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

Obama administration 'anti-religious,' Gingrich says

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/06/art.newt.jpg caption=" 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. Hamburgler

    First of all, nothing wrong with being anti-religion. For goodness sake, is it not the cause of all that is wrong in the world? Second, clearly the administration is NOT anti-religious. They respect everyone's right to practice whichever religion works for them. Which is how it should be for a world leader.

    April 8, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Bill Bloom

    Gingrich just confirms how out of touch and how bitter Republican leaders and operatives are. Obama is anything but anti-religious. Newt needs to accept that religious comes in all stripes and are not just rightist fundamentalists. The reason Obama is president is because he's welcoming all to the table- even Gingrich. So why not engage in civil repartee rather than in continuing the vitriol and demonization of others. Those who put Obama in office are tired of the rancor.

    April 8, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. Michael NotSurprised

    Of course the religious right, and Newt feel this way – they want a christian nation, with our secular laws changed into christian laws. I for one see that goal as an equal to the Taliban goal of enforcing their version of law upon others. This is a secular nation, it's about time the President of this country drives the country that way. Bush thought god put him in office, how pathetic. Let's leave religion where it belongs – in places of worship, and our homes. Let's leave science, the rule of law, and voters' wishes where they belong – in government.

    April 8, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Jeff

    "I think their goal is to have a very secular America ..." just like it says in the Constitution! What a concept!

    April 8, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. Ryan

    Calling the admistration "anti-religious" only shows admistration respecting the seperation of Church and State. But then how is he anti-religious when he used to be a pastor? And wouldn't that show the administration does not respect the seperation of C and S? Doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense to me. Maybe because it doesn't make sense. It's an open ended argument propped up by the media and politicians. One more trivial thing to occupy our, the American's, time, that will not make a difference whether the admistration is anti or pro religious. Oh well, let the debate begin I say, Half the people in the country still think we are the center of the universe!

    April 8, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. susie

    Anyway, I thought you guys were all for separation of church and state? And that you hated Obama's former pastor? I'd think you'd be glad. Oh wait, it's Obama, you have to complain and whine.

    April 8, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. Susan in SC

    Did Mr. Gingrich sleep through that section of the Constitution regarding separation of Church and State? Our President is supposed to have secular political views. What he believes in his own heart is his business. How he runs our government should not be influenced by his religious beliefs.

    April 8, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |

    Hey Newt, Have you read the constitution lately?There's this seperation of church and state thing you might want to check out.

    April 8, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Sanders

    It's government Newt. It's not church. Of course it's secular. What part don't you get?

    April 8, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. richard bamberger

    isn't there supposed to be separation of church and state? i don't understand how this country is run by a religious majority, how is it possible that with the technology of today people still believe they have an invisible friend that watches everything, but does nothing.

    April 8, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Jeff Chambers

    I'm surprised by Gingrich's theocratic commentary given the fact that he is a history professor. It was clearly our Founding Father's intent that church and state be separate, and our government - by intent - is secular.

    April 8, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Nick 27, So Cal

    "I think their goal is to have a very secular America in which government dominates everything,"

    So you would have your religion dominating our way of life! Religion is a choice, and with so many religions out there who is to say your specific religion is right! Too many have been killed in the name of God for selfish "human" ego and power! Every one takes there own path to enlightenment.. whatever that may be, and that is an American right!

    April 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  13. kerry, ca

    There are other religions in the world and in our country besides Christianity. Our nation is a melting pot of those who worship differently and those who don't worship at all. We live in a representative democracy, not a theocracy...get over it. I'm proud of President Obama's inclusive attitude and actions.

    April 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  14. Greg

    It would appear to be leading that way; but one piece in the many representing "change." Lots of people appear to like that because they know what "change" is, just not what exactly the president means by change.

    April 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. Debra

    Of course Obama is anti-religious. I guess that's why Republicans attacked him so strongly on the basis of what church he attended for 20 years.

    I also assume that's why the Obama Administration just announced the VERY first Passover Seder observance at the White House.

    Someone please wake me up when any Republican (at all) starts actually talking seriously about fixing our weakened infrastructure, getting people back to work or rebuilding our horrible economy. Until then, I really don't care what 'Eye of Newt' and his merry band of idiots are spouting!

    April 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  16. Paul from New York

    Harry Knox is anti-religious? I'll bet that will come as a shock to those in ecumenical, progressive churches working closely with the Human Rights Campaign to foster more inclusive, tolerant attitudes and actions in the church as well as in secular America. Many of us, myself included, are very religious. We're anti-hatred and anti-bigoted, not anti-religious–and so is Knox.

    April 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  17. Pat

    Anti-religious means without God in the sense that Mr. Gingrich is using it. But, doesn't a lack of God in this sense essentially mean atheism? Now, I don't have a problem with atheists, I disagree with them, but I don't hold their beliefs against them. Here's my point: if atheism is technically and legally regarded as a religion, then by using the term anti-relgious in the way he is, Mr. Gingrich is contradicting himself.

    April 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. Lisa LaFleur

    Keep government out of our religion, and keep religion out of our government. Everybody wins.

    April 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. Kimberly

    People of faith come in all shapes, sizes and beliefs. What this means is that the idea of faith is being allowed to be broad and the administration is embracing the disparity among believers. Hello – this is a good thing. While Christianity may be The Truth to you, the rest of the world would beg to differ. And no faith should have a corner on the market. Americans have the right to not believe Christian tenants. Quit whining. Thank you.

    April 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Jonathan Coolidge

    "Anti-religious" is hardly a bad thing. For all the self-promotion that Christianity does for itself, there's a significant number, particularly among the radical Fundamentalists, who would seek to oppress both science and competing religions. It is only our Constitution that stands between us and the Christian equivalent of the Taliban regime.

    April 8, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Saganhill

    What? So having a secular America is bad? Its certianly a lot better than having one based on religion. I couldnt wait until Bush got out of office and took his supersticious dogma with him and his followers. (please excuse my spelling)

    The only thing religous based laws do is create hate, crime, and bannishments such as books and movies, etc...

    Religion is a private idea and should not be forced upon others who do not share those faith-based ideas.

    Government SHOULD BE secular to protect people to worship anyway they want.

    April 8, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. Patty

    There seems to be a pattern developing to tear down and object to all issues, nominations for posts, etc...by the republican party of no ideas. President OBAMA is the president of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA, a nation of immigrants from all parts of the world. The Catholic Church is not the dominant religion and has it's own "moral" issues to solve. Stop pointing fingers.

    April 8, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. Fellow Soldier

    Newt has this right! This appointment is a strategic move to get america away from it's founding principles and into a Socialist paradise where govt controls everything.

    April 8, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. Dave G

    Dear God, please help Newt Gingrich to be more tolerant. Amen.

    April 8, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. CitizenKane

    Maybe Anti-his religion, but NOT anti-Christian. Seems to me that an administration that fights for healthy families, peaceful solutions to world problems, reduced poverty, and better world-wide communications is MORE religious than what we have had recently. Unless of course Newt is suggesting that the meaning of Christs teachings is to start wars with everyone. It is a curious position to take to be sure.

    April 8, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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