The Religious Newt

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Amy Sullivan, may her blog posts increase, has a fine one up on Swampland explaining why the Gingrichian outreach to evangelicals is likely to go nowhere. Among other things, the guy seems incapable of showing remorse (read: repentance) for his well-known sins (ah, those adulteries), and unaware that evangelicals really like to be told your conversion story.

But, you say, Newt ain’t no evangelical; he made his conversion to Roman Catholicism two years ago. True enough, but if he’s acquired some Catholic chops on his faith journey, he’s keeping them well hidden. In his public utterances, there’s nothing but the usual conservative sloganeering about the importance of faith and the dangers of secularism.

Actually, it’s worse than that. What he’s retailing is the lowest form of Bartonian civil religion: the revision of American history into pious patriotism. His book, God in America, is structured as a walking tour of the national monuments of Washington, D.C., for crying out loud. There’s a word for this kind of thing. Idolatry.