Can Christians Forgive Newt?

Newt is quickly moving up in the polls, which means it is time to re-vet the longtime Washington politician.  That means its time to rehash Newt’s past.  Newt has come out saying that he has reconciled with God and has worked to put his family issues in the past.  The question is if that will be enough for the remnants of the Moral Majority and the Christian Right.

Newt may square up pretty well against Romney and Cain right now.  Cain is embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal with three possible outcomes, only one of which can benefit him.  The first outcome, Cain slips up and is proven guilty.  This will end his Presidential ambitions.  Second outcome, there is no clear resolution and the Cain decision comes down to public opinion.  This could hurt Cain’s chances if Newt continues to emerge as a strong contender on ideas.  Third outcome, the facts come out and completely discredit Cain’s accusers.  The mere injustice of the attempt to destroy Cain could easily rocket him to the top of the Republican field as a martyr of the racist left.

Romney’s religious status may not be the nail in his coffin in a matchup with Newt.  While Romney’s Mormonism turns off many conservative Protestants, Newt’s Catholicism will have the same affect on that same small portion of conservative Christian Republicans.  Overall, Mormonism and Catholicism won’t change the score for either of them.  However, Romney’s fidelity and family life is a major point in his favor.

Conservative Christians can be a funny breed.  Morality and grace are a constant tension for Christians.  I John 1:9 says that if Christians confess their sins, Christ is faithful and just to forgive them.  Therefore, if Newt has truly confessed and repented of his infidelity and divorce, he is forgiven.

Can Christians forgive Newt?  Can they overcome his past?  The question Newt has been facing over and over as he rises in the polls is whether character matters.  Newt’s answer is pretty good.  Yes, character matters.  Yes his past has not demonstrated the character he wants to see in a President, but that past is 30 years ago.  Newt’s mention of himself as a grandfather drives home the point that he is much older, and much more mature.

Newt can win, but he has to win over social conservatives first.  This means Newt has to find forgiveness from more than just God.

Romney Addresses Values Voter Summit After Bill Bennet Defends Him Against Bigotry

Bookmark and Share  Today Mitt Romney took to the podium at the Values Voters Summit and delivered a speech that gave all whom call themselves Christians plenty of reasons to vote for him.  Romney’s speech came a day after Southern Baptist Convention leader Robert Jeffress, introduced Texas Governor Rick Perry at the Values Voters Summit and then proceeded to unleash extraordinarily unchristian-like conduct through bigoted statements that condemned Mormonism and disqualified Mitt Romney as a legitimate presidential candidate because he is a Mormon.

Upon hearing these statements, White House 2012 posted a scathing editorial which among other things, denounced Jeffress, suggesting he was anything but Christian in his conduct and attitude and called him a bigot.  The editorial also questioned the sincerity of Governor Rick Perry’s attempt to disassociate himself from Jeffress, who his campaign agreed to let introduce him at the Value Voters Summit.  In that post White House 2012 also called upon Governor Perry to not just distance himself from Jeffress, but to repudiate him for his bigotry.

I continue to stand behind this position.  It is a position that I have seen few other forums covering the Republican presidential nomination contest take.  For a while I was beginning to think that I was alone in  my harsh judgment of Jeffress.  Such loneliness left me with a feeling of great disappointment in my Party.  As I stated in the original post;

“In this day and age, for Americans to hold prejudices against a political leader because of their faith, is nothing other than an example of backwards thinking and a contradiction to the very constitutional principles that the G.O.P. is trying to stress the need for our nation to return to.”

To think that I was alone in that belief within the G.O.P., left me angry.

That is until today.

Prior to Jay Sekulow’s introduction of Mitt Romney, the events emcee, former Reagan Education Secretary and  George H. W. Bush Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Bill Bennett , addressed the remarks made a day earlier by Pastor Jeffress after Rick Perry addressed the gathering the day before [see the video below] .  Bennett called the pastor’s comments “bigotry” and added

“Do not give voice to bigotry,” …… “You stepped on and obscured the words of Perry and Santorum and Cain and Bachmann and everyone else who has spoken here. You did Rick Perry no good sir, in what you had to say.”

Can I hear a hallelujah, praise the Lord, and Amen to that!

I felt redeemed in my disgust with Pastor Jeffress and his anti-Christian remarks and at the same time, Bill Bennett helped redeem my Party.  I applaud him for stepping up to the plate and correcting the record for us all.  And at the same time, I must pat myself on the back  among the first to take the position which I did, a position that Bill Bennett happened to echo when he stated that the words which Pastor Jeffress spoke, did nothing to help his Rick Perry, his chosen candidate for President.

I presented the same argument when I wrote;

 “Jeffress did little to win over any converts to Perry.”

 Soon after Bennett spoke, Mitt Romney followed, and  stated;

“And how ’bout that Bill Bennett?  He really hit that out of the ballpark.”

After that, Romney proceeded to present a case which did not allow for any Christian to legitimately question Romney’s committment to faith, values, morals, and Christian principles.  He called for everything from the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and defunding planned parenthood, to reaffirming marriage as that of a union strictly between a man and a woman, and for our government’s need to respect religious values.  And he did so in a presentation that was relaxed, laced with mild injections of appropriate humor, and also outlined his presidential agenda beyond social issues.  In it’s entireity, Romney’s speech was articulate, convincing and a presentation of a strong case for his being our next Commander-in -Chief  [see the complete speech below this post].

Unfortunately though, the religious intolerance and bigotry of people like Pastor Jeffress was something which existed and among far too many of those attending this celebration of Christian values.  While those who possess the ugly prejudices which use religion to divide people rather than unite them were in the minority, the few that do subscribe to such intolerable conduct had often received levels of visibility that were distasteful representations of the Family Research Council which holds the annual Values Voters Summit.   For that reason, Romney found a legitimate need to allude to his opening references to bigotry, towards the end of his speech.

Scheduled to speak after Romney, was Bryan Fischer, a director at the American Family Association.  In the past, Fischer claimed that Mormons and Muslims have “a completely different definition of who Christ is” than the founding fathers did, and therefore, as a result,  do not deserve First Amendment protections.    That prompted Romney to note

“Now one more thing.  Our values are noble as citizens. And they strengthen the nation.  We should remember that decency and civility are values too.  One of the speakers who will follow me today, has crossed that line I think.”

And in a direct reference to Fischer’s call to deny Mormons and Muslims their rights, Romney stated;

“Poisonous language does not advance our cause. It has never softened a single heart nor changed a single mind. The blessings of faith carry the responsibility of civil and respectful debate.”

He added;

“The task before us is to focus on the conservative beliefs and the values that unite us – let no agenda  narrow our vision or drive us apart.”

It is both ironic and a shame that Mitt Romney, a Mormon, had to waste time pointing these things out to Christians. The shame is that Christians should be well aware of the point he made.  The irony is that a man of the very religion Christians are claiming is not Christian, is espousing the Christian values that some of them are not.    The whole incident helped to demonstrate to me that while Romney has changed his position on about three issues throughout his adult life, unlike some Christians who are inconsistent with their own values, Mitt Romney at least practices what he preaches.  For that reason, I am more than proud to disclose that I am moving closer to endorsing Mitt Romney for President.

With Daniels, Ryan, Pence, and Palin out, I am slowly returning to the confidence I had when I endorsed Mitt Romney over the false prophet Huckabee and the false Republican McCain in 2008.   I am close but I am not there yet.  I want to be sure that Republican nominee earns my vote.  As such, I am inclined to still give Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum the chance to do that.  All three of these candidates have served the conservative and/or represent the conservative admirably and have already earned my respect.  If any of them can prove to me that they would be a better candidate and conservative Commander-in-Chief than Mitt Romney, than  I will accept as the better candidate and support them until the end.

For now though, I will await for Governor Perry to do the right thing and like Bill Bennett, denounce his friend and political supporter Pastor Robert Jeffress for his bigotry and injection of hate in to the Republican presidential contest.  As I have indicated on a previous occasion.  This is Rick Perry’s Jeremiah Wright moment.

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Surprising Results in Evangelical Poll

The Barna Group is perhaps the most respected Christian Evangelical research group. That makes their recent poll findings particularly startling when it comes to who Christians might support in 2012.

Perhaps not the results you expected

In a poll of Catholic and Protestant Christians, the candidates with the highest negatives were Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. This is especially surprising considering the incredible support these two have put behind traditional family values.

Newt’s unfavorable ratings in the mid 40’s very likely relate to his nagging marital infidelity issues from 16 years ago. While most political bases find such things to be easily forgivable, the Christian base is not so forgiving nor will they defend Newt’s actions. This could make a Christian grass roots support base difficult to build.

Palin’s highest negatives are even more surprising. When it comes to Evangelical Christians, most pundits would consider Palin to have that category wrapped up going into this race. However, this poll is reminiscient of the Family Research Counsel’s straw poll that put Palin behind Romney, Huckabee and Newt Gingrich in a straw poll won by non-contender Mike Pence.

This is not a mainstream media poll and it was not reported by mainstream media. Perhaps the message to Sarah Palin coming from Christians is that whether they agree with her or not, they don’t want her to run. At any rate, without the Christian vote, she does not have a prayer.

Perhaps what I found most surprising was the favorable rating for Mitt Romney. I don’t think anyone was shocked to see Huckabee do well in a poll of Christians. Romney on the other hand struggled to get Evangelicals to vote for him in 2008 due to his liberal history and Mormonism.

My suspicion is that many Christians have resigned themselves to the possibility that they will not be voting for their favorite candidate in 2012, but instead will be voting for the best candidate who can defeat Barack Obama. When this poll is viewed in that light, it makes sense that front runner Mitt Romney would get high ratings; as would Huckabee who Christians love but acknowledge will likely not even run.

George Barna suggests that no matter who the Republican candidate in 2012 might be, they will be “bloody and half-poor” coming out of the primary.

 

 

What do you think? Are you a Christian or values voter? Leave a comment and tell us if you are planning on voting for the candidate who most represents your values, or a candidate who is not Barack Obama but can beat him.

Merry Christmas America

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On Christmas, politics takes a backseat to the birth of Christ, the savior.

The political divisions created by differing opinions are put aside so that something more important can be celebrated..life. A life of goodness, goodness of purpose and intention. The type of goodness Christ tried to bring our world. The type of goodness that has faith in mankind and that wishes comfort and joy to all.

Liberal or conservative, republican or democrat, pious believer or devout atheist, today we Christian celebrants share, with all, the spirit of hope and goodwill that comes to the forefront of this special occasion.

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