Below are excerpts from my upcoming book, The Extortion of Forgiveness: "August twenty-second of 1998 was a perfect day for a perfect couple. I stood with my closest family and friends, about to make Kristi my wife—not far from the cramped, campaign office in "Old Germantown" where we'd first met. We were about to exchange vows—in sickness and in health—for better or for worse. I knew what better meant, but worse – that I could not imagine. Not that day. Yet the vows we made before God ended up making us face the ultimate test, when “worse” would be defined years later." "Where exactly did our ball of yarn - our marriage begin to unwind? That’s hard to say, but my lack of patience and inflated expectations of how our life should have been scarred and wounded both of us. Instead of light scratches, our injuries turned into deeper wounds, the kind that are hard to heal and easy to reopen and inflict greater damage each time. Maybe it was my constant pursuit to build a perfect life on an imperfect foundation, with imperfect materials, all handled by imperfect people."
February 17 has turned out to be a significant day in my life. It doesn’t rate as high as the birth of Jesus my birthday or the birth of my children, but through the years much happened on this particular cold and dreary day that has helped shape my life. Below are some of the significant events and the lessons from this day I’ve learned. Events: February 17, 1898 – my maternal grandmother, Pearl Roan, was born in Eva, Alabama. She passed away of cancer when I was 12 and from her I inherited my black hair (now salt & pepper) a desire to open presents early only to expect another on the actual present-giving day and the desire to pinch pieces of chocolate to see what’s inside before eating one. February 17, 1980 – one of my best friends during our senior year in high school, Michael Franks, died in a tragic accident when his truck hit a tree on his way home. We had been hanging out at a friend’s house and unlike most of us, he had not had a single beer, as was our routine on a small town Saturday night. However, it was me who [...]
GOP Leaders Glen Casada, Beth Harwell & Ryan Anderson address Durham misconduct issue. The Tennessean/2016. Most of what I initially heard about Rep. Durham’s alleged sexual harassment and texting saga has been gained through media reports such as the one that surfaced in The Tennessean, and others that quickly followed. To be honest I haven’t followed the inner workings of Tennessee’s Capitol Hill since I left office in 2009. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve spoken to a number of former colleagues on both sides of the aisle, who for the most part, agree with my perspective. They just can’t state it without the fear of negative political repercussions. For those who may not remember, I resigned my state senate seat in 2009 after a failed extortion attempt that I reported to the Tennessee Bureau Investigation. This incident became public and exposed a five-week affair I had with an intern. Ultimately, the facts revealed that she also had a boyfriend (the extortionist) who eventually pled guilty and was convicted for committing a felony. Having been in the middle of a media onslaught I understand the intense political pressure to resign. The scandal was inconvenient for some of [...]
Donald Trump and Jerry Faldwell, Jr. at Liberty University. WSJ Blogs/2015 Note: This is a column by my friend Mark Tooley at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Mark has been a leader in attempting to bring the United Methodist Church back to its roots and that's been a chore indeed. Yet Mark is on of the brightest minds in the evangelical movement and I believe he makes some interesting points with this column. Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr’s endorsement of Donald Trump has provoked important questions about Evangelicals in retail politics. The senior Falwell, of course, was a founder of the Religious Right who helped rally many Evangelicals to Ronald Reagan and to conservative politics in the 1980s. It’s now common among many younger Evangelicals to bemoan the perceived failures and overreach of the old Religious Right. The younger Falwell has been widely critiqued by many conservative Evangelicals for endorsing a casino magnate not renowned for deep commitment to Christian ethical aspirations. Some lament the Evangelical brand has been further tarnished. Falwell is just one of tens of millions of American Evangelicals. He speaks for a segment of that highly decentralized demographic. Nobody speaks for all, [...]
Shelby Gallien was a family matriarch; the wife to a successful dentist and businessman and the mother to three beautiful daughters who God saw fit to pass to each the stellar qualities that she so admirably exhibited during her seven decades on earth. Yet “Miss Shelby” was much more than a wife and mother. In truth, she and a dozen or so other neighborhood moms in our hometown of Savannah, Tennessee, raised at least 100 kids whose lives were touched in over a 20-year period from the late 1960’s through the 1980’s. It was a golden era for those of us lucky to have lived in and around Yeiser subdivision. The Gallien family is well-known and plays an instrumental role in Savannah to this day. Dr. John Gallien, when he was fresh out of dental school, moved his young bride to this small, sleepy river town in the early 1960’s to establish a practice and began raising his family. Mary Susan - who was born the same year as me - was soon followed by Jean Anne and Jane Ellen. Although they may not know it, these southern belles are why I insisted that my daughter, Mary Morgan, be called [...]