I get a kick out of it, when someone warns me about the checkered past of Newt Gingrich – or I would, if that weren’t part of a pending tragedy of the Republican Party nominating the wrong man.
Gulag Bound has published the speaker’s political problems in excruciating detail, thanks to Kelleigh Nelson’s excellent “Phony Right Wing” series. So, I don’t bat an eye, when someone tells me that Newt served on a committee of the Council on Foreign Relations (after 9/11, on opposing terrorism), that he figured into global trade agreements, participated in the empowerment of the China he warns us of today, that for years he touted the Information Age speculations of the Tofflers (though hardly their neo-Marxism), etc. I used to be very concerned about it, I prayed and pondered.
No, I didn’t come into this supporting Gingrich for president. But, with the help of many, I learned more about the man we see today, who has committed himself to defending Americans’ status as Sovereign Citizen, its rulers as endowed by our Creator and in so doing, to protecting the sovereignty of the United States of America. And beyond that, as I see it, he has laid his life on the line, to allow free Americans to mine our own, vast oil and other energy resources, which very powerful others wish to leave buried for now, for the hording.
How did he get from where he was, with his mixed bag of tricks, to an especially better place, today? I believe I have learned enough of that and while detailing it all could fill a book, I will sketch it out, right here. But before that, one must remember where he has always been.
Representative Gingrich was an engine at the core of the Reagan revolution, according to his colleagues. During the Clinton administration, he is perhaps the one American most responsible for balancing the federal budget over four calendar years, achieving a surplus for the first time in decades. Again, for the first time in decades, he led the Republican Party to majority status and the House of Representatives to new heights of success and popularity. As noted by citizen reporter, PolitiJim, “When Newt became Speaker in 1995 congressional approval was about 20%. When he resigned the Speakership four years later, it was about 60%. Now it’s 11%.” See in Gulag Bound, “Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney: Comparing Conservative ‘Products of Work,'” for much more.
As an aside, Gingrich has also been criticized for having a qualified respect for the two presidents Roosevelt, which has lead pundits with personal affinities in question, such as Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter, to deride him as a progressive. He was asked about that and gave an answer which shows a history professor’s understanding of the scope of the progressive movement of more than a century ago, and the variances within it. It is an understanding greater than the black-or-white polemics of those other two. Child labor laws and the protection of adult workers too, from horrific, feudal abuse had to be established. As now, political corruption also had to be punished and regulated away.
And as Gingrich pointed out, the effectiveness of FDR, was the highest of all presidents of the last century, so necessary to defend life and freedom in World War II. Pardon Speaker Gingrich for being statesmanlike, able to see the better angels of the nature of past presidents, all ye polemicists and players. Let us leave historical revisionism to the Marxists we oppose. (For more, see PolitiJim’s two articles on this controversy: “Refuting Glenn Beck on Newt Gingrich,” Part-1 and Part-2.)
Contrary to Mitt Romney’s charge, Gingrich did not resign in disgrace and violated no rule of House ethics. Here is Rep. Dan Buron of Indiana, weighing in, on that slur and others.
Video, “Congressman Dan Burton Sets the Record Straight on Newt’s Record“
He did hold to a rather Reagan-globalist doctrine of internationalism, a vision for a sovereign America to lead an ever more intertwined world of free nations. It sorely needed work, as anyone should see by now and as Gingrich has attested. He divorced twice, to marry other women. He took intellectual head trips, history professor and futurist that he was, which contradicted a strict adherence to the Constitution. Then his journey brought him back to it. But, not to skip ahead, on we go to evidence of his spiritual, intellectual, and patriotic refinement and development.
Leaving the House and the speakership, marrying Callista, and facing perhaps a delayed face-up to mid-life brought a time of soul sorting. More than that, it was a face-up to life itself and its Author, as Newt attests in an article in New Catholic Register, “Why I Became a Catholic,” April 26, 2011. By its brevity, one gets the impression the man is much more pleased to gaze into such things as the political complexities of the present and the societal trends the future, than to peruse his navel in public. But, he does relate some of his personal walk.
He relates a process of getting more serious with the Savior he met with the help of Lutheran and Southern Baptist churches, as he became more familiar over a period of years, with Callista’s Catholic Church. As we may expect, his regard for his wife was accompanied with an approach to spirituality through his study of history and society.
I accompanied Callista to Rome in 2005, when the choir was invited to sing at St. Peter’s Basilica. While there, I had the opportunity to talk at length with Msgr. Walter Rossi, rector of the basilica in D.C., about faith, history and many of the cultural challenges, including secularism, facing our country. Our conversations were enlightening and intriguing.
During that trip, I experienced my first visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, and I recall marveling at being in the presence of the historic truth of the Church that day.
At the same time, I was being influenced by several books I was reading, including George Weigel’s The Cube and the Cathedral, about the crisis of secularism in Europe, and his book The Final Revolution, about the role of Christianity in freeing Eastern Europe from an atheistic dictatorship.
I was also moved by Pope Benedict’s reflection in his book Jesus of Nazareth that, “God is the issue: Is he real, reality itself, or isn’t he? Is he good, or do we have to invent the good ourselves?”
“Things” were mentioned here, by the speaker, not things he cares to tell the world, but private matters that he considered over years. A focus on history and chronology are once again what he presents publicly, as his concludes.
Over the course of a decade, the depth of faith and history contained in the life of the Catholic Church were increasingly apparent to me, and the centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic Mass became more and more clear.
Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States in April of 2008 was a turning point for me. The Holy Father presided over solemn vespers with the U.S. bishops in the Crypt Church at the basilica in Washington. Callista’s choir was asked to sing for Pope Benedict at vespers, and as a spouse, I had the unique opportunity to attend the papal visit and was deeply moved by the occasion.
Catching a glimpse of Pope Benedict that day, I was struck by the happiness and peacefulness he exuded. The joyful and radiating presence of the Holy Father was a moment of confirmation about the many things I had been thinking and experiencing for several years.
That evening I told Msgr. Rossi I wanted to be received into the Catholic Church, and he agreed to join Callista as my sponsor. Under his tutelage, I studied the Catechism of the Church over the next year and was received into the Church in March of 2009 in a beautiful Mass at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill.
As a Christian raised Baptist and a humble student of history, I can guess that when Newt Gingrich studied the Catechism, it likely resonated within significant contexts of his Scriptural understanding and of personal experience and reflection. This contributes to a true yielding of oneself to “reality” and “good,” Himself. Note the dates he gave, 2005 and 2008.
God and America’s essential history
Throughout this time, the Gingriches were also producing relevant documentaries, through their Gingrich Productions. Their Nine Days That Changed the World illuminated Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland in 1979, which inspired Poles and men and women throughout the world, to throw off Marxism’s slavery to state.
Their documentary Rediscovering God in America combined a walking tour of Washington D.C. with a study of America’s founders and most importantly, their essential vision for this new nation. Its sequel, Rediscovering God in America: Our Heritage provided a more sweeping story of the role of faith in God, in America’s history, colonial, revolutionary, and during the Civil War.
These are the promotional videos for the two movies.
The foundation, blueprint, and maintenance manuals of America’s founders may be given the titles respectively of the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, and the Federalist Papers. As Newt’s spiritual pilgrimage brought him into Callista’s church, he brought her into a tour of these texts and the letters and histories that accompanied them. The movies and books involved were a result. Another result was a deepening of the speaker’s commitment to our proscribed identity and way of self governing life. Out went promotion of the Tofflers. In came the cousins Adams, plus Washington, Jefferson, Madison, and Lincoln.
To be continued; I hope part 2 will be presented on Tuesday, a key Primary day…