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Why do evangelicals support thrice-married Gingrich?

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 19, 2011 | 7:28 am

Newt Gingrich, whose understanding of the role of the judicial branch under the U.S. Constitution is absolutely terrifying, has been married three times and cheated on his first two wives. Why then are evangelicals supporting him over squeaky-clean Mitt Romney? Do people really believe a politician who says that they’re reformed and have repented of their mistakes?

Bob Vander Plaats, president of The Family Leader, told NPR:

“The centerpiece of our faith is forgiveness,” he says.

Vander Plaats says evangelicals also like Gingrich because they want a conservative they can trust.

“There’s a certain anxiety and, dare I say, fearfulness about the world we live in today,” he says, and “they’re probably willing to forgive and move on from the baggage of the past, the misgivings of the past, if they really believe he’s the best one prepared to lead to a safer, more vibrant America.”

Sorry, but that’s absurd. I don’t know any of my fellow evangelicals who got into Bill Clinton’s corner because it was important to forgive him for his philandering. To me the answer here is simple: Gingrich is outperforming Romney because Romney is Mormon.

Forget the fact that Gingrich is Catholic. There is plenty of theological tension between evangelicals and Catholics, but as I’ve mentioned over and over, a lot of Christians, if not most evangelicals, do not believe that Mormons are Christians of any kind. Which is unfortunate because Romney might actually be able to get something down in Washington, while I fear that Gingrich would just inflame both sides of Congress and lead to more intransigence.

Hmmm ... maybe Gingrich should have kept his Iowa political director.

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