I’ve never done this before, but I’m asking Vox Nova readers to make known their displeasure that one of this country’s preeminent Catholic churches – the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception – will host a book signing by Newt Gingrich this upcoming weekend, September 19, 1:30-3:00pm. This has nothing to do with Gingrich’s political beliefs. I would have no problem with a book signing event by George Weigel or Robbie George (I might, however, have a problem with the books!). No, this has everything to do with Gingrich’s hyper-partisan nastiness, and his deliberate strategy of appealing to the worst in people with ugly and offensive statements – the latest being an attack on Obama for having a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview. Even worse is Gingrich’s tendency to make insulting and inflammatory statements about Muslims, including by likening them to nazis. The Church has been rightfully speaking out about this recent wave of anti-religious madness fueled by the likes of Gingrich, and providing him a platform at the Basilica at this particular time would be sending a most inappropriate and unhelpful message.
I have sent a polite e-mail asking the Basilica to reconsider. You can reach the rector, Msgr. Walter Rossi at firstname.lastname@example.org. The main number for the Basilica is 202-526-8300, and the full staff list is here.