Gingrich talks of 'baggage' in church
January 15th, 2012
02:47 PM ET
11 years ago

Gingrich talks of 'baggage' in church

North Charleston, South Carolina (CNN) – Newt Gingrich defended himself before a church congregation Sunday, touching on the reason some of his opponents, and some voters, might consider him a flawed presidential candidate.

"I don't come here today as a perfect person. I don't come here today without, I guess the advertisement is, baggage," Gingrich said. "I am a person, I've lived a fairly long life."

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He told those gathered for the Sunday service at the Cathedral of Praise that he is “somebody who has the courage to stand up and tell the truth, somebody who is prepared to fight for the America that you and I believe in.”

"Courage is when you have fear. If you have faith in God, you can be not afraid," Gingrich said borrowing a phrase from Pope John Paul II.

The former House speaker converted to Catholicism in 2009 and attends services regularly at the Basilica in Washington, where his wife, Callista, sings in the choir.

Pastor Michael Lewis referred to Gingrich's faith in his closing remarks.

"Whoever you vote for I think you would have to attest that there's a man who loves his country and who knows his country, and regardless who you vote for, he's one of us," Lewis said of Gingrich.

Lewis led a prayer for the candidate and his family with him in the front row, while his wife was in Washington attending Sunday mass at the Basilica.

Lewis said he invited Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who spoke there Saturday evening, to give a "statesman’s" view of America.

"I believe the time has come to be prepared for what will be a big fight. Let me be quite clear. If you want peaceful, pleasant, managing the decay, I'm the wrong person, because what I stand for is such a disruption in the Washington establishment,” Gingrich said. “You can see it if you watch the television. The talking heads are terrified that I'm going to win because they understand I represent the end of the game.”

"And I'm prepared to fight over the nature of America's future and I'm prepared to fight, whether that's with the courts, the bureaucracies, the Congress, including my own party, because I believe what we need desperately in America today is captured in the simple Bible phrase, without vision the people perish."

Also see:

Group backing Gingrich hits Romney for health care law and Bain record

Romney gives cash to struggling supporter at rally

Romney super PAC pummels Santorum and Gingrich by mail

Tim Scott, the ultimate undecided voter

Filed under: 2012 • Faith • Newt Gingrich • South Carolina
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    He'd be a good minister - rake in tons of money - he lies like the rest of them.

    January 15, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  2. kierthos

    You know what? It's too easy.

    January 15, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Ed

    Suddenly when he became a presidential candidate he found religion, well if you call it that. He's trying to dupe the choir with preachy words and Biblical sound bytes. Hypocrisy knows no end with these folks.

    January 15, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Jay

    wants to be President – wants Americans to vote base on his Religious Fath = yet we are a nation of many faiths so why would you vote for him base on HIS faith – only if it is your faith! There is not a man or woman in this country that can claim to know that with 100% Certainty that his or her faith is the ONE & ONLY Faith! Stop campaigning as if you are God's choice – campaign based on what you can do for the real issues in America – economy – taxes – – stay the hell out of trying to be the Moral Police!

    January 15, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  5. Epimetheus

    Baggage, hell! He has a history of adultery, dishonesty and corruption. He's probably already selling legislation and peddling influence among the high rollers. He is also probably working on wife 4 as I write this. Speaking of which, I am not sure we have ever had a full-fledged bimbo as first lady, but his former concubine and partner in deceit and adultery fully qualfies. Only an absolute moron would trust or support this slime-bucket! Oh, now I understand how he stands a chance with evangelicals.

    January 15, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. Good stuff

    I don't believe Gingrich is a genuinely reformed man. He acts the same as he used to. He appears to be vengeful and condescending just like before. He was ethically challenged then and he's ethically challenged now. He can claim to be a man of faith, but he hasn't lived it. I don't buy it.

    January 15, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Jeff

    If I showed up to church on a Sunday morning to worship God–to find a few hours in the week where I could reflect and praise my Lord, and the pastor/priest let a politician address the congregation, it would be my last Sunday in that place. I'd very soon find a place focused on God, not politics. And for those who say Christians aren't apolitical, I agree–I just think that politicians addressing congregations from the pulpit is beyond the pale, and gives over our houses of worship to politics. Focus on God–if you believe in God, in Jesus, then trust that God is perfectly capable enough of directing/blessing/influencing individuals to vote in accordance with their respective beliefs. We don't need to "help God out" so much.

    January 15, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. SecedingfromTexas

    Nobody is perfect, and I am glad he has 'repented'. However, in my humble opinion, I still do not trust or admire
    Gingrich, and never will. He is two-faced and I can guarantee he will be just as vicious against President Obama
    as he has been in the past if he should win the nomination. He probably will be anyway, regardless.
    As for speaking to a congregation, and the Minister all but endorsing him is beyond my understanding of "tax
    exempt status". This is wrong. Churches are supposed to be for all of God's children, and far removed from
    politics. Most evangelicals have crossed the line, and now it has infiltrated into the Churches.
    Very sad.

    January 15, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  9. A Southern Lady

    There are many words to describe Newt Gingrich but "leader" is not one of them. His own Republican party actually kicked him out of the Speakership for bad behavior when he held that position. His actions in his personal life toward his first two wives shows his total failure as a leader of these two families. His candidacy in the current race shows the man as he is --, mean-spirited, untruthful, no comments too disgusting or degrading to attempt to destroy the other candidates as he attempt to move himself forward. And this is the type of a man we want representing our country? Personally, I would be ashamed to have him represent me.

    January 15, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |