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. Arthur

    Whatever happened to the concept of "separation of church and state?"

    April 8, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. A.M.E.

    So apparently being an activist for gay rights automatically makes you anti-religious. Why not just say what you really think Newt–that we're all atheists and unpatriotic.

    April 8, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  3. Charles Atlanta

    Please.. Government should be religious-neutral. That's the constitution. If you're a true religious person, there is no "human right", everything is under God.

    April 8, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. DC

    The good Book also says Judge lest yea be judged. I swear, you'd think they never got their shot at power. Now we have the leader and architect of the '94 Republican Revolution acting as if his party (and the programs they pushed for and stand for) are in some kind of perma-minority. Get over it, he's been Prez less than 3 months and he's doing what he said he was gonna do... and he got elected in a landslide saying it. Instead of saying what you don't like and saying 'no'... find something CONSTRUCTIVE to say and do and you MIGHT pick up some seats in 2010.

    April 8, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. ruthanne

    "Anti-religion"......so, wouldn't that mean "guided by reason rather than supersition and myth". I don't know about you, but I welcome that!!

    April 8, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Annoyed

    Nah, they're just OPEN MINDED and NON-RACIST.

    April 8, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. WKD

    Wow, guess Newt never heard of he crazy concept of "separation of church and state."

    Anything to bash Obama.

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

    I'm sorry but this is just ridiculous. Since when does being 'religious' mean that you decide who is a good person and who is a bad person? As far as I can tell, the human rights campaign strives for the same things that most religious people want in this world: freedom of expression, equal rights for everyone, and tolerance towards others. Isn't that what the teachings of Jesus promoted in the New Testament? I don't think there is anything wrong with being secular, or being religious but tolerating others. It certainly is a welcome change from the previous administration and the views held by certain people that expose the notion that unless you are a religious fanatic then you must be immoral. Go see the movie Religulous Mr. Gingrich!

    April 8, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. Ana

    There is a large Democratic community that disagrees vehemently with President Obamas anti-religious actions.

    So it's time to put our priorities in place and although we support and agree with President Obama on some issues it's time for all of us to stand up against President Obama and his administration when it comes to their anti-religious actions.

    April 8, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Roger

    How is being secular anti-religious? isn't there suppose to be a seperation of church and state? I would hope our government is striving to be secular

    April 8, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. A Bruce

    Perhaps Newt missed this but government is supposed to be neutral on the subject of religion. It's not as of yet; things are heavily slanted in favor of religion. His complaints seem to me to be about how the government is moving toward a more neutral and correct position towards religion.

    April 8, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  12. Greg in MN

    This man will spew any lie that pops into his head.

    April 8, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  13. DuoMaxwell

    Duh! Why does the religious right wing of the GOP insist on making religion so prominent in American politics?! Religion is fantastic and all religions should be respected. But keep religion out of the business of running this country. Like President Obama said while in Turkey, we are a nation that embraces all religions. So to the right-wingers: STOP TRYING TO SHOVE YOUR BELIEFS DOWN THE THROATS OF AMERICANS.

    April 8, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. Michael

    But Mr. Gingrich.....the far worse situation is advancement of right-wing, pro-religious zealots.

    Getting religion (as opposed to faith) out of government is in the best interest of all. Religion does much more harm than good in how it drives wedges between people of faith.......it's one of the most destructive forces in human history.

    April 8, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    For too long the white evangelical right wingers have been the predominate voice in American politics. But as a group of people, Americans encompass much, much more than that perspective.

    The separation of church and state concept was to have guided us since the birth of this nation.

    Gingrich confuses "anti-religious" with "the freedom OF and FROM religion". His comments sound vaguely Islamic: "Infidels must be eliminated". Or as W put it: "If you're not with us, you're against us."

    April 8, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Go figure

    I remember when America was at it's prime, when religion and morals were a basis for this country. Now we have people pushing for bigger gov't, giving handouts to the lazy and needy, and gays and lesbians berating the leader of the Catholic Church. The end of the glorious American Empire is be upon us sooner than we thing.

    April 8, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. Diane Panama City Fl

    I thought Mr. Gingrich was a scholar of American History. As such, I would have thought he knew that the Founding Fathers of this country envisioned the United States to have a secular government with freedom OF and/or FROM religion. I guess Gingrich prefers to cling to a religious ideology that was perpetuated by a bunch of ancient mysogynists who believed the Earth was flat and that the Sun revolved around Earth. His political ideology is about a relevant and current as his religious ideology.

    April 8, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  18. tennisguypitt

    In case you haven't noticed, Newt, but when a government tries to intertwine Religion and state, we have a very serious problem.

    Do I need to bring up Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Taliban?

    April 8, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. KJ, CA

    Why are we even discussing how religious a Presidential Administration in the United States of America is when our constitution clearly defines that there is to be a SEPERATION of church and state in this country?

    April 8, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Newt's a newt

    Umm Newt? What happened to seperation of church and state? The government is SUPPOSED to be secular. Faith should have nothing to do with how a country is run, especially because not everyone in the country subscribes to the same faith or to any faith at all. Government must be run on fact and ethics not on whatever collection of stories they happen to believe in. All this proves is that Newt has no place in government and should go preach to the brainwashed masses from a pulpit somewhere

    April 8, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Andy

    Is this guy even relevant even more?
    Republicans figured that no matter what they say about anything does not matter anymore, so they just try to keep throwing stuff in the media that does not even make sense.

    So, what even if Newt was right, and it is secular administration. I think it is a great thing. Just think about how many people died and were tortured during the "most religious" administration of George W. Bush. Rings the bell? It is not what you preach, it is what you do.

    Nobody cares about GOP's twisted interpretation of religion anymore Newt. Give it up.

    April 8, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Bjoerlingfan

    Gingrich should read the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I seem to remember there being something in there about the separation of church and state. The government SHOULD be secular.

    What is Newt afraid of? "Oh no! The gays are being given a voice in a faith based group!" Give me a break. Because gays can't possibly have religious faith, right, Newt?

    By the way Newt, how's your third wife doing? You know, the one you started courting before you even divorced your second wife, who you left your first wife for just as she was starting treatment for cancer? Right. Everyone whould hold you up as a moral authority on religious values.

    April 8, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Ann

    Why don't you just go ahead and form your third party already filled with religious zealots hell bent on fighting fire with fire?
    Leave the Obama Administration alone if you have nothing good to say. We use our minds and rationaliity, not bigotry and irrationality.

    April 8, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. Evan

    Hey, Newt, the government is SUPPOSED to be secular! Have you completely forgotten basic history and your high school civics lessons?

    Look at the mess we're in because of a bunch of right-wing neocon bible thumpers!

    April 8, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. matt

    Jesus will judge this country and our president USA is headed down the wrong road morally if we turn our back on god he will punish this country

    April 8, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
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