Whoever thought a Pillsbury Doughboy lookalike could be “sexy.” Not me. But he must be hot. Maybe it's that bad boy thing he's got going on. Why else would ex-wife Marianne refuse the prospect of an open marriage to share him with Callista? Sexy. It turns out he has changed religions as often as he’s changed wives.
First he was a Lutheran, then a Southern Baptist, now he’s a Catholic. He was raised Lutheran but there is no record of his having attended Lutheran or any other church regularly in his early adulthood. While studying at Tulane University in the late 1960s, he wanted to delve deeper into the connection between politics and religion, and visited nearby St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church to speak to the pastor, who eventually baptized him.
Since the church was a member of the conservative Southern Baptist Convention, Gingrich was baptized into a conservative denomination. Startlingly, this particular church was liberal, having ordained its first female pastor in 1980. Consequently, it left the Southern Baptist convention in 2001.
Gingrich was a member of the New Hope Baptist Church, a south Atlanta megachurch, from the 1970s to 1990s, while spending most of his time in Washington D.C.
His explanation of his conversion to Catholicism at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C. on April 27, 2011:
“People ask me when I decided to become Catholic. It would be more accurate to say that I gradually became Catholic and then realized that I should accept the faith that surrounded me.”
His current wife Callista, whom he has known since the 1990s happens to be Catholic. I think she may have played a part in this “gradual” conversion process.
During an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in early 2011, he said:
“I found that I felt compelled to seek God’s forgiveness. Not God’s understanding, but God’s forgiveness. I do believe in a forgiving God. And I think most people, deep down in their hearts hope there’s a forgiving God.”
I believe Newt’s final statement is accurate, but I wonder if his ex-wives, both of whom he cheated on, ever forgave him.
The U.K.’s Daily Mail featured an article on December 27, 2011 entitled, “Newt Gingrich divorced first wife ‘because she wasn’t pretty enough to be First Lady’ ”.
The source told CNN that the GOP presidential candidate dumped Jackie Battley because she wasn’t “young or pretty enough” to be the wife of a president.
In an effort to maintain his image as poster boy for God-loving conservatives, Newt has repeatedly claimed that Battley wanted the divorce too, even though she said she did not. Battley was Gingrich’s former high school geometry teacher and seven years his senior. They married in 1962, had two daughters and divorced in 1980.
In addition to his cheating on Battley while they were still wed, it was rumored that Gingrich served Jackie with divorce papers in the hospital while recovering from her third cancer surgery. Court papers also show that Gingrich initially refused to pay alimony, also asserted by Gingrich’s former friend and early congressional campaign treasurer Leonard Carter.
Battley’s experience came to light in a Washington Post article in 1985:
“He wanted to discuss the terms of the divorced while I was recovering from the surgery. To say I gave up a lot for the marriage is the understatement of the year.”
Marianne Gingrich, Newt’s second wife, claims that he had sex with soon-to-be wifey number three in their bedroom. Her first interview since the 1999 divorce aired on ABC yesterday. During this interview, she said that while Gingrich was trying to impeach Bill Clinton following the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he was engaged in a six-year affair with an aide (current wife, Callista).
“He wanted an open marriage, and I refused,” she said.
Marianne Gingrich also told ABC that Newt wanted to divorce her shortly after she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
“He was also advised by the doctor when I was sitting there that I was not to be under stress. He knew,” she said.
She said that her ex-husband has never apologized to her for his actions. He has said on the campaign trail that he has “no relationship” with his ex-wife. I can’t imagine why.
But hey, he’s sexy, so who cares?