Quintessential Moral Relativism


Republican Presidential Candidate Newt Gingrich’s comments during the Presidential Republican debate on January 19, 2012 and the audience’s reaction are telling, and saddening.

An angry Newt Gingrich criticized the media at the start of tonight’s Republican presidential debate for focusing on questions about his personal life, including allegations that he asked for an “open marriage” with his second wife.

“I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate with a topic like that,” he said in a comment directed at the debate’s sole moderator, John King of CNN. Gingrich drew applause from the debate’s audience for his response. (emphasis added)

Earlier in the day, ABC News disclosed that Gingrich’s second wife, Marianne Gingrich, told the network in an interview that in the 1990s her then-husband asked for an “open marriage” amid an affair with former congressional aide and current wife, Callista.

To take an ex-wife and make it two days before a primary a significant question in a presidential campaign is as close to despicable as anything I can imagine.” (emphasis added)  (John McCormick and Kristin Jensen, ©2012 Bloomberg News)

Granted, the open marriage contention is an allegation, not a proven fact, which may or may not be true; however is it not a legitimate question and even an obligation to explore the moral background and positions of a presidential candidate? Have we come to the point in this country where the moral fiber of a candidate is irrelevant? What could be more relevant?

So Mr. Gingrich attacks the moderator and paints his posing of the question about his moral background as candidate for the highest public office in this awesome nation as despicable. And Mr. Gingrich receives applause, and by another account, a standing ovation.

Newt Gingrich earned a standing ovation from a South Carolina crowd Thursday night when he angrily rebuked moderator John King for opening CNN’s Southern Republican Debate with a question about claims he’d asked his second wife for an “open marriage.” (By MARK SCHONE , ABC Nightline)

What actually is despicable is the account of the moral behavior alleged, not the moderator who is fulfilling his duty to seek the truth and additional information about the allegation. The audience seems to see Mr Gingrich as the victim, and his moral history as irrelevant. I will be the first to say that a man is innocent until proven guilty, but the allegations need to be explored as our leaders need to be held to a high standard, that is if morality matters. What could matter more?

I am not one who thinks that politicians and public officials have the absolute capacity to redeem the country and the world to the full practice of Christian virtue and truth. They can only do their indispensable part. We all contribute to this mission. This happens one heart, mind, soul, and spirit at a time. But, the selection of the next president of the United States is certainly a most vital matter that we all have a duty to participate in fully.

What can we do? Keep living and proclaiming the truth including those truths about the sanctity and dignity of life and marriage (and yes, there are such things as objective truths) with our witness and yes our words too; and most importantly help to win graces for ourselves and others with our sacramental lives, prayer, and sacrifices. For it is only when reason is perfected by grace that it gains the capacity to understand and embrace the truth. Let’s be confident in the truth as taught by the Holy Catholic Church, and which is summarized so beautifully and conveniently in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Let’s not fall into the enemy’s trap of discouragement. We are beyond doubt, absolutely on the winning side. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world. (John 16:33 NAB)

Let’s do our part to bring a morally upright man or woman to the White House. True, no one is perfect, but we can at least hope and work for someone who has the moral map of truth and is committed to try his or her best to live and govern by it. It all starts there. Praised be Jesus and Mary.


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  • Mary Anne Moresco

    Newt Gingrich converted to the Catholic
    Church in 2009. He said then that his conversion made him a different man. http://www.npr.org/2011/12/22/144080998/gingrichs-catholic-journey-began-with-third-wife He was appalled not necessarily at addressing the issue, but that this was the way the debate was beginning. People may have been clapping because they were sick and tired of the leftist media personally attacking conservative candidates for things that may or may not have happened years ago, and making this the first and primary focus. It’s not that it is not an issue. It’s that the debate was starting with a personal attack on character. And it is also that it seems that Newt Gingrich has gone through personal conversion to Catholicism and may be as forgiven for sins (assuming the allegation is true which it may not be) as the rest of us practicing Catholics.

  • christymomof3

    I am tired of the mainstrem media’s manipulation of the values voters. Gingrich had an immoral lifestyle years ago, therefore he is not worthy of our votes. Santorum’s wife lived with an abortionist years ago, therefore he is not worthy of our votes. Bill Clinton’s sexual abuse of women and his escapades while in office, though, are irrelevant , so he was and is revered by the media.

  • Genevieve Kineke

    I agree with Mary Anne above, and her assessment of the 2009 event. I surely don’t think the importance of conversion is lost on any “values votors.” The fact is that the question was asked — not because the media is horrified at sin or confused about faith — but because it was hoped to throw the primary to Romney, whom the Democrats sincerely hope will be the candidate.

    In that regard, the conservative votors in SC understood that game, the twisted effort to influence the vote and the constant double-standard which prevails in the media.

    Surely, few are impressed with pre-conversion Newt, but I think he would be the first to say that he is a new man in Christ. Let’s show that we understand the profound difference that sacraments can make in our lives.

  • The liberal media took the high moral ground a long time ago–during the sixties. It is high time that we all do what those brave people of SC did. Newt Gingrich may be a creep or a good man but for the gliberal media anybody to the right of Lenin is to be measured with the highest of moral standards. Democrats, or leftists of any kind are to be considered with the utmost kindness. Anthony Weiner, Bill Clinton, and others of their ilk get a free pass on anything. It is our fault for buying their newspapers and watching their networks. I haven’t watched PBS, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, or ABC since the 90’s and I am as informed if not better informed than anyone following their programs. Juan Williams, an employee of the –so called— conservative News Corp (Fox) should remember that he would be selling peanuts on the streets of Panama if it wasn’t for the conservative media that took pity on him being fired from PBS.

    • Genevieve Kineke

      I think I understand you, but your opening phrase, “The liberal media took the high moral ground a long time ago…” is confusing. Do you mean “The liberal media abandoned the high moral ground…” ?

      • Mary Kochan

        I think he meant it in the sense that they “claimed” the high moral ground.

  • viney

    I am surprised the author of the article is appalled at Newt Gingrich. Mr. Littleton should remember that the media has already given tacit endorsement to crude and amoral behavior (JFK, LBJ) and an all but “open” marriage (Bill Clinton). The media defended Clinton and attacked anyone on the other side as being equal to Islamic “morality police.” So the media has lost any justification for morality to be a legitimate question. (Even as the media deftly ignored the concept of a President LYING, UNDER OATH, in a legal deposition …as being okay, because it was only about sex, while ignoring the fact that there was a little matter of sexual harassment, using his office to further his peccadilloes, help get his playmate a job, etc.)

    I do understand those who might be queasy with Mr. Gingrich’s ethics – but I would remind people that high moral standing is no reason to vote for someone totally incompetent. Some of the same people attacking Newt’s ethics were also “outraged” that the American people might vote for a divorced/remarried man (Reagan) over someone who had never been divorced. (Carter). Yet Carter was really over his head and totally incapable of being faithful to his Constitutional oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

    And in the present days – I find too many Catholics willing to attack the sin of infidelity while giving a pass to all those Democrats who push hard for abortion. And if given the decidedly untasteful choice of voting for Gingrich or Obama, I would decide that Gingrich’s competence far exceeds Obama’s, that Gingrich would seek to defend the Constitution rather than re-write it as Obama would, and Gingrich’s sins of fidelity less serious to this nation than Obama’s many failings, including his very active support for abortion (including partial birth abortion and even support of live birth infanticide), and his support of re-distributive policies that would be a violation of the Tenth Commandment.

  • I meant to say they took it by assault, they stole it, they occupied an imaginary hill from where they can accuse everyone of any despicable “sin” against the “common good.” This is something quite similar to the accusation of “hypocrite” that is leveled by some sectors against any Catholic. So it ends up being “Catholic=Hypocrite.” The progressive media believes to be and promotes the notion of themselves as the ultimate moral authority. Since by their own definition they are the guardians of the common good the “others” have to be working for something other than the common good, they must be serving their own selfish ends. So just like a god, they pass their own dispensations of sin (to Clinton or Wiener, etc.) and rain fire and brimstone on the other side. Any similarities with the concept of hypocrisy are NOT merely coincidental.

  • I must add that I never quite liked Newt. I still don’t. Yet one has to be fair to the man. His conversion did not take place “on the road to Iowa.” He has explained his conversion over the years many times. He was not born perfect just like any of us and so many of the saints, like Augustine of Hippo or so many other libertines that repented and changed their ways. The voters will have to decide if that is true or false. For South Carolina it did not matter one bit. Again, not being a Newt follower myself I find his addresses more attractive than the collection of sound bites, dog-on-the-car-roof stories, and other OBVIOUSLY CONCOCTED PHONEY BALONEY put forth by the pancake with hair and teeth hailing (of all places!) from Taxachussets.

  • goral

    The media is the quintessential morally bankrupt body in the nation. Moral relativism and hypocrisy are their daily fare.
    What’s really appalling is how many people still use them as a sound source of information.

    I would vote for Newt for no other reason than his ability to harness this hydra that we call the media.

    Perhaps the Lady from Georgia, our Chief Editor could give us more insight into this brash and feisty pol. from her own turf.
    If not now than certainly later, when his success will be more consolidated.

  • Mary Anne Moresco

    The culture is such that most candidates are coming with some “past.”
    If abortion is dragging this country down, then a pro-life candidate is needed to lift this country up. And Newt Gingrich seems pro-life. How many candidates are willing to acknowledge life begins at conception? Newt Gingrich is apparently willing.
    If the liberal news media is so eager to root out past indiscretions, why have they done next to no questioning about the sketchy past of the man who currently holds presidential office? Why are they mute on this point? That they are mute on wayward liberals, yet are overly-eager to attack any conservative, greatly bothers some people.