Friday, March 23, 2007

Politics, marriage and divorce

Until Ronald Reagan Americans had never elected someone who had been divorced as President. Today, among the Republican candidates, only the Mormon, Mit Romney, hasn't been divorced. Newsweek on changing evangelical attitudes about divorced candidates:
In a country where nearly half of all marriages collapse, divorce is not necessarily a political disqualifier—even among conservative Christians. "I don't think there's an evangelical family in the country that hasn't been touched by divorce," says Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In the new NEWSWEEK Poll, only 5 percent of evangelicals said they would not vote for a candidate who had divorced. Rhonda Kelley, a professor of women's ministry at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, says evangelicals can forgive mistakes. "I'm looking for a willingness to say, 'Hey look, I blew it. I am so sorry' ... Being willing to admit fault is a mark of maturity in a leader." That would seem to be good news for McCain, who has taken responsibility for his failed first marriage and remains on good terms with his ex-wife.

Evangelical Republicans might not be as forgiving of Giuliani, who played out his ugly second divorce in the tabloids and reportedly has a strained relationship with his son, Andrew, and daughter, Caroline. The NEWSWEEK Poll showed that 26 percent of respondents would not vote for a candidate who was involved in a nasty public divorce, and 43 percent said they wouldn't support a politician who'd had extramarital affairs. (Of course Giuliani, who supports abortion and gay rights, has other troubles with evangelicals.) Newt Gingrich, another Republican mulling a possible White House run, has tried to soften that resistance. Now on his third marriage, he admitted to cheating in the past and recently asked forgiveness for "moral failings."
Source: Newsweek: We're a happy family

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