Newt Gingrich may avoid going negative in Iowa (and elsewhere), but he sure is pandering to the biblical worldview crowd. Could he be trying to deflect their attention from his own family values?
Gingrich turned up on David Barton's radio show "Wallbuilders Live" the day after Christmas and described Barton as "extraordinarily knowledgeable about American history." Gingrich's own credentials as a historian aside, there is unanimity among historians on the problems in David Barton's "Christian American history" but little question as to his ideological use of history to support his view of the bible and its application to civil society in the form of biblical law. I've written about that here and here.
In What to do about an out of Control Judiciary, Barton and Gingrich discussed what they consider an overreaching judiciary, and Gingrich's controversial strategies for reining it in. Since gaining ground in the Republican primary/caucus field, Gingrich has generated controversy and attention by suggesting that the judicial branch of government should be brought under the control of Congress, a move most scholars oppose as undermining the Constitutional separation of powers between the three branches of government.
The Gingrich strategy is outlined in a position paper on Newt.org and includes impeaching and/or arresting judges and even abolishing courts. Since discussing the strategy in debates, Gingrich has gained support for the plan from conservative leaders like Rush Limbaugh but on Barton's radio show, Gingrich flattered Barton by saying that some of the views laid out in the position paper, "go back to (Barton's) own work" on the founding fathers.
Toward the end of the interview, Gingrich was asked, "should you become President, is there a crop of judges and attorneys out there you could choose from" (i.e. folks of similar mind whom he could appoint to a reformed judiciary that "properly" understand the Christian character of the American Republic)?
Gingrich was ready with an enthusiastic endorsement of the law schools at Regent University and Liberty University, both of which have their roots Christian Reconstruction's long term strategy to establish a "biblical worldview" as the basis for civil law in America. Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches has written about both Regent University Law school and its Christian Reconstructionist founder Herb Titus and the effort to teach a "biblical worldview" based in David Barton's work at Liberty University's Law School.
Either Gingrich really would look to these two extreme institutions to fill court vacancies, or he just thinks saying he would will secure him support from a key part of the GOP base. In either case, it's another piece of evidence that this long-term effort to transform culture according to a specific understanding of a biblical worldview has had an impact. Funny -- there was no discussion of Gingrich's own "family values."
Follow Julie Ingersoll on Twitter: www.twitter.com/julieingersoll