Can the pious Christian pastors of America’s Megachurch Heartland(tm) find it in their hearts to gift their presidential-campaign support to a notorious liar and serial adulturer who’s capped thirty years of grifting with a late-life conversion to The Great Whore of Babylon, aka papism, d/b/a the Catholic Church? Dave Weigel at Slate, dealing with these idiots so we don’t have to, explains how they’re finding excuses to embrace the Gingrich:
“I think there’s now an evangelical tri-lemma,” says Jeffress, who still backs Perry but doesn’t have illusions about his current electoral oomph. “Do you vote for a Mormon who’s had one wife, a Catholic who’s had three wives, or an Evangelical who may have had an entire harem?”
This is a problem. The leadership of the evangelical right, as loose as it is, has the most influence over a Republican nomination in Iowa, in the caucuses. With a month to go, the candidate who said the right things and built the right-sized lead over Romney is Gingrich. Evangelical kingmakers, whom Newt has courted for years, are discussing how to forgive him. The actual voters who’ll pick the candidate aren’t quite so sure…
This has all been discussed at the higher levels of evangelical politics; it’s largely been litigated. If you read between the lines of evangelical leaders’ statements, they’re incredibly forgiving toward Newt. Look at the open letter that Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote this week. “A high percentage of Evangelical men are willing to cut you some slack over your turbulent marital history,” he wrote. “The bad news is that Evangelical women are far less willing to forgive and let bygones be bygones.”
How could Gingrich possibly recover? Pretty easily, according to Land. “Mr. Speaker, I urge you to pick a pro-family venue and give a speech (not an interview) addressing your marital history once and for all. It should be clear that this speech will be ‘it’ and will not be repeated, only referenced.”
That’s it. The tone is not just forgiving—it’s hopeful that the evangelical hoi polloi can forgive, too. It’s scornful of a media that evangelicals expect to hassle Gingrich and his supporters for hypocrisy. The media didn’t decide whether Paul [the apostle] had redeemed himself. Evangelical leaders won’t let the media tell them whether they can redeem the new Republican front-runner.
I’d kind of like to watch that speech-at-a-pro-family-venue, from a safe distance; given his form, Gingrich would no doubt spend 47 minutes of the allocated hour pontificating on the historical inability of Great Leaders to restrain their insistent, throbbing patriotism to any single ideas-dumpster, rambling through illustrative precedents from the Old Testament Abraham through Thomas Jefferson to Conan the Barbarian. And then cap it off by announcing he had just had divorce papers served on Wife #3, not for health reasons, just because she failed to score well with the marketing panels.
Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly points out that Rick Perry’s campaign, in its best day-late-and-a-dollar-short style, is now targeting Iowa’s “faith” voters. Feh, Perry’s prayers couldn’t even break the drought in Texas — successful prosperity gospel preachers are saving their endorsements for a candidate, be he never so shopworn, with a record of proven results. Fundraising results. Because their God helps those who help themselves, and Newt has helped himself with both hands!