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. SixDegrees

    I'm finding it extremely odd that evangelicals are supporting a Catholic. Their usual stance views Papists as tools of Satan, or worse. Although consistency and reason have never really been their long suit.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:19 am |
  2. jdoe

    Just say the right things, hit the right notes. Become one of them.

    Then you can do anything you want and all will be forgiven.

    December 12, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • fireajew

      Yes! That is what the Jew has been doing in the West for over one hundred years!

      December 12, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  3. fireajew

    The Jews are pushing the West into wars just as they did in the first two World Wars, and the imperialistic wars that followed. It's the Jews, the Jews! ... IT'S ALWAYS BEEN THE JEWS!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:07 am |
    • Hitler

      Tell me about it – I was so misunderstood. It wasn't my fault that I slaughtered six million people – the jews made me do it.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:12 am |
    • fireajew

      No need to apologize, Hitler. People understand now.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:15 am |
  4. fireajew

    What we need is a president who can stand up to international Jewry. The Jews must return what they have stolen from us and from the world!

    December 12, 2011 at 2:00 am |
    • Warren Talbot

      I really hope you are using sarcasm to make some point that is escaping the rest of us.

      December 12, 2011 at 5:05 am |
  5. Donovan

    Who is the favorite among those of us who can grasp that $15 trillion dollars in debt is going to crush us. It's only a matter of time. Church won save you from this. Who is the literate's favorite?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:59 am |
  6. BigRed

    Listening to Newt's painfully ridiculous statements really make me wish for a return to the secular Masonic common sense displayed by the founders of this country. What is needed is a Masonic revival of common sense to push away the pathetic religious weirdness and Tea Party manic depressives found in the Republican Party. We need pragmatism and secular considerations for the welfare of the nation over the welfare of politicians and religious bigots.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:58 am |
  7. Michael

    This is such a joke. I will give it two weeks or less before his poll numbers take a dive. My bet is he will blow a fuse or a new mistress will come forward....

    December 12, 2011 at 1:55 am |
  8. monarchist

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

    Perhaps Lee would like to explain why the White House [emphasis on White] might need cleansing?

    December 12, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  9. BaldMelon

    I am an Evangelical (and a registered Republican), and Newt is my least favorite Republican candidate. Which, right now, is like saying cyanide is my least favorite poison.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • Edwin

      I'd say lol, but it's sad not funny

      December 12, 2011 at 1:46 am |
    • fireajew

      My favorite poison is Zyklon B. It has such an amusing history.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:46 am |
  10. candyride

    We need a God fearing man in office to get this country back in line. Corruption is everywhere and should be exposed. Honesty and integrity is a rarity nowadays. Disintegrating Justice is a great book about exposing corruption at disintegrating justice.com. I hope who ever wins brings back the laws on which this country was formed and those are God's laws.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:43 am |
    • Edwin

      I think an adulterer who was kicked out of office for corruption is the perfect choice, then.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:47 am |
    • keith

      Oddly many of these "God fearing" men are as corruput, if not more corrupt that what we already have in there. We need a whole new congress and term limits in place to push PROgress (vice CONgress) in this country.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • Mirosal

      You said "god-fearing". Sorry, but anyone who fears any kind of magical mystical non-proven sky-fairy needs therapy, not a political office. Look, why don't we just eliminate the middleman here. EVERYONE.. take your ballots, and write-in 'god' on them. Go for it. I dare you. Why elect someone who fears 'god', when we can elect 'god' itself? Then we'll see what really happens. After all, losong an election to 'god' wouldn't be so bad would it?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:55 am |
    • Mirosal

      @ Candyride .. you need to study a little history. The laws that this country were founded on are in a doc'ument called the U.S. Const'itution. Try reading it sometime. Then tell me just how many times the word 'god' is mentioned in it. I'll bet you can count on zero hands how mant times. This country was founded on CIVIL law, and no religious text was used as a basis for said laws. If you want to live in a theocracy, put on a turban and ride a camel, ok? Or maybe the camel can ride your candy?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • HellBent

      You mean a god-fearing man like our previous president who lied to start a war? I think I'll pass.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:14 am |
  11. webjock

    Obama is sitting back in his chair and smiling that Newt is ahead in the polls. Easy pickings.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:40 am |
  12. katie

    one can't help but think if newt was a democratic candidate, the evangelicals would be tripping all over themselves to condemn him. i don't get it.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:37 am |
    • Edwin

      In the evangelical mind, "democrat" is just a fancy word for "evil" - so anyone (even Jesus) would be undesirable as a democrat.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:49 am |
  13. m

    Don't let gingRICH fool you. His primary fascination with the Catholic Church is the Spanish Inquisition. Nothing would please him more than to be Torquemada of the 21st century.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:35 am |
  14. Mirosal

    Someone needs to remind these thum'ping idiots that they cannot, by law, use their status as ministers, reverends, or priests to back ANY candidate for ANY office. Does anyone want to join me in a class-action lawsuit against them and their churches? We'll take all their money in the settlement, and make these no-loads go to work in a REAL job, and make them earn an HONEST dollar for once in their lives.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • fireajew

      Yes, you must break the goy! Too late, Jew. You will not destroy Islam as you did Christianity.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:40 am |
    • Mirosal

      I don't know what's rattling around in your head, but I can assure you that I have never set foot in a synagogue at any time in my life. In other words, I'm not Jewish. Why do you as'sume such things?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:51 am |
    • Edwin

      Lawsuits require evidence. Go gather some and get back to us.

      Yes, I agree that some ministers use the pulpit for political agendas. A few are caught and punished, others go free. But if you think there is a conspiracy of pastors worthy of a class-action lawsuit, then you are just plain kooky.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:52 am |
    • fireajew

      Mirosal the cryptojew!

      December 12, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Your notion of what passes for law is hilarious. Or would be if it weren't so pathetically ignorant at the same time.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:10 am |
    • Mirosal

      Hey, it was just a thought lol .. I am not a conspiracy theorist. THOSE people are seriously whacked. But, who exactly ARE these evangelicals endorsing that little salamander.. I mean Newt? Their names are known, are they not? Take away their tax-exempt status if they keep endorsing people.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:15 am |
  15. fireajew

    It always comes down to the candidate who's most Jew-friendly. If there's a hint that a candidate won't carry Israel's water, he is destroyed. It's always Jew this and Jew that. Silence, impudent Jew!

    December 12, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Mirosal

      Nazi Germany fell in 1945, your views are 66 years too late. Go back to your skin-head klan down at the klavern, ok?

      December 12, 2011 at 1:30 am |
    • fireajew

      "Skin-head klan"? Your conflation is farcical.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:34 am |
    • 4158

      just because ron paul does not support israel they call him extremism. did they ever bother to ask why he does not support them? well he does if they go under attack heck yeah he will support because they are a friend of the nation but he will not support all of the money going to that nation when people here at home are in deep poverty.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:39 am |
    • Edwin

      Even more than that, every serious candidate has to proclaim devotion to Jesus. So next time you worry about jews, think about how politics in this country has to bow down to christianity.

      And don't give me the song&dance about this being a christian country, unless you really want to prove my point. We are a SECULAR country, where every leader is expected to be devoted to one particular religion... think about that.

      December 12, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • Mirosal

      These candidates, AND the evangelicals, really need to read the Const'itution. Specifically, Article (not Amendment) Six. Go ahead, please look for yourselves.

      December 12, 2011 at 2:17 am |
  16. 4158

    kiss my @@s whatever your name is. corrupt politicians like you are the reason our nation is no more.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:25 am |
  17. tallulah13

    Gingrich is the poster boy for political corruption. He would say and do anything to forward his own position. The fact that the evangelicals support him only shines a light on the dubious character of the followers of that particular brand of christianity.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:20 am |
  18. jeffrey

    Cause Americans btw especially the Religious Republican Americans are stupid....contridict themselves constantly on almost every issue that doesn't benefit them....what's next a child molestor, serial rapist, murderer

    December 12, 2011 at 1:12 am |
  19. DeeCee2011

    Well, all the spiritual leaders can say what they want. But the average folk may find it hard to accept three marriages – regardless of who repented when and how. And the comparison with the biblical woman at the well doesn't work. She did not demonize a President for doing something she was doing. Nope. Not going to work. He may carry the 'pubs as they have already demonstrated what they can put up for a viable candidate in this runup. Wow – haven't they all been somthing? But he will never carry the other voters he will need to win the White House. N-e-v-e-r.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:11 am |
  20. manhandler

    He's gonna be a big hit with evangelicas because their bible banging is NOT based on love and compassion but rather on hate and intolerance. The Newt has that in common with them in spades.

    December 12, 2011 at 1:10 am |
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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.