It’s been a crazy year so-far in the race to see who will become the Republican candidate for President of the United States in 2012. It seems like just about every candidate, with a few notable exceptions, is getting their 15 minutes of “frontrunner” status before the seeming inevitability of Mitt Romney reasserts itself again. I’ve covered some of these candidates (and potential candidates) here, particularly when I’ve felt their flirtations with certain pernicious elements of the Religious Right had become problematic, and now its former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s turn.
Gingrich is currently enjoying some time in the sun, after a period when many (from across the political spectrum) thought his candidacy was doomed. While it remains to be seen if this latest “not-Mitt” will manage to stay afloat, an issue I’ll leave to the political pundit class, I do have one question for the former Speaker: are we still surrounded by “paganism”?
You see, back in 2009, Gingrich gave a speech to the Rock Church congregation in Virginia on “Rediscovering God in America,” it was there he gave the grim news for conservative-minded Christians.
“I am not a citizen of the world. I am a citizen of the United States because only in the United States does citizenship start with our creator. [...] I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history. We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism.”
Oh, and he invoked St. Paul during the speech to make sure we understood what he was talking about. These comments caused quite a bit of conversation at the time, and I even wondered if Newt knew with whom he was getting into bed with.
“Maybe Gingrich, a recently converted Catholic, doesn’t realize the dog-whistle language he’s using. When you say “paganism” to these folks, it doesn’t merely mean secularists, or modern Pagans, or atheists, it also means Catholics, and any Christian who isn’t fully on-board with their mission of ‘religious supremacy’.”
There’s been some articles recently about how conservative Christians are now flocking to Gingrich, so will this mean he’ll double down on this kind of rhetoric, or will he maintain his largely secular-ish brand of conservatism? All I want to know is, are we still surrounded?