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Gingrich talks faith, history
Presidential hopeful speaks at First Redeemer
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Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich speaks Sunday morning at First Redeemer Church in south Forsyth. - photo by Jennifer Sami

Rome Wolves at Lambert

When Newt Gingrich spoke from the First Redeemer Church pulpit Sunday morning, he didn’t address energy sources or fixing the economy. It was all about God and country.

The Republican presidential candidate talked about David and Goliath, Thomas Jefferson, Valley Forge and how the Christian faith has remained a constant in American history.

“Many of the most important people in developing the American Revolution were clergymen,” he said. “I believe we are a people founded by our own history.”

Christians and Jews are in the middle of two extremes, he said, radicals on one side and seculars on the other.

“We’ll have radical Islamists who want to kill us and you’ll have secularists who want to coerce us,” he said. “And that’s why, for example, recently you saw the Obama administration attempt to coerce the Catholic church. Because it is the inevitable nature of the left to use government to impose on us their values.”

Church member Debbie Yancey, who sings in the choir, said she’s still undecided about who she plans to vote for in Georgia’s presidential primary March 6, but Gingrich’s speech helped sway her toward supporting him.

“I do enjoy the perspective that he gave because I believe there is quite a number of Americans that really don’t know our history and that we are truly a country founded on Christian principles,” she said.

It was the second visit to Forsyth County in eight days for Gingrich, a former Georgia congressman and speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. He spoke at a local Republican Party gathering Feb. 18.

Sunday, Gingrich took jabs at Democrats, saying they need to learn their history and those who argue that separation of church and state should keep religion out of government have “perverted Thomas Jefferson’s words beyond belief.”

The concept, he said, is so government couldn’t run religion, not the other way around.

Gingrich made no mention of his three Republican opponents, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, who spoke at First Redeemer a week earlier.

Gingrich didn’t ask the crowd of about 2,800 for their vote, but did encourage them to “calmly and cheerfully” reassert themselves.

“We have to prepare, frankly, to stand up for ourselves,” he said.

Standing up for the faith is what inspired Gingrich to get back into politics, he said, starting with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ 2002 ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional because it contained the phrase “under God.”

“I thought we were on the edge of destroying America,” he said. “If you can’t say ‘one nation under God,’ we don’t exist.”

Gingrich said Christians are under a 50-year assault of others trying to alienate their rights. But he reminded the crowd that “no president, no judge, no bureaucrat can come between you and God.”

“You have elites in the bureaucracy, you have elites in the judgeship,” he said. “Frankly, you have elites in the news media, elites in the academic world and elites in politics. And they would all like to impose on us an America none of us believe in.”

It’s a message church member Rick Nudelman heard loud and clear.

“I truly believe that what he said up there is in his inner core,” Nudelman said. “He did not have one note. Everything he said came from the heart and that is his inner core and what he is all about.”

Gingrich talked about the Boston Tea Party, American Revolution and the nation’s founding fathers’ promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“They promised the right to pursue it. There is no provision in the Declaration of Independence for happiness stamps,” he joked.

“There’s no provision for the federal department of happiness to do an annual happiness assessment. And if you had told the founding fathers some politician would come here and say, ‘I’m going to take from the overly happy and redistribute to the underly happy,’ they would have said to you, ‘what politician would be so arrogant as to think they can have the wisdom and the power to know which American deserves what.’ Because if they can do it to one, they can do it to everybody.”

First Redeemer Church Pastor Richard Lee introduced Gingrich, endorsing him as a “man who truly understands what it means to be the leader of the free world.”

“One who does not bow to dictators … a man who bows daily to God,” Lee said of Gingrich. “A man who in the future could possibly be -- no, may well be -- the new president of the United States."