level, he was. However, impeachment was not about Clinton's affair; impeachment was about perjury, subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice. Gingrich's sin as opposed to Clinton's sin is not an issue of IOKIYAR (it's OK if you're a Republican). What Gingrich did was most certainly not OK, but Gingrich did not break the law to cover up the affair. Clinton did.

I have in the past been reluctant to support Gingrich in his bid for the White House, because he does carry political baggage from the 1995 budget battles and the rest of his term as Speaker. However, Gingrich was the architect of the Republican Revolution, which put the GOP in control of Congress for the first time in 40 years. He would certainly be a better choice than John McCain or Rudy Giuliani, both of whom threaten to split the party and hand the White House to Hillary Clinton.

A strong argument can be made that Gingrich is the best choice of the major candidates right now, should he decide to run in 2008. While Clinton's veto pen derailed some of the Republican agenda, Gingrich and the GOP Congress did manage to get welfare reform passed, among other things. There was even serious talk of eliminating the federal Department of Education after Gingrich took the gavel. He has a lot to offer, and I think he would be a good President.