April 8th, 2009
05:48 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama administration 'anti-religious,' Gingrich says

 Gingrich says the Obama administration is 'anti religious'.
Gingrich says the Obama administration is 'anti religious'.

(CNN) - Newt Gingrich said Tuesday the Obama administration is "intensely secular" and "anti-religious," the former House Speaker's second hard-hitting criticism of the new administration this week.

In an interview with FOX News, Gingrich said he strongly disagreed with Obama's choice of Harry Knox - an outspoken activist for gay rights - to the White House advisory council on faith-based initiatives.

"I think their goal is to have a very secular America in which government dominates everything," he said. "Why wouldn't you put an anti-religious, left-wing zealot on a faith-based group? It's a perfect pattern for this administration."

Since 2005, Knox has served as the director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national organization that advocates on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. He is also a former Methodist pastor.

Obama formally named Knox to the 25-member advisory council on Monday, a move that has not sat well with some Christian conservatives. The conservative Catholic League called him "unfit to serve," especially taking issue with Knox's recent comment characterizing Pope Benedict XVI as a "discredited leader" because of his opposition to gay marriage.

In a statement released earlier this week, Knox said, "The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community is eager to help the administration achieve its goals around economic recovery and fighting poverty; fatherhood and healthy families; inter-religious dialogue; care for the environment; and global poverty, health and development."

But Gingrich said the Knox appointment, along with some other moves, proves the administration is trying to "go down in history as a consistently anti-religious, secular group of people who are consciously trying to drive things out."

Two days ago, Gingrich told Politico former Vice President Dick Cheney was "clearly right" when he asserted the Obama administration's national security policies have left the country more vulnerable to a terrorist attack.


Filed under: Newt Gingrich • President Obama
soundoff (307 Responses)
  1. PD

    What's wrong with a secular government? Is that not what we are supposed to be anyways?

    I like the idea that our country will not be dictated by religious beliefs, but rather by rational, secular decisions. That is how it should be done.

    People will still be religious, but the governments should inherently not be.

    April 8, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Jim B.

    Pardon me while I yawn. Back to the 90s here for some far-right trash talk from a man who lived and died in the 90s.

    Newt holds no public office, was widely discredited, even in his own party, as one of the most hypocritical public servants in the nation's history, and has no discernible constituency. Yet he seems to hang on as somehow relevant in the eyes of certain media, such as CNN and Fox News.

    What gives? Can't we just move on?

    April 8, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Iris Vail

    Anti-religious? I think not. Including all groups and members of our society sounds like pro Democracy to me. When did that concept stop being a good thing...

    April 8, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. NotMyJesus

    No. They aren't anti-religious. Their religious beliefs just aren't consistent with Newt's. This is fear mongering, attempting to stir fundamentalist/conservative zeal by reinforcing the simple-minded us-and-them mentality that was so effective for the Bush II administration. Those days are past, and the religious right needs to get over it. Most of us recognize that there are plenty of seats at the Lord's table, and not all of them, if any of them, are reserved for bigots.

    One more thing: Newt is an intelligent man, and this shameful pandering is beneath him. You'd think he's looking to run for office again.

    April 8, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Tom Brazelton

    Gingrich calls the Obama administration "asecular group of people who are consciously trying to drive things out."

    Funny. You could accuse the Bush administration of the exact same thing, but in reverse. If you didn't believe in God under the Bush administration, you didn't count. At least the Obama administration makes room for divergent opinions instead of the catatonic group-think of Bush and his fellow Evangelical cronies!

    April 8, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Stace

    This country was BASED on SEPERATION OF CHURCH & GOV'T..

    Go back to England you idiot!!!!!!!

    April 8, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Dave NYC

    I commend this appointment. Obama's method is to put people who disagree with each other at the same table so they can work it out. There are 25 people on this advisory council, shouldn't at LEAST one of them represent the GLBT Americans?

    Lord knows the far-right and the GLBT community has been fighting each other for so long, its time to work out those differences. I think people like Newt Gingrich would prefer to just keep fighting, but the rest of us are getting SICK of it!

    April 8, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Dave

    The Obama adminstration IS less focused on religion, as they should be. Religion has no place in our government. Hello... Separation of church and state?

    April 8, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  9. J F

    Its called.....~ahem~... separation of Church and State.... maybe Newt hasn't heard of it.... but as a politician, you would think there are far more important things that actually NEED attention, that he has chosen to ignore over the years.... maybe its time for his type of closed minded politicking to move on

    April 8, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. Rocky

    So, where is the problem ? In this age of humanism people have learnt to distinguish between priests and pedophiles and when they are not willing to being preached to from the pulpit that evolution is heresy.

    After Georgie Porgie Pudding and pie, who used to talk to God regularly, and yet screwed the nation up, what's so wrong ?! Gingrich, humanism is the best form of religion.

    April 8, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Drz

    Secularism is NOT anti religious!! It is meant to keep peace among people of differing beliefs. Some Christians are not anti-gay, but unfortunately, many are. To reaffirm one groups religious beliefs by, for example, banning same sex marriage so that pasters won't be "forced" to marry same sex couples or be sued for descrimination (which is not true!) has the effect of forcing pasters who WANT to marry same sex couples from being able to do so. Who's religous beliefs are being violated here? The government should treat everyone fairly, without taking sides.

    April 8, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. leonard kishore

    It's people like these that make seperation of Church and State impossible.

    April 8, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. bob

    what happened to separation of church and state

    April 8, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. Linda

    Gawd.

    What's wrong with these people? Seriously.

    It's one thing to legitimately question or even complain about something, but it's quite another to begin each day with a brand new, FOUNDLESS gripe.

    These constant and ridiculous complaints can't possibly be about the country's well being. Surely their goal is to somehow benefit the Republican party.

    Can I honestly be the only American who is beginning to HUGELY QUESTION THEIR SANITY AND THEIR MOTIVES???

    April 8, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Chad

    I was also disppointed when the President placed Knox on his faith-based advisory council. It is not because he is gay. It is because of his obvious and outpsoken anger and intolerance for those who hold views contrary to his. He sounds like a real hypocrite, angrily denouncing the Pope and others for their views, calling them names, accusing them of all sort sof things, and therby showing that he, himself, is the one most guilty of all he is condeming.

    April 8, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. Renee

    Duh...separation of church and state. Thank goodness there will be no "favortism" toward any religion under this administration.

    But by all means lets try to scare all the Christians so that Newt can get votes in 2012.

    April 8, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  17. Daniel

    Gay people can be religious too, you know. Some are even Christian. Is that a mote in your eye? I can't see it so well past this beam in my own.

    April 8, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Doug

    There's a huge difference between "secular" and "anti-religious". I can see where some republicans are shocked at the secular tone being set now as opposed to the evangelical one they're used to. However as someone who is truly "anti-religious", I don't see the administration attacking outdated tax breaks on fundraising organizations that call themselves churches. I don't see any proposals to limit religious extremeist speech to present as a model to other countries. The only anti-religious thing I can hope for is increased focus on real education reform which might teach free thinking instead of standardized testing (as more educated people tend toward less religious affiliation).
    I'm afraid it will be a long time before we can get a truly anti-religious president...

    April 8, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. Matt

    It's the 21st century people get over it, you couldn't stop women, Irish-Americans, nor blacks from being equal in our society...what makes you think gays will be any different?

    Fear, fear, fear...all these people do is strike fear where it actually hurts us the most...wake up!

    April 8, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. Lori in St Pete

    Is this guy grasping at straws or what? The more desparate the wingnuts get. the more ridiculous their rhetoric becomes. If it wasn't so funny to watch them self-distruct I'd feel sorry for them.

    April 8, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Harry

    Why is "religion" defined in terms of gay marriage, abortion, etc? There is so much more to religion, such as ethics, morals, spirituality and social conscience.

    When people start forcing their "religion" on other people it is not a good thing.

    April 8, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. Tim

    Although I love Obama, I seriously object to a gay rights activist heading a faith-based organization. I object to someone trying to paint current Christian leaders such as the pope as "discredited" whilst generally trying to integrate gay and transgender agendas into religion. I find it an absolute abomination.
    With all this said, however, Newt Gingrich is still a moron, and his chances of becoming president of this country are virtually non-existent.

    April 8, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Independent Josh

    I agree with Newt Gingrich. It looks like Obama is becoming anti-religious. A gay bishop made a speech during the eve of his inauguration. Surprisingly gay couples are going to attend easter celebration in the white house.

    April 8, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. BiffBarf

    Obama and his administration are acting as the voice of reason. There's no legitimate reason for any religious entity to have any control over any aspect of our government. The administration isn't "anti-religious", they just are aware of fundamental importance of keeping PRO-RELIGIOUS RIGHT WING ZEALOTS out of the process.

    April 8, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Scott

    Gingrich's statement is just more of the same fear-mongering posturing we've come to expect from the GOP. The statement is completely baseless. That said, I'd rather have the government in charge of a secular America than the Religious Right in charge of a Christian nation. At least you can vote out the government.

    April 8, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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