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Tilting at Windmills

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March 29, 2011

WHAT GINGRICH SAID -- AND WHO HE SAID IT TO.... We talked yesterday about disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R), and his belief that the nation will become "a godless society" unless voters reject President Obama, college professors, and journalists. As it turns out, that's not all he said.

"I have two grandchildren: Maggie is 11; Robert is 9," Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. "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."

Now, I'm not a theologian, but I'm fairly certain that a country cannot be atheistic and dominated by radical Islamists at the same time. This has something to do with the fact that they're complete opposites.

But putting aside Gingrich's jaw-dropping foolishness, let's also note the audience. More to the point, who Gingrich was talking to was every bit as interesting as what he said.

In this case, the former House Speaker was sharing his unique brand of idiocy at a San Antonio ministry called Cornerstone Church. And who's church is that? It's run by a radical preacher by the name of John Hagee.

If that name sounds familiar, it should. In 2008, John McCain sought out Hagee's support for his presidential campaign, but the Republican was ultimately forced to disavow the right-wing preacher and repudiate his endorsement.

As Jamil Smith recently explained:

Mr. Hagee's name should ring a bell. He is the Texas megachurch pastor that, as Mother Jones reminds us today, senator John McCain couldn't escape fast enough in 2008 after news of his endorsement brought forth revelations (natch) that Hagee blamed gays for Hurricane Katrina and called Catholicism a "false cult" and a contributor to Hitler's anti-Semitism.

Hagee also believes Jews are to blame for centuries of persecution, called the Roman Catholic Church is "the great whore," and preached that Hitler and the Nazis had operated on God's behalf.

And while we're at it, there was also the time Hagee said God is using Muslim terrorists to massacre Americans because the United States supports a two-state solution in Israel.

This is who Newt Gingrich is reaching out to for political support.

The crazy quote about Islamists in atheistic America is hilarious, but let's not lose sight of the context here. The forest is more scandalous than the trees.

Steve Benen 11:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (24)

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"Now, I'm a theologian" I think you left a word out

Posted by: AL's Dad (Not that AL) on March 29, 2011 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Hagee have anything to say about Mormons?

Posted by: Tigershark on March 29, 2011 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't Gingrich calling himself a Catholic these days?

Posted by: Matt on March 29, 2011 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

So, Newt Gingrich is reaching out to for political support by going to "Hagee the Horrible" and his followers?

What does anyone expect?
It's just another group of rubes to swindle.

Newt's whole grift is base on the fact that like a locust, he pops up every few years to throw his hat in the ring, but not to really run, just to keep him in the limelight and his scam profitable.

He'll say anything since it doesn't matter anyway.

He'll still be on with Gregory, Schieffer and FOX no matter what he says or does.

If being a disgraced former Speaker, and a Serial Adulter don't keep you off the air, nothing short of rape/murder will.
And even then, if he said that Christ forgave him, the rubes would run out and buy his book.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 29, 2011 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Is it , That which does not kill Gingrich makes us stronger , or if we let Gingrich bore us to death that makes us stronger ?
I keep forgetting ...

Posted by: FRP on March 29, 2011 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, the piece you're missing is the (horrendously stupid, offensive and mistaken) view that conservatives hold that Islam is not a religion. To them, it is a cult at best, or a socio-political conspiracy, or whatever.

They don't want to acknowledge that Islam is a religion because they want to deny Moslems First Amendment rights.

Posted by: danimal on March 29, 2011 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

The people who attend Hagee's church can and often do donate to political causes. Their money spends just as wells as anyone's money. The former speaker is supposed to be a Catholic convert, so who cares? Certainly not the former speaker. Money and free advertising trump all other considerations. That man never had any chance of being the nominee, he is just playing a stupid role.

Posted by: Gracious on March 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Gingrich will realize how much this hurts his chances of being elected president just as soon as he's finished counting the money he's making by selling fear and hatred.

Posted by: hells littlest angel on March 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Can we please, please, please stop being "shocked - shocked! - to find that insanity is going on in this establishment!" to paraphrase Captain Reynaud? They are the party of publicly-celebrated ignorance, superstition, bigotry, militarism, white supremacy, and general moron stupidity, and further "surprise" that is so makes me wonder about the intelligence of he/she who is surprised nowadays.

"...and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."

The above has been standard Republican boilerplate since the New Deal. It's almost a direct lift from Ray-gun's attack on Medicare 40 years ago.

The Republican Party was founded from three movements: the old Whigs (the corporate-industrial wing), the old Know-Nothings (the Tea Party) and the abolitionists (the intelligent, New England/mid-Atlantic "liberal" wing, now defunct). Right now, the Know-Nothings are battling it out with the Whigs.

Posted by: TCinLA on March 29, 2011 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

To the fundies, anyone who does not endorse their version of Christianity is an atheist. They don't get too caught up on the techical meanings of words, as you may have noticed. Gingrich was just practicing dog-whistle politics, even though he is not nearly as good at it as W was. Interesting that he would consort with Hagee though, given that he has actually converted to the RC Church, as some have pointed out.

Posted by: Reginald Perrin on March 29, 2011 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Except that McCain didn't completely disavow all contact with Hagee. Later that summer, he sent his emissary,Joe Lieberman, the supposed "moderate Democrat," to speak at an event honoring Hagee.

Posted by: andy on March 29, 2011 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

As far as the Newtster is concerned, Mission Accomplished. Steve Benen not only wrote another post about him, but spelled his name correctly.

And I suspect Steve is not alone. It is all about name recognition at this state of the game.

Posted by: DAY on March 29, 2011 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Newt talks a lot about God for someone who doesn't care much for his own soul.

Posted by: Jon on March 29, 2011 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

In the later Roman Empire, Christians were done away with because they were "atheists"--"no-god-folks," we might say. That is, Christians refused to conform to the cult of the gods of the Roman Empire (including the emperor himself). Jews were more or less off the hook because the Romans were used to their stand-offish attitude toward the official cult, and anyway the Jews said that they prayed and sacrificed to Yahweh on behalf of their pagan neighbors. But the Christians, being new, didn't say that; instead, they denounced the Roman gods as demons. And the Romans were shocked--shocked.

For it was these gods who, right-thinking Romans believed, ensured the stability and peace of the empire. The godless Christians, by denying these gods their due, brought down on Rome earthquakes, famines, plagues, barbarian invasions, inflation, and other calamities from which the empire suffered. The gods would be appeased, however, if the Christians were cracked down upon with sufficient rigor. Hence every disaster that hit second- and third-century Rome provoked a public uproar: "Christians to the lions!"

Fast forward almost 2,000 years. Now it's "radical Islamists," secular libruls, unions, environmentalists, college professors, Hispanic immigrants, uppity black presidents, you name it who are the new atheists in the universe of right-thinking Americans.

That, in a nutshell, explains the Tea Party, Fox, Pastor Hagee, Newt Gingrich, and all the rest of the tribe.

See you in the lions' den.

Posted by: James Miller on March 29, 2011 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

I will make a contribution to the news media (except Faux Noos) to get this loud mouth whore off the airwaves.

Posted by: Ted76 on March 29, 2011 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, Jesus (and Newt Gingrich) loves you!

If the standard was Jeremiah Wright and the "company you keep" then the new standard must be: Newtie Canootie can eat my Petutie.

Another peddler of bullcrap... Different day!

Posted by: Trollop on March 29, 2011 at 11:56 AM | PERMALINK

@James Miller: Excellent analysis and very well put.

Posted by: trex on March 29, 2011 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Come to Jesus! It's a get-out-of-hell-free card that can be (and is) played over and over again. You sin, He forgives, and you can start all over again. Hallelujah!

Posted by: jrosen on March 29, 2011 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

And NOBODY better exemplifies being a good Christian like Newt...but of course abandoning one of his wives while she was in the hospital being treated for cancer is OK, because he was just so darned worried about the future of his grand children.

Posted by: dweb on March 29, 2011 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

If one signs up for a Haggee Ministries newsletter, a Golden Ticket may be on the way to that person. Perhaps, Newt was confused on whether he was at Haggee's church or Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory?

Posted by: berttheclock on March 29, 2011 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists

The fact that no thunderbolt came from the heavens to strike Newt down for the shamelessness of this is proof that there is no god.

Posted by: g on March 29, 2011 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

If Americans were living under sharia law (as feared by Herman Cain and Gringrich too I suppose), would Newt be allowed to switch wives again? And, is there anybody out there who ever took one of Newt's courses when he was a professor at West Georgia? I'd like to know whether he was just as crazy back then.

Posted by: MuddyLee on March 29, 2011 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Newt Gingrich (a recent convert to Catholicism) grovels to Hagee for support...suppose Hagee had Newt in mind whne he made that "great whore" commet?

Posted by: Chesire11 on March 29, 2011 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

wasn't newt also a college professor? a catholic and a professor? damn!

a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists

The fact that no thunderbolt came from the heavens to strike Newt down for the shamelessness of this is proof that there is no god.

Posted by: g

perhaps god is laughing too hard, or deems newt too silly to be worthy of a thunderbolt ...

Posted by: mudwall jackson on March 29, 2011 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK



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