Newt Gingrich is on a roll. Only a couple of weeks ago, Gingrich explained how his “passion” for the country led to his repeated adulterous affairs. Now, he is warning about the importance of the next presidential election — and presumably his election: “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.” There you have it. Atheists and Islamic radicals will take over — a curious alliance to be sure.
What is always striking is the failure of religious conservatives to recognize that they have much more in common with radical Islamists than do liberals or secularists. Islamic radicals love the attacks on the separation of church and state, crackdowns on free speech in the arts, the anti-homosexual measures, and other morality issues pushed by some conservatives.
Gingrich also threw in the scourge of intellectuals — an issue that he picked up from Sarah Palin who made being smart a virtual sign of subversion. He reportedly warned about “college professors” who are secretly undermining Christian values. Anti-intellectualism has been the sign of radicalized movements throughout history. The Cultural Revolution was based on it. The Khmer Rouge under Pol Pot actually arrested people for wearing glasses. In our country, we have had Joe McCarthy and others who told people not to trust intellectuals — and instead follow their own agendas. We are now seeing a concerted effort to demonize intellectuals and reporters to deflect criticism over the lack of knowledge or factual support shown by some candidates.
While speaking at the Cornerstone Church with the rabidly anti-homosexual, evangelical pastor John Hagee, Gingrich heralded his own Catholic faith (ignoring Hagee’s history of intense anti-Catholicism). It seemed to work. Without mentioning his multiple wives and admitted lifelong pattern of adultery, Gingrich insisted that the election was about protecting the faith and our Judeo-Christian beliefs — adding “bravery will come from our churches, our synagogues, everyday folks. It won’t come from the elites.”
It seemed to work. One member of the congregation told Politico “I was really impressed with his sincere faith. He didn’t brag, but you can tell he’s a man of God.”
Atheists appear to be the new specter for politicians and clergy alike from Tony Blair to a wide array of U.S. conservatives. Gingrich appears to want to create a trifecta of hate with atheists, intellectuals, and Muslims. (He will occasionally throw in “mainstream media” to encourage supporters not to watch news other than Fox). That has a nice ring to it . . . Atheists, Intellectuals, and Muslims, oh my . . . one can almost see Dorothy walking hand in hand with Gingrich through the forest now.