Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House Speaker and presidential candidate, warned that "atheist philosophy" might pose an ever bigger threat to Christianity than radical Islamic terror groups.
Gingrich was speaking on Saturday in North Naples, Florida, when he told about 300 people at The Ritz-Carlton hotel that "the rise of a secular, atheist philosophy" in the West is "an equally or even more dangerous threat" to Christianity than radicals who kill believers, Naples Daily News reported.
The Republican talked about the Ave Maria School of Law in North Naples, a Roman Catholic institution which he said could serve as a "center of resistance" against "two horrendous wars underway against Christianity."
Gingrich, who is a Catholic, warned that secular philosophy that has spread through Hollywood, the media, and universities represents a "repudiation of everything we've learned about the importance of the spiritual world."
He added that centers of faith must defend religion against such atheistic philosophy, noting that the divide between religious and secular people is a threat to America.
"They are so fundamentally different about the very nature of life," he said about the two worldviews.
"If you believe that your rights come from God, you have a very limited sense of government," he said.
"And if you believe that's all baloney and your rights come from lawyers and politicians, then you have a different view."
Gingrich said that he does not believe the religious and the secularists can ever come together, arguing that eventually, "one side will win; one side will lose."
"Either the radical secularists will succeed in controlling the government and driving religion out of American life, or the people who believe in faith will succeed in controlling government and insist that you cannot impose radical values on American people," he stated.
Gingrich has talked about the importance of defending America's Christian values against secularism on a number of occasions throughout his political career. He spoke at the evangelical Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, in 2011, warning:
"I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they're (Gingrich's grandchildren) my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American."
He argued that bravery "will come from our churches" and synagogues, rather than the elites.
The percentage of people who say that they have no religion has been rising for decades in America, though Christians still remain a majority. Results from a 2017 survey from Gallup found that 20 percent of Americans, a record high, say that they have no religion.
Thirty-eight percent said that they belong to a Protestant faith; 21 percent said that they are Catholics, while nine percent identified with a non-specific type of Christianity.