GOP Primary Frontrunner Newt Gingrich is in news lately for what the media calls ‘outrageous’ stands on important issues of national security and world affairs. Yet, these two timely media reports ultimately secure Gingrich with any fundamental Christian vote in Iowa swaying toward Mormon opponent Mitt Romney. They do this by positing Gingrich as an End Times candidate with a watchful eye on a sovereign Israel and an impending Armageddon.
Some evangelical groups such as James Dobson’s Focus on the Family have welcomed, and seriously relied on, Mormon church support for their anti-gay political causes. Yet, fundamental Christians who consider themselves evangelical consider the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to be a cult that does not prescribe to recommended tenets of the traditional Christian faith for a plethora of differences ranging from methods of salvation to Mormon perspectives on Heaven and eternity. So what does Gingrich bring to the table?
For fundamental evangelical Christians, and this theme runs as a silent fear component on Fox News, the world is over. The events of 9/11 brought with them apocalyptic visions that profit-driven media were swift to assimilate and promulgate. There are only a few occurrences that need to take place before any Rapture and imminent return of Jesus Christ. These are separate events, though most Christians who subscribe even unwittingly to End Times theology may simply accept one or the other as indicative of their expectation.
While Fox News plays heavily into the fears of End Times events without specifically indicating such rhetoric, the network continues to run with whatever GOP candidate serves its political purposes best; its religiosity is strictly in audience rapport for capital gain. While Mitt Romney was in the lead as the primary presidential candidate, it was sufficient that he qualified as a religious man for many subscribers to Fox, which has a base support of religious Republican voters, many of whom are left over from the Reagan era.
President Ronald Reagan attested to the Christian faith, and provided a schematic for his followers with his publication of Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation. Sadly, with the passing of Reagan went GOP ideals that left nothing of value to this day in the Party except the Reagan traditional stance against abortion. Though reticent to admit it since it admits failure, Reaganites were grossly disappointed in both Bush administrations that failed to cash in on the Reagan tradition, and politicians since have tried to leverage their rhetoric with personal identification with Reagan, unsuccessfully.
Newt Gingrich provides the best available attraction to Reaganites who see abortion as moral failure of the government, and who subscribe to fear and mistrust of the government as promulgated through their media, mainly Fox News and radio talk show hosts. Also, Gingrich just this past week has been considered the winner of the latest round of Republican debates vying for ultimate Party endorsement. But he also this past week made at least two wild and strange pronouncements.
To global outrage, which does not really affect the U.S. political landscape, Gingrich announced that Palestinians were an “invented” people. What this pronouncement does, is seeks to assign political identification for sovereign control of Israel over its territorial domain. This is important because Israel is important to evangelicals, who would like to see Arabs removed from the Holy Land, or at the least heading toward a contract of peace with Israel spoken of in the Book of Daniel. This contract occurs as a very short precursor to Armageddon.
Gingrich provided the scenario for his Doomsday expectation with resurrection of his 2004 concerns over the electromagnetic pulse that may trigger a massive grid shutdown of power and access in the United States. The theory, supposedly supported by sidelined fellow GOP contender Herman ‘Groper’ Cain, while not entirely implausible, has failed to meet with scientific scrutiny; yet, it has found its way into the gaming industry in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. More importantly, it also provides a backdrop for one curious biblical consideration: where is the United States during Armageddon?
The Scriptures remain silent on the existence of the U.S.. While there are attempts to grab the “If my people who are called by my name….” verses from 2 Chronicles 7:14 and make them applicable to the United States — especially for the U.S. as a ‘Christian’ nation — there is no mention of the greatest and most powerful country to date having ever existed. Gingrich’s endorsement of the EMP as a possible threat to the destruction of the U.S. that would wipe it off the map, therefore, would not be unpopular in fundamental Christian circles, where questions arise as to why the U.S. is not strikingly visible at Armageddon.
Gingrich may also be drawing on sentiment in the blogosphere last week addressing consequences of the massive earthquake that struck Japan last March. Stories across the Web contend that the earthquake seriously altered the planet’s electromagnetic field and the quake was so powerful that it knocked satellites out of orbit.
While Doomsday and Armageddon may not seem like attractive elements to bring to a political campaign right now, the concepts solidify in the minds of any fearmonger who subscribes to media networks that feed such fear; and, whether valid or not, they will seduce the undecided away from Romney and his Mormon persuasion, which lacks this ‘fear factor’ that many conservative Americans continue to have reinforced as part of their daily media consumption.
So Gingrich cleverly shifts gears in his political campaign these final weeks before the Iowa caucus to get the word out via global media that he is the ‘Reaganite’ for whom Iowans and conservative Christians should vote. That means nails in the coffin for any of them wavering over whether Romney even understands a fundamental Christian political agenda, let alone could carry it out.
If last week’s debates did not entirely shift conservatives away from Romney as their political favorite, Gingrich is ensuring they understand that he, and only he, is their spiritual favorite. If Gingrich chooses Cain as his running mate, the only question remaining for fundamental evangelical ‘Christians’ will be how to secure the ultimate victory for their country’s final presidents.