Not Illegal, Merely Immoral

The admission broadcast ’round the world has the secular headlines screaming:

“Gingrich had affair during Clinton probe; “Gingrich Tells Christian Group of Affair”; “Gingrich affair coincided with Lewinsky fight”; Gingrich says his affair unlike Clinton’s (because it was “not illegal, merely immoral,”) and so on.

But in Colorado Springs, Focus on the Family’s own promo for the much-hyped James Dobson-Newt Gingrich two-part radio interview puts the primary emphasis on another topic:

The Growing Threat of Radical Islam

Islamic extremism, suicidal terrorists and the increasingly aggressive actions of world leaders from North Korea to Iran threaten the very future of democracy. Will our leaders heed this gathering storm, or is history destined to repeat itself? Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich discusses this clear and present danger, then answers tough questions from Dr. Dobson about the moral failings of his past.

“We have not confronted as a country how truly dangerous both nuclear and biological weapons will be, and the fact that our enemies are very open about this. They say over and over again, ‘We want to kill millions of Americans.'”
— Newt Gingrich

Meanwhile, the Colorado Springs-based Christian media empire’s in-house generated news story couches Gingrich’s “moral failings” in the gentlest of terms, pointing out that, after all, Gingrich claims to have “gotten on my knees and sought God’s forgiveness.”

Glossover complete, the focus of the Focus story then shifts right over to “muslim radicals.”

Meanwhile, in the wake of the admission, Jerry Falwell is now comparing Gingrich to Ronald Reagan, who had been divorced, and explained his rationale in having Gingrich deliver the upcoming graduation announcement at Liberty University:

“I have been very impressed with the spiritual maturity of this man and am convinced that he has been honest and forthright in clarifying his past failings and his quest, as a Christian, for God’s forgiveness,” Falwell writes.

“As a pastor with more than a half-century of experience of working with fallible people, I have ministered to a few men who have experienced moral collapse. I have usually been able to tell which of these men was genuinely seeking forgiveness for their actions. My sense tells me that Mr. Gingrich is such a man. He is today happily married to wife Callista, and committed to be the husband he should be.”

Interesting. In the past neither Dobson or Falwell have been known to shy away from laying down withering fires of criticism over politicians who engaged in extramarital affairs. In fact, just last fall both suggested that the scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley coming on to teenage congressional pages wasn’t nearly as outrageous as President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Here’s Dobson
“We condemn the Foley affair categorically, and we also believe that what Mr. Clinton did was one of the most embarrassing and wicked things ever done by a president in power. Let me remind you, sir, that it was not just James Dobson who found the Lewinsky affair reprehensible. More than 140 newspapers called for Clinton’s resignation. But the president didn’t do what Mr. Foley has done in leaving. He stayed in office, and he lied to the grand jury to obscure the facts. As it turns out, Mr. Foley has had illicit sex with no one that we know of, and the whole thing turned out to be what some people are now saying was a — sort of a joke by the boy and some of the other pages.”

And Falwell
“But this president — it’s like this Mark Foley thing — that’s not going to discourage any evangelicals I know from voting. We lived through Bill Clinton, and this situation with Foley is minuscule in comparison. So, I really think it’s making a mountain out of a molehill.”