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January 20th, 2012
01:13 PM ET

Why Gingrich 'open marriage' allegation may not scare off evangelicals

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) -
The ex-wife of a Republican politician alleges her then-husband asked if they could have an open marriage, so evangelical “values voters” rethink their support for him, right?

Not so fast, say some evangelical leaders and experts.

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s second ex-wife, Marianne, made the “open marriage” allegation in an interview that aired Thursday night on ABC News.

But because of political circumstances and the way Gingrich parried a question about the accusation during Thursday’s CNN debate, the episode may cause relatively little fallout among evangelical voters, who are expected to make up about 60% of the vote in Saturday’s South Carolina primary.

Some say the drama may even help Gingrich among such voters.

“To a degree, it will give [evangelical voters] pause, but there’s a much more insatiable appetite to defeat President Obama,” said David Brody, chief political correspondent at CBN News at the Christian Broadcasting Network.

“Gingrich has never claimed to be a patron saint,” Brody said. “People have known for years about Gingrich’s marriage issues. In a way, his well-known history of troubled marriage works for him here.”

CNN moderator John King opened Thursday’s debate in Charleston, South Carolina, by asking Gingrich about whether he would like to respond to the allegation.

“No,” Gingrich responded to mounting applause, “but I will.”

"To take an ex-wife and make it, two days before the primary, a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine," Gingrich went on, calling the allegation “false” and provoking a standing ovation from the debate audience.

It’s a safe bet that evangelical Republicans were among those clapping.

“The press is so unpopular with Republican voters that his answer helps him in the short term - it was a tactically brilliant answer,” said Richard Land, the public policy chief for the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest evangelical denomination.

“Whether it will work strategically is another question,” Land said.

The Christian Broadcasting Network’s Brody said that Gingrich’s response to the “open marriage” question “took a weakness and turned it into a strength.”

“Evangelicals have been bashed by the media for decades, so this is a common bond he’s able to play up with them,” he said. “He was able to develop a kinship with evangelicals over this last night.”

Brody said that Gingrich has spent lots of time on the campaign trail discussing stances that matter to evangelicals, like opposition to abortion and confronting radical Islam.

Land said the allegation from Gingrich’s ex-wife may hurt the candidate in the long run because it reminds voters that he was seeing his current wife, Callista, while married to his second wife.

Gingrich has admitted to his affair with Callista, whom he married in 2000.

“This reminds people that Callista is the other woman,” Land said, “and that the other woman could become the first lady.”

Gingrich’s evangelical backers have not shied away from discussing his past marital problems. In a conference call with evangelicals last week, Gingrich spoke extensively about his failed marriages.

“We're all quite aware that there was a season in Speaker Gingrich’s life in which his lifestyle was unacceptable,” Jim Garlow, a prominent evangelical pastor who was on last week’s call, said in an e-mail message. “He does not defend it. Nor would any evangelical. Nor do I.”

“He is as flawed as King David in the Old Testament,” wrote Garlow, who helped lead the campaign to ban gay marriage in California in 2008. “However, that did not keep God from restoring King David and using him after his moral failures, for the benefit of the entire nation.”

Still, even before this week’s allegation from his ex-wife, Gingrich’s personal baggage had given many evangelicals pause.

“Forgiveness is not the issue here, trust is the issue,” Land said. “Redemption is something that’s in our code as evangelicals, but trusting someone with the presidency is something entirely different.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Newt Gingrich • Politics

soundoff (1,224 Responses)
  1. Donald Shimoda

    Sometimes one creates a dynamic impression by saying something, and sometimes one creates as significant an impression by remaining silent.
    Dalai Lama

    January 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Behold

      I have become death. I wish to proclaim death, suffering an unhappiness for everyone. Everlasting torment is what I want for everyone, not just for myself. I want you to suffer for me Donald, and to bring suffering to others.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Erephant in loom

      So Donard, prease to be velly velly significant, and velly velly quiet. We wirr be velly velly implessed.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Does wisdom perhaps appear on the earth as a raven which is inspired by the smell of carrion?

      January 21, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Behold

      Yes Donald, yes! Carrion is the smell that you should cherish above all others.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Behold
      You are free to joke and I hope this is pleasurable for you. Even if what you said was true, one cannot affect the desires of others. We are all free to choose life or death, heaven or hell, reality or fiction.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Behold

      I urge you to choose death, Donald. It will give you power. Power beyond all your fortune cookie dreams.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Behold

      All right, Donald. My promise to you as the Father of Lies: I will never be far from you.

      January 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      We will all die gloriously at the time of our choosing.

      January 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Shimoda, the way you comment on here, you remind me of Mike Myers in 'The Love Guru'.

      January 21, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      I am sorry, I am not familiar with that film. But life is fiction in much the same way as a movie. A movie is a lifetime.

      January 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Donald....Remember, every good movie has a twist at the end. What you think you know may not be so.

      January 21, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • What IF

      "every good movie has a twist at the end. What you think you know may not be so."

      Back Atcha, Bold George. Verily, it may also be said of you.

      January 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      What IF..."Back Atcha, Bold George. Verily, it may also be said of you."

      The only difference is, I don't think I know anything out of my own wisdom. The Word of God speaks for Itself. I'm just a messenger of Truth, not the founder of it.

      1 Corinthians 2:1-2
      "And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified."

      January 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • What IF

      Bold George,

      So then, you don't actually *know* that the Bible is true?

      Somewhere along the line, you made a conscious decision to pick up that book. Somewhere along the line, you perceived (knew) its contents sounded true.

      If you have no control about believing it, you have been possessed, and your will has been taken from you.

      January 21, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      BG
      It is your choice to believe and that is good because it makes you happy. But it is not everyone's truth. Every person decides for themselves what truth is, and it is probably never the same.

      January 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
  2. Donald Shimoda

    In the sky, there is no distinction of east and west; people create distinctions out of their own minds and then believe them to be true.

    January 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      We need to create a distinction from east to west to get a sense of direction. Don't forget north and south too.

      January 21, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      No, we do not have to. We don't have to do anything. Direction is meaningless beyond one's own reality.

      January 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  3. Donald Shimoda

    All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?
    Buddha

    January 21, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  4. George

    Vote for Rick Santorum!

    January 21, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Vote for whatever candidate you wish. Or don't vote. It is up to you.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Not even if he were the only candidate from any party running for the office of dogcatcher.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Erephant in loom

      Lick Santolum has stated "all politics is a sport".

      January 21, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • TR6

      Yes, by all means. I may switch to republican just to I can vote for Rick and help make him a front runner so we can watch him go DOWN IN FLAMES just like like Pat Roberson did

      January 21, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oooh, now that's an idea. Ides of March redux.

      January 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  5. Hypatia

    It won't scare off the fundies because they're already canonized Newtie and consider anything he did before 1995 to be 'forgiven'. That's how their hypocrisy works-it's all the political label. Clinton and Monica=evil bad, of the Devil! Newtie and his sloppy third=they were in LURVE! *eyeroll*

    January 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      The are free to do and feel however they wish. Just as you are.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  6. ALBERT

    Albert Einstein: God is a Product of Human Weakness
    The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.

    if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?

    January 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. It is enough for me to contemplate the mystery of conscious life perpetuating itself through all eternity, to reflect upon the marvelous structure of the universe which we can dimly perceive and to try humbly to comprehend even an infinitesimal part of the intelligence manifested in Nature."

      AE

      January 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      No doubt Einstein was intelligent and a genius, but a limited genius at that. To call things of God and the bible "honorable", but to not adhere to them is like a passenger of a sinking ship, on deck, just staring at a lifeboat and thinking, "That small vessel seems like it would do me good at this moment in time, but I am deciding not to utilize its capability, as it needs much more research to prove its potential." By the time that happens, this passenger and his intelligent analytical thinking will long be at the bottom of the sea...much like where Einstein is today.

      I thought an "honorable" thing was to be admired and sought after. You cannot conclude something (or someone) to be honorable and ridiculous at the same time. So, with all that mathematical genius, Einstein missed them mark.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      BG
      It is not yours to decide if he is right or wrong. Follow your own path.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  7. Peachy Carnehan

    There are so many flawed and tired arguments about religion flying around in these comments. If people would only pause and think critically about what they believe and do a tiny bit of reading, we might get somewhere.

    Please add the following books to your 2012 reading list:

    "Letter to a Christian Nation" and "50 Reasons People Give for Believing in a God"

    Read those books and your thoughts are likely to be more clear and your words more coherent, no matter if you argue for or against the existence of God.

    Peace

    January 21, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Better yet, why don't people just read the bible and believe what it means by what it says, not by what we think it means to suit our lifestyle or feed our confusion?

      January 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      BG
      One cannot share another's fiction.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Erephant in loom

      So Bold,
      what did you sacrifice outside on your altar this morning ? Birds or goats ?

      January 21, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      First of all, I don't have an altar nor should I need to have one. Secondly, Just because in old testament times, sacrificial service was required in show of repentance from sins, mainly to symbolize the ultimate sacrifice that was being prophetized by the coming Messiah, doesn't mean it applies to our times.

      People do not want to understand and interpret biblical scriptures (whether old and new testaments) because they just do not want to. It's like mathematics, everyone can do it if they wanted to, but people that just don't get it is because they do not want to put the effort into comprehending it correctly.

      January 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • TR6

      BoldGeorge” … old testament … doesn't mean it applies to our times.”

      You are going to burn in hell if you don’t change your belief

      Jesus said to follow the law of the old testament ALL OF IT. He also said the most difficult path is the one that leads to heaven. Pretending that you are no longer bound by the law of the Old Testament is the easy path to hell

      “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."Matthew 5:17-19

      "Heaven and earth will disappear before the smallest letter of the Law does." Luke 16:17 (CEV)

      What part of “UNTIL HEAVEN AND EARTH DISAPPEAR” don’t you understand?

      January 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Peachy....I guess you misread, misunderstood and rewrote my comment, cutting a couple of words and pasting it to the end of my first paragraph.

      And this is of no surprise. People have done this for centuries with the bible. In my first paragraph of this comment, I was specifically stating that sacrificial services is no longer needed, after Christ's ultimate sacrifice and is most definitely not needed today. Secondly, you made an incorrect biblical statement and spun it out of context. Actually, because of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, we are NO LONGER bound by the law. Please read :

      Romans 7:6 – But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.

      We no longer have to sacrifice an animal to appease God because we have broken the ten commandments. Christ did that for us and in return, what we can do is live a life honoring and glorifying His name...in thankfulness. You seriously need to do some deep bible studying, and I don't mean this in a sarcastic way. I do it myself. May God bless you with His truth.

      January 23, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • BoldGeorge

      I apologize. My last comment above was meant for TR6 (not Peachy).

      January 23, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  8. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer causes small kids to get hit by buses when they aren't paying attention.
    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you crave the smell of kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    January 21, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Would you step in front of that bus and die a glorious death? Are you working on real solutions to your problems? Would you walk rather than ride?

      January 21, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Erephant in loom

      Plefel to walk, prease.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Erephant in loom

      oh, mistake. Prease folgive. Plefel to wark.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Timmy never really read the Bible

      @Erephant,
      We LOVE praying that game !! THAT is hysterical. Solly, but "you are pire of clap". 🙂

      January 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Erephant in loom

      Oh....Timmy,
      Erephant is lorring on frool, raughing.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Remember where you came from, where you 're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Erephant in loom

      Erephant not in mess. So Solly.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Don't taunt the alligator until after you've crossed the creek.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  9. Al

    Why would it? 80% of the pieces of garbage have had pre-marital s-ex – open marriage isn't far from that.

    January 21, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I disagree. Pre marital s3x does not entail the breaking of vows to be faithful to one person. Open marriage does.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Donald Shimoda

      We are all free to do what ever makes us happy.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      Donald....it is precisely your "whatever makes us happy" concept that sometimes destroys other people's lives. Yes, if a man cheats on his wife, it makes him happy for that moment in time but makes his wife (and most likely the kids too) a miserable being for years to come. Drugs might give me a happy momentary fix, but it will destroy me and my loved ones afterwards. Yes, we are certainly free to do whatever makes us happy, and that concept of selfishness also promotes misery on others. It's not the type of "freedom" I would promote.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      BG
      You are also free to be unhappy.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  10. BoldGeorge

    It's not that evangelicals (or better put, true Christians) don't mind or don't care about Mr. Gingrich’s morality or Christianity (or lack thereof). It's that at this point, we have to pray about and accept the lesser of two evils. I believe true Christians should care about our leaders' good standing on moral issues and family values and we should support a leader that promotes good moral standards (biblical moral standards), family values and freedom of expression, but at this point, all we can urge Christians to do is to pray for a fit leader, a leader that will not bring down society with continued wrong decision-making. Someone who promotes life.

    At the height of every politicians political career (pardon the redundancy), they are at the point of no return when it comes to morality, finances and good-standing with Americans. They have made some positive choices in their careers, as well as some negative ones. As far as whatever negative choices Mr. Gingrich has made is evidently coming back to bite him. And the media sure does a good job in biting hard.

    January 21, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So sensitive! Why does it not bother you when right-leaning media portray Obama as some evil overlord?

      January 21, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • The Bitter Politics of Pity

      "but at this point, all we can urge Christians to do is to pray for a fit leader, a leader that will not bring down society with continued wrong decision-making. Someone who promotes life. " If people will only disregard everything Newt has said and done in the past and pay attention to what he is saying NOW, then they will know they have their man. A Man in Full: Newt Gingrich.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • BoldGeorge

      TOM TOM...you wrote: "Why does it not bother you when right-leaning media portray Obama as some evil overlord?"

      Who told you it doesn't bother me? Although I do not agree with some of Obama's policies and perhaps his liberalism, I do not bash him nor do I condone any leader bashing in any shape or form, because after all, he was freely elected by the majority and should be prayed for....never bashed at. However, we as a free people, should voice our opinions and concerns fairly, respectfully and productively.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Sid

      WeakGeorge, re "all we can urge Christians to do is to pray for a fit leader, a leader that will not bring down society with continued wrong decision-making. ", as usual, it is rather obvious from the present slate of sleazy and wacky candidates that your prayers have not been answered.

      There is no one home up there to take your calls. Get over your god delusion. Face reality with more courage and less wishful thinking. The world will be better for it.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • BoldGeorge

      Sid....I guess you do not know the meaning of prayer, much less what answered prayer really means. When we pray for our nation's leaders, it is not a prayer to change their mind nor does it imply that God will convert them nor "make" them believe in what I believe in. My prayers and all prayers of God-believing people are mostly for our leader's direction for this country, whatever that direction may be, and that their leadership and decision-making does not affect my freedom and those of others, and mainly that their leadership does not affect in any way my pursuit in having a relationship with my God. As far as I'm concerned, God has answered my many prayers in this regard.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Anyone who’s ever mattered, anyone who’s ever been happy, anyone who’s ever given any gift into the world has been a divinely selfish soul, living for his or her own best interests. No exceptions.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • A n only 0.59256324 "true" christian because I'm a .45872398 % Evangelical

      I pray for "whatever", because, whatever happpens I will say "god has a plan", and if if what happens is NOT god's plan then he/she is a mighty damn weak god.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Who told you it doesn't bother me?" You. By remaining silent when the right-wing-nuts here, like your pal, George, call Obama 'morally bankrupt". And by your braying at all to 'pray for a fit leader'. That statement alone reveals your opinion of Obama.

      January 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • BoldGeorge

      TOM TOM...I am "BoldGeorge". The other "George" doesn't speak for me nor do I for him. I prefer (as always) for him and anyone not to use bashing nor offensive statements, but he has the right to his opinions just like you are. I think I wrote this here already. We should comment as we see fit without insulting or bashing anyone. But this I can tell you, every time I do use the Word of God, it immediately offends many. Has to make you think, "Hmm, why is that?"

      January 21, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gee, I can't imagine. Maybe it's because your beliefs have no place in politics.

      January 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  11. Reality

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, Newton Leroy Gingrich, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    (The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.)

    January 21, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Donald Shimoda

      All people are free to choose whatever they want to do.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Reality

      And if we all choose to go through red lights?

      January 21, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Then we would all go through red lights. It is unlikely however that we would all choose the same happiness or unhappiness at the same time. It is up to you.

      January 21, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  12. Frank

    Because if you are an exreme right wing lunatic and ask for forgiveness they due so without hesitation. However if you are a moderate or to the left you are condemmed to hell forever in their eyes. They can deny it, but it is the way it is. The will always bring up Clinton, but all the right wing preachers and politicans get a pass.

    January 21, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Donald Shimoda

      It is not up to others Frank. It is up to you.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  13. paulthinkingoutloud

    I John 1: 8-9 (The Message)
    "If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. "

    January 21, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Reality

      With respect to John's Gospel John's Gospel:

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1john.html

      January 21, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Reality

      Make that "With respect to John's Gospel".

      January 21, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • paulthinkingoutloud

      In your zeal to pounce on John's gospel, you might have slowed down and notice the quote was from I John, one of John's letters, not the gospel that bear his name.

      January 21, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • Observer

      Yes, I've noticed that Reality has been losing his edge.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • Reality

      Ooops, all the snow shoveling this morning let my mind slip a bit: 🙂

      With respect to John's Gospel and John' epistles, from Professor/Father Raymond Brown in his book, An Introduction to the New Testament, (The book has both a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur from the Catholic Church),

      John's Gospel, Date- 80-110 CE, Traditional Attribution, (2nd Century), St. John, one of the Twelve,

      Author Detectable from the Contents, One who regards himself in the tradition of the disciple.

      First Epistle of John, Authenticity- Certainly by a writer in the Johannine tradition, probably NOT by the one responsible for most of the Gospel.

      For more detailed information about 1 John, see http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1john.html

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......
      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. " (and it is therefore a reasonable assumption that you will not find the historical Jesus in 1 John.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • paulthinkingoutloud

      I'm unclear if this is about having an axe to grind with respect to textual criticism of the New Testament, or if it's about trying to distract people from the message that God forgives.

      I've been told that while the synoptic gospels are narrative, the gospel of John is a compelling argument that Jesus is God-made-flesh; so if you can discredit the authenticity of the writing, you've discredited Christ's claim to deity; and if you've discredited Christ's deity, then you don't have to respond to it; you're free to live life on your own terms.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Reality
      If you really want to remove snow from your life, you do not make a big production of it; you just relax and remove it from your thinking. that's all there is to it.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for the "newbies":

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con and the DeityDisease:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      January 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  14. RightTurnClyde

    After the first five or ten comments on any of these topics the entire exchange degenerates to a P.e.e.i.n.g match and mostly nonsense

    January 21, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Donald Shimoda

      But participating makes you happy and that is wonderful. If you do not wish to be here, that is your choice too of course.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  15. Poorly Prepared to Be Brutally Honest

    Gingrich should have had prepared answers. The shortest if most brutally honest one could have been "The duties of political office have always outweighed my marriages as I told each wife. When my first two wives got sick I choose to remain a politician. The simple truth is that I need a health wife both as a man and as an ambitious politician dependent in part on hosting social events. Being the wife of an active politician is definitely a job. As far as the affairs go, unfortunately politics does not allow for a gap in coverage so I was forced to make a fairly messy on the fly change."

    January 21, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • The Bitter Politics of Pity

      That would have persuaded me. Let's help Newt get past this and on to the Whitehouse. We need a man who can win a staring contest with the Const*itution. A man with a full set of s*ex*ual organs. A Man in Full: Newt Gingrich.

      January 21, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  16. khm

    It matters to me.

    January 21, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  17. ollit

    Senator Santorum will not be able to attract the moderates and the independets so as Speaker Gingrich. Gov. Romney has flaws but Speaker Gingrich has tons of baggages. Let's face it his lives will be exposed so as former mistress now his third wife. The DNC and President Obama will probably utter so many names calling and insults that Speaker Gingrich can just complain but to no avail. Let's say President Obama say, you are lecturing me look at your lives how many women you destroyed or Mr. Speaker, you violated so many ethics and found guilty why not reveal it to the American people. Let's put Speaker Gingrich as the GOP nominee so it will be soap opera plus bonus attraction starring Calista, former mistress now the third wife versus running away from his records

    January 21, 2012 at 6:49 am |
  18. Navin Johnson

    Are you kidding me?
    Evangelicals are some if the most hypocritical bunch!
    Their husbands are in the strip clubs instead of at work late at night..
    Their wives are playing with the pool guys..
    Of course they don't care about Newt's affairs and wanting an open marriage. Most Evangelicals want open mariages themselves but would never admit it..

    January 21, 2012 at 5:44 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Prayer illuminates the Holy Bible

    January 21, 2012 at 4:48 am |
    • Mirosal

      prayer cannot change ANYTHING

      January 21, 2012 at 4:54 am |
    • An inconvenient truth

      he who is without God will post ANYTHING in desperation

      January 21, 2012 at 5:02 am |
    • Mirosal

      seems to me you're the desperate one, clicnging to the hopes of something that 7 billion people now, or the billions that have lived before, can ever say existed in the first place.

      January 21, 2012 at 5:17 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      It is better to be without imaginary friends (ie; god) as adults than to have them...at least when you don't have them, people don't think you're crazy.

      January 21, 2012 at 6:22 am |
    • Mirosal

      Having imaginary friends might be fine if you're in early grade school, but even your parents will eventually tell you to GROW UP.

      January 21, 2012 at 6:30 am |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer causes small kids to get hit by buses when they aren't paying attention.
      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you crave the smell of kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:51 am |
  20. Donald Shimoda

    Messiah's must sleep. Goodnight.

    January 21, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Wait a minute, I know Messiah, I have worked with Messiah,You are no Messiah.

      January 21, 2012 at 4:46 am |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Perhaps you are right. We do not share the same reality.

      January 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Donald Shimoda

      Sleep is the best meditation.
      Dalai Lama

      January 21, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
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About this blog

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.