A few thoughts on Newt

A friend of mine has sent me a great article on Newt Gingrich. Personally, I think conservatives are extremely desperate. They’re looking for someone, anyone, who will be able to take on Obama. Remember way back in October of 2008, John McCain’s campaign was clearly flailing and he was at an event in Wisconsin. A man, a black man, stood up and begged John McCain to take the fight to Barack Obama. (James T Harris, the man who stood up, was a conservative talkshow host on a local radio station, but he didn’t identify himself.) It is the desperation in this man’s voice that I feel is reflected in all conservatives right now. They are desperate. Most conservatives don’t think that Mitt Romney will roll up his sleeves and seriously take on the president. They are, therefore, left with Newt Gingrich. They KNOW that Newt Gingrich will do whatever it takes. If it means bringing up Bill Ayres every single day three times a day for year, Newt Gingrich will do it. If it means bringing up Rev. Wright and Bill Ayres in the same sentence, Newt Gingrich will do it.

Anyway, here’s what my buddy sent me about Newt and morality:

Nor is the issue an unrealistic demand for perfection. No one has a perfect past, and few, if any have a perfect present. But it is a stunning impoverishment of standards to dismiss multiple lies, adulteries, and hypocrisies as mere foibles that fall just somewhere shy of perfection. While Newt was going hard after Clinton for his moral failures and campaigning on family values, he was engaged in an ongoing adulterous affair.

So again, am I suggesting we demand perfection of our candidates? Should we make an issue of every high school and college prank, indiscretion, drunken weekend, wild party, and so on? Of course not. But we are not talking here about adolescent behavior. We are talking about his behavior as a mature adult, while holding elected office.

The fact that Newt thinks his history of moral and ethical infidelity is irrelevant to his qualifications to be President, the fact that he can wax passionate with moral indignation against those who raise these issues, represents a wildly distorted sense of moral judgment and moral proportion. Ironically, he is the mirror image of the postmodern who rejects traditional morality, but knows exactly how to draw a huge ovation from an audience by attacking intolerance with passionate fervor.

King David fell into adultery and he repented and was forgiven. Notably, when confronted with his adultery, he did not turn on Nathan, and say, “Seriously, I am appalled you can be making an issue of the fact that I banged Bathsheba, given the enormous political and economic issues facing this country.” David was forgiven. But he never regained the moral credibility he previously had, and after this incident, his Kingdom began to unravel in various ways, as Nathan predicted. Indeed, it is surely no coincidence that we see this beginning to happen one chapter after Nathan’s confrontation with David, precisely in the form of his sons mimicking his worst behavior (2 Samuel 13). Amnon rapes his sister Tamar, and when David ignores the matter and does nothing about it, Tamar’s brother Absalom plots Amnon’s murder and successfully carries it out. Given David’s adultery and devious murder of Bathsheba’s husband Uriah, he was poorly situated to confront his sons with any sort of moral credibility or hold them accountable for doing the very same sort of things he had done. The King inevitably set a moral tone for the nation, whether for good or for ill. David eventually lost so much of his previous authority that his own son Absalom could successfully garner enough support to lead a rebellion and temporarily usurp the throne. (more…)

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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