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Newt & Calista Gingrich Video Interview On 'Rediscovering Religion In America'

12/17/2009

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Calista Gingrich answer user questions about their new DVD documentary, Rediscovering Religion in America, Pt. 2.

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What do you think the Puritans would think of America today? - Joe, New York

Q: What do you think the Puritans would think of America today? - Joe, New York - Joe Galbo
A: Newt: They would clearly think that we've drifted too far from God's wishes and God's descriptions and I think, frankly, so would George Washington. I think even Abraham Lincoln who gave the most religious speech by an American president, his second inaugural in 703 words references God 14 times and quotes the Bible twice. I think all of them would have said to us that there are profound things about being free that start with trying to understand what your creator would have you do rather than to impose your own ego.
America has so many diverse faiths. Do you think it's possible for religion to be used as a guide for public policy? 

Q: America has so many diverse faiths. Do you think it's possible for religion to be used as a guide for public policy? - Joe Galbo
A: Calista: Sure. With religious liberty comes the need for religious tolerance. We see this today and we saw it in early America. Initially we had the church of England in Virginia, then we see the Puritans in Massachusetts, the Quakers in Pennsylvania who are seen as religious radicals for the time. We also look at the Catholics in Maryland and Philadelphia, as well as the first Jewish community in Rhode Island. With religious liberty comes the need for religious tolerance.
Why did you decide to do a sequel? Were you surprised by anything that you learned? - Matthew, Nashville, Tennessee

Q: Why did you decide to do a sequel? Were you surprised by anything that you learned? - Matthew, Nashville, Tennessee - Uinterview User
A: Calista: Rediscovering God in America is based on Newt's book and it's both a book and a documentary. We had such a positive response to it, people asked us to do moral of God in America. So we have done Rediscovering God in America 2: Our Heritage. This film explores the role of religion in early America from Jamestown through the American Revolution to the end of the Civil War in 1865. This film tells the story of the great faith that sustained and motivated our nation's leaders and our nation's belief in religious freedom. You always learn something, of course, when you do a movie. One of the interesting historical facts that Newt and I learned occurred when we were at Cape Henry. Cape Henry is where the first English settlers landed in Virginia. Before they proceeded on to Jamestown, they erected a cross at Cape Henry and thanks to God for a safe passage across the Atlantic. Newt: I didn't realize, for example, that in Jamestown we don't think of as the more religious colony compared to say, Massachusetts with the Puritans and the Pilgrims, but in Jamestown they went to church 14 times a week. There was a great deal of pretty strict religious belief in the early colonies in a way that, even though I taught history, I found surprising as we did the research for this movie.
What do you think the Supreme Court today would think about the Puritan's display of religion? - Matthew, Nashville, Tennessee

Q: What do you think the Supreme Court today would think about the Puritan's display of religion? - Matthew, Nashville, Tennessee - Uinterview User
A: Newt: Well it's clear, this is part of why we wrote the book and made two movies about rediscovering God. It's clear that our modern courts are a repudiation of all of American history. Historically, none of the founding fathers would have found it reasonable to drive the cross out of public life and as Calista pointed out, the very first thing English speaking colonies did in Virginia was erect a cross and the whole idea that somehow America would have a government which was anti-religious as opposed to freedom of religion I think would have struck all of the founding fathers as totally destructive because all of the believed that freedom, a large part, was based on our creator. Calista: That's right. It is impossible to understand the history of our nation today without recognizing the profound role that God has had on America. This heritage is really the foundation of our nation that has endured for over 200 years.

Read more: Newt Gingrich, religion

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