In a recent interview with David Brody on CBS, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said of his past extramarital affairs, "There's no question at times of my life, partially driven by how passionately I felt about this country, that I worked far too hard and things happened in my life that were not appropriate. Bill Clinton was unfaithful in his marriage because he had character defects, but in my case, it was because I loved my country so much."
While some are lampooning Gingrich's remarks, a new study conducted by behavioral science professors at the University of Gooseberry is adding credibility to Gingrich's claim that patriotism may have led to his extramarital affairs. The study, which will be published in next month's Journal of Behavioral Choices, suggests that a strong sense of patriotism can lead to marital infidelity and promiscuity.
These findings cast doubt on a study published in the same journal last year asserting that patriotism was the effect, not the cause, of adultery and promiscuous behaviors.
"This is a good chicken-versus-egg debate," said Roma Stevens, PhD, who peer reviewed both articles. "Does marital infidelity or promiscuity make one likely to be more patriotic, or does patriotism make one more likely to sexually act out? According to Mr. Gingrich, patriotism led him to work hard, which led him to commit adultery. Perhaps there are other contributing factors, including workaholism, to consider. This suggests that more research is needed on this subject."
These studies have ignited a cause célèbre among conservative Christians. While some conservative pundits are discounting these claims, accusing the Journal of Behavioral Choices of having a liberal agenda, others are giving these findings careful consideration.
The Reverend Wayne Moore of Gooseberry Christian Church said, "On one hand, we want high schools to teach abstinence-only sex education, while on the other hand, we want students to say the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of every school day. Are we giving our kids a mixed message? We must put a lot of prayer and consideration into what we should do with this new information."
Conservative commentator, Russ O'Hannibeck, has already proposed a plan to resolve this moral conflict. "Like Mr. Gingrich said, God is a forgiving God, as long as you're a registered Republican. If your love for America forces you to commit adultery, divorce your wife, marry your mistress, and then seek God's forgiveness."