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Newt Gingrich’s faith journey: How a thrice-married Catholic became an evangelical darling
Newt Gingrich has spent time as a Lutheran, a Baptist and a Roman Catholic.
December 10th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Newt Gingrich’s faith journey: How a thrice-married Catholic became an evangelical darling

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We also profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

(CNN) - There’s an e-mail war raging among some of the nation’s leading evangelicals over whether Newt Gingrich has repented enough for his sins to be president.

One recent skirmish was set off by an open letter urging Gingrich to give a major speech confronting his perceived moral stumbles, including an affair with his third wife, Callista, while married to No. 2.

“You need to make it as clear as you possibly can that you deeply regret your past actions and that you do understand the anguish and suffering they caused others, including your former spouses,” Richard Land, public policy chief for the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote.

Land urged Gingrich to make a public promise “that there will be no moral scandals in a Gingrich White House.”

Rather than galvanizing the faithful, however, Land’s letter provoked an outcry from a handful of evangelical leaders who argued Gingrich has repented enough and deserves forgiveness.

On an e-mail thread among conservative Christian heavyweights, Jerry Falwell Jr. invoked the biblical story of a woman of ill repute who met Jesus at a well. Though the woman had been married five times, Jesus forgave her.

“The woman at the well was fortunate she encountered Jesus that day instead of some of our evangelical brethren,” the Liberty University president wrote, in an apparent swipe at Land.

On the same e-mail chain, which CNN obtained from a conservative activist, prominent Atlanta preacher Richard Lee said the nation’s evangelicals needed to support Gingrich.

Lee called Gingrich “the only forceful Christian candidate who can at this point be elected and cleanse the White House next November.”

The evangelical tussling over Gingrich says a lot about the fractured state of the Republican Party less than a month before the Iowa caucuses officially usher in the 2012 race for the White House.

The sight of influential evangelicals rallying around Gingrich, a Catholic with serious “values” baggage, speaks to the huge political vulnerability of Mitt Romney, who was the perceived GOP front-runner until recent polls put Gingrich at the front of the pack.

Gingrich speaking at the April 2011 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in D.C.

Whether because of Romney’s past liberalism on gay rights and abortion or because of his Mormon faith, many of the evangelical Christians who make up the Republican base just don’t like him.

They’ve been looking for an alternative, by turns telling pollsters of their support for Michele Bachmann, then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain. One by one, they’ve dropped in the polls, or out of the race altogether. Now it’s Gingrich’s turn in the spotlight.

But the argument over Gingrich’s personal life also raises fundamental questions about the candidate himself and his readiness for the nation’s highest office.

Just how much has Gingrich changed since his days as a volatile and philandering House speaker? Does he have the character to be president? And, at least for many of the evangelical voters who will dominate the early primaries: Is he a true believer?

Faith by geography

Gingrich has identified with different branches of Christianity that mirror his surroundings at different stages of life.

Born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, an area settled by the largely Lutheran Pennsylvania Dutch, Gingrich was the son of a Lutheran mom and a Pennsylvania Dutch stepfather who adopted him.

Attending college at Atlanta’s Emory University and grad school at Tulane University in New Orleans, Gingrich became a Southern Baptist.

And as a creature of Washington, where Gingrich’s wife sings in a Catholic choir and where many prominent conservative Republicans have converted to Catholicism in the last decade, Gingrich joined the Catholic fold in 2009.

“I think that was all part of his pilgrimage,” says Ike Reighard, who was Gingrich’s pastor in Atlanta for nearly 20 years. “Whatever is the dominant religion in the region he was in, that was his progression... He was always super inquisitive, searching for deeper meaning.”

Gingrich’s stepdad was an army officer, making for a peripatetic family life that included stretches spent at military bases in Europe and at Fort Benning, Georgia, situated in the heart of the Bible Belt.

Gingrich, who declined interview requests for this story, was raised largely by his maternal grandmother, a devout Lutheran who, he has said, “taught me my most basic lessons about God and Satan.”

But Gingrich left his childhood denomination through an immersion baptism at the Saint Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans while at Tulane, where he was pursuing a Ph.D. in European history.

In a pattern that would last a lifetime, studying religion’s role in history and politics moved Gingrich to deepen his own faith.

Saint Charles Avenue’s pastor, G. Avery Lee, said Gingrich wasn’t a member of any church when the two first met.

“He said that in his study of political theory, he noted how much influence the church had had … and asked if I could explain,” Lee wrote in a 1994 letter to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, describing his first encounter with Gingrich.

Lee and Gingrich grew close, with the pastor eventually baptizing Gingrich even though his church took “a liberal approach to both theology and sociology.”

“It has been suggested by some that in baptizing him, I didn't hold him under long enough,” Wrote Lee, who died in 2009, in apparent reference to Gingrich’s conservative politics.

But Gingrich was more liberal back then, including on questions of separation of church and state.

“As a college student at Emory when the Supreme Court ruled that prayer was unconstitutional … I didn't notice it,” he said in a 2009 interview. “As a graduate student at Tulane I probably would have said it's a good decision.”

‘I don’t think his faith was the driving force’

After Tulane, Gingrich took a job as a history professor outside Atlanta and almost immediately began running for Congress, losing two races in the mid-’70s.

Around that time he joined New Hope Baptist Church, a 100-year old congregation south of Atlanta where Ike Reighard had recently arrived as the senior pastor.

“He had just lost for the second time and he came in and said, ‘I need your help,’” says Reighard. “I said, ‘What did you want to do in politics?’ He said he wanted to be speaker of the House.”

Gingrich won his next race for Congress in 1978. That year also marked the birth of the modern Christian Right.

The movement started in opposition to an Internal Revenue Service campaign under then-President Jimmy Carter to crack down on private schools resisting court-ordered desegregation.

Word of the campaign provoked fear and outrage among evangelical schools. Jerry Falwell joined the successful effort to thwart the IRS initiative and founded the Moral Majority the following year, in 1979. The group’s focus on fighting abortion and gay rights set the Christian Right agenda for decades to come.

Gingrich, for his part, was not considered part of the new wave of proud Christian Right warriors in Congress, some of whom were swept into power in 1980 on President Ronald Reagan’s coattails and enthusiastically blended their religious faith and politics.

For Gingrich, “I don’t think faith was the driving force,” says Reighard. “He realized that you have to look at issues and they can’t always be driven by your personal views and your religious values.”

“I heard a lot of times that people say evangelicals are one-issue people, all about abortion,” Reighard says. “But that’s not true with Gingrich. Education was important for him. Health care was important. The economy was important.”

Indeed, when Gingrich launched the Conservative Opportunity Society, an influential House caucus, in 1983, he focused on fiscal issues and practical electoral politics.

And yet Gingrich was an early ally of the budding Christian Right, even if he wasn’t a card-carrying member.

Ralph Reed, who would go on to lead the Christian Coalition, remembers watching as a libertarian activist advocating for gay rights and abortion rights challenged Gingrich at an early 1980s College Republicans breakfast.

“Newt pushed back hard,” Reed remembers. “It was clearly a position of intellectual conviction. I wasn’t yet a committed Christian and I remember finding that pretty remarkable, that Newt didn’t try to pacify this guy. He said, ‘No, you’re wrong.’”

Gingrich speaking at a 1987 news conference.

The future House speaker also stayed active at New Hope Baptist Church, which was quickly growing from sleepy country congregation to suburban Atlanta megachurch, even as he spent most of his time in Washington. When Reighard’s wife died during childbirth, Gingrich was on the phone with him while the pastor was still at the hospital.

“He was always there on Sunday mornings,” says Reighard, recalling Gingrich’s House years. “And the other thing he was always great at doing was town-hall-type meetings and potluck dinners. He was a grassroots person. There’s no telling how many of those meals I prayed at.”

Christian coalitions

But a lot of those town halls were more political than religious. Televangelist Pat Robertson launched the Christian Coalition in the early 1990s, and the group organized events around Georgia aimed at getting conservative evangelicals more involved in elections.

Gingrich, who counted himself an evangelical, expressed keen interest in the coalition’s work. But he seemed to be operating less as a pious Christian, and more as a strategist looking for ways the GOP could win the House of Representatives.

“We didn’t get into theological conversations that much,” says Patrick Gartland, executive director of the Georgia Christian Coalition in the early 1990s. “I was a grassroots numbers person. I loved the intricacies of grassroots, and he did, too, and he understood it.”

Unlike the Moral Majority in the 1980s, which was made up of pastors like Falwell, the Christian Coalition sought to mainstream the Christian Right by bringing in laypeople. The group’s local chapters were led by Christian business leaders, teachers and retirees, as opposed to pastors.

And Christian Coalition envisioned a big-tent religious conservatism that was as much about lowering taxes as it was about banning abortion.

For the broad-minded Gingrich, that vision was a perfect fit – especially after the Christian Coalition helped usher in the 1994 Republican Revolution, which put the House in GOP hands for the first time in 40 years.

The takeover catapulted Gingrich to speaker of the House, making him the country’s most powerful Republican. He vowed to pay attention to conservative Christians from his first day on the job, seeking to assuage evangelical activists who felt ignored by the Reagan administration after they’d worked hard for Reagan’s political campaigns.

“There was this dissatisfaction among evangelical leaders about [Reagan], and Newt said to me, ‘I’m not going to let that happen.’”

Best remembered for working with President Bill Clinton on fiscally focused deals like welfare reform and balancing the budget - and fiscal fights that led to a government shutdown - Gingrich also checked off major items on religious conservatives’ wish lists.

He brought a proposed constitutional amendment to allow school prayer up for a House vote. He presided over the adoption of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act – the first abortion restriction since Roe v. Wade – and the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids the federal government from recognizing gay marriage.

Speaker-elect Gingrich with then-wife Marianne and his mother Kathleen at a January 1995 Washington church service.

Yet some evangelical leaders who knew Gingrich fretted over his personal life. The hard-charging speaker displayed braggadocio and rough edges even to political allies and didn’t talk much about his own faith.

“There were a lot of conservative Christian leaders who really loved Newt but felt like he hadn’t really turned his life over to God,” says Reed.

Many of those leaders went nuclear over rumors about Gingrich’s 1998 affair with a young House aide named Callista Bisek, while he was married to his second wife, Marianne.

Theose rumors “would break my heart,” says Reighard, who counseled Gingrich and Marianne in the 1990s. “I always believed that Newt could be one of the great leaders in our country, an American version of Winston Churchill.”

Reborn a Catholic

More than a decade later, Gingrich is back in many evangelicals’ good graces, with polls showing him way out in front of Romney among evangelicals in Iowa, who accounted for 60% of caucus-goers four years ago.

What explains the turnaround?

One big factor is Gingrich’s self-described faith awakening since leaving Congress in 1998. A personal turning point was 2002, when a court ruling struck down the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools because of its “Under God” clause.

“That was the last straw,” Gingrich said in a 2009 interview with U.S. News & World Report. “And I said it’s time to challenge head-on secular domination in the West.”

Just as studying political history had led a 20-something Gingrich to the Saint Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, political developments like the Pledge ruling and other perceived attacks on religion sparked a round of soul-searching.

Though it was later struck down by the Supreme Court, the ruling led Gingrich to publish “Rediscovering God in America,” a faith-based walking tour of Washington’s key buildings and monuments.

For those close to him, the 2006 book reflected what Gingrich had been preaching for more than a decade: that religion played a key role in the nation’s founding.

“In the ’90s, he talked about this idea that power comes from God to the individual and is loaned to the state,” says Rick Tyler, Gingrich’s former spokesman. “Before that, the European model was that power came from God to the king, and [Gingrich] used to explain why that was corrupt and how Thomas Jefferson turned it on his head.”

By increasing his public attack on the secular “media-academic-legal elite” and promoting his God-infused take on American history, Gingrich was branded a culture warrior during the last decade, gaining appeal among conservative evangelicals.

Gingrich continued the courtship by regularly appearing before audiences of hundreds of evangelical pastors to talk about God, history and politics.

Gingrich delivers the Liberty University commencement address in 2007 following Jerry Falwell

“There’s no question there’s been an evolution in his thinking and speaking and writing on America’s religious heritage, which has become a much bigger part of his lexicon,” says Reed, who leads the Faith and Freedom Coalition and is not endorsing any presidential candidates.

“He’s clearly found his voice on social issues, and less than 30 days from the Iowa caucuses the timing couldn’t be better.”

Gingrich further strengthened ties to grassroots evangelicals in 2009, launching a group aimed at bringing together religious and economic conservatives.

The organization, Renewing American Leadership, poured $150,000 into a successful Iowa campaign to unseat judges who had legalized gay marriage in the state. Many of the Iowa activists who led that 2010 campaign are now bullish on Gingrich.

Admitting to an affair also helped.

At a closed-door meeting with the nation’s top Christian Right leaders ahead of the 2008 election, Gingrich was asked about reports he’d been having an affair while leading the impeachment drive against Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The former speaker owned up to the affair and said it marked one the most shameful periods of his life, a time in which he was “alienated from God,” according to a participant at the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Though he didn’t run for president in 2008, Gingrich went on James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio show to admit the affair to the evangelical icon and a national audience: “There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards.”

Gingrich told listeners he’d since turned "to God to receive forgiveness and to receive mercy."

For many evangelicals, the admission and penitent tone struck a chord.

“It all depends on whether Newt has been rewired, in the theological sense of being born again,” says David Lane, an influential evangelical activist who is in regular contact with Gingrich.

“I was one of the wildest men who ever lived, loved women, wine and song, and I came to Christ,” Lane says. “I’m not perfect, but I read the Bible seven days a week. Is Newt a new man? I think he is. There’s something different about him.”

One difference is that, for the last two years, Gingrich has been an active Roman Catholic. He has described his conversion as a decade-long process inspired by Callista, who sings with a choir at the country’s largest Catholic church, Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Gingrich has said that years of attending Mass there rubbed off on him, with Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 visit providing the final impetus to conversion.

Gingrich was especially drawn to the church’s millennia-long history and intellectualism. Discussing one of his visits to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Gingrich has said, “You stand there and you think, this is where St. Peter was crucified. This is where Paul preached.

“You think to yourself, 2,000 years ago the Apostles set out to create a worldwide movement by witnessing to the historic truth they had experienced,” Gingrich said in 2009. “And there it is.”

As opposed to being a letdown to evangelical leaders, Gingrich’s conversion away from evangelical Christianity was received as something like a born-again experience.

“Prior to that, he was a sloppy Baptist who didn’t have a clue about what he believed,” says an evangelical activist who is close to Gingrich. “When he converted, he went through Catechism and had to get his faith straight. It took some of the sloppiness out.”

But Gingrich still has to convince some religious leaders he has straightened out morally.

In his letter to Gingrich urging a speech about his marital history, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Land told Gingrich to emphasize his own religious narrative.

“I know something of your faith journey over the past 20 years,” Land wrote. “Do not hesitate to weave that into your speech to the degree that you are comfortable doing so. It will always resonate with evangelical Christians.”

If polls are to be believed, the story of Gingrich’s journey is resonating already.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Catholic Church • Lutheran • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

soundoff (1,901 Responses)
  1. firecoachk

    Lee called Gingrich “the only forceful Christian candidate who can at this point be elected and cleanse the White House next November.”

    Cleanse the White House? Cleanse it of what, exactly? A President who's had just one wife and been the subject of zero ethics investigations?

    December 11, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Benny

      firecoachk

      great post.

      December 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • JiminNM

      The courts have blocked the investigations, and the person sitting in the oval office has spent millions to prevent investigations. The politicians, bankers and international corporations couldn't stand the conviction that should occur. In addition, most people in American no longer care about the truth, and that's the truth. Everyone wants to play, and politicians are setting the example so they and anyone who chooses can play.

      December 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  2. quieteye

    GOP / RNC sold it's soul and for some time is acting accordingly. Why doing so they want to now sale us a candidate for President. Are we supposed to go along?

    December 11, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
  3. JiminTX

    Raping altar boys or committing adultery, Catholics are NOT Christians.

    December 11, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Benny

      there are no true scotsmen.

      December 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  4. JiminNM

    Repentance would mean real change not just saying you are sorry. Vote for Ron Paul, someone who doesn't need to repent like Gingrich.

    December 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  5. Dandy

    OK, I just looked up: "hypocritical" and I found: Ex: Evangelicals supporting Gingrich
    You guys need to go into standup comedy..... I can hear it now .. "yeah but he is the front runner and that other guy is from a cult" ..... Ha ha ha.... Cleanse the Whitehouse? With Newt?!? That is like cleaning out the toilet with sewer water..
    This election is really entertaining ... too bad it is for the highest seat in the land.. 😦 Sooner or later the GOP will have to bring some real candidates to the table, and not default to the "least worst" they can find. We are way beyond pathetic and there is still a long ways to go .

    December 11, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  6. David Renfroe

    The problem with Gingrich is that he is a monumental HYPOCRITE. While criticizing Clinton for his indiscretions, he is having an affair himself, and while lambasting the FannieMae and FreddyMac for financial bungling and wasting our money, he is making over a million dollars as a "consultant" for them. He is a two faced ba...rd and not to be trusted. The fact that he is leading in the polls says something about the American people's intelligence not to mention our morals. Repentance is between him and God. I still don't trust him.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  7. No Newt

    Newt Gengrich is a disgusting human being, almost as revolting as his lame sopporters.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  8. robbiecriss

    All leaders are examples either good or bad. People look to them for inspiration, competence and as models to emulate. In the chaotic world we live in the last thing we need is for people to say character is irrelevant for the CEO of our country.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  9. jim

    Gingrich sure knows how to hustle the religious dullards of the country. I have a feeling he believes christian mythology about as much as I do.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • stormsun

      Since the evangelicals reject reason and evidence as the basis for believing things, perhaps Newt has realized the only way to gain their support at the polls is to use the same tactics their own religious leaders do in controlling them: appeal to their naivety and gullibility and tell them whatever fairy stories they need to hear to feel good about their lives.

      Just a thought.

      December 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  10. NhAB

    The Catholic Church, a den of robbers, murderers, and child molesters, rules this country by infiltrating our government, the leadership of other religions, and puts many other subversive elements into every part of world society.

    Their overwhelming thirst for world domination has not subsided one whit.

    Domination gives them money, power, and unfettered access to child victims.
    They rule with an iron fist over the minds of all Catholics. They use terror to rule.
    They have special intelligence and counter-intelligence arms that infiltrate and manipulate every government – sometimes directly, sometimes using the leverage they have in other governments.

    The resources of the Catholic Church are not only in real estate and "treasure", but also include their spy networks, military spies, political spies, and a vast array of propagandists and other subversive elements incorporated into everyday life.

    Their victims include hundreds of millions of innocent people, including children, throughout the history of the Catholic Church.

    Everywhere a Catholic holds a position of real political power is a place where you can find a Catholic who has been granted "special" status within the Catholic Church as a mark of trust.
    They are the tools of the Catholic Church itself, a vast criminal organization that has ruled countries on both sides of the Atlantic for hundreds of years.

    They are well steeped in the arts of concealment, propaganda, subversion, sedition, and manipulation. The Jesuit arm of the CC has even been inventive in these areas and is known for creating spy networks and working behind the scenes in a truly Machiavellian or.gy of manipulation and subversion throughout the world for the past several centuries.

    Newt Gingrich has taken their money and promises.
    I can guarantee you that he is now "specially favored" by the Catholic Church and welcomed into the semi-secret "Opus Dei" subversion branch of the Catholic Church but kept at a distance because he was not raised a Catholic.
    He will be their tool but they will not fully trust him, just like any intelligence organization would treat a new "convert"/spy.

    They already did the same thing with the British ex-Prime Minister who recently "converted" to Catholicism.

    Anywhere you see a politician "convert" to Catholicism you are seeing the hand of the Catholic Church and it's deadly thirst for power, wealth, and a free pass to abuse any of their victims.
    They seek world domination.
    This aim has never decreased throughout their history.
    They have merely kept working behind the scenes and avoided public scrutiny and accountability whenever possible because they know that to do otherwise is to become a visible target to their victims who they also view as enemies.

    Gingrich is a spy. He was always available to the highest bidder.
    Now he is running for President.
    He is nothing but a self-serving traitor, just like so many before him in history.

    Too bad there are so many Catholics in the FBI, otherwise we might see some changes to this long-standing spy network operating in this country.
    As it is, only a massive change will stop the evil being done by the Catholic Church.
    That massive change will have to be violent.
    We are already at war with the Catholic Church. They declared it on US when we ratified our Constltution – they do not want religious freedom for anyone but themselves.

    And they've been hard at work ever since.....

    December 11, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Dandy

      Oh please... get off the soapbox about Catholics. They are far from perfect, but name any large religious organization that does not have problems with corruption and self serving tendencies – the bigger they are the more they want to self perpetuate – regardless or right or wrong.

      December 11, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  11. svann

    Maybe the church should take that log from their own eye and ask if they themselves have repented enough.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  12. Don

    Newt's repentance is no one's business but his own. Only he will have to answer for it. We should, instead, be holding him accountable for helping steer this country into a very dark place.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  13. Maria

    He so full of cr!@#$%^ and baloney,anyone who believes in him is a moron! I I will vote for Obama just to get rid of him! This Republicans are really a bunch of morons ,who is going to trust this man to be in the WH? not me! promises promises is all what we hear every four years.Obama was repeating we are going to clean the house... really? when he cleaned? not yet! George Bush senior ,"read my lips NOT TAXES" oh boy !this puppeteers and we stilll listen to them? the irch get richer and the poor get poorer that is my MOTTO!

    December 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • stormsun

      The main thing that is wrong with the Republican party, and which is driving people away in droves, is that it has been hijacked by the religious fanatics who seek to use the party to further their own religious ends. They seek, in pure and simple terms, to create a "Christian America" by government action and legislation. Thomas Jefferson must be rolling over in his grave, beneath the epitaph he wrote for himself whereupon he listed his actions to keep religion out of politics as one of his proudest achievements. The folks do not believe in freedom of religion – they believe in freedom of THEIR religion, and YOURS is simply a mistake they intend to correct.

      December 11, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  14. Bill

    Perhaps if Jerry Sandusky asks for forgiveness, he too can run for the Republican nomination.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  15. Maria Ashot

    Newt Gingrich is a Catholic - a Catholic convert - not an Evangelical. The rules of Catholicism apply, which means he gets a clean slate after Confession. You may not agree or like that, but if you are a Christian of any kind, surely Jesus's words, "Judge not, lest ye be judged," and "Let him (or her) who is without sin cast the first stone," have some kind of significance for you.

    Newt Gingrich's past is exactly that: his past. Experience shows from past elections, as recently as the candidacy of John Edwards and his promotion by the late Elizabeth Edwards, that it is ongoing, present, current indiscretions and failures that matter most.

    In Herman Cain's case, the indiscretions of the past were bad enough - that he was lying about them, denying them, and even lying to his family: that was the signal of major character flaws incompatible with the highest office in the land. There was also the ego, self-aggrandizement and blatant unintelligence that underpinned those events and his reaction to them, his struggle to accept that mst of the country did not think he was quite as 'amazing' and 'charming' as he himself did.

    There are pros and cons to a Gingrich candidacy. Weigh them. Don't waste your time wallowing in scrutinizing laundry that has long ago been washed clean.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  16. Pete/Ark

    Repented?Too often.Recanted?Way too often.Reformed?I doubt it.Repeat?Oh yeah,he will.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  17. Jeebus Loves You

    Repented enough? The question is, has he changed is sleazy, corrupt, anything for money ways. The answer is no.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
    • Maria

      Amen ,well said! he is all that!

      December 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
  18. C Perry

    Excuse me, forgiveness is one thing I find important. Repenting is important. But this is Newt's third wife, one he was having an affair with against his second wife, while at the same time impeaching President Clinton for his indiscretions. His repeating sins shows a propensity toward a particular mind set.

    I can forgive the man, but with his repeated poor judgments (In wife choices, in having affairs, in trying to hold people accountable for a crime he himself is committing) he is not worthy of running this great nation back to it's former glory.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • George

      You don't even know the reason Clinton was impeached. He wasn't impeached for infidelity. He was impeached for lying under oath.

      December 11, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And?

      December 11, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  19. Max

    This guy is about as un-ethical as they come. His only goal is to make money. When he arrived in Washington, his net worth was $300,000. Now his net worth is $32 million. He'll do whatever he can and change his policy positions to get the most money possible from the lobbyists. Mind you, most politicians follows this path but not to the same degree.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  20. Andrew

    There is a reason why the founding fathers separated church and state. Let's stick to the candidates voting records and how feasible their plans for America's future are. Not whether or not they have repented, that has zero bearing on their ability to execute the office of the President.

    December 11, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.