Newt Gingrich’s Tiffany’s Problem: Debt Is Unbiblical

The biggest story of the day in Washington is the Politico report that Newt Gingrich owed somewhere between $250,000 and $500,000 to Tiffany’s in the mid-2000s. It’s unknown whether he still owes that debt—Gingrich’s spokesperson wasn’t talking. The information is in Callista Gingrich’s Congressional financial disclosure form, from 2005 and 2006, a form she is no longer required to file since leaving the employment of the House of Representatives.

Gingrich is of course falling all over himself to appear a pious adherent to American exceptionalism and Christian nation mythology. He’s hoping that voters will forgive him his extra-marital affairs and three wives. But there’s another sin at work here: not just lust, or gluttony, or even adultery, but debt.

As Julie has discussed, many on the religious right consider debt to be unbiblical. It’s an idea rooted in Rushdoony but not uncommon among conservative Christians. And it is, in fact, the basis for the religious right hitching its wagon to the Tea Party: they claim that the government’s debt is not only wrong, but in a “Christian nation,” unbiblical.

Could it be that moments after the news was all over Twitter, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins tweeted about the organization’s “no more debt” movement? And then, 15 minutes later: “With heavy hitters sitting it out, and ‘top tier’ candidates yet to catch fire, 2012 field is wide open. Who do you want to hear more from?” 

Besides, a favorite verse among conservative evangelicals (especially biblical patriarchy adherents) is Proverbs 31:10, which defines what they believe to be the proper role of a wife and how a husband is supposed to value her: “A capable, intelligent and virtuous woman, who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls.” (emphasis added)