Thursday, December 15, 2011

GOP Newt Gingrich Now under Scrutiny for His Catholicism – from the Media: WAPO Headlines: “Catholic Blind Spots” and “Catholic Case for Gingrich”


The GOP Candidates: Branding by Religion: Perry, Romney, Gingrich, Pual and Bachmann - image detroit news

GOP Presidential Newt Gingrich has come under scrutiny for a myriad number of past indiscretions (going back 20 odd years in most cases) by his GOP Rivals and the press once he rose to the top tier, and then became the one to best in the 2012 GOP Nomination Process. It appears with everything thrown at Gingrich but the kitchen sink, including potential personality issues, which would have one believe every pundit and politicians has had a crash course in psychology lately, his ability to work across the aisle (cardinal sin), his “wild” ideas, that are, when taken in context, sound and forward thinking (Promotion of a space program, teaching children to learn the concept of work and reward from a private sector standpoint). With each new “bomb” thrown at Gingrich, regardless of the source, he continues to rise in the polls (among Republicans primary voters – but at close inspection of certain polls, he also appeals to independents and moderate Democrats).

Those elite, those Washington insiders, and those pundits and talking heads (especially the likes of Glenn Beck who is, when one looks at certain predictions he has made in the past, akin to “Chicken Little”) – prefer one candidate in particular, and the rest of the population is considered - less able to make the choice of the right candidate on their own – in simple terms. It is the process that they are attempting to pervert that is prompting the rise of Gingrich, as they did in the past with the rise of anyone but the individual the GOP had pre-ordained as the front-runner, often two years before the first vote had been cast.

They have help of course, from their friends across the aisle – at times it is difficult to tell if one is listening to Ann Coulter or David Axelrod, (of course the later uses crude language and Ann does have superior intellect), regardless – the people who are voting will have the say – and they will have that say if the candidate of choice is Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman, Michelle Bachmann and yes, even the apparent “chosen one” – Mitt Romney.

However, now the gauntlet has been thrown down in a manner that hasn’t been employed since the 1960’s and the race that brought one John Kennedy to the White House – the fact that Gingrich is a Catholic. Now there are two articles with what appear to be opposing views from the Washington Post the first: Gingrich’s Catholic Blind Spots - speaks to the fact that Puritans set he rule of government when they arrived at Plymouth, and therefore, the Catholic vision of governance is slightly different in that they do not expect their leaders to be “saints”, rather to follow the tenants of the Church, as interpreted by University Professors and a host of “experts” on the subject of Catholicism. It is almost as if to say: Gingrich is not Catholic enough, based on his past.

This article is followed by a second entitled “The Catholic case for Gingrich, for now”. Speaks to the fact that Gig rich basically follows the ten tents of the faith, yet, one must watch over the next few weeks to see if he perhaps sways in any way.

Understanding a President’s faith may be a sticking point (see the rhetoric against John F. Kennedy pre-election hysteria surrounding his Catholicism) or more so a “tool “to frighten one voting bloc against another, the fact of the matter is the Catholic Vote has traditionally gone to one party, with very few inconsistencies- and that party is the Democrats. Of those high profile Catholics who have held, or currently hold office, the familiar names of Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, pick a Kennedy, Richard Neal, the Massachusetts 1st District Representative, and the majority (with the notable exception of Neal) receive high marks, not from the church but form pro-abortion groups such as NARAL.

Yet, when it comes to an election year, one can find them most often in a Church with a full contingent of press in tow. The fact that with few exceptions (again Neal) the legislation that they produce and the votes they cast, run contrary to Catholicism in so many way. There is, however, nary a peep out of the press. These living and deceased Catholic Democrats have been lauded in both the church and the press, regardless of infidelities, multiple marriages or their stance on issues such as abortion.
Catholics, like women, African American’s, Hispanics, “belong to the Democrats”. (Would the Washington Post be Aware of that 70 Million strong voting bloc and attempt to sway the same?)

Newt Gingrich had a lot of nerve converting and therefore, since he’s now receiving (in polls) Catholic support, something must be done to “take him down a peg”.
As this blogger is a Catholic Christian, born a Catholic – yet a questioning Catholic, and a student of History, one finds that the use of religion, especially by those who are convenient “pundits” to apparently challenge the faith of another Catholic, is in a word, abhorrent.

One can see why, as an Historian, the Catholic Faith would appeal to Newt Gingrich, it is stepped in History, with the word “Catholic” literally meaning “universal”, giving one a comforting notion of a faith that has held fast since Christ anointed Peter as the fist Pope, to the tenants of forgiveness of sin, and those many wars throughout the history of Europe that were fought by princes and kings in order to either throw the yoke of Rome off their personal backs (See the beginnings of the English Church), and those that fought to keep the faith pure for political reasons. From this perspective it is the perfect mix of history and theology makes this the most attractive of all Christian Sects.

That said, in the political arena, where does the faith of one candidate over another’s mean a hill of beans in a society based on freedom from a State Sponsored Religion? Would it matter if one candidate were a Baptist, a Jew, a Mormon, a Catholic, a non-denominational Christian, or Muslim? Our nation was founded on the principal of freedom to practice religion, any religion, without being burned at the proverbial stake for not being “Catholic enough” or “Evangelical enough”?

The fact that the former Speaker is now a Catholic, has little to do with a reason to vote or not, for the man = however, the fact that he is a man of faith, does imply a moral compass - one that is necessary in any candidate regardless of brand of religion. The reasons one would support a Gingrich Presidency would be the man’s intellect, his wisdom as a result of intellect and age, and his sense of history, which, one must understand is a blueprint for “what not to do” when it comes to options regarding everything from foreign policy to social programs to yes, taxes. As with all past presidents, their religion was a personal matter, and one finds it difficult to find one President who has led the nation based on a specific brand of religion, however, all Presidents have involved the name of God – we are a nation founded on Christian and Judeo Principals – so to those who nitpick that someone isn’t Catholic enough, or perhaps too Catholic, or too Evangelical or too Baptist, or too pick a brand, are merely attempting to sway one’s vote as one may not be smart enough to make the choice – without the help of Glenn Beck, the DNC, the RNC or pick a pundit. – Therefore these individuals “use” religion to their advantage.

Moreover, the measure of man or woman running for the highest office in the land, should not be based on their choice of religion, rather their competence, past life experience, combined in a resume that qualifies one over another for the position they seek- and it is up to the voters to cast their ballots based on the following: their conscious as Americans, as Citizens of the United States, and to do so, one must look at the candidates and ask: who would lead us in dignity and intellect, safety and on a course that would allow us to be the nation that is known to give the most, offer the most, and deny not one citizen an opportunity to rise and prosper. The fallacious argument that the GOP candidate will not win if they are not “young enough” or “too white” or “too old” or “too much a female” or not “moderate enough” is, in a word, insane.

Those who feel they rare in the position to best advise and lead the public (all in the name of the Beltway) have every right to endorse or champion their favorite candidate, however, to vilify another to the point of picking on their religion, is – in a phrase – “above their pay scale” (Barack Obama’s answer to a question in a faith based debate at Saddleback Church, to Rick Warren in 2008, when asked to define when life began.)
One might not agree with the President Obama’s policies, and therefore, one has choices to make as to whom one would choose as a Replacement. It is not the fact that he President can or cannot be bested in a political contest, it is the fact that we have a process, a process in which, the people, not the pundits, or members of Congress, or the also rans, should shill for one candidate that “party leaders” preordain. It is perhaps, this arrogance that has cost one Mitt Romney, the ability to rise to the nomination for a second time. Would either Gingrich or Romney or Paul, or Perry or Santorum best President Obama? They are all aptly qualified to one degree or another, therefore the answer is yes – as long as the pundits and the national GOP stay on the sidelines and let the people decide who the nominee should be that leads on the ideology of less government, fewer taxes, strong foreign policy and defense of our nation and a respect for the rights of states to determine what is best for their constituents, and if not accepted in general, there is always another election.

Speaking as a Massachusetts Conservative with some Degrees of Moderation and a bit of pragmatism and the ability to actually research legislation written (sponsored), or supported (co-sponsored), the outcomes and the roll-call votes of those in Congress and the Senate (records available on line, this is not a special talent), it is to this mind that Gingrich represents the best choice to lead the nation forward, at a reasonable pace. If one reads through the posts of 2008, one will find that this blogger also has supported Mike Huckabee, and then when the going was tough, and the three remaining choices were Barack Obama, John McCain and Hillary Clinton – Clinton was the choice, not based on the fact that she was a woman (yes, feminism), but on her voting record and her views at that time. Of the three, she was the strongest on defense, followed by McCain (seriously) and finally a man who had no record to speak of – a one term Senator, and former State Legislator, whose voting pattern culled from Illinois, made this voter a bit uneasy on social issues and issues of limited government.

Therefore, at this moment, in this time, Gingrich Is the choice of this individual who has grown more conservative over the course of the past four years, as one might suspect, so have others that are moderate and independent. The President does not belong to one group or another, but especially the President should not be chosen by a political party, or the press, and should the people prefer a candidate those aforementioned are not supporting – tough. Finally, the polls: as a student of polls, the ability to predict a “winner” depends on the largest possible sample, additionally questions posed are not often as clear, by design, and as pollsters also lean politically to both the right and the left, the outcomes can be “modified” and that “perdition” becomes more of a propaganda piece than an actual useful statistical analysis. Therefore, who dose the voter trust, one would suggest their instincts, as to whom one feels would be the best leader, and then let the chips fall where they may.

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