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March 28th, 2011
02:11 PM ET

Gingrich fears 'atheist country ... dominated by radical Islamists'

Newt Gingrich at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Hours after declaring Sunday that he expects to be running for president within a month, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said he's worried the United States could be “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists,” in the foreseeable future, according to Politico.

Gingrich was addressing Cornerstone Church, a megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, led by the Rev. John Hagee, an influential leader among American evangelicals. Hagee's endorsement of then-presidential candidate John McCain in 2008 was plagued by controversy.

McCain ultimately rejected the endorsement over remarks Hagee had made about the Holocaust, in which he appeared to say that Adolf Hitler had been fulfilling God's will by hastening the desire of Jews to return to Israel, in accordance with biblical prophecy.

"God says in Jeremiah 16: 'Behold, I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave to their fathers. ... Behold, I will send for many fishers, and after will I send for many hunters. And they the hunters shall hunt them.' That would be the Jews,” Hagee had said in an earlier sermon.

“Then God sent a hunter,” his sermon continued. “A hunter is someone who comes with a gun, and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter."

McCain rejected Hagee’s endorsement of his campaign after learning about the comments in May 2008. "Obviously, I find these remarks and others deeply offensive and indefensible, and I repudiate them,” McCain said at the time.

Hagee then withdrew his endorsement of the Arizona senator, which he had offered three months earlier.

One irony of McCain rejecting Hagee’s endorsement over his Holocaust remarks is that the Texas evangelist leads the Christian Zionist movement. Hagee is founder and national chairman of Christians United for Israel, which features Elie Wiesel and other Holocaust survivors at its events.

Here’s what Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church on Sunday evening, according to Politico:

"I have two grandchildren: Maggie is 11; Robert is 9," Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. "I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."

The former House Speaker held up his own faith (he converted to Catholicism two years ago) as proof of his undying patriotism. He lashed out at the college professors and mainstream media he says are seeking to wipe out the Founding Fathers' Christian values. And he targeted the judges who he charges are effectively re-writing the Constitution.

But Gingrich was mum on his own controversial past, one of martial indiscretions and divorces that have made courting religious conservatives a tall task as he nears a likely presidential run.

Gingrich’s church appearance comes amid a broader campaign to court religious conservatives.

On Monday, Hagee released a statement praising Gingrich's appearance at Cornerstone. “It was such a great honor to welcome Mr. Gingrich to our church, and hear him describe the centrality of faith in our nation,” he said.

The statement also included praise for Hagee and his wife, Diana, from Gingrich.

“It was truly an honor to be with John and Diana at Cornerstone," Gingrich said. "Their dedication to serve is inspirational.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Faith Now • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Texas

soundoff (2,228 Responses)
  1. Cpt. Obvious

    Gingrich's arrogance is astounding and only surmounted by his stupidity.

    Who are you to say what is and is not an American? Who are you to say that Americans must believe as you think that they should?

    August 16, 2013 at 7:42 pm |
    • hharri

      By golly, captain is catching on. Sam can't string two words together without malignant swirling gas gushing from her lungs. Proud of you two.

      August 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
  2. Sam

    Uhhhh..... How could a secular atheist country be dominated my Islam? Muslims and Atheists are mortal enemies,

    June 12, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • KE

      Is he senile? Atheist in no way is the same as Islamic. So how can it be an atheist nation dominated by Muslims??????

      August 16, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  3. Isamu

    Opposite to the capitalists/bourgeois ctruos, our court's decisions are not based on dogmatic laws, but are strictly justified by revolutionary sensibilities. Today in the USA, the commissar's stand is reflected in the decisions of many liberal judges. Wisconsin County Court Judge Maryann Sumi issued this statement March 2011: It seems to me the public policy behind effective enforcement of the open meeting law is so strong that it does outweigh the interest, at least at this time, which may exist in favor of sustaining the validity of the law. Lots more.And Soviet Posters that would suit Obama to a T!Reply

    November 10, 2012 at 3:32 am |
  4. Blondu

    Your chart and argument is aculltay quite deceiving. The government can increase food stamp funding all they want but people still have to qualify for them a process that isn't easy in most states. And the increase in funding is a result of the increase in need. Why?The Great Bush Recession in which 8 million jobs were lost has led to the increase need in food stamps and government assistance. Bush and the Republicans are responsible for the increase in the size of the government indirectly. Add into that the jobs that are available are usually low paying and cannot sustain a household which also increases the need for food stamps. A typical family of 4 needs to have both parents making at least $24 a hour to stay out of poverty and typically Republicans oppose increases to minimum wage. See, their small government philosophy is aculltay making the government bigger. Not so black and white, is it?Reply

    November 10, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  5. Juh

    PEW Research was founded by Joseph Pew, a coevvrnatise Republican and son of the founder of Sun Oil Co. (Sunoco), who bequeathed part of his wealth to found PEW Research. I believe their poll and have seen others with similar results.Those who support enforcement-only are the loudest and most often make sensational comments that get quoted in the news media. The noise level isn't reality. Reality is best measured through scientific polling by credible organizations such as PEW Research.

    November 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  6. Kuldip

    Thank you Krishna sir,We really rapaecipte for your kind information regarding our beloved village. It has been always fantastic to hear news about our village in such a way,especially, in development sector. I am very much proud of you that you have been serving for our village for such a long prior of time.When I saw your face it remind me of my school age and all those stupid things that i used to do at that time. It just feels like yesterday, I feel young again like a boy. I do hope you also feel the same as me, don't you sir? I have no doubt you have a huge connection with the school and village both emotionally and physically. I know you love the place same as any other villagers. Only one thing is different with compare to other is that you have been contributing with your highly respected qualification, dedication and honestly almost whole of your life.My heartfelt thanks to you for your hard work and showing such an enthusiasm towards our village and as well as school.We are very lucky to have such a generous teacher and proud of you.Your sincerelyEx student Arjun badmas danda ghar.PS it would be better if you could publish your e mail add so we can contact you personally in future.

    March 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.