(Photo: REUTERS/Tami Chappell)
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich spoke at a church in Georgia Sunday, warning that America is under threat from the "secular left" that has sought to marginalize people of faith for 50 years.
"The forces of the secular left believe passionately and deeply, and with frankly a religious fervor, in their worldview and they will regard what I am saying as a horrifying assault on what they think is the truth," Gingrich said at First Redeemer Church, north of Atlanta, Sunday, according to The Associated Press, "because their version of the truth is to have a totally neutral government that has no meaning."
The former House speaker, who is not contesting in Tuesday's primaries in Michigan and Arizona, appeared to be conscious of his past as he spoke at the church. He said he was not there "as a religious leader, and I don't come here as a saint," alluding to his previous marriages. "I come here as a citizen who has had a life that at times has fallen short of the glory of God, who has had to seek God's forgiveness and had to seek reconciliation."
Gingrich also criticized President Barack Obama for undermining the principles on which the nation was founded. "You loan power to the government, the government does not loan power to you," he said.
Taking aim at Obama's apology for the unintentional burning of Qurans at a U.S. base in Afghanistan, Gingrich said George Washington would not have said sorry for an incident that resulted in the killing of young Americans. "We are supposed to apologize to those who are killing us? I don't think so," Gingrich said to applause.
Protests over the burning of Qurans have resulted in the killing of over 30 people in Afghanistan, including four American soldiers.
Gingrich is focusing on Georgia, the state he represented in Congress for two decades and where he has a solid network of support. As he admitted, the primary on March 6, Super Tuesday, is "central to the future of our campaign. We're going to do everything we can to win here."
About the possibility of his winning the GOP presidential nomination and the November election, Gingrich said, "This is up to God and the American people. I don't want to be presumptuous."
Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney is Gingrich's main rival in Georgia and critics say he fails to connect with average Americans as he comes from a rich family. But Romney told Fox News Sunday that he had been the most stable candidate and had gained most votes. "You know, I can't be perfect. I just am who I am," he said.