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. phoenix86

    Newt, as usual, is spot on right. Obama's comment that the US is "not a Christian country" shows his lack of understanding of the principals that this country was built on as well as his lack of understanding of the US constitutional provisions of seperation of church and state.

    I view Obama as actively hostile to the moral foundations that made this a great nation. What a treacherous four years we have in front of us.

    April 8, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. Joline

    I'm a conservation Christian and it is a hard pill to swallow but everyone should have a voice.

    North Carolina

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

    Yeah, whatever, Newt. The White House under Bush had staffers LITERALLY running around with Bibles under every arm - and on the tables in every meeting - to appease the far-right that ran policy under Bush. Tell me THAT wasn't a violation of church/state separation! Go Obama! Tear down the far right anti-constitutional clique that ran things before!

    April 8, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. mark in az

    Good. Important decisions that affect all Americans should be made in the most secular manner possible. We are not a theocracy. If individual Americans want to make faith-based decisions that benefit them, they can do it in their own pews on their respective worship days.

    April 8, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Religious Liberal

    Separation of Church and State!! And, by the way Newt, just because we're not all right wing conservatives doesn't mean we are all anti-religious! It's time for the church to get back to it's role and stay out of government. You said "I think their goal is to have a very secular America in which government dominates everything"...The only reason gays and lesbians don't have equal rights is because of "government domination". Oh...the double standard!!!

    April 8, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Angela

    I agree with Newt 100% and I am saddened that our country is falling so far into this degraded idea of non-religion, perpetuated by the lesbian, gay, bisexual community, as well as the athiests, agnostics and others of little moral substance. Our country is in big trouble with this administration in charge.

    April 8, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. R. Williams

    Maybe we should try governing by reason and intellect, since governing by faith and gut instinct hasn't worked out so well for us so far.

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

    This is EXACTLY why the Republicans are destined to fade away. As this nation progresses further, we no longer support the ways of the old. Republicans, and the religious extremists believe if its not what they believe, then it clearly must be wrong. This is why they are losing ALL credibility. This country no longer feels that way. We are growing ever more diverse and as a free nation, we the people can believe in whatever we want. No republican or christian extremist is going to tell us what to do. We will simply vote them out of existence.

    With that, I fully support the common sense republicans (if there are any) to jump ship while they still can and give rise to the era of Libertarians. The time is now. This is the only means conservatism can survive. christian extremists have destroyed everything republicans used to stand for.

    An extremely intelligent and proud Atheist. You will not hold me down!

    April 8, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Dave S, Tinley Park, IL

    And thank God if they are anti-religious! Eight years of those religious freaks trying to shove their gullible ways down everyone's throats–and in typical hypocritical fashion, now it's not right when the shoe's on the other foot. The people that claim to be closest to God are always the ones with the most to hide. If God was such a fan of Bush, he would've had a successful presidency.

    April 8, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  10. David

    Mr. Gingrich, pleases sit down.

    I have HAD ENOUGH of politicians mixing their personal religious believes with politics. The U.S. IS NOT a theocracy and I sure hope it never becomes one. It's just a shame that the Republicans have so closely aligned themselves with the politics of the christian right. After eight years of the Jesus-Bush team it's about time we brought some level-headed clear-thinking minds to our country's leadership!

    Go Obama!

    April 8, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Seperation of Church and State is not Anti-Religious. In fact those who advocate more religious involvement with our Government are advocating something UNCONSTITUTIONAL. The belief in a GOD or ANY GOD does not need to be associated with any religion( ie Catholic, Muslim, Quaker, or Puritan). That is why our constitution is written the way it is. Our Founders NEVER wanted to get involved with what was religious or what wasn't !!! Good Grief they would still be in Philadelphia !!!! What we are guaranteed by the Constitution is the freedom to practice our whorship however we wanted too. That being said a membership to a particular religion does not make an individual any less a servant of God or any Higher Being. One only needs to believe. An organized religion does not have a monoply on government or on any country's people. Really not an important issue folks.

    April 8, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. ITBEME

    Newt Gingrich said Tuesday the Obama administration is "intensely secular" and "anti-religious,"

    hmmmmmmmm....anti-religious. Is that the same thing as seperation between church and state?

    April 8, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  13. Karen S Crow

    What else do you expect from a Left Wing Socialist like Obama?

    Words have meaning and actions speak louder than words and Obama is a Socialist down to his core. How ELSE do you explain the take over of the banks and two of the Big Three automakers?

    Obama is a disgrace to the White House, America and to those in her history who have sacrificed for her, her future and her people.

    Hey ... the Bill of Rights is still in effect ... so I can express my opinions ... And if you Left Wing types don't like it .... my opinions are far kinder than what your ilk have said regarding former Pres. Bush.

    At least I only call your president a disgrace ... your ilk actively called for Pres. Bush's demise.

    I know what lines cannot be crossed. Too bad your side doesn't.

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

    Religion has no place in politics anyway, Newt. Get that through your thick skull. The fact that you believe something about your particular religion doesn't mean that our country should run based on those beliefs. That's why this country has freedom of religion. It allows all Americans to practice the religion of their choosing, or even no religion. Go worship in a church or at home. Keep it out of Washington.

    April 8, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Teresa Lawrence

    So sorry that Mr. Obama does not remember that "in GOD we trust". Our nation wil only become empty without Him.

    April 8, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. PaulMoATX

    More right-wing nut talk. I'll go out on a limb and say that the hate being spewed along with the lies of the right wing, whether it be related to the 2nd amendment, religion, or else, will cause some traumatic instances over the coming years. It's sick and shouldn't be tolerated by anyone.

    April 8, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. Lee Pierce

    If people listen to Newt for their moral compass they might want to check his background. He has lot's of bad mud in his past. Just because Knox supports gay/lesbian rights does not make him anti-religious. He may be, but that alone is not cause enough to say so. Newt and his buddies hate the "drive by media" and I cannot stand the "drive by Christians" that pick and choose their do's and don't from the Bible like someone ordering take-out from a Chinese restaurant. When Newt stops eating pork and shellfish I will at least know he is practicing from the parts of the Bible he preaches from.

    April 8, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  18. Cerena

    Secular people are real and are usually good and honest! You judgemental, intollerant, quick to cast the first stone Christians are the ones destroying the world! You all sadly MISSED the whole point of being Christlike!

    April 8, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. Lois

    Typical right-winger: if you don't support right-wing intolerance, you're anti-religion. I'm sure all the religious organizations that welcome LGBT people and support their concerns would have something to say about that. Remember that the new administration is trying to unite *community* and faith-based initiatives, correctly acknowledging that secular organizations are important community resources, both for people of faith and for secular people.

    April 8, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Zienia

    What about when Obama said to Iraq that "America is not a Christian Nation." This confused me because I thought that America was founded on Christian beliefs. Something is really wrong with that, if we denounce God as a nation we will never be blessed and will probably fall into a 3rd world status, we are on our way, with the recession and all.
    "Lord help us!"

    April 8, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Maurice

    Seriously, does Newt think that all of this bitter partisian talk is going to get him in the White House in 2012. He needs to understand that elections are won by the middle of the road candidate

    April 8, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. sunnydee

    Newt Gingrich should employ a little introspection and be honest with himself and us. The only religious people he wants to have input are the ones that reflect his (and a lot of right wing conservative christians) views. No diversity here. No difference of opinion allowed. Even though Mr. Gingrich wants more religiousity in the public arena in the US, I'm sure he's virally opposed to it in other nations – say, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, ..... oh right, they're not predominantly christian nations.

    April 8, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. justin

    The Obama administration is not anti-religious. It just dosen't pander or take orders from from the pope or religious nuts like the right does. Thank god for that.

    April 8, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Silt

    You know, maybe its a good thing. First, we are suposed to have a secular government. Second, the last administration didn't do a great job with religion steering the course, time for a change. I thought thats what this election was supposed to provide. Grow up Newt.

    April 8, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Vickie

    I 100% agree with everything that Mr. Gingrich is saying. I knew that Obama was a horrible choice as president but even in my worst nightmares did I ever imagine that he would do as much damage to the moral fiber of this country in as short of time as he has. If it is against the Bible he is all for it. God help America. No matter what any one thinks, God is in control and those who oppose Him will pay a dear price. I will continue to pray for Obama and the others in this country who continue to defy the only true God in order to better themselves.

    April 8, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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