After winning a closely-watched South Carolina special election, Mark Sanford was sworn into Congress on Wednesday, completing his transformation from MIA governor to, arguably, the current king of redemption narratives. And, still bathing in the light of forgiveness, Sanford wants you to know that he's totally "humbled" by the experience.
After taking the oath of office, the new representative for South Carolina's 1st district offered up some brief remarks:
"Above all else here on this day, I'm simply humbled to be here. And each one of our lives involve different journeys. But on that journey we can in essence be taken to places wherein we develop levels of appreciation perhaps that we never had before. And so I stand here before each one of you more appreciative than I ever could have been for the honor of working with each one of you here in the United States Congress."
Sanford managed to win against Democratic challenger Elizabeth Colbert Busch, even after losing the financial support of the National Republican Congressional Committee in April amidst reports that he'd trespassed on his ex-wife's property. While many chalk up Sanford's objectively impressive comeback to either his choice to run in an overwhelmingly Republican district or his gift for campaigning, it looks like the new congressman will continue to push the theological connotations of his "redemption" that we last heard in his acceptance speech:
I've talked a lot about grace over the course of this campaign. And until you've experienced human grace as a reflection of God's grace, I don't think you really get it and I didn't get it before. I get it in a way that I never have before and I want to publicly acknowledge God's role in this.
Then again, for a politician representing a region with a large population of evangelical voters, a claim of redemption and a smart campaigning strategy are probably one in the same.