Gingrich blasts secular 'fanaticism' at prayer breakfast
April 27th, 2011
10:09 AM ET
4 years ago

Gingrich blasts secular 'fanaticism' at prayer breakfast

Washington (CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich condemned the growth of American secularism in harsh terms Wednesday at a Catholic prayer breakfast in Washington.

It's a pet topic for Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism two years ago. His 2006 book "Rediscovering God in America" opened with the blistering line: "There is no attack on American life more destructive and more historically dishonest than the secular Left's relentless effort to drive God out of America's public square."

Gingrich, who is expected to formally announce a 2012 presidential bid in the coming weeks, drilled down on that theme at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

Reading from prepared remarks, Gingrich walked the audience through his "faith journey to Catholicism" and recalled a discussion with Reverend Monsignor Walter Rossi of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington.

The two men chatted about "the crisis of secularism in Europe and the growth of a government-favored pagan culture to replace Christianity," he said, and agreed that American churchgoers are now facing a similar predicament.

"The American elites are guided by their desire to emulate the European elites and, as a result, anti-religious values and principles are coming to dominate the academic, news media, and judicial class in America," Gingrich said.

Gingrich blasted the "fanaticism of the secularists," pointing to controversial court rulings, opposition to displays of the cross on public property and a push by scientists to replace the Anno Domini dating system with the Common Era system.

He said the "constant secular pressure" guided him to embrace Catholicism.

"Callista and I have two grandchildren," he explained. "The more I thought about the culture they are surrounded by and the direction of that culture's evolution, the more troubled I became. The more I looked at this historic phenomenon, the more I had to come to grips with my own beliefs and my own tolerance of the increasingly aggressive secularization of our country."


Filed under: 2012 • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Kim

    "There is no attack on American life more destructive and more historically dishonest than the secular Left's relentless effort to drive God out of America's public square."

    Man, this martyr schtick gets old real quick. If gingrich is an example of "Christianity" – I'll stick with the secular left.

    April 27, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  2. Dave

    This is just more nonsense from an arrogant blowhard and the right-wing mouth-breathers eat it up. Where was his religion when he was committing adultery against his wives? Interestingly enough, if Pope Newt took the Bible at its word, he would have to be executed for those offenses. I wonder where this hypocritical, pandering idiot stands on that.

    April 27, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. midwestmatt

    I was praying for Newt's soul the other day (you know, to save him from his sins of lying, adultery, hypocrisy, pride, and general gluttony) and God said, "Sorry, even I draw the line somewhere."

    Newt, as a Republican, I voted against you many years ago in favor of a Democrat. You smelled then and you have continued to stink the place up ever since with your lies, double standards, cheating and general less than human approach toward others you think are beneath you.

    Secularism has been around since the dawn of religion and I, for one, prefer a world without the fears organized religions use to control their adherents. We liberal secularists are far more open minded, inquisitive and in tune with a loving god than you and your hypocritical bunch of followers could ever hope to be.

    April 27, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  4. ja

    newt need to sit down, stepped onto some christian network and claim his passion for america caused marital infidelities, LOL

    April 27, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  5. Adam

    I'm sick and tired of conservatives believing they have the right to dictate morality as an elected official. This from a political party that believes government is already too involved in the lives of the individual.

    April 27, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Doc

    There's another nail in that coffin! Not that he ever had a chance of getting my vote. Pagan? Just because the gov't tries to ensure that each and every citizen feels as if they are equal to all other citizens regardless of their personal beliefs? And while you're complaining about secularization, you and your wife don't even have good "Christian" names. Callista is a pagan goddess while you are named after a small amphibian. And you want to represent a "Christian" U.S. Government?

    April 27, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. Sgt Schultz

    Yeah he doesn't get it. The "Left" simply just wants the Government to follow the Constitution...and not to mix the Church with Government. By the way Newt, the founding fathers were mostly Freemasons, not Puritans. Newt is probably just playing dumb to try to get nominated. Yet again Facts Don't Matter when you work at Fox News.

    April 27, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. ...

    Paper tiger, anyone??? Gotta love the GOP...

    April 27, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  9. Adalbert

    This idiot is pandering to the religious fanatics.

    April 27, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. OneMoreTime

    "There is no attack on American life more destructive and more historically dishonest than the......................."
    Republican Pary, Tea Party, Gingrich, Trump, faux news, etc.

    April 27, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. sonny chapman

    There is a long & on-going history of much human suffering at the foot of organized religion. God, Yahweh, Allah & Buddha may be perfect, but MAN trying to use the power of faith is hugely imperfect.

    April 27, 2011 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. Bryan

    Hah! This certainly is amusing. Why can't everyone (all candidates) just keep religion out of politics. Just reading some of his quotes make me laugh out load. The "American elites"? What does that even mean? "Anti-religious values"? And just what exactly are anti-religious values? I know tons of people who have excellent values, who are not religious in the least bit. This world is going insane...

    April 27, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    The only fanatics, are those who want to press their religious beliefs off on others.......kinda like Gingrich just did!

    Religion belongs in the church, and needs to stay totally out of government.

    Religion in government, gets you the kind of government they have in IRAN!

    April 27, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. John

    More Gospel from the Man of Faith. Next: the face of Elvis appears on somebody's toast.

    April 27, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. once upon a horse

    you ask these Christian folk how they can listen to and support a man like Newt Gingrich and they'll tell you that "God forgives". Ok fair enough...yet you aske these same people about President Obama and they'll claim he's a Muslim and not to be trusted. It's junk like this that make it hard for people that are non believers to become belivers.

    April 27, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. ConservaFascists -aka- Mammon

    One word: BLASPHEMY

    April 27, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  17. Anonymous

    What a hypocrite he is. He has repeatedly committed adultery. He doesn't even know what the Bible says or if he does, he is ignoring it.

    April 27, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  18. MK

    Does the pursuit of secularism include being so focused on yourself and your own self interests of a job and life that you can forget and abandon your wife and family – not just once, but twice, and not years ago, but in the last 5? Yes, get religion now that you want the people who identify with it to support your next self interest pursuit.

    April 27, 2011 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Jon

    Well Newt, not all of us believe in fairytales. This country belongs to everyone, not just Catholics and Evangelics!

    April 27, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. PalmReader

    Perhaps Newt can share his new-found and infinite Christian wisdom in addressing why the supposedly most devout of Christians are consumed with the most hate, bitterness, and bigotry ... himself included?

    April 27, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. caleb

    Considering our country was founded by men well known to be deist I find it funny that he thinks "There is no attack on American life more destructive and more historically dishonest than the secular Left's relentless effort to drive God out of America's public square." Secularism is American, i.e. the First Amendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;"

    April 27, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. Wade

    Hey Claire, newsflash, separation of church and state was not written at, so no need for invisible ink. Have you every read the constitution? If you decide to check it out some time you will find that "sparation of church and state" does not exist. It's one more liberal myth to get god out of the public square. If you want to live in a godless country, move to North Vietnam.

    April 27, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. Chiniquy

    "Gingrich blasted the 'fanaticism of the secularists,' pointing to controversial court rulings, opposition to displays of the cross on public property and a push by scientists to replace the Anno Domini dating system with the Common Era system."

    I do believe that the majority of the judges on the Supreme Court are Catholics.

    In addition the USA doesn't have a national religion. Putting religious objects or images in or on public buildings is against the Constitution of the USA.

    April 27, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "There is no attack on American life more destructive and more historically dishonest than the secular Left's relentless effort to drive God out of America's public square."

    Well, you bible-thumping neo-cons drove this secular Libertarian out of the Republican Party.

    Historically–and I challenge Professor Gingrich to refute this–religion has served two major roles in Western civilisation. On the positive side, the Catholic church kept at least a little flicker civilisation alive during the so-called "Dark Ages" after the collapse of the Roman empire until, with the help and prodding of Islam, the Renaissance, a period of perhaps a thousand years.

    Very much on the negative side, however, has been the role of religion as an excuse for wars, terror, oppression, cruelty, and injustice. From the tortures of the Spanish Inquisition, to untold deaths of the Crusades, to the almost literal decimation of Germany in the Thirty Years War, to the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, to the eradication of New World civilisations, to the decades of Irish wars, religion has caused more misery and death in Western civilisation than any other single factor.

    Religion is seldom any more than an excuse for the exercise of power and should be driven out of America's public square.

    April 27, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  25. chris

    LOL...boy! oh boy! Hypocrites like Newt just kills me with their so holier than thou attitude, when we all know he has broken more biblical laws than the devil. GSD NEWT....that means GO SIT DOWN!!!

    April 27, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
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