Speaking before a large crowd at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington Wednesday morning, Gingrich described his conversion to the faith from his past as a Southern Baptist. He praised breakfast’s honoree, the late Pope John Paul II, and then set about describing what he said is the ongoing religious conflict in the country led by the secular types.
“The American elites are guided by their desire to emulate the European elites,” he said in prepared remarks he stuck closely to in his speech, “and, as a result, anti-religious values and principles are coming to dominate the academic, news media, and judicial class in America.”
Need proof? Gingrich said just look at the calendar.
“There is now a convention in scientific publications to replace Anno Domini (AD) with common era (CE),” Gingrich said. “This is an entirely artificial and intellectually incoherent dating system. There is no common era.”
This will not stand, Gingrich said.
The year 2011 is a Christian date. This year is 5771 in the Hebrew tradition. It is 1432 anno Hegirae in the Islamic calendar. It is Vikram Samvat 2067 in the most commonly used Hindu calendar. And of course, in remembrance of the first great anti-Christian (and failed) revolution, it is 219 in the French Revolutionary calendar. Factual honesty would lead the scientific community to revert to AD as their designator but secular cultural pressure rejects recognition of the Christian calendar in favor of an artificial replacement.
This — and other examples from the courts — were examples of “secular extremists” setting out to “impose their anti-religious bigotry” on the world around them.
Gingrich said the push for a Common Era, as well as the other examples, helped him move toward Catholicism.
“I found the constant secular pressure more and more troublesome,” Gingrich recalled, speaking of his path to the Catholic faith.