12 Political Converts to Catholicism—Besides Newt

The former House speaker joins Jeb Bush, Bobby Jindal, and other Republican converts.

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Newt Gingrich's weekend conversion to Roman Catholicism got me thinking about how many Catholic converts from the worlds of politics and political commentary have been in the news in recent years. Here's a quick list I came up with:

  • Robert Bork
  • Sam Brownback
  • Jeb Bush
  • Laura Ingraham
  • Bobby Jindal
  • Lawrence Kudlow
  • Robert Novak
  • Ramesh Ponnuru
  • Notice that they're all conservative? A few of the influential opinion shapers on the right who died recently also were Catholic converts:

    • Richard John Neuhaus
    • Tony Snow
    • Paul Weyrich
    • The one high-profile Catholic convert on the left who occurred to me is former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

      At first blush, this wild political imbalance is none too surprising. Religious converts tend to be more orthodox, which means hewing closely to the church's conservative positions on social issues. But in the case of the Catholic Church, once so solidly identified with the Democratic Party, it's a reminder of just how a tradition's politics can shift.

      Anyone I'm leaving off any of these lists?

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