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. Amanda

    It's not anit-religious Newt, it's progressive. Majority of the country voted for it and if the GOP wants to get back in with the majority they better start being more open-minded!

    April 8, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. asianfilmreviews

    Wow, heaven forbid a president actually understands the importance of having a separation of church and state as defined by the founders of our country. And Gingrich is full of it. He's not upset by a perceived anti-religion stance by this administration, he's upset by what he sees as an anti-Christian stance, because something tells me Gingrich wouldn't sleep any better if the administration was obviously spiritual in a Buddhist sense. The reason why Obama's administration is not overtly religious is because he understands that we cannot go down the same path as Iran or North Korea, totalitarian countries.

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

    Surely on a 25 person committee there is room for several different points of view.

    April 8, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Michael

    I find Obama to be a religious man, but religion has no place in government. For these people who have created so many problems with our society to belittle the Obama administration because they differ from them can only separate the masses.

    Gingrich and the rest of the Bible thumping hypocrits should just stop talking, they had their run at leadership and did a very poor job.

    April 8, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. timhowe

    Sadly, college-professor Gingrich is incapable of distinguishing between "anti-religious" and "non-religious." The Constitution requires that our government be "non-religious" and since we now have such a government for the first time in 8 years, the Christo-facists are up in arms.

    April 8, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Elizabeth

    Could someone please comment on the fact that Obama has not been to a church, any church since he has been in office ? what about his little girls? shouldn't he be setting an example for them? Now that Mr Gingrich has spoken , I'm sure there will be a photo op at a church or something like it ,having to do with Easter weekend .

    April 8, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. Grady T

    President Obama has been heavily criticized by many from the right because he stated that the US is not just a country of Christians but also many other religions and beliefs. This is a fact and the right has become so out of touch that they see it as being radical to state this simple fact. He is also being criticized for his attempts to improve relations with the Arab/Muslim world. I think we desperately need diplomacy in the area. I donĀ“t agree with everything President Obama does or says, but I do respect him and think that he is doing a lot of very good things.

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

    This is news? What parts of Obama's administration did people think were favorable to religion?

    But beyond this issue, why has Obama nominated the most extreme, leftist people when he campaigned on working together and bridging the gap?

    April 8, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. r schier norwalk,ct

    If this is indeed the case, I'll i can say is THANK GOD......

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

    This country was founded as a secular country, so it's fitting that the President should keep it that way. America is not a Christian theocracy no matter how much you want it to be. We all have a voice, not just you right-wing Christians.

    April 8, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. SteveE

    We NEED a secular administration. Religion was pushed down our throats too much with Bush!

    April 8, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. lloyd roberts

    "They want a secular society where the government dominates everything". Oh, so Mr. Gingrich wants a religious society where religion dominates everything. I'm not sure which one is worse, but being a libertarian I want neither. That's why I guess I'm politically homeless, have been for many years

    April 8, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. Elaine

    Since church and state are to be separate, this shouldn't even be an issue.

    April 8, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. Rob

    Shouldn't the administration be "intensely secular"? Isn't that the separation of Church and State that is one of the tenets of America?

    April 8, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  15. Brian, Edmond OK

    The Power of Nighmares. It looks like Newt is trying to convince Americans that they have everything to fear when it comes to the President. What Newt does not offer is an alternative. I'm sure it would please him to have a theocratic regime in the US

    April 8, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  16. Lorraine Glover

    Quite simply Newt, SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. Please remember this IS AMERICA.

    April 8, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  17. Miriam

    The White House is having a Passover Seder tonight. To me this shows a deep respect for religions.

    Newt Gingrich doesn't know what he is talking about. There is more than one religion in America that needs to be respected by the US Government. There is even more than just his one form of Christianity in the US. Something seemingly forgotten by the loudest GOP'ers.

    April 8, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. lolla

    If I were in the Obama administration I would actually take this as a compliment! I feel scared and sick when I see how much religion affects every aspect of our lives and how religious people and governments take it as their right to judge and condemn anybody who does not believe in something that some guys said over 2000 (and in some cases even more)years ago!

    April 8, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. FL

    For as much as Obama claims to be a Christian man, his policies quite often do not line up with the Bible he claims to read. I understand the argument that gov't can't legislate morality, but it also should not seek to silence the voices of the majority in the nation, by consistently appointing people who represent the minority.

    April 8, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |

    Once again, another republican that is against being an "all inclusive" nation where ALL citizens are represented and respected.

    April 8, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. AlaskaSteve

    The only way to have freedom of religion is to prevent any one particular religion from having power. If one religion becomes dominant, then the other religions become oppressed.

    Our founding fathers new about this. That is why the USA *IS* a secular society. It says it right on the great seal, "Novus Ordo Seclorum," which is latin for "A new Secular Order."

    Obama is doing the right thing in keeping church and state seperate. Would you rather have a state-mandated religion?

    April 8, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. Linda from Minnesota

    Yes, that's right. Keep everyone who thinks the same as you away.

    Or we could try something new and innovative and have people of all faith's, people who represent all people (gay or straight) to talk and discuss differences. What a novel thought – discussion and acceptance that could actually bring this divided country together.

    Or we could go back to the Bush years of the Chrisian Conservative right wanting to decide for everyone how to live, even those people who are agnostic or atheists.

    Let's see, I think I'll take Obama's approach.

    April 8, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Tara

    Even so, who cares if they are "anti-religious"? Isn't this country based off of FREEDOM? Religion is a personal choice and shouldn't dictate laws for everyone.

    April 8, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. Payton

    An "intensely secular" administration inclined to grant gay people the human rights they deserve? I don't know, that sounds pretty good to me, Newt.

    April 8, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. Dave

    I'm not anti-religious. I'm just against the far right wingers such as the Taliban, Al Queda, most Iranian Mullahs, Branch Davidians, and other evangelical extremists such as the bombers, the shooters, the arsonists, etc. Of course the far left wing also have their own extremists whom I'm also against.

    April 8, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
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