You would think this would be a big day for Rick Santorum. This morning the Iowa GOP announced that, as it turns out, Rick Santorum beat Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses by 34 votes. And that the votes of eight precincts have gone missing, but … oh, well. Santorum’s never even sat on a couch with a woman not his wife! But the swinging Gingrich gets all the attention.
ABC News released a 32-second segment of Brian Ross’s interview with Marianne Gingrich, in which she divulges that Newt asked her for an “open marriage” in 1999, while having an affair with Callista. (The full interview will air tonight.) Moments later, Rick Perry stood in front of the press corps in South Carolina, announced he was dropping out, and endorsed Gingrich.
In its story on the Gingrich marriage, the Washington Post adds the delicious tidbit that the day after asking Marianne for a divorce, Newt gave a speech to Republican activists on “The Demise of American Culture.”
Shortly after Perry’s announcement Gingrich asked Perry to head up a “10th Amendment Enforcement Project” because, oh, well, never mind. That’s just a sideshow in the theater of the absurd.
How many more times will voters have to endure a Gingrich lecture on how secularists ruining America, or that gay marriage is a “temporary aberration” that “just fundamentally goes against everything we know?” Last week the Gingrich campaign touted the endorsements of his National Faith Coalition team, a quorum of anti-gay agitators whose endorsements of Gingrich now seem indistinguishable from an article in the Onion.
Jim Garlow, the California pastor, has said, “Destroying the definition of marriage is not merely ‘left.’ It is wrong. It is sin.” Don Wildmon, the co-chair of Gingrich’s faux-faith effort and the founder of the American Family Association, says, “The homosexual movement’s promotion of same-sex marriage undermines the God-ordained institution of marriage and family which is the foundation of all societies.” And Beverly LaHaye, the founder of Concerned Women for America who also endorsed Gingrich, once said, “Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.”
Well, that settles it, doesn’t it? Don’t expect it to. Perry, in endorsing Gingrich, issued the hollow preemptive strike of redemption:
I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country.
We have had our differences, which campaigns inevitably bring out. And Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?
The fact is, there is forgiveness for those who seek God and I believe in the power of redemption, for it is a central tenet of my own Christian faith.
We’ve seen the religious right forgive infidelity. The only thing it won’t forgive is being gay. (Ask Ted Haggard.) Open marriage is a new one. We’ll find out how sincerely the signers of the Manhattan Declaration expect their chosen leaders to adhere to this passage from the document:
Some who enter into same-sex and polyamorous relationships no doubt regard their unions as truly marital. They fail to understand, however, that marriage is made possible by the sexual complementarity of man and woman, and that the comprehensive, multi-level sharing of life that marriage is includes bodily unity of the sort that unites husband and wife biologically as a reproductive unit. This is because the body is no mere extrinsic instrument of the human person, but truly part of the personal reality of the human being. Human beings are not merely centers of consciousness or emotion, or minds, or spirits, inhabiting non-personal bodies. The human person is a dynamic unity of body, mind, and spirit. Marriage is what one man and one woman establish when, forsaking all others and pledging lifelong commitment, they found a sharing of life at every level of being—the biological, the emotional, the dispositional, the rational, the spiritual— on a commitment that is sealed, completed and actualized by loving sexual intercourse in which the spouses become one flesh, not in some merely metaphorical sense, but by fulfilling together the behavioral conditions of procreation. That is why in the Christian tradition, and historically in Western law, consummated marriages are not dissoluble or annullable on the ground of infertility, even though the nature of the marital relationship is shaped and structured by its intrinsic orientation to the great good of procreation.