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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. curt

    let people play games all they want in life on other people, let them think they are winning.. Hopefully they will be reincarnated as a male grasshopper so the female can bite his head off after he gets laid once. Or worse.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  2. Time2rock

    It doesn't matter whether he's repented enough or not. He's a slimeball of filth and refuses to change. That's not repentance.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • DavidE7

      JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED!

      December 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      Time2rock, if you are an Evangelical, you have an AWESOME religion! "Thus saith the LORD of hosts...utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass." 1 Samuel 15:2-3. Koran's got nuthin' on the OT (unless you just believe that the God of the OT is true, and THAT SETTLES IT, and the Koran is for infidels)!

      Evangelical faith is a "Vestigial Remnant of a Bronze-Age God."

      If you're not Evangelical, please disregard my post.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  3. Kevin O.

    As a Christian I demand there be a blood sacrafice. Words are free and his actions are cheap. I want to see PURE FAITH actions and tearing of flesh.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Vasily Smith

      I agree. And let's see women and children being killed too, in proper Old Testament fashion. And Rick Perry hacked President Obama into pieces. 1 Samuel 15:33 (in modern context).

      December 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  4. shawn

    Who cares that he cheated and lied in his moral life and now hides behind religion. As putrid as that is, that's the minor problem you have with Newt. He KNOWS the American people are too lazy to do the intellectual work to unearth all of the crimes his greed and lust for power motivated him to commit when he was in the HoR. This arrogant, narcissistic intellectual fraud NEEDS to be stopped.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • DavidE7

      But Romney's staff is not too lazy to look into every nook and cranny to find some dirt.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  5. r e mccray

    Guilty!

    December 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  6. Has Gingrich repented enough?

    No

    December 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  7. John

    A vote for Newt is a vote for Oblahma.........

    December 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • curt

      I think I'd rather have Palin as the president!

      December 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gah.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  8. curt

    He changes religions like he changes wives lol... Something tells me if he had no money he would have never had any wives.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  9. matrix09

    Old newt will do all the repentin he thinks he needs to do to convince the Fundamentalist suckers that he's a "Changed Man". And it will work too. Look at Baker, Swaggert, ect. All he's got to do is keep that Republican cry, "The Muslims are comming, The Muslims are comming", and he's got em suckered in.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • conrad

      Exactly, and what difference does it make anyway ... ever hear of separation of church and state?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Trinity

      They don't want muslims busting in and doing the same thing they are doing.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  10. TODD D.

    Newt, has be forgiven through Jesus Christ. Why does the media/some people make a big deal out of something they have a hard time doing, forgive and let it go. I am very pride to hear Newt's sincere confession about his past life, what a real testimony. Family in Christ, Todd D.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:33 pm |
    • bdl

      Pick up a science book when you get a chance for a nice, refreshing dose of reality.

      No one has ever seen any god. Does that change your opinion? Sadly no. brainwashed sheep

      December 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  11. Paul

    There is no such thing as "repented enough". You either repent or you don't. No shades of gray, black or white only.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Trinity

      Thank you O voice of God. Now shut up.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Time2rock

      Maybe you should contact the author and tell him he's as dumb as a box of rocks.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  12. Mark

    "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."

    Or...could be the whole planet Kolob and spirit babies thing being plain weird...

    December 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • conrad

      All religion is weird when you get right down to it. Angels, demons, burning bushes, raising the dead, being tortured on a cross to save all mankind. It really just comes down to what you are accustomed to hearing.

      For me, I won't vote Republican, but if it were based strictly on true values as demonstrated through actual action in life ... Romney is head and shoulders above Newt. Newt is simply a bad self-serving egomaniac. People like Newt don't repent, they manipulate. He's not contrite he's just old.

      It's surreal to think he could be the nominee ... but good news for Democrats.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • DavidE7

      Many people don't like Romney because he is a symbol of the 1% and the Americans want someone who identifies with the 99%. The flip flopping and Mormon things are just covers.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  13. Faisal

    nothing makes me more sick than when an American uses the Lord's name

    December 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • heyjo

      If it makes you sick you must be at odds with God

      December 11, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  14. Alfredo

    Newt is da man. The guy has been around the block. He know politics. A Newt/Romney ticket is likely,,,

    December 11, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  15. Joe

    Gingrich is living proof that conservatives are not Christians. Christians have values.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • George

      Not all conservatives are Christians, but all true Christians are conservative.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't even believe that, Georgie.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • conrad

      @ George ...

      Shameless comment and decidedly false. Jesus was clearly the original hippie socialist.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • littleriver2

      You can't be a social conservative and be Christian – I do agree with that. It is impossible to withhold love and physical care from those who have no means to help themselves and call yourselves a follower of the most liberal of Saviors, Jesus Christ. If you follow his teachings, and few do, you will shelter,feed and care for the homeless and the widows and orphans. No debate there.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Angus

      I would have thought all true Christians would be Democrats. For it is the Democrats do what JC would have done – Compassion and care for the less fortunate and not seek any way, moral or immoral, to enrich one self.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • indyfan2

      Christ was a socialist.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  16. MOJarry

    Newt will jump on any side of the fence that supports his agenda. When did Jesus forgive him?

    December 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • littleriver2

      He didn't. The word Chalistra sounds like a STD.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  17. R.G.

    Seeing the rise of intolerant, harsh, judgmental, pseudo-Christian noe-cons in the US who are a Taliban without weapons (well, some probably have them) I am sooooo glad to be Buddhist.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • George

      Good. You pray to your Buddha, and we will pray to the True God, and we will see whose candidate wins. By the way, for being a Buddhist, you like to throw around insulting terms like "Taliban." Doesn't your religion teach you to be more tolerant?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, can it, George. You're far too obvious. You aren't a Christian. You're a troll who is here to make the conservatives look like they're all insane.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
    • George

      @Tom

      I'm not a troll, but you're clearly trolling me.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      George, speaking about whose candidate is going to win, I see that you have not answered my question about what it will mean if conservative christians are not elected as you would like. So, what will it mean?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Trinity

      Maybe George will snap and start shooting his neighbors. He certainly seems the type, doesn't he?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • conrad

      And George, just so you know ... Buddhists don't pray to the Buddha. He isn't a 'god'. He was a man who realized his true nature and dedicated his life to eliminating delusion and suffering. He specifically told his followers NOT to worship him.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nah, you're a troll, all right, George. You don't even sound credible any longer. You're impersonating a rabid Christian conservative to discredit the cause because you are an atheist who's fed up with the right wing and you want to portray the very worst of their views.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • littleriver2

      Have at it!! I am a devout Christian liberal

      December 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
    • George

      @HotAir

      If a conservative Christian is not elected, then, I guess it will be God's will. Of course, Satan is running wild in the world right now. The Bible prophesizes that terrible things will happen in the end times. Christians will endure even if that means another 4 years of, ak, Obama. But I have complete faith that a conservative Christian will be elected in 2012.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Thanks for the reply.

      So, Democrats win, you win ('cause end times are near) – Republicans win, you win ('cause the USA is on the road to a theocracy).

      You must be comforted to have such a fluid believe system that you can explain anything to support it and have moral absolutism too.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • captain america

      We don't need canadian opinion hot air, go blow the NDP where you might belong.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • fua

      hey captan amerika ill bet you love getting it in your ass in and out in and out and in in in oooohhhhhhh

      December 11, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
  18. Loathstheright

    A snake sheds it's skin, but it is still a snake....Newt is still a slimeball.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • George

      Your comment makes me wonder if the article were about Bachman and something else, you would still say something nasty just because it is a conservative Christian.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Loathstheright

      Who cares what you think George...I sure don't.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Trinity

      By their fruits ye shall know them. They are snakes. Gotta call a spade a spade, George. Right?

      December 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • littleriver2

      I agree with smarmy, slimeball!!! LOL!

      December 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  19. Sunshinestategirl

    Seriously, if Newt gets the nomination it will be one miserable November in 2012. It isn't that Newt commited adultery and that is a SIN – it is that he has a pattern of violating his important commitments. Repenting is between him and his god. But Newt has pledged his oath not once but twice to remain faithful and then violated those oaths. He also violated his his fiduciary duty to the taxpayers by using gov't funding for his personal business. And somehow we're supposed to believe he's different now. Because he gave a religious speech?

    I shouldn't be suprised but it sill makes me sad that people will not vote for Romney – even though he llikely cares more for the actual welfare of individual people than Obama or Gingrich – because they've been taught to hate people of his faith. They don't know anything about that faith other than their pastor told them to hate these people.

    Whether or not someone is a TRUE CHRISTIAN is something between tht person and Christ. Christ did not leave a checklist of doctrines – in fact some "Christian" doctrines weren't invented until centuries later – what He did say was "by their fruits ye shall know them"

    This may be the most important election in our history – I hope everybody gets to know their candidate before voting

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

      Do you know what Newt was guilty of? as speaker Do you approve of all the inside trading going on in the congress

      December 11, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  20. Joe

    The biggest scam of prominent conservative candidates is that they first break any moral value there is out there,
    and then run "redemptio­n" trick.

    Works every time! Make you wonder if conservative game is really about values?

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

      1/10. Troll harder.

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

      Name one (prominent politician)!!!!!

      December 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Joe

      MarkinArk,
      Read the story.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
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      the darling of the conversvatives for so long.
      the rep from CA... get to the choppaaa

      December 11, 2011 at 5:24 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.