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Newt Gingrich’s faith journey: How a thrice-married Catholic became an evangelical darling
Newt Gingrich has spent time as a Lutheran, a Baptist and a Roman Catholic.
December 10th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Newt Gingrich’s faith journey: How a thrice-married Catholic became an evangelical darling

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We also profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

(CNN) - There’s an e-mail war raging among some of the nation’s leading evangelicals over whether Newt Gingrich has repented enough for his sins to be president.

One recent skirmish was set off by an open letter urging Gingrich to give a major speech confronting his perceived moral stumbles, including an affair with his third wife, Callista, while married to No. 2.

“You need to make it as clear as you possibly can that you deeply regret your past actions and that you do understand the anguish and suffering they caused others, including your former spouses,” Richard Land, public policy chief for the Southern Baptist Convention, wrote.

Land urged Gingrich to make a public promise “that there will be no moral scandals in a Gingrich White House.”

Rather than galvanizing the faithful, however, Land’s letter provoked an outcry from a handful of evangelical leaders who argued Gingrich has repented enough and deserves forgiveness.

On an e-mail thread among conservative Christian heavyweights, Jerry Falwell Jr. invoked the biblical story of a woman of ill repute who met Jesus at a well. Though the woman had been married five times, Jesus forgave her.

“The woman at the well was fortunate she encountered Jesus that day instead of some of our evangelical brethren,” the Liberty University president wrote, in an apparent swipe at Land.

On the same e-mail chain, which CNN obtained from a conservative activist, prominent Atlanta preacher Richard Lee said the nation’s evangelicals needed to support Gingrich.

Lee called Gingrich “the only forceful Christian candidate who can at this point be elected and cleanse the White House next November.”

The evangelical tussling over Gingrich says a lot about the fractured state of the Republican Party less than a month before the Iowa caucuses officially usher in the 2012 race for the White House.

The sight of influential evangelicals rallying around Gingrich, a Catholic with serious “values” baggage, speaks to the huge political vulnerability of Mitt Romney, who was the perceived GOP front-runner until recent polls put Gingrich at the front of the pack.

Gingrich speaking at the April 2011 National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in D.C.

Whether because of Romney’s past liberalism on gay rights and abortion or because of his Mormon faith, many of the evangelical Christians who make up the Republican base just don’t like him.

They’ve been looking for an alternative, by turns telling pollsters of their support for Michele Bachmann, then Rick Perry, then Herman Cain. One by one, they’ve dropped in the polls, or out of the race altogether. Now it’s Gingrich’s turn in the spotlight.

But the argument over Gingrich’s personal life also raises fundamental questions about the candidate himself and his readiness for the nation’s highest office.

Just how much has Gingrich changed since his days as a volatile and philandering House speaker? Does he have the character to be president? And, at least for many of the evangelical voters who will dominate the early primaries: Is he a true believer?

Faith by geography

Gingrich has identified with different branches of Christianity that mirror his surroundings at different stages of life.

Born near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, an area settled by the largely Lutheran Pennsylvania Dutch, Gingrich was the son of a Lutheran mom and a Pennsylvania Dutch stepfather who adopted him.

Attending college at Atlanta’s Emory University and grad school at Tulane University in New Orleans, Gingrich became a Southern Baptist.

And as a creature of Washington, where Gingrich’s wife sings in a Catholic choir and where many prominent conservative Republicans have converted to Catholicism in the last decade, Gingrich joined the Catholic fold in 2009.

“I think that was all part of his pilgrimage,” says Ike Reighard, who was Gingrich’s pastor in Atlanta for nearly 20 years. “Whatever is the dominant religion in the region he was in, that was his progression... He was always super inquisitive, searching for deeper meaning.”

Gingrich’s stepdad was an army officer, making for a peripatetic family life that included stretches spent at military bases in Europe and at Fort Benning, Georgia, situated in the heart of the Bible Belt.

Gingrich, who declined interview requests for this story, was raised largely by his maternal grandmother, a devout Lutheran who, he has said, “taught me my most basic lessons about God and Satan.”

But Gingrich left his childhood denomination through an immersion baptism at the Saint Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans while at Tulane, where he was pursuing a Ph.D. in European history.

In a pattern that would last a lifetime, studying religion’s role in history and politics moved Gingrich to deepen his own faith.

Saint Charles Avenue’s pastor, G. Avery Lee, said Gingrich wasn’t a member of any church when the two first met.

“He said that in his study of political theory, he noted how much influence the church had had … and asked if I could explain,” Lee wrote in a 1994 letter to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, describing his first encounter with Gingrich.

Lee and Gingrich grew close, with the pastor eventually baptizing Gingrich even though his church took “a liberal approach to both theology and sociology.”

“It has been suggested by some that in baptizing him, I didn't hold him under long enough,” Wrote Lee, who died in 2009, in apparent reference to Gingrich’s conservative politics.

But Gingrich was more liberal back then, including on questions of separation of church and state.

“As a college student at Emory when the Supreme Court ruled that prayer was unconstitutional … I didn't notice it,” he said in a 2009 interview. “As a graduate student at Tulane I probably would have said it's a good decision.”

‘I don’t think his faith was the driving force’

After Tulane, Gingrich took a job as a history professor outside Atlanta and almost immediately began running for Congress, losing two races in the mid-’70s.

Around that time he joined New Hope Baptist Church, a 100-year old congregation south of Atlanta where Ike Reighard had recently arrived as the senior pastor.

“He had just lost for the second time and he came in and said, ‘I need your help,’” says Reighard. “I said, ‘What did you want to do in politics?’ He said he wanted to be speaker of the House.”

Gingrich won his next race for Congress in 1978. That year also marked the birth of the modern Christian Right.

The movement started in opposition to an Internal Revenue Service campaign under then-President Jimmy Carter to crack down on private schools resisting court-ordered desegregation.

Word of the campaign provoked fear and outrage among evangelical schools. Jerry Falwell joined the successful effort to thwart the IRS initiative and founded the Moral Majority the following year, in 1979. The group’s focus on fighting abortion and gay rights set the Christian Right agenda for decades to come.

Gingrich, for his part, was not considered part of the new wave of proud Christian Right warriors in Congress, some of whom were swept into power in 1980 on President Ronald Reagan’s coattails and enthusiastically blended their religious faith and politics.

For Gingrich, “I don’t think faith was the driving force,” says Reighard. “He realized that you have to look at issues and they can’t always be driven by your personal views and your religious values.”

“I heard a lot of times that people say evangelicals are one-issue people, all about abortion,” Reighard says. “But that’s not true with Gingrich. Education was important for him. Health care was important. The economy was important.”

Indeed, when Gingrich launched the Conservative Opportunity Society, an influential House caucus, in 1983, he focused on fiscal issues and practical electoral politics.

And yet Gingrich was an early ally of the budding Christian Right, even if he wasn’t a card-carrying member.

Ralph Reed, who would go on to lead the Christian Coalition, remembers watching as a libertarian activist advocating for gay rights and abortion rights challenged Gingrich at an early 1980s College Republicans breakfast.

“Newt pushed back hard,” Reed remembers. “It was clearly a position of intellectual conviction. I wasn’t yet a committed Christian and I remember finding that pretty remarkable, that Newt didn’t try to pacify this guy. He said, ‘No, you’re wrong.’”

Gingrich speaking at a 1987 news conference.

The future House speaker also stayed active at New Hope Baptist Church, which was quickly growing from sleepy country congregation to suburban Atlanta megachurch, even as he spent most of his time in Washington. When Reighard’s wife died during childbirth, Gingrich was on the phone with him while the pastor was still at the hospital.

“He was always there on Sunday mornings,” says Reighard, recalling Gingrich’s House years. “And the other thing he was always great at doing was town-hall-type meetings and potluck dinners. He was a grassroots person. There’s no telling how many of those meals I prayed at.”

Christian coalitions

But a lot of those town halls were more political than religious. Televangelist Pat Robertson launched the Christian Coalition in the early 1990s, and the group organized events around Georgia aimed at getting conservative evangelicals more involved in elections.

Gingrich, who counted himself an evangelical, expressed keen interest in the coalition’s work. But he seemed to be operating less as a pious Christian, and more as a strategist looking for ways the GOP could win the House of Representatives.

“We didn’t get into theological conversations that much,” says Patrick Gartland, executive director of the Georgia Christian Coalition in the early 1990s. “I was a grassroots numbers person. I loved the intricacies of grassroots, and he did, too, and he understood it.”

Unlike the Moral Majority in the 1980s, which was made up of pastors like Falwell, the Christian Coalition sought to mainstream the Christian Right by bringing in laypeople. The group’s local chapters were led by Christian business leaders, teachers and retirees, as opposed to pastors.

And Christian Coalition envisioned a big-tent religious conservatism that was as much about lowering taxes as it was about banning abortion.

For the broad-minded Gingrich, that vision was a perfect fit – especially after the Christian Coalition helped usher in the 1994 Republican Revolution, which put the House in GOP hands for the first time in 40 years.

The takeover catapulted Gingrich to speaker of the House, making him the country’s most powerful Republican. He vowed to pay attention to conservative Christians from his first day on the job, seeking to assuage evangelical activists who felt ignored by the Reagan administration after they’d worked hard for Reagan’s political campaigns.

“There was this dissatisfaction among evangelical leaders about [Reagan], and Newt said to me, ‘I’m not going to let that happen.’”

Best remembered for working with President Bill Clinton on fiscally focused deals like welfare reform and balancing the budget - and fiscal fights that led to a government shutdown - Gingrich also checked off major items on religious conservatives’ wish lists.

He brought a proposed constitutional amendment to allow school prayer up for a House vote. He presided over the adoption of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act – the first abortion restriction since Roe v. Wade – and the Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids the federal government from recognizing gay marriage.

Speaker-elect Gingrich with then-wife Marianne and his mother Kathleen at a January 1995 Washington church service.

Yet some evangelical leaders who knew Gingrich fretted over his personal life. The hard-charging speaker displayed braggadocio and rough edges even to political allies and didn’t talk much about his own faith.

“There were a lot of conservative Christian leaders who really loved Newt but felt like he hadn’t really turned his life over to God,” says Reed.

Many of those leaders went nuclear over rumors about Gingrich’s 1998 affair with a young House aide named Callista Bisek, while he was married to his second wife, Marianne.

Theose rumors “would break my heart,” says Reighard, who counseled Gingrich and Marianne in the 1990s. “I always believed that Newt could be one of the great leaders in our country, an American version of Winston Churchill.”

Reborn a Catholic

More than a decade later, Gingrich is back in many evangelicals’ good graces, with polls showing him way out in front of Romney among evangelicals in Iowa, who accounted for 60% of caucus-goers four years ago.

What explains the turnaround?

One big factor is Gingrich’s self-described faith awakening since leaving Congress in 1998. A personal turning point was 2002, when a court ruling struck down the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools because of its “Under God” clause.

“That was the last straw,” Gingrich said in a 2009 interview with U.S. News & World Report. “And I said it’s time to challenge head-on secular domination in the West.”

Just as studying political history had led a 20-something Gingrich to the Saint Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, political developments like the Pledge ruling and other perceived attacks on religion sparked a round of soul-searching.

Though it was later struck down by the Supreme Court, the ruling led Gingrich to publish “Rediscovering God in America,” a faith-based walking tour of Washington’s key buildings and monuments.

For those close to him, the 2006 book reflected what Gingrich had been preaching for more than a decade: that religion played a key role in the nation’s founding.

“In the ’90s, he talked about this idea that power comes from God to the individual and is loaned to the state,” says Rick Tyler, Gingrich’s former spokesman. “Before that, the European model was that power came from God to the king, and [Gingrich] used to explain why that was corrupt and how Thomas Jefferson turned it on his head.”

By increasing his public attack on the secular “media-academic-legal elite” and promoting his God-infused take on American history, Gingrich was branded a culture warrior during the last decade, gaining appeal among conservative evangelicals.

Gingrich continued the courtship by regularly appearing before audiences of hundreds of evangelical pastors to talk about God, history and politics.

Gingrich delivers the Liberty University commencement address in 2007 following Jerry Falwell

“There’s no question there’s been an evolution in his thinking and speaking and writing on America’s religious heritage, which has become a much bigger part of his lexicon,” says Reed, who leads the Faith and Freedom Coalition and is not endorsing any presidential candidates.

“He’s clearly found his voice on social issues, and less than 30 days from the Iowa caucuses the timing couldn’t be better.”

Gingrich further strengthened ties to grassroots evangelicals in 2009, launching a group aimed at bringing together religious and economic conservatives.

The organization, Renewing American Leadership, poured $150,000 into a successful Iowa campaign to unseat judges who had legalized gay marriage in the state. Many of the Iowa activists who led that 2010 campaign are now bullish on Gingrich.

Admitting to an affair also helped.

At a closed-door meeting with the nation’s top Christian Right leaders ahead of the 2008 election, Gingrich was asked about reports he’d been having an affair while leading the impeachment drive against Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The former speaker owned up to the affair and said it marked one the most shameful periods of his life, a time in which he was “alienated from God,” according to a participant at the meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Though he didn’t run for president in 2008, Gingrich went on James Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio show to admit the affair to the evangelical icon and a national audience: “There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards.”

Gingrich told listeners he’d since turned "to God to receive forgiveness and to receive mercy."

For many evangelicals, the admission and penitent tone struck a chord.

“It all depends on whether Newt has been rewired, in the theological sense of being born again,” says David Lane, an influential evangelical activist who is in regular contact with Gingrich.

“I was one of the wildest men who ever lived, loved women, wine and song, and I came to Christ,” Lane says. “I’m not perfect, but I read the Bible seven days a week. Is Newt a new man? I think he is. There’s something different about him.”

One difference is that, for the last two years, Gingrich has been an active Roman Catholic. He has described his conversion as a decade-long process inspired by Callista, who sings with a choir at the country’s largest Catholic church, Washington’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Gingrich has said that years of attending Mass there rubbed off on him, with Pope Benedict XVI’s 2008 visit providing the final impetus to conversion.

Gingrich was especially drawn to the church’s millennia-long history and intellectualism. Discussing one of his visits to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, Gingrich has said, “You stand there and you think, this is where St. Peter was crucified. This is where Paul preached.

“You think to yourself, 2,000 years ago the Apostles set out to create a worldwide movement by witnessing to the historic truth they had experienced,” Gingrich said in 2009. “And there it is.”

As opposed to being a letdown to evangelical leaders, Gingrich’s conversion away from evangelical Christianity was received as something like a born-again experience.

“Prior to that, he was a sloppy Baptist who didn’t have a clue about what he believed,” says an evangelical activist who is close to Gingrich. “When he converted, he went through Catechism and had to get his faith straight. It took some of the sloppiness out.”

But Gingrich still has to convince some religious leaders he has straightened out morally.

In his letter to Gingrich urging a speech about his marital history, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Land told Gingrich to emphasize his own religious narrative.

“I know something of your faith journey over the past 20 years,” Land wrote. “Do not hesitate to weave that into your speech to the degree that you are comfortable doing so. It will always resonate with evangelical Christians.”

If polls are to be believed, the story of Gingrich’s journey is resonating already.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Catholic Church • Lutheran • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Pope Benedict XVI • Vatican

soundoff (1,901 Responses)
  1. marya

    I started hearing Evangelical murmurs about the "power of redemption" and the "prodigal son" a few weeks ago. Any port in a storm?

    December 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • George

      It is still way to early to tell whether Newt will or will not be the nominee. Remember in the December before the last election, everybody thought that Billery would be the demoncratic nominee. It is by far not a given that Newt will come out on top.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So it's too "early" to tell if Newt will be the nominee, but not 'too early' to predict that some conservative Christian will be President?

      Really, George, even HS isn't that stupid.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  2. Lee

    I just want to hear Mitt Romney explain why his grandaddys treasonously left the United Staes to live in Mexico.

    I want Mitt to explain, as a Mormon bishop, why the horn-blowing angel "Moroni" appeared to the convicted con artist Joe Smith.

    And why was polygamy only "revealed" to their fraud "prophet" AFTER he got caught messing with his teenage domestic "help" by his first wife.

    Mitt was dodging the Vietnam era draft in FRANCE pushing this nonsense in his magic mormon underwear.... He and Huntsmen will USE the Presidency to gain greater acceptance of this nonsense so that Mormanism will be the dominant American cult/religion.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • marya

      I'm no Romney supporter but I don't think we're responsible for what our grandaddies did.
      LibDem

      December 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Lee

      Will Romney disavow "Moroni" whatever that is? Will he disavow the nonsense that drove his ancestors? No, he has fully embraced the Moroni, by becoming a Mormon bishop and spending the Vietnam years in France pushing what his grandaddies believed in.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  3. Cory

    I believe religious freedom in this country should also include its absence in our government. Why should someone from a certain religion be able to back policies based solely on religious beliefs. Is that really religious freedom or are we being suppressed by the ideals of the most popular religions because our government is based on majority rules.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Nah

      cory: "I believe religious freedom in this country should also include its absence in our government. ... Is that really religious freedom or are we being suppressed by the ideals of the most popular religions because our government is based on majority rules."

      Lol. Brilliant contradiction. We should have religious freedom, except if you want to run for office, or if you have a religious view about politics.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  4. Drew Stone

    no worries Tom. 🙂 I'm on your side.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  5. kita

    In the US a black man can't expect to be president if he sleeps around but a white man can expect to be president provided he sleeps around and repent enough.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
  6. S-Hug

    Repent: To apologize to God. i.e.,
    The crooked politician knew it was OK to sin repeatedly as long as he repented each time with a Hail Mary.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      What is sin?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  7. Mike

    Newt has not, cannot and will not change. Everything he does is for Newt and Newt only. Becoming Catholic has not changed that at all. He is what he is and always has been and will be. He isn't Catholic, Jewish, Mormon or any of the others. As is with all that he does he is "using" his"conversion" as a tool for Newt. Ship him out to oblivion so we can get real about the race,

    December 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Nah

      Gingrich is the quintessential politician. Everything he says is calculated (however poorly) to be a slogan or a sound bite to get a rise out of voters. Kind of like Obama.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Joe

      Nah, Newt is corrupt to the bone politician. Perfect for conservative causes!

      December 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Nah

      joe: "Nah, Newt is corrupt to the bone politician. Perfect for conservative causes!"

      *yawn*

      Yup. Only Conservatives are corrupt, immoral, self indulging, and vain. Those are Republican qualities, not human qualities, right?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • George

      The question is not whether he is an opportunist or not, but whether he will make good on his promises to conservative Christians. Sometimes God works through even unbelievers.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  8. America Lover

    To all of you who who still believe America has a chance to get back to where it used to be "the land of frees" do not vote for this insane man. He will bring the worse to America. He is ready to do anything to get to the white house. Once he is there, he will owe a lot to the people who got him there and will never care about the true Americans.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • George

      Who do you define as "true Americans?"

      December 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • aha

      True Americans are Scotsmen!!! I knew it!!!

      December 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Lee

      Republican "true Americans" are southerners who fly the confederate flag, others who would like to reverse much of the Civil War, and angry teabagging types who threaten treasonous secession just like the Civil War.

      Somewhere Abe Lincoln and the original Republicans of 150 years ago are rolling in their graves. Thoroughly Disgusting!!!

      December 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  9. Casey

    Newt came to my church in Georgia in 2009. I attend a conservative Baptist church and I felt he was using the church to further his political career. I still do to this day.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Ya think?

      December 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • George

      I have no doubt that Newt is an opportunist.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Get Real

      And those other politicians who tell gullible, deluded voters that "God" told them to run for president are not opportunists?!

      December 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • George

      @Getreal

      "And those other politicians who tell gullible, deluded voters that "God" told them to run for president are not opportunists?!"

      As I pointed out above, the question is not whether he is an opportunist, but whether he will make good on his promises to conservative Christians.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  10. Joe

    My dear conservatives, you are stuck with the most greedy and corrupt people. That's what usually happens when you mix religion with politics, you always get dirty. My suggestion, repent, otherwise your are a laughing stock!

    December 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Nah

      Lol. Conservatives are stuck with the most greedy and corrupt people.

      Mel Reynolds ring a bell? Barney Franks? Chris Dodd? How about Tony Rezko? How about Nancy Pelosi making millions off of confidential financial information?

      December 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • MaryM

      Nah, the people you mentioned are NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE U.S., S T U P I D

      December 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, knock it off, George. You're not fooling anyone here. There are just as many bad apples in the bushel of GOP candidates. Don't be an idiot.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Nah

      mary: "Nah, the people you mentioned are NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE U.S., S T U P I D"

      Alas, reading comprehension must not be your forte.

      The original poster said, quite generally, that conservatives are stuck with the "most greedy and corrupt people". Whether they're running for president is irrelevant.

      Good job?

      December 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • Joe

      That's all you have to defend corrupt conservative candidates?
      Seriously, repent!

      December 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "Oh, knock it off, George. You're not fooling anyone here. There are just as many bad apples in the bushel of GOP candidates. Don't be an idiot."

      Brilliant non-sequitur. The issue wasn't whether or not there are corrupt people or morons in the Republican party, the issue was whether or not Republicans were the "only" or had the "most" corrupt people.

      Please try to keep up with the conversation.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why? Do my posts bother you, Nah? I didn't know you cared.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "Why? Do my posts bother you, Nah? I didn't know you cared."

      Nah. I was pointing out the logical deficiencies in your arguments.

      Try again?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Try again?" Try again to do what?

      If you have a request, do be clear.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "If you have a request, do be clear."

      Try again at trolling, insulting, getting a rise out of people, etc.

      It's not hard to understand, really. Though given your evident lack of intelligence, it isn't surprising that simple words and sentences go over your head.

      🙂

      December 11, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Apparently, I've succeeded. Why try again?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "Apparently, I've succeeded. Why try again?"

      Lol.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      roflmao

      December 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "roflmao"

      Indeed 🙂

      December 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Agreed.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Steed peed.
      Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey, hey.....

      December 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  11. GaJanie

    No, he hasn't repented enough to be President, and neither has his wife. She saw nothing wrong with having an ongoing affair with a married man. He saw nothing wrong with publicly berating Clinton while he continued his own affair. Presidential or First Lady material? I don't think so. I need a leader with ethics....too much is at stake.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Guin

      Agreed. And since Clinton "can't" be forgiven, I think it's a wee bit disingenuous for them to let Newt off the hook.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  12. John Strekal

    It is obvious that Gingrich has inadequately repented – he is still a republican.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Dennis A

      ^^^^WIN

      December 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    It is my opinion that the poster calling himself "George" is a troll who is pretending to be some fundamentalist nut-job to get a rise out of others. He's not a Christian at all. He's most likely an atheist or agnostic. He's posting over-the-top comments in an attempt to make fundies look even more moronic than they already do-I think he also posted as Anne Swanson and Annabella. George doesn't believe a word of his posts; he's simply here to stir the pot.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Nah

      Yup. But the saddest part are the liberals and atheists who take him seriously.

      Seems to show how reactive and unintelligent they are.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Shhhhh

      Shhhhh, He is doing a bang-up job of showcasing the evangelical's idiocy.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, it shows how patently ridiculous the real fundies are-George is doing a perfect imitation of them. They're just as insane as he pretends to be, and so are you.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
    • MaryM

      Thanks for the heads up Tom

      December 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • George

      I believe firmly in God, America, and morality and to you that makes me a troll. Well that's just tough. For your information, I was born Catholic and converted to Evangelical Christianity after college. I believe what I believe, and I will not be silenced by the likes of you. I happen to be very active in politics at the local level, and politics and religion are very near and dear to my heart. I am here to stand up for Christ.

      What's your excuse?

      December 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, and Nah is the same poster as George.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • captain america

      It is our opinion that Tom, Tom, The Pipers Son is a qu eer canadian who secretly longs to be a woman, and probably serves in that capacity in real life. We also suspect that Tom, Tom takes others names to further try to abuse those who disagree with him/her, due to his/her insecure nature.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "No, it shows how patently ridiculous the real fundies are-George is doing a perfect imitation of them. They're just as insane as he pretends to be, and so are you."

      Someone pretending to be something proves something about the thing he's pretending to be?

      Great logic.

      And the ad hominem at the end was cute.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Moe

      Since I have met people just as crazy as George and Anna, all I can say is you might be right but you might not.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "Oh, and Nah is the same poster as George."

      New to trolling, eh?

      Bit of advice: don't get so angry so quickly.

      🙂

      December 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ah, my little shadow is here all upset! I knew it would be along any moment.

      And Nah, you can say whatever you choose, but you're pretty obvious.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Tom, I do tend to agree with you except that if George really is an atheist he would be able to answer some of the questions he's been asked, and has ducked, perhaps with some embellishment to make the crazies seem even crazier. But who knows, maybe he is smart enough to play super dumb.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Experienced at it, are you, Nah?

      You must not be, or you'd be more perceptive.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, George, you're a pretender.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • nope

      nah is squirmy mark from squirmy river

      December 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "And Nah, you can say whatever you choose, but you're pretty obvious."

      If you say so?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Usually a question mark is used at the end of a question, Nah. What was yours?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "Usually a question mark is used at the end of a question, Nah. What was yours?"

      Alas, sarcasm escapes you as well.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      My little shadow, you really seem to want something, but you've been unable to articulate your desire. What is it you need?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "My little shadow, you really seem to want something, but you've been unable to articulate your desire. What is it you need?"

      You're trying way too hard, tom. If you're going to troll, or try to make people angry: First, don't become angry yourself; Second, try to be subtle; and, Third, if you've failed, don't keep trying.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why? It seems to be terribly important to you to make some sort of point here. Why does it matter to you?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: "Why? It seems to be terribly important to you to make some sort of point here. Why does it matter to you?"

      This is just depressing now 😦 You're trying too hard. Time to let go, tom.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Let go" of what, little shadow? Why would you care whether I "let go" of whatever it is you think I'm holding?

      Perhaps you should try doing so and then you can set an example. ;D

      December 11, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Nah

      tom: ""Let go" of what, little shadow? Why would you care whether I "let go" of whatever it is you think I'm holding?"

      Dear me, you are a dense one.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Perhaps. But you're so brilliant I'm sure you can explain it even to me.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Keith

      Anyone ever notice the frequency of tom tom's postings on this blog? "A fool is full of words..." Ecc 10:14

      December 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor Keith.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Still stings, huh, Keith?

      December 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  14. If horses had Gods ...

    The inability to distinguish reality from myth is a lot more damaging to someones ability to be President than their inability to be a faithful husband.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  15. Joe

    "Gingrich will cleanse the White House next November"?

    One reason conservatives are so frustrated is they know none of their candidates can even come close to Obama on character and on Values!

    December 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • George

      You MUST be joking.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      Another reason conservatives are so frustrated is that, it is, after all, the WHITE house.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Alfred, I think you've nailed it, but I don't think you are supposed to say it...

      December 11, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  16. Marc Sarich

    Praise the Lord, oh my soul! I'm just grateful that I have the freedom to live my life without being an Evangelical.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      Praise the Lord that I can have a beer at the bar after work and not wonder if I've crossed the line into drunkenness and somehow sinned against the Lord. Praise the Lord that I can watch a rated-R movie without having to somehow rationalize my behavior or confess it to my accountability partner in my men's group Wednesday night. Praise the Lord that I don't need a men's group Wednesday night in order to feel like a good person who is right with God and his family. Praise the Lord that I have better music to listen to and sing than the sado-masochistic "worship" music Calvary Chapel farts out on a regular basis. Praise the Lord that I can enjoy and appreciate my friends who are Muslim, gay, Democrat, or cohabitating, without having to check myself internally and remind myself that they're going to hell so I can't really count them as my friends, and probably shouldn't feel too good hanging out with them, unless of course, I'm using every opportunity to share the "Gospel hand" with them. Praise the Lord that I can choose to believe that God is broader than the Bible and that Jesus is broader or flat-out different than he is portrayed in the Gospel accounts. And praise the Lord that I can vote for Barack Obama, Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney with a clear conscience, based on who I feel is best qualified to run the country, not based on who I feel the "Holy Spirit" is compelling me to vote for. In all things, brothers and sisters, Praise the Lord!

      December 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  17. HR

    Gingrich is a fool – it is really sad that the Republicans can not find a decent candidate –

    December 11, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  18. Bad Dog

    As a previous bible thumper myself (one of youngest licensed ministers of Church of God), I just am amazed at the extreme ego and narcissism of these self-proclaimed religious power brokers. It would be comical, if it weren't so hurtful.

    Land is a blow-bag by thinking he has the right to ask for such a thing. And as a rule, most of the leaders of the modern day Christian Church are as well. These people have lost touch with reality by thinking that their efforts and money are rightfully invested in politics.

    The message of Christ, and the overall message of the Bible is clear:
    Among other things, feed the hungry, care for the sick and those who can't care for themselves, forgive as you would be forgiven, and certainly, don't pass judgement, lest you be judged.

    But no – the priorities are to run up the score board on political hot issues as abortion, gay rights and the like.

    To all of you zealots: Since when did the commission (the mandate) of Christ say:
    build fancy buildings, invest heavily in politics, spend millions against those you don't agree with?

    Gingrich can only be judged at the spiritual level by the Creator – just as each of us answer to the Universal Laws
    and Power and thankfully not by any of these silly little men such as Land, Fallwell, Reed, Dobson or the lot.

    They "doest protest too much..."

    December 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • MaryM

      Thanks for calling a christian hypocrite a hypocrite, or a spade a spade

      December 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  19. Lineman

    The only Christian the evangelicals will be able to vote for is Obama.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  20. George

    My pastor believes that we should be supporting Santorum or Bachman. I agree, but I think that we need to go with whoever stands the best chance of beathing Obama. I am still undecided about my primary vote.

    December 11, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • MaryM

      NONE of the candidates have a chance in hell of beating President Obama

      December 11, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • George

      Well, I'm sure you are wrong. Time will tell.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Synapse

      I believe it is literally illegal for your pastor to propose that you vote for ANY candidate [at least from the pulpit].
      It speaks volumes how out of touch with the teachings of Jesus he or she [99% it's a he] is.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • MaryM

      George, wanna wager your house on that? I need a new house, lol

      December 11, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, come on, George, you phony. You know that's exactly what you'd like to have happen. You're on here for the express purpose of promoting a liberal agenda using reverse psychology.

      Silly little dweeb.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • Dennis A

      George, how old are you?

      December 11, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Marc Sarich

      George, my pastor believes that you should start cleaning the santorum out of your a$$ and start listening to more Beethoven and Bach, man!

      December 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Drew Stone

      George, my pastor believes that you should start cleaning the santorum out of your a$$ and start listening to more Beethoven and Bach, man!

      December 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Your "pastor"? You aren't even a member of a church, you impostor.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Drew Stone

      and neither is "George" Tom, but I ain't hatin!

      December 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      I can't talk to George any more because of my blood pressure. However, anyone who needs someone else to tell them who to vote for is.....welll you know.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Cross-post. Drew, my comment was directed at George.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • justin

      If your going to vote based on what your pastor says based on what the voices are telling him, then you shouldnt be voting at all.

      December 11, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Drew Stone

      no worries Tom 🙂 I'm on your side!

      December 11, 2011 at 4:59 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.