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March 02, 2011

Comments

chris

This blog post spawned lots of inquiries for me.

Given that Ohio is ground zero place in reshaping major government policies, what made this story so compelling?

The political class may get lots of tv time, but are their lifestyle emulated by ordinary Americans?

Is America the epicenter of the sin problem and where is heaven on earth?

Do we highlight the sins of our political adversaries and look the other way for our political soul mates?

If this person wrote Psalms 51 – 2.0 would that make a difference?

This person recently converted to Catholicism, is this bad reflection on the Catholic Church and if he had decided on becoming an Adventist would he be welcomed?

Ron

I heard the report on Newt's interview on the Jon Gibson radio show. It was very well done. Gibson gave nice little sound bites from both liberals and conservatives making fun of Newt's comments.

Don't feel too bad about the ignorance of people not knowing the origin of a quote. Why just a few years back Dr. Howard Dean said his favorite New Testament book was Job. But then if you ask who was/is Howard Dean today you will likely have less then 40% who know.

Monte

Chris, my point was not so much about the particular individual involved. It seems to me he made a blatant expression of a widespread approach to faith that troubles me deeply. It is a wonderful thing that God is forgiving, and we should all learn to be more forgiving to our family, our neighbors, etc. But what are we to make of the person who takes a position of moral leadership, condemning others and instructing them on how they should live, while asking for us to forgive and overlook his own sins? Does not forgiveness also mean there should be more humility and less moral criticism of others? Maybe I should take this advice myself, but I am deeply troubled by those who take a lead in blaming the poor for being poor, etc., and campaigning to require this and that of their fellow citizens while presuming on our forgiveness. This candidate is certainly not the only one who does this, nor is his ideology the only set of public figures who do this. This just seemed a particularly clear instance of such behavior.

chris

Monte, I agree it would be great if humility accompanied the act of contrition. However, public officials have a particular self confident image to uphold. Just think about our reaction to Carter’s “humility” or Muskie, crying, or why the current speaker’s emotion is being perceived.

My concern is that when the church (prophetic voice) gives “a get out of jail card” to public officials based on their alignment with our ideology, we mute the voice. The same grace administered to Kennedy or Jackson should be administered to Newt without any particular toll gate. That is what makes grace so radically amazing!

The history of the American voter would seem to indicate that they use elements of character and competence to entrust the keys to the top office in the land (most of the time). Clinton’s famous 60 minutes interview with his wife was a key ingredient in gaining our trust.

Finally, one of the signature policy accomplishments of Gingrich was welfare reform that moved 8 millions into the workforce when I checked a few years back. How do we objectively evaluate government policy when the means taken differ from our approach?

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