Newt Gingrich: “Cuture Wars Catholic”
Newt Gingrich was born Lutheran, became a Southern Baptist, and then converted to Catholicism, the religion of his current wife, seen here singing with their church choir.
But Mr. Gingrich represents a new kind of Catholic, one very different from the Kennedys, who were Democrats, political liberals and cradle Catholics shaped by the Irish immigrant church. To a Kennedy-era Catholic, divorce was a sin, labor unions were a virtue and anti-Catholic bigotry was a staple in many Protestant circles.
Mr. Gingrich is a culture wars Catholic for whom the church seems a logical home for conservative Republicans. Generations removed from the Kennedy years when Catholics predictably voted Democratic, this is a new era in which conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants have joined forces in what they see as a defining struggle against abortion, same-sex marriage and secularism.
The Catholic church, however, is fairly liberal on most social issues, with abortion a notable exception.
Some Catholic commentators say that Mr. Gingrich is a “cafeteria Catholic,” who chooses from a menu of Catholic teachings. He stands with the church in opposing same-sex marriage and abortion, although he recently angered some Catholics when he said that life begins at implantation rather than at conception. A day later he released a statement reversing himself. He has supported the death penalty, and on immigration, his position is not quite as welcoming as the Catholic Church’s.Click here for reuse options!
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