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Can religious conservatives learn to love Newt?
February 27th, 2011
02:27 PM ET

Can religious conservatives learn to love Newt?

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

There was one name on almost everyone's lips when I atteneded CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., four years ago: Newt Gingrich.

The man who engineered the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 1994, ending two generations of Democratic control, didn't throw his hat into the ring for 2008, but there are signs he plans to do so for 2012.

And that raises a critical question: Can religious conservatives learn to love a man who is twice divorced, carried on an affair while criticizing Bill Clinton over Monica Lewinsky and battled House ethics panel allegations throughout his four years as Speaker of the House?

John McCain proved in 2008 that a Republican can capture the party's nomination without religious conservative fervor at his back. He also showed how hard it is to win the White House without it.

Perhaps with that in mind, Gingrich is quietly emphasizing his 2009 conversion to Catholicism to certain voters, making appearances at right-to-life organizations, touring a film he produced about Pope John Paul II, and admitting there are things in his past he isn't proud of.

He's making headway with at least some potential supporters, such as veteran anti-abortion activist Jack Willke, the New York Times reports Sunday.

The money quote, from Willke's wife Barbara:  “His Catholicism certainly sounds legit, and even more so since (his wife) Callista is in the picture now.”

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Catholic Church • Newt Gingrich • Politics • United States

soundoff (285 Responses)
  1. bronie4life

    We criticize the Muslim Brotherhood and what they might do in the Mideast (rightfully so), yet we fish for votes in the domestic equivalent.

    Oh the irony.

    February 27, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  2. ItSOnLyME

    Newt is about as relevant as Leviticus and Sarah Palin (i.e., not at all).

    February 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  3. drod

    If they like hypocrites they will love gingrich.

    February 27, 2011 at 10:44 pm |
    • jsr

      exactly my sediments. If the Religious Right support Newt, they can't be "right" and I question their religious beliefs other than forgive thy transgressor. I do forgive Newt, but he's not suitable for public office. He needs to join Chuck Colson, Prison Ministries, or otehr politicans who fell on their sword.

      February 27, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  4. Rudy Gonzales

    No! Newt Can't win. Newt Gingrich – What? An antique also ran, who authored "Contract with America" – far right extreme-ism that didn't work and started down the extremist road. Here's the whole list:
    The following list of players who pray at the Church of BECK on FOX.
    Mitt Romney – Nope! Lawyer and usually comes in third or fourth!
    Tim Pawlenty – Naw! A Lawyer with limited exposure and unknown except to Radical Rightist !
    Haley Barbour – Nope! A recist Lobbyist lawyer from the poorest state in the union!
    Mike Huckabee – No way! A FOX commentator with consistent second to last place placements!
    Jon Huntsman – No! An unknown but known to form PAC's to hide funding for candidates!
    Rick Santorum – Nope! Another lawyer known only in one state, poor shot!
    Sarah Palin – Nope, a self-centered gold seeker with absolutely no substance and no vision!
    Mitch Daniels – Naw, he's another attorney with an arrest record!
    John Thune – Nope! He has voted against the Health Care Reform Act passed by the 111th Congress!
    Ron Paul – Naw! He's a bigot's father and further right of the already right-winged extremist!
    Herman Cain – No way! Another FOX commentator with no real world experience!
    Michelle Bachmann – Nope! Another no- substance, self centered gold seeker, bat crazy TEA party-er!
    Rick Perry – Nope! A career politician with no real world experience, who forces his warped narrow-minded religious beliefs on Texas women instead of addressing the 16 billion dollar budget deficit!
    John Ensign – A straight forward man, just ask Cynthia Hampton with whom he had and extramarital affair after calling for Clinton's resignation.
    Gary Johnson – Deflected questions about a 2012 presidental bid by saying his 501(c)(4) status forbids him from expressing a run for federal office on politics but he used marijuana for pain control from 2005 to 2008.
    Donald Trump – Multiple bankruptcies, Trump had switched to the Democratic Party from the Republican Party in 2001 and again registered as a Republican in 2009.
    Jeb Bush – He's a Bush!!
    Chris Christie – He's a lawyer, a lobbyist, crafted deferred prosecution agreements to award lucrative federal monitoring positions in no-bid contracts to friends, supporters, and allies.

    February 27, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • nice guy

      that list great

      February 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
  5. Ron

    HeavenScent,

    Please provide any "true science" that supports your world view. Any at all that can prove that there was anyone named Jesus, that he performed any of the so called "miracles" and died and rose from the dead. Go ahead, show us that "science".

    February 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  6. Truth Speaker

    Newt. What a lost cause. He screwed it up so bad before that repuklicans are still paying the price. Whatever koolaid is handy he will drink if he thinks it will get him elected. He is currently the best model for the Taliban in America. Pray to God or we will kill you. What a putz.

    February 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
  7. icedawg

    Newt's a has been. The Demoncrats would love nothing more than for him to be the Repubs' candidate. If the Repubs run reruns they will lose hands down.

    February 27, 2011 at 10:37 pm |
  8. Blessed Geek

    our padre who art in washington
    gingrinch be thy name
    thy republic come
    thy bills and legislation be done

    give us this day our global warming
    and provide us with adequate CO2
    for thine is our republic
    forever and ever.

    February 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  9. galileo2100

    Newt can shut up.

    February 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  10. Robrob

    Yeah, they'll fall all over themselves in support of the married guy who was boning a staffer while simultaneously condemning Clinton for doing the same.

    February 27, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • The Rev'd Father Raymond H. Burgoon-Clark

      But he's a CONSERVATIVE serial-adulterer ... that makes it ALL better.

      February 28, 2011 at 3:15 am |
  11. chuckly

    yes thy will, the braindead who voted for bush twice will have a circle jerk over newt

    February 27, 2011 at 10:25 pm |
  12. ChollyGee

    Sure he can. The Religious Right can be manipulated by anyone who simply tells them what they want to hear. Newt is certainly good for that, but this little self-important know-it-all as President?

    Nahhhh.

    February 27, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
  13. TruthSayer

    Religion shouldn't even be part of the discussion here folks. Hell, I'm still waiting on Newt's contract with America to kick in...Blah, Blah, Blah

    February 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  14. larryb

    they will believe anything except our first black president was born in the united states and is a christian

    February 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • Bill

      Excellent!

      February 27, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
  15. 66Biker

    Let me guess... He is going to do it in 100 days, right?

    February 27, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
  16. Mark from Middle River

    Wow. Yes as minor Gods do we think ourselves over other posters. After all these months of reading post from those of faith and those not of faith it is a simple conclusion. If it is in tommas' view to first engage the group with the smack of casting of sheep then to him the vestige of coexistence can never yeild fruit.

    It is a hateful existence that he chooses to bring to the group.

    February 27, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  17. Lisa

    Admitting things he isn't proud of, eh? He has no shame about his role in putting together a so-called "Defense of Marriage" bill which contained no language whatsoever to deal with marriage's enemy #1 – divorce. It added no waiting periods, no mandatory or funds for counseling, no limits upon number of serial "till death do us part" marriages, and no penalties for adultery. The act was signed by the married Clinton perhaps with Lewinsky under the desk during the actual signing.

    This was pure and simply an act of bigotry. And Newt is proud of it to this day.

    February 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
  18. Mentalenema

    Enough tequila and I can learn to love anybody.

    February 27, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  19. Reality

    Hmmm, common sense, rational thinking and "Do No Harm" easily takes the place of any book of human rules.

    With respect to Abrahamic religions, an easy way to quickly remove the brainwashing:

    The saving of 1.5 billion lost Muslim souls:
    There never was and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam

    The saving of 2 billion lost Christian souls:
    There was and never will be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity

    The saving of 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    Added details upon request.

    February 27, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • Tommas

      You can't just spell it out like that. Sheep need to be brought to the pasture. Unwinding years of indoctrination takes time.

      February 27, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      We already know you to believe yourselves to be the only gods.

      February 27, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @HeavenScent

      Wrong again! I don't think a single person has declared themselves a god in here.

      You should stop putting words in other people mouths and directly answer the questions folks have asked of you about your delusional rants and raves.

      February 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The HotAir, figure out what Nation is not in our history books.

      February 27, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @heavenScent

      I don't have time for your games. Please say what you mean in clear understandable english and I'll continue to converse.

      And about your inability to post your truth – once more and last ime – you are using word fragments that this lousy blog soft-ware doesn't like. If you can't get past it, you are too dumb to have a serious conversation with!

      February 27, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I have HotAirAce, but it gets blocked. Not my problem you aren't allowed to read what I've already tried to post.

      Now do your own homework starting with who's nation is never written in our history books?

      February 27, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tommas, you are not exempt from being lied to. Stop thinking lies are placed upon the Christians only, the Jews are lied to every day. As a matter of fact, everyone is being lied to by those that hide who they truly are. Jesus told us in Matthew 23.

      February 27, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Anglican

      Tommas. The faithful are God's sheep, we live in His pasture... I do not know how comfortable you should be, a follower of Reality. All in good time. Peace.

      February 27, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Tommas

      @Heaven, I fear even responding to deaf/closed ears. But yes of course everyone is lied to, duh. The difference being the ones who can tell when they are being lied to and can look objectively at the reality that surrounds them. And I obviously have better things to do then keep track of 20 something posts (hahahahahahahahahha). You did make me feel better about myself though, and help describe the fanatic I am speaking to.

      February 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tommas, too funny. You just quoted one of Jesus scriptures on deaf ears and use it as your own belief?

      Two, instead of having Christians who have studied Jesus Truth, I suggest you catch up to what we've uncovered over the years instead of the same ole same ole questions you pick off the Net to disprove His truth.

      Third, true science proves Jesus truth in the Bible, but, because you go to all the non-believer sites you buy into their crap instead of asking those who believe what the latest discoveries are.

      The reason you don't want to go back and read previous discussions is due to your own laziness. Not ours.

      If anyone is being fanatical, it's the person that comes in at the end of a debate and insists on starting it over.

      February 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm |
    • LiberateUs

      Reality, It is Militant Atheists like you that makes my blood boil. It is hard to forgive people who put others down for their religious beliefs. It is my human nature that resents you, and others like you. My spirituality is what keeps me from going mad with rage.

      February 27, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • evolvedDNA

      Heavensent..what true science are you talking about that has proven the bible correct.... also why are you a christian anyway... is it cultural...if you were born in say Iran.. would you be a muslim, or would you have switched to praise jesus as some how he came to you. I would think that you were indoctrinated at birth, and have never looked at other options.. just my thoughts. I have also wondered why Christians , and it has appeared on this site many times... enjoy the thought of people burning in he-ll .. and enjoy telling them they will. Dont get me wrong.. i dont even believe in he-ll so I could care less.. but I just find it interesting that peace loving folks appear to like a good barbeque

      February 27, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • evolvedDNA

      liberateus..because we object to religions attempting to destroy the world with their god wars , does not make us militant. Most religions are death cults.. and look to the afterlife with relish...we just do want to dragged into that fiasco based on unsubstantiated myths .Religions have had their say and killed to keep others from questioning their authority for millenia... maybe your anger is a relic of that?

      February 27, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
  20. Tommas

    Religious conservatives believe a couple thousand year old book to the the exact words of a sky fairy. They can be taught/convinced to do anything.

    February 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Evan

      Be careful not to jump to conclusions. The Bible is not a science textbook, or a history textbook, but about how we should live our lives.

      February 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Tommas

      Evan,
      Including when to stone people and how to own slaves. We have the philosophical branch of ethics to determine how we should live our lives.

      February 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Tommas, time to do your homework. We've got past what you wrote 20 articles ago. You need to catch up to the current debate.

      February 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • JB

      I'm surprised you even believe in birth control. It took forever for that to become common practice amongst Christians.

      That book should never be implemented outside of its context.

      February 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • xargaw

      Newt probably can win the RR, because in truth they aren't a very religious bunch at all. They certainly do not heed the commands in the Bible to take care of the sick and the poor and the widows and the orphans. They aren't big on foregiveness and they believe in letting the rich keep everything while the poor are suffering without. They are all anxiously awaiting the Rapture, but I doubt Christ will even recognize whatever it is they call their religion because it doesn't resemble anything he ever advocated.

      February 27, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Bill

      Atheists on the other hand, make monkeys of themselves, and have people like Hitler, Stalin, and POL POT as their poster boys. They will swallow practically anything. (I have a genius IQ and I find Christianity far easier to believe than Darwin, especially since I have seen the atrocities Darwinist are capable of. Christianity's record is not perfect, but then not everyone who claims to be a Christian is one).

      February 27, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • Josh

      @ Bill....You may want to check your facts on Hitler instead of regurgitating your preacher’s talking points. "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so" - Adolf Hitler

      February 27, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • evolvedDNA

      Bill..well done.. we are very close to chimps... so making monkeys out of ourselves is quite near the truth. But you would believe it was actually god that made monkeys out of us thought right? Sounds like being smart is no guarantee of understanding the world though, you may not realise this, but those poster boys as you claim, did not kill in the name of anything other than their own political agenda. We are all the same.. good , bad , indifferent, you do not need the superntural to be moral, you just need to be a human first ( part of the ape family). Use your intelligence to better understand evolution..

      February 27, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
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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.