Newt Gingrich: 'Our First Great Challenge Is Spiritual'

The former House speaker tells an evangelical audience, "We are surrounded by paganism."

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By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

Newt Gingrich recently converted to Roman Catholicism, but he sounded more like the Baptist he once was in addressing a mostly evangelical audience on Friday at a Rediscovering God in America conference in Virginia Beach, Va. The conference shares its name with a book and a video that Gingrich has released, and many conference speakers are affiliated with a new group, Renewing American Leadership, that Gingrich has founded to mobilize religious conservatives.

The liberal group People for the American Way has compiled a clip reel (above) of Gingrich's remarks. It shows how comfortable Gingrich has become with speaking in a charismatic-style worship atmosphere. That will come in handy if he winds up battling Sarah Palin, raised in a charismatic church, for the Republican nomination in 2012.

Here are some of the "faithier" lines from Gingrich's presentation:

—We are in a period when we are surrounded by paganism. And paganism is on offence and that's why our first great challenge is spiritual.

—Reignite in people an understanding that the heart of your life is subordination to God, the heart of your life is seeking God's will and that all of us are weak and vulnerable, all of us make mistakes, but that all are welcomed by a loving God.

—Reach out to everybody in the country who is not yet saved and . . . help them understand the spiritual basis of a creator-endowed society.

—The beginning of wisdom and virtue is a recognition of our subordination to God, and to the fact that a life without God is a life so empty that even drugs and alcohol and other things cannot fill it.

—This is a country in hunger for another Great Awakening, a wave of belief which has again and again swept this country and fundamentally changed us.