Sunday, June 7, 2009

Gingrich, Among God's Annointed, Declares, "We Are Surrounded By Paganism"

Newt Gingrich (left) and Mike Huckabee appeared at the Rock Church in Virginia Beach, site of the "Rediscovering God in America" event aimed at recapturing the influence of the religious right. They represented the continued quest to break down the walls between church and state and mix politics with theology. Presumably they would object to some of the theocratic ways of Iran, but this contradiction never seems to occur to them. Perhaps there's a simple equation: Islamic theocracy is bad, Christian theocracy is good. 

In any event, both ratcheted up the fundamentalist rhetoric, with Gingrich terming policies he disagrees with as "paganism":

"I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history," Gingrich said. "We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism."

They and other speakers warned about the continuing availability of abortion, the spread of gay rights, and attempts to remove religion from American public life and school history books.

So those who believe in women's right to choose, marriage equality, the separation of church and state, and public, secular education are "pagans." Personally, I had no idea that I practiced paganism. Or is paganism just a catch-all phrase for "immoral"?

Apparently having multiple affairs and divorces, as Gingrich has done, is not condemned as "pagan" practice. Nor is haggling with one's first wife in the hospital as she recovers from uterine cancer surgery.

As for Huckabee, he put forth the proposition that the United States is a superior nation because it has God on its side. What about other nations? Is God not on their side–or is God hedging, on their side with reservations? How does Huckabee presume to know God's political opinions?

Huckabee told the audience he was disturbed to hear President Barack Obama say during his speech in Cairo, Egypt, on Thursday that one nation shouldn't be exalted over another.

"The notion that we are just one of many among equals is nonsense," Huckabee said. The United States is a "blessed" nation, he said, calling American revolutionaries' defeat of the British empire "a miracle from God's hand."

The same kind of miracle, he said, led California voters to approve Proposition 8, which overturned a state law legalizing same-sex marriages.

The notion of the superior spiritual status of certain nations can lead to a dangerous arrogance. It can also be used to justify one's own views, as when Huckabee asserts that God agrees with him on Proposition 8. If citizens in other states agree with gay marriage, can they also state that they're part of God's constituency and that a miracle led them to recognize gay rights? Regardless, Gingrich too espouses religious superiority:

"I am not a citizen of the world," said Gingrich, who was first elected to the U.S. House from Georgia in 1978 and served as speaker from 1995 to 1999. "I am a citizen of the United States because only in the United States does citizenship start with our creator."

Isn't Gingrich a citizen of the United States because he was born here? Gingrich is supposedly one of the Republicans' big thinkers. Isn't he demonstrating the hackneyed thinking of every theocrat?


neil fabricant said...

I'm sure you're aware of Gingrich's Language, A Key Mechanism of Control: ( ) but some of your readers may not be. Gingrich's approach to governance is similar to that of Goebells: All propaganda, all the time.

A website ( ) summarizes Goebbels' Principles of Propaganda.
Among those principles were these two: Propaganda must--(1) label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans, and (2)) they must evoke desired responses which the audience previously possesses.
Speaking to the Rock Church congregation -- and through it to the Christian right in a bid to nail down its support for his 2012 run -- and using words like "paganism" are classic Goebells' techniques. A deeply cynical, clever, and dangerous man.

=0 A

Jeff Tone said...

Yes, the use of the word "paganism" is a dangerous bit of propaganda. It's a vague catch-all phrase that can be interpreted in any menacing way by Gingrich's supporters.