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. Vasily Smith

    if you are an Evangelical, you have an AWESOME religion! And I quote: "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 that the Koran is thus for infidels only)!

    Seriously?!? Evangelical faith is nothing more than a "Vestigial Remnant of a Bronze-Age God."

    If Hitler were alive today, he would consider his war won just on the sheer hatred and bigotry of the Evangelicals toward their fellow man alone. Long live the Master Race!

    Calvary Chapel and the rest of the Southern Bapstards need to teach their congregations the goose step, and throw in some Wagner to their rock n roll worship services.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      I just know that Rick Perry, if elected, would help us find the Lance of Longinus, and maybe even the Holy Grail!

      December 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  2. Miriam

    Let anyone without a skelton in their closet cast the first stone.

    Gingrich has the smarts, background in education and experience to pull this country out of the toilet.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Vasily Smith

      damn right. hopefully no one has "Red Skelton" in their closets, though.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      If his financial policy resembles in any way his 'fire the janitors and give their jobs to students' plan, it is more likely that his hand will be the one on the handle when the US economy gets flushed down that toilet.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Sid

      Smart like Miriam... we hope not.

      December 11, 2011 at 7:07 pm |

    The woman at the well received forgiveness because she was penitent. Newt has shown no such humility, and he went so far as to blame his ADULTERY on patriotism. I mean, it takes a lot of nerve to come up with that one. But, it's probably the most original excuse for committing a sin. Patriotism. HA HA HA HA!!!

    December 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Martin

      Newt is a very sick twisted narcisist who also put a million mortage Wall Street dollars in his "consultant" pocket..he should be fined broke and jailed...

      December 11, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      The "woman at the well" story is a later addition to the Gospel of John that was not in the original manuscript. The vast majority of conservative Christian scholars would attest to this. So, of all New Testament stories you could have picked to cite as an example, citing this one in particular does not carry much weight. In addition, in the text itself there is no indication that the woman at the well actually repented in the situation. She barely says a word. Please do not add your own theological interpretations as overlays to the basic text itself. It's just bad scholarship. I would recommend that you read the Apocryphal book of Susanna for an intriguingly similar story.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      Hey Stanek, it was Jerry Falwell who brought in the story about the woman at the well. In the article, about 5 paragraphs in. Haha, just shows how hypocritcal and deceitful Christian leaders are. haha

      December 11, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
    • Jim Stanek

      Hey Mike from Iowa- I totally agree. Also, calling Jerry Falwell a "Christian Leader" is like calling Perez Hilton a "Fashion Expert." Neither is seriously recognized by anyone in their respective fields, despite each contributing greatly to the public perception. It's unfortunate.

      December 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  4. kd

    Evangelicals: if you can't stand up for what you believe, then what you believe isn't worth squat. Those of you that are supporting this mess of a person and candidate are showing yourselves as complete hypocrites.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  5. mike from iowa

    Anyone who supports religion is a lunatic. Religion has ruined mankind. Our Founding Fathers made sure to keep religion out of government, the Republicans do everything they can to defeat the Founding Fathers. THE REPUBLICANS - AMERICA'S TALIBAN.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  6. JJ

    He is white trash and always will be. He has no moral compass.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      But, but, but he's a christian with a bible! And he's white!!

      December 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Victor Sliszak

      and by golly, he don't believe in that Book of Mormon crap!

      December 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm |
  7. Larry L

    This is facinating. If morality and honor have no meaning the Republican Party is just about greed, fear of diversity, and fear of change. It's not about old slimey Newt finding religion and becoming honorable – that's nonsense. He'd say he worships a volcano if he thought he get some votes. So Republicans must ask themselves the question... What's the price of honor?

    December 11, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  8. mike from iowa

    CATHOLICS SUPPORTED THE NAZI'S. Catholicism is a work of the Devil. It's no wonder Conservative Republicans are convrting to catholicism. And yes, Catholics helped Nazi'd escape war crime trials, Catholics helped steal and hide valuable art treasures.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
    • Larry

      Newt is a counterfeit. http://counterfeitcandidate.com

      December 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  9. Gin Grinch

    Y cant Americans be smart enough to understand that u cant afford to have 3 mistresses and wives without being corrupt. After all our sins can be forgiven, so it is okay to dump many women and accept bribes from lobbyists. Praise the Lord.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  10. Prince of Peace

    Who cares what the born again Taliban think. Grich is an ultra right-wing wacko who would only lead our nation in the wrong direction. Why so called Christian politics is aligned with greed, racism, and violence I just can't understand.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • fua

      wheres your peace if you want war prince ill give it to you

      December 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  11. mockingbird2

    Never mind Newt. His former pastor, Ike Reighard, is an interesting man ihimself, when it comes to the study of ambition. In the 1990s, Ike Reighard took over First Baptist of Atlanta's pastoral duties when Charles Stanley was battling personal problems (Stanley's wife left him, and his son, Andy, separated from him and went out on his own).

    Apparently, the Rev. Reighard did not expect the Rev. Stanley to professionally survive as pastor of that highly influential, very wealthy church. When Stanley did indeed return, the Rev. Reighard immediately resigned, stating (basically) that that was "not what he expected at all." He went independent and now heads a toney church in the North Atlanta suburbs.

    I've met Rev. Ike (1980s). At the time, he wasn't a bad guy.... just really, really plastic. You know the type. Always looking over their shoulder while you're talking to them, so that they don't miss a chance to talk with someone really important. Always networking to get picked to pray at the big bowl game. 'Nuff said.

    As for Newt - a few years ago his half-sister basically said that his statements about anything - religion, or what-have-you - reflect almost nothing except a sincere desire to say whatever he thinks it'll take to get him elected. Self-absorbed. Basically amoral. Driven by the urge to be important. Nixonian. You know the type.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  12. Jim Weix

    Who cares what the nation’s top Christian Right leaders think. I think that since 9/11 we can see what the result is when religion gets involved.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Larry

      I think it does matter. Look how much was wasted on Bill Clinton his presidency was a joke. http://www.counterfeitcandidate.com

      December 11, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  13. bdl

    Trust in satan is the only real way to be happy

    December 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • fua

      hey lametroll go suck yo mammas dick

      December 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  14. us1776

    Religion is the worst thing that ever happened to the human race.


    December 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • bdl

      Nuh uh cause it provides me a false sense of hope, security, comfort, and also a social gathering on sunday afternoons. Its my crutch through life as I blindly believe in fairy tale endings. I scares me to think there's no afterlife so I just stick with religion because it makes me warm and fuzzy inside. Plus my parents were religious so automatically I am to because I cannot think for myself and realize that every religion depends on location and therefore is arbitrary. Also I have difficulty comprehending the fact that the possibility of one god existing is just as implausible as any other god existing. There are 20 main religions in the world and each is as rediculous as the next. And I read a book that proves God does exist because words written by crazy prophets means its real. I cant name anyone who wrote anything in the bible, but I still get offended when someone says anything remotely offensive or doubtful of my "faith". Also I confuse faith for fact because I am retarded and don't understand things very well. That is why I am Christian. God bless. Amen

      December 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  15. feline 123

    I am a Republican and will not vote for Ginghrich if he is the Republican candidate.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Maggie

      You and thousands of others whose principles I must respect.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Jim Weix

      Then you will deserve what you get.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  16. JT

    What we need in the Whitehouse is a rational, freethinker who uses reason instead of being superst-itious and speaks to invisible nonexistent spirts. Someone like a Thomas Jefferson who actually cares about our republic and has no personal agenda or base to please. This Newt crook will be our final doom if the frothing at the mouth evangelicals vote him in.

    December 11, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • Maggie

      Yep, just ask the poor suckers who have had the good fortune of having had to work with him or worse, those who paid for his opinions before he cashed their checks.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  17. Nick

    Wasn't Gingrich kicked out as speaker of the house? Only in
    GOP politics can a person like him rise back up to
    be the front runner. You want to know wwhat's wrong with America,
    look at the people that are making this happen!

    December 11, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      They would be called Republicans.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Maggie

      I'm not a Republican but there would seem to be a chorus of Republicans who value their principles before party. This is going to be one of those occasions.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  18. Nick

    Wasn't Gingrich kicked out as speaker of the house? Only in
    GOP politics can an idiot savante like him rise back up to
    be the front runner. You want to know wwhat's wrong with America,
    look at the people that are making this happen!

    December 11, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  19. David

    Religon and politics don't mix. Its about time religon stayed in the church and kept there noses out of everyone elses buisness..

    December 11, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • captain america

      Try telling stuff like that to canadians.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
    • pockets

      Religion is poison, it has no place on the PLANET.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • bdl

      religion is the cancer of society disguising itself as a positive thing. People are blind and willfully ignorant. sad

      December 11, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • webo

      David – Your correct, religion and politics don't mix and I wish Christians would stay clear.
      Pockets – "Religion" is poison, perhaps. But God is the only reason there is a PLANET.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • drp146

      Well said.

      December 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • mike from iowa

      Religion is a mental disease.

      December 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
  20. Jim Bob

    Trusting Newt Gingrich would be like trusting a snake. He'd kill you in a second.

    December 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • Alfred E Neuman

      In other news a baby "garter" snake killed Jim Bob today. A close neighbor is quoted as saying I told him not to trust it.

      December 11, 2011 at 5:59 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.