Big phony: Hoping religiosity will get points

Associated Press – May 19, 2007:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Liberty University’s graduating class Saturday to honor the spirit of school founder Jerry Falwell by confronting “the growing culture of radical secularism” with Christian ideals.

Gingrich, who is considering a 2008 presidential run, quoted Bible passages to a mournful crowd of about 17,000 packed into the university’s football stadium four days after Falwell’s death.

“A growing culture of radical secularism declares that the nation cannot profess the truths on which it was founded,” Gingrich said. “We are told that our public schools can no longer invoke the creator, nor proclaim the natural law nor profess the God-given quality of human rights.

“In hostility to American history, the radical secularists insist that religious belief is inherently divisive and that public debate can only proceed on secular terms,” he said.

Gingrich also decried what he called judges’ overreaching efforts to separate church and state.

“Too often, the courts have been biased against religious believers. This anti-religious bias must end,” he said.

  1. Ataru Moroboshi says:

    Those damn rationalists are taking over with their facts, reason, logic, and science. Damn them all! Bring back sun worship, divine retribution and burning witches I say.

    Or not.

    Newt Gingritch is a moron, simple as that, and with views like his he needs psychiatric help, not a position of authority.

  2. BubbaRay says:

    From Wikipedia:
    “Newts are small, usually bright-colored semiaquatic salamanders of North America, Europe and Asia, distinguished from other salamanders by the lack of rib or costal grooves along the sides of the body.”

    [Or lack of a brain]

  3. MikeN says:

    Newt’s entry to the race would help the Republicans. He won’t win, giving them a chance in 2008, but at the same time he elevates the debate.

  4. Aaron says:

    Ahem!…Newt?….A…there’s supposed to be a separation between church and state.

  5. Graham says:

    The flamers here prove what he was saying. Many secularists do not want to debate the merits of their arguments. They want to keep debate as slogans and name calling.

    By the way, “Separation of church and state” is not found in the Constitution; however, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” is. Hmmm … I haven’t heard that in a while from secularists.

  6. Jesse says:

    Well stated, Graham.

  7. Roc Rizzo says:

    I, for one am willing to debate the virtues or failures of bringing religion into politics. The constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the exercise thereof.” To me this means that there is no one religion that is a “State” religion. It also means to me that we should be free FROM religion, as one of our religious freedoms.

    In 1797, the US sent a treaty of friendship between the United States and the Bey and subjects of Tripoli and Barbary. This treaty was read aloud in the Senate by John Adams, and unanimously agreed upon. Article 11 reads as follows, “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”

    This tells me that the United States had proclaimed themselves as a secular government, back when our country was in its infancy, twenty one years after its formation in 1776.

    Newt will have to come a long way to convince me of the virtues of religion in our government, when the word GOD, cannot be found anywhere in the document. The only reference to religion, is that of religious freedom, which shall include no religion what so ever.

    This, and the Treaty of 1797, tell me that the United States is a secular government, and Newt is merely barking up a tree.

  8. Danijel says:

    Can someone explain what is radical secularism? I’ve heard of all sorts of radicals, but this is new to me. Radicalism is usually fueled by a strong belief in something. Secularists have no beliefs…

  9. Boyd says:

    Give me “radical secularism” (whatever that is) over the hateful spewing of narrow-minded “moralists” who are so busy adhering to their ideologies that they don’t really care about right and wrong. I’ve never seen these “radical secularists.” Are they the ones screaming at me on the subway to repent? Are they the ones calling for the murder of people who don’t believe as they do? Are they the ones shooting doctors in their homes or blowing up clinics? From what I’ve seen these radical secular bastards are destroying the world with their reason and logic and strongly worded books! The horror!

  10. Dylan says:

    #8. “Secularists have no beliefs…”

    Are you joking? That’s an incredibly ignorant thing to say. The word is defined as someone who believes that “public education and other matters of civil policy should be conducted without the introduction of a religious element.” How does that infer a belief in nothing?

  11. Jägermeister says:

    I’m with #4 and #7.


    On a side note… It’s too bad the hospital staff didn’t catch what Newt’s parents tried to say… Neut…er him… so, Newt it was…

  12. Thomas 2 says:

    Would a radical secularist be kind of like a passionate moderate?

    That is to say, it doesn’t exist.

  13. ethanol says:

    Danijel (#8),

    Radical secularists are those that have no tolerance of any form of religion and want it eradicated from public view. Richard Dawkins is the deity (oops, I mean supreme leader) of this group.

    Radicals from any group cause problems for the whole and generally smear the good an individual group provides.

  14. Merriam-Webster says:

    The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines secularism as “indifference to or rejection or exclusion of religion and religious considerations.”

  15. Misanthropic Scott says:

    #2 – BubbaRay,

    Normally, I agree with the vast majority of what you say. However, insulting small adorable newts by associating them with wacko is really uncalled for. What did the newts ever do to you?

    #3 – MikeN,

    … he elevates the debate.

    ??!!? Elevates? The man has reached rock bottom and taken out his jackhammer!!

    #5,6 Graham/Jesse,

    We antitheists have no problem with you practicing your religion. It’s when you legislate such nonsense on the rest of us. I can’t even buy stuff without getting a f___ing godvertisement on my money. I can’t hear the pledge of allegiance without “under god” in it.

    These were both introduced in the McCarthy era. Is this the legacy you want from your god? The memory of the red scare and blacklisting?

    Wake up!!

    We just want to get the god references out of government places like money, courts, post offices, and most importantly, public schools. We would also like to feel safe on the streets. When doctors are shot and clinics are blown up, our safety is reduced. So, don’t teach god in our schools and we won’t teach science in your churches. Deal?

    #7 – Roc Rizzo,

    Thanks for the excellent interpretation of the constitution and bill of rights.

    #9 – Boyd,

    Radical secularism appears to be the neocon term for antitheist. Unfortunately, they’re dragging all non-theists into the soup of this ridiculous term. Antitheist is the term for someone who opposes religion, like me.

    #10 – Dylan,

    You are mixing up terms really badly. I would first note that the word believes was added by you, not your dictionary. Second, you then switch the terms “have no beliefs” and “belief in nothing” are not at all the same thing. One is a negated statement. The other is a positive statement. So, you are deliberately playing with words to make a more positive statement than most atheists would make.

    Personally, I think even the term atheist is a bad term. It defines one by their non-beliefs rather than their beliefs. I am an antitheist because I believe religion is genuinely evil. That is a positive belief.

    Unfortunately, the correct term for defining one who prefers science to mythology would actually be scientist, a believer in science. That term is unfortunately already taken by practitioners of science. So, those of us who believe that the use of science to arrive at the most important questions of life the universe and everything are left with a term that defines us by a non-belief system. Amythologist might be just as appropriate and more accurate since not all mythologies have a single deity.

  16. Misanthropic Scott says:

    #13 – ethanol,

    Wow … good post. It really shows that you are incapable of understanding the mind of someone who needs no deity. Dawkins is not a deity. His books are not perfect, though far closer than the bible. There are no tenets of antitheism.

    #14 – Merriam Webster,

    While we’re looking at dictionaries, let’s check the definitions for sectarian. Here are a bunch from

    1. of or pertaining to sectaries or sects.
    2. narrowly confined or devoted to a particular sect.
    3. narrowly confined or limited in interest, purpose, scope, etc.
    4. a member of a sect.
    5. a bigoted or narrow-minded adherent of a sect.

    next group:

    1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of a sect.
    2. Adhering or confined to the dogmatic limits of a sect or denomination; partisan.
    3. Narrow-minded; parochial.

    next group:

    1. A member of a sect.
    2. One characterized by bigoted adherence to a factional viewpoint.

    So, anyone left who wants to remain sectarian over secular?

  17. Graham says:

    #7. Thanks for your debate. In response, my argument isn’t to make America a Christian nation, but to allow Christianity to be practiced by others. I do not believe anyone should be forced to believe in God, the Bible, Jesus or follow them. However, the Declaration of Independence says we get our rights from our Creator and if you can think of another creator than the Christian God it could refer to, please let me know. They left the actual word out so the US would not be a theocracy. We are not governed by God. We are founded on Christian principles, though, not the religion itself, but the principles.
    Something you said is interesting, “free FROM religion.” Humanism and secularism are a religion which believes the individual person is the god, or one who should direct their life. Even if you do not believe that, the Constitution does not give rights, it preserves them. So no one can say, “The Constitution gives me the right …” The Constitution allows people to be irreligious, not free FROM religion. To ban any religion from practicing their acts (within common sense – no religious lynchings) would be a violation of the first amendment. That would include Christians giving public prayer voluntarily, Muslims praying in public, and even humanists telling people how “evil” religion is. I am not asking you to be forced to believe in a higher being. All I ask is for you to allow me to act on my belief like you are able to act on your unbeliefs.

    #9 Apparently you have missed the history of radical secularists: Romans, Hitler, Marxists, Communism, abortion (the last four by the way are much recent than the Catholic church’s crusades). It is always wrong to kill if someone doesn’t believe the same as you, but don’t lump all Christians in with Islamic fascists. When an abortion clinic is blown up Christians everywhere decry it as foul and condemn it. I don’t hear the same thing from other religions. If you are scared of someone making you mad by asking (or even demanding) you to repent, you have some pretty thin skin. Whatever happened to, “sticks and stones …”?

  18. ethanol says:

    Misanthropic Scott (#16),
    You clearly missed my point. Richard Dawkins HATES religion with a passion that normally is reserved for religious extremists. I don’t care about his or others beliefs. What I DO care about is that he slanders all religion every chance he gets. This is what is called ‘intolerance’, again the same as religious extremists. Extremists of any kind move no debate forward…

  19. leaglebob says:

    Bless their pointed heads. Religionists crack me up. They are not free by their way of thinking as long as the government is not forcing other people into their own belief system.

    Its not enough to have the personal religious freedom to believe as one wants and do what one wants 365/24–no, government action should also coerce if not force everyone to conform to their beliefs or they are being oppressed themselves.

    So lets debate. Why do secularist not often talk about the fact that the seperation of church and state is not so expressly mentioned in the constitution? Probably for the same reason I don’t look for my car keys in a can of tuna—its not there. Now, IS the seperation of church and state often and fully addressed in rulings from the Supreme Court? Yes!! Why dont we hear religionists talking about the well reasoned and detailed opinions set forth in these rulings??? Because thats not where they keep their car keys!!! Hah, I say Hah!! /// Bobbo.

  20. GregA says:


    Actually, Ive watched the Dawkins Youtube stuff. To call him a hater is to totally misunderstand Dawkins.

    But Assuming you are right….

    Do you hate Satanism? Yes? Then understand that Dawkins just hates one more religion than you do.

  21. ethanol says:

    GregA (#20),

    Interesting to read (or watch) what someone produces for themselves as opposed to interviews conducted by others. I simply cannot recall the interview I watched with him where he said (and I paraphrase) “There is no place for religion in this world.” I appreciate his logical arguments and a lot of what he believes actually as it is not to far off from what is taught by mainstream religion…

    Again, my point is that intolerance for people who have beliefs that differ from yours is intolerance nonetheless.

  22. Heimdall says:

    #17 how, exactly, are Christians prevented from practicing their religion? There’s a church just down the street from me, and I have to say that I’ve yet to see anyone being prevented from entering it come Sunday morning. No one is stopping them from practicing their beliefs. Not the government, radical secularists, or anyone else.
    It’s interesting to note that Newt was giving this speech at a Christian university, an institution that should not, presumably, be able to exist in this radically anti-Christian country.
    I’ve never quite understood how the Christian mentality that allows them to boast about being the majority while simultaneously decrying the fact that they are an oppressed minority works.

  23. Jägermeister says:


    Richard Dawkins debates religion and if you take that as slander, then poor you. Religious groups prefer not being questioned, but when they are, they explode in violence and persecution. It seems to be hard for you to understand that there are people who can see things from a perspective free of fictional stories.

  24. leaglebob says:

    #17–You so exhibit my comment. Can you offer an example of how christians are prohibited from practicing their religion???

    I”ll wait. and wait. (then see if you aren’t in fact acting as I posted?)
    //// Bobbo.

  25. Jägermeister says:

    #21 – Again, my point is that intolerance for people who have beliefs that differ from yours is intolerance nonetheless.

    So, you agree on keeping religion out of the public room, just to not offend anyone, correct?!

  26. ethanol says:

    Jägermeister (#23),

    I’ve no problems with people wanting to question or debate, at all. Otherwise I wouldn’t bother reading DU every day. Let me state again, he (and apparently you) doesn’t think there is a place for religion in this world, period. Well, that is intolerant. It is one thing to think it an believe it, yet another to go out write books and preach it. Kind of like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Osama Bin Laden, etc.

    And I would like to clarify one thing, I am not here defending Newt in any way, shape, or form. I am nearly clarifying (as I did a month or two ago here as well) that radical secularists, or secular extremists, exist and are just as intolerant as religious extremists.

  27. ethanol says:

    Jägermeister (#25),

    I agree that preaching religion in the public room is not okay.

  28. GregA says:


    I think he is arguing that after the christian prayer at the city council meeting, that the Satanists should be given their chance to condemn all that is living and good before the meeting starts.

  29. leaglebob says:

    Ethanol–whats your ultimate point? Everyone with opposing points of view are intolerant of the other points of view that are not their own? Ok, then what?

    If I am for “freedom” will you criticise me for not allowing the Nazi Party to be free as well?

    In the end, you have to (should?) chose what your “values” are, what you are going to be intolerant about rather than play word games of no consequence.

    How could Dawkins be honestly a scientist and not anti-those pushing their religious/non-scientific governmental enforced policies on the public including scientist and their work? We would have to look at the full statements in context, but I would be surprised if Dawkins is against the “concept” of people being privately religious or having diest impulses and so forth. Its trying to force creationism into our schools and denying stem cell research and claiming that Schivo was actively involved with those around her ((probably was for the religious types?)) that “should” cause any rational person to become more intolerant over time? //// Bobbo.

  30. Misanthropic Scott says:

    #17 – Graham,

    Humanism and secularism are a religion which believes the individual person is the god, or one who should direct their life.

    Again, non-theists need no god. Why must anyone be the god in your mind? Are you completely incapable of understanding that some people do not need a supernatural deity of any form? If I direct my own life, I am still not a god. I have no supernatural power.

    #18 – ethanol,

    I hate religion more than Dawkins does. This does not make Dawkins or Sam Harris or anyone else my deity. I hate religion for the plain and simple reason that it kills people. Again and again and again through history and into the present day, religion kills folks dead.

    That said, go ahead and practice your religion. I merely want to expunge religion from the public sector, i.e. anything in government.

    The founding fathers were quite clear that they were building a nation deliberately and consciously NOT based on religious values.

    And, relating to your post #21, I think in this case, a direct quote would have been better to make your point. Please search for the exact quote and repost. My own belief actually matches your alleged quote of Dawkins. I just don’t recall him saying it.

    My personal belief is that religion, by the very nature of sectarianism, causes violence. There are other sources as well. However, if we are to survive as a species, we must get rid of sects. We must recognize that we are all Us. There is no Us and Them. We simply cannot continue to spend the time, resources, and human life required to continue sectarian fighting. Sectarianism is inherently divisive both by its nature and its purpose.


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