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. Daniel

    I seem to recall something about "separation of church and state." I"m glad to have a secular administration, in which ALL Americans have an increased chance at equal rights, versus an administration which invades countries in search of WMD's, because "God" told him to.

    April 8, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. Keith

    I could not agree more!!!

    April 8, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. Matt

    The Taliban is religious. Religion and spitituality or personal faith are two very different things. Religion is ugly and hateful. It is used for political advancement and to control small minded people like individuals of the religious right. Obama has faith in the Lord our God. Mr Gingrich is part of the GOPs problem.

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. Carol

    Seeing that President Obama is having Passover at the Whitehouse, I hardly call that anti-religious. Once again, the Republicans come up short.

    And as the news reported, this is a first for an American President to hold Passover in the Whitehouse.

    Get a clue, Republicans. No one is buying your line of whooey. Either become part of the solution or you become part of the problem.

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. Ronald Lister

    Gingrich is trying to revive the culture war again...the strategy that the union of right-wing evangelicals and Republicans had so much success with in the early 80's. Too bad people don't care anymore, Newt. You're a political dinosaur. Give up.

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. HD

    Let's look at this. Knox is a former Methodist pastor who worked for a non profit organization to help others, but Gingrich calls him anti religious. But Gingrich committed adultry and he's the poster child for conservatives? Nice. Is this really the best face for conservatives trying to recover from the Bush years?

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  7. Joe PA

    I fail to see a problem here.

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Marv...

    That's the way to bring people together? Make reckless twisted hateful statements in order to incite further violence against others. I'm a Christian and I don't agree with homosexuality, but I would never say something against gays/lesbians that would push them further away from the church or make them out to be outcast from society. Nor would I say that someone is anti-religious because they disagree with my ideology. Mr. Gingrich, If you can biblical prove where Obama is anti-religious, compared to your adulteress life-style, then by all means make your hate filled statements and turn your hate filled violent follower against groups who don't agree with you. How irresponsible!!!

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Brian

    I am a Christian, but religion has no place in government! So, Newt if someone holds a view different than yours that makes them anti-religious??? What? Why can't you have faith and be religious and still want equal protection and rights for all Americans? God must be crying at the right's representation of Him.

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  10. Chester

    Newt, Newt, Newt! Your narrow definition of who has faith and who does not it very unrealistic. We are a very large and diverse nation with many valid viewpoints. Evangelicals are not the only relgious people in this nation, in fact they do not even come close to forming a majority. A 25 member pannel should be large enough to accomadate a wide range of viewpoints. This is the thinking that has marginalized the GOP .... I can have faith and be religious without confining myself to the judgementalism of the right wing evangelical crowd that controls the GOP.

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  11. frank , pennsylvania

    The wave of secularism that has heralded this administration is alarmingly dangerous! While Obama tries to allow people express their freedom, we should not forget that human freedom should not be allowed to destroy the fundamental values of ethics and religion. The value of human life, the dignity of marriage and the life of the unborn child – should be protected! While Obama, because of his liberal mindedness, allows certain things to happen, which he himself does not practice, I would like him know that we are judged by God for both our actions and our passivity (in allowing bad things to happen)!

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Ron L

    This is RIDICULOUS!! Does Newt beleive that if you are gay you can't be religious. Why are these people so homophobic?? I don't get it. This is just like the Republicans rejection of same sex marriages. Close to 50% of marriages end up in divorce and YET they feel same sex marrages is a BIGGER threat to the institution. How does that make sense?? PLEASE...lets move on to more important issues.

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. Wes

    Secular and non-religious doesn't mean anti-religious. Right-wing christian fundamentalists continue to wage their holy wars in Washington... Give it up Newt. Americans are tired of your ilk.

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. in the middle

    How is recognizing gays being anti-religion. I may not agree to their life-style, but as a christian I do have love for them. They deserve the rights to the American dream just like everyone else. Sometime we may not see eye to eye, but this does not give me or you the right to walk all over them. If Newt was a true God believer he would understand that, instead of passing judgement. This is why We need Change.

    April 8, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  15. Jane

    Really, an administration that is secular rather than religious, heaven forbid. Seriously, isn't that the way it is suppose to be.

    April 8, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. Larry1c

    I read articles like this and am convinced the Republican party is much better critisizing their opponents than governing.

    This country has major issues that have been ignored by the previous administration and as a result have gotten worse. This is no time for arm-chair quarterbacks to be sending smak from the cheap seats. Especially when they had their shot to demonstrate their policies and main street is going to be paying for their blunders for a while.

    Until the Republicans find their voice (who is not a shock jock radio personality or a governor taking on an 18 yr old kid in the mass media), maybe they should consider giving this administration more than a 100 days before they start sending verbal harpoons at folks representing those who can't afford to take extravagently paid weekends at lush resorts.

    April 8, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. kay

    These right wingers are screwing the republican party over by being totally illogical. A
    Aren't church and state supposed to be separate?
    Do these people see an Iranian theocracy as their ideal?

    Neocons, get your head out of that "place where the sun don't shine"
    and try to rub a few brain cells together to think an act in a logical manner.

    Surely all persons should be respected in our country whether they are religious or not.

    April 8, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  18. Shawn

    Newt Gingrich is becoming more and more extreme every day that a Democrat is in charge of this country. I expect that somewhere around the time to elect a new president he will be in fatigues, walking around with an M16, screaming like a madman about commies or socialists or some such nonsense. The more successful the Democrats are the loonier he gets. If we aren't careful we may find Gingrich in a watchtower somewhere with a gun. He is almost beginning to sound not just like a conspiracy nut, but more like a schizophrenic.

    April 8, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. Bev - NYC

    Just when I thought the GOP had reached the height of hypocracy. Out comes the much divorced, morally challenged Mr. Gingrich calling the current administration anti-religious. Why? Because the new moral authority thinks that fellow humans who happen to be gay should not have rights. By the way Newt, your hero Mr. Cheney has a gay daughter. Until Republicans have something intelligent to say, perhaps they could do us all a favor and say nothing!!!

    April 8, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  20. Wisconsin Vet

    Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with all due respect " Just Shut Up and sit down"

    For so many reason to list you have nobacking of your argument.

    April 8, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  21. watcher12

    The key word when reading comments by Newt Gingrich is that he is a "former" congressman. He is no longer a voice in politics, but is merely a "former" voice, and his words carry no weight, only an envious vitupritude toward the present administration.

    April 8, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  22. Ryan

    Maybe it's because this administration is sick of this country being run on fear and excluding people because they aren't white Republicans.

    Seriously Republicans you have been out of power for only a few months yet you act like you have been oppressed for years.

    April 8, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  23. Pete in San Francisco

    It is sad that some people use the term "anti-religious" to refer to anyone who follows a different religious tradition - it is divisive and not in keeping with the Christian principle of loving your neighbor as yourself.

    God does not care by what name we call Him or whether we view God as a Him or a Her. What matters is that we have a deepening relationship with the Divine that leads to compassion for ourselves and those with whom we share this Earth.

    April 8, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  24. John from SC

    I hate to tell you this, but the Bill of Rights (you have read that haven't you) creates America as a Secular State. I am a religious as the next guy, probably more so (I am a Chaplain, and on track for Ordination in a Protestant Denomination), but I think that having a secular state which admires and lifts up all religious beliefs is a strong part of this great nation, and a banner which the world can lean upon.

    Oh, and by the way,

    Dick Cheney is "clearly Right" but I do not think that is what this counrty needs right now. We have had eight years of a Theocracy, it is time we had smart leaders.

    April 8, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  25. peter

    Hello, they are supposed to be anti-religious, it's called seperation of church and state.

    April 8, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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