The battle for the Republican leadership in the USA is well underway. To everyone's surprise Newt Gingrich the former leader of the House beat his main rival Mitt Romney in the South Carolina race to become the Republican presidential candidate. Given that this is a very religious, evangelical stronghold the outcome has been something of a political earth tremor. Frankly I'm more interested in the moral subtexts than the political results.
Does this mean that America's conservative Christians have just endorsed a more lenient attitude to divorce and remarriage? Gingrich is now on his third marriage: how else could he have survived the attacks on his infidelity in a Bible belt region? So is this moral decline in the Bible belt or is it a more hopeful sign that Americans are beginning to get fed up with the nasty personality assassinations which have come to typify the race to the White House? My hunch is that it might just also have something to do with the fact that conservative types are still not so comfortable with a Mormon as the main man: Mormons are probably OK in business but not in the business of running the nation.
But I'm hoping it's about something else. I'm hoping that America's Christians are sending a strong signal which says earning lots of money as a businessman is OK but it's not OK for a rich man with protected accounts in the Cayman Islands to be paying the same tax rate as a secretary - simply because he can afford to do so.
If that's what happened in South Carolina yesterday, then it's not just good news for Mr Gingrich it's good news for America.
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