Newt Gingrich, whose main claim to fame is his willingness to ‘drop trou’ for God and country, isn’t giving up on the conservative Christian dream, born with Goldwater’s defeat, to take control of our secular government in the name of God.
According to Gingrich in a new video, pastors have a duty to fight “totalitarian secularism” – you know secularism – the thing embodied in the United States Constitution. The claim that it amounts of totalitarianism is rich coming from a guy who wants to see “We the People” replaced by “God picked me.”
According to Gingrich, who ran for president in 2012, he said, to save America from “pagan culture,”
“You’re at a moment in history that is as defining as anything in the Old Testament. You’re at a point where some people have to have the courage to witness for Christ, some people have to have the courage to tell the truth to their flock, some people have to have the courage to get into the public arena themselves.”
And that’s fine. Gingrich and his fellow religionists have – and have always had – the right to “witness for Christ.” That right is guaranteed by the Constitution’s First Amendment. But the First Amendment also establishes the right of others to believe as they wish, or to believe nothing at all.
Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.
Yes, that pretty much settles that. No one has fought to take this right away. Rather, the fight has been to extend to those “infidels of every denomination” rights equal to those claimed by Gingrich and his fellow conservative Christians, as witnessed by Trump’s question to Iowa Republicans,
“Raise your hand if you’re NOT a Christian conservative. I want to see that. There’s a few of them. Should we keep them?”
Imagine the outcry if an atheist (or a Muslim) had asked, “Raise your hand if you’re not a X…Should we keep them?”
Remember, it is Gingrich who, like Trump, wants to test every Muslim in America. Yet he claims it is secularism that represents totalitarianism, not his own version of Christianity – a version which has very little to do with Jesus and a lot to do with worldly power.
Yet it gets more absurdly worse after this opening salvo, as Gingrich invokes the intellectual construct labeled “Judeo-Christian” against “totalitarian secularism”:
“We have not seen the Judeo-Christian historic traditions threatened the way they are today ever in American history. I think you have a duty … to have the courage to stand up and tell the truth; tell the truth about those who would impose a totalitarian secularism on us, force us to bow to the power of the government in order to do things that our religious forbids, you have a duty to tell the truth about those who would kill us in the name of Islamic supremacy. And if you do your duty, you will be part of launching a Great Awakening that could once again help America.”
Gingrich seems to think the Constitution allows the Religious Right to impose its will on Americans, to do things our Constitution forbids, like submitting to laws in violation of the Constitution’s prohibition on the establishment of religion.
In truth, nobody is forcing Christians to do anything they don’t want to do. It is Newt Gingrich and the so-called Religious Right who want to force Americans to do what they don’t want to do.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.