Reason’s Hit and Run blog has a long list of the most appalling things Newt Gingrich has said over the years on some of the most important issues facing the country. Here’s one of the very worst:
Freedom of religion: During the 2010 debate over plans to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center, Gingrich’s jingoistic demagoguery made Sarah Palin seem calm and nuanced. In contrast with Palin, who urged supporters of the Park 51 project not to build the mosque but conceded they had a constitutional right to do so, Gingrich demanded government action to stop them, saying“we should not tolerate” what the First Amendment requires us to tolerate. He insisted “there should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia.” In response to those who noted that interfering with the project because of its Muslim character would violate the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom, he said “Nazis don’t have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust Museum in Washington.” To understand what drove Gingrich’s vehement opposition to Park 51, it might help to know he worries that in half a century the United States will be “a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists.”
The worst thing about that last statement is that there are people stupid enough to not only hear it without pointing and laughing at Newt, but to actually think it’s true. A secular atheist country dominated by radical Islamists? If you can’t spot the contradiction in that, you really shouldn’t be allowed to vote.