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. Mike in NYC

    Guess Newt hasn't caught wind of the First Seder.

    April 8, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. Dan Gonzales

    I would certainly like to know what Gingrich means by consciously trying to drive things out? He might be worried that fear factor politics my not work anymore and our country just might begin to catch up with the rest of the world.

    April 8, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. George Shaw

    I believe the framers of the US constitution intended for their government to be "intensely secular" and for their religious needs to be fullfilled by their churches and pastors, exactly because they wanted to avoid the European history of religious wars and state backed enforcement of one set of beliefs over another.

    If Newt is right, then the Obama administration is probably the first one in many years to be true to that aspect of the US Constitution.

    April 8, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. ash

    That sounds a lot like communism. No religion, complete government control.

    April 8, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Roger

    I wish they were anti-religious! It's the year 2009 and billions of adults still believe in the equivalent of Santa Claus.

    April 8, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Mark

    Bring back Newt! It was Newt's congress that balanced the US budget NOT Clinton. He just signed off on public pressure!

    April 8, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  7. S

    Wait so.... they don't bring their religion into governmental affairs? Just one thing to say to that: It's about time!!!!

    April 8, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  8. Indie Voter

    Gay people are religious too, SURPRISE!

    April 8, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  9. longhorn

    secularism >>> conservative

    What's wrong with being secular? This country was founded on secular beliefs.

    April 8, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Good stuff

    Way to go Obama way to show why you will not be president when your four years is up

    April 8, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Cary

    There is a huge difference between 'religion' and 'spirituality'. "Religion" is made up of the man-made rules and beurocracy that dilutes a person's 'spiritual' relationship with their God.

    Obama is spot-on in his statement. Gingrich is just using some people's ignorance to try to sway them.

    April 8, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  12. DemsUnite

    Good! Religion causes more problems in this world than anything else; always has, always will. People should have the right to practice their faith, but it shouldn't impact government policy in the United States, which IS Newt, a secular government.

    April 8, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  13. s

    Crawl back under your rock, Newt. Haven't you seen Obama with his yarmulke, ready to host Passover seder in the White House? Or extending W's religious groups' aid programs, etc.?

    April 8, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  14. Mark in Atlanta

    Someone esle's religion doesn't have anything to do w/ the rights and responsibilities extended to me by my government. We have a separation of church and state in this country.....get over it!!

    April 8, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "...secular group of people who are consciously trying to drive things out."

    You mean maintain and defend the separation of church and state from special interest groups full of fundamentalist zealots whose number one desire is to force a rewrite the US Constitution into the King James Constitution? How dare he!!!

    April 8, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Tina, NC

    The Republican game plan:

    call him a socialist (didn't work)
    call him a facist ( didn't work)
    just say NO to everything (didn't work)
    say he's anti-religion (won't work)

    I feel Rev. Wright coming...........

    April 8, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. jennifer

    This from that well known upright christian man .. if you over look his adultery and divorces. Pah, what a hypocrite.

    April 8, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. erik

    Good. I hope Newt -d-frog is right.

    I am tired of self-righteous believers in mythology pushing their snake oil on everybody.

    Religion is fine in people's homes and in their churches. It does not belong on the floor of the Congress or in the White House.

    Get over it. Darwin Won...

    April 8, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. TShea

    I'm sorry, I thought the U.S. was a secular democracy. And "secular" and "anti-religious" are not the same thing. And, wow, I can see why Gingrich is upset with the Knox appointment - wouldn't want some who respects other people's rights in a position like that. How frightening!

    April 8, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  20. susanj

    It never ceases to amaze me what comes out of the GOP mouths. No wonder they are losing ground in politics. They are filled with hate.

    April 8, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Andrew

    what ever happened to seperation of church and state? there should be no religion in politics!!!

    April 8, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. Andi

    Really? Ever hear of the US Constitution? Separation of Church and State? And what makes ol' Newtie say Obama is 'anti-religion'? Could it be because he's not of the same faith as Newt? Hmmmmmmm......I'm Jewish, and I think this whole argument is nuts.

    Why would we put right-wing zealots in charge of anything, Newt? Don't know, but we do. Most of them are in Newt's party, so I guess if you aren't a right-wing religious fanatic, you are 'anti' religion. I suppose since I'm Jewish, he could accuse me of the same thing because I don't want the country to be led by anyone spouting FAKE Christian ideals.

    What would Jesus do?


    April 8, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Patrick

    This is not a christian country. It's a country for all religions, and was specifically designed as such. Sorry of the authoritarians out there disagree, but many of us have no intention of believing your narrow interpretation of the bible.

    April 8, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Jerry

    The US is based on the separation of church and state. Please take the zealots out of my government. They can go to church on their own time

    April 8, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. Mark

    Coming from Newt, this borders on hilarious; just more of the usal right wing nonsense – im a moderate conservative and even I find the remarks typically Gingrich.

    April 8, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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