Evangelical preachers and leaders who want to herd their flocks to support converted Catholic Newt Gingrich have a tough sell: Newt’s thrice-married, with nasty well-publicized divorces — and his current marriage began as an adulterous affair.
Newt’s not been gay-married, and he’s not linked personally to any abortions, but to the rank and file Xtianists who’ve been force-fed their morality from the television and the pulpit, he must seem pretty toxic. Newt’s played by his own rules, not God’s Rules™ as handed down across the airwaves and sound systems of America’s megachurches.
Apparently, they have a plan: introduce eliminationist language redolent of the ghastliest 20th century examples of how inhumanely humans can treat one another. Here’s an Atlanta preacher’s addition to an evangelicals’ email thread highlighted by CNN:
On the same e-mail chain, which CNN obtained from a conservative activist, prominent Atlanta preacher Richard Lee said the nation’s evangelicals needed to support Gingrich.
Lee called Gingrich “the only forceful Christian candidate who can at this point be elected and cleanse the White House next November.”
Newt is the darling of the tea party, despite being a creature of Washington’s current pay-to-play environment. Despite embodying “the vanity and rapacity that make modern Washington repulsive” he’s the new favorite candidate of those who want an Outsider to run and win. He’s the darling of some evangelical leaders, despite his past lapses into spousal abandonment and current fealty to the Pope.
And everyone’s trying their best to convince the rubes in the pews that Newt’s their man.
But Pastor Lee’s eliminationist rhetoric regarding the White House’s current occupant doesn’t flatter his cause. And, unchallenged, he legitimizes this strain of hate rhetoric in American political discourse. He risks becoming this presidential election cycle’s Toxic Pastor, not that there’s a limit of one-per.
Will Newt Gingrich denounce Pastor Richard Lee’s rhetoric about the need to “cleanse the White House?” Or will he stand with his most fervent Xtianist supporters as they echo Radio Rwanda?