I could not pass up this reported exchange between a U-Penn student and Newt Gingrich:
Student: “… you’ve also been married three times and admitted to having an affair with your current wife while you were still married to your second. As a successful politician who’s considering running for president, who would set the bar for moral conduct and be the voice of the American people, how do you reconcile this hypocritical interpretation of the religious values that you so vigorously defend?”
Gingrich: “I’ve had a life which, on occasion, has had problems. I believe in a forgiving God, and the American people will have to decide whether that’s their primary concern…”
OK, now I have a few questions:
- How would Gingrich know that his god has actually forgiven him?
- Is that something that the transgressor determines for himself?
- Does this assumed forgiveness undo the transgression in any way?
- How serious a transgression does he assume can be or will be forgiven?
- Does Gingrich assume that merely stating that he believes in a forgiving god will be a useful dodge in the future?
- Should we think it will be OK if he transgresses in the future, as long as he then states that he believes in a forgiving god?
But we know better than all this: Gingrich (or Falwell, or Graham, or Robertson, or Warren) can honestly claim to know the mind of his god only because that god is his own creation, a product of his own imagination. Like all gods.
And we are expected to respect their “beliefs”?