By Michelle Bauman
.- Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich said Catholics should pray about the decision of whom to support for public office and then vote according to their consciences.
Gingrich, a convert who entered the Catholic Church in 2009, is running for the Republican presidential nomination.
Gingrich told CNA on Oct. 24 that he believes the single biggest threat to America today is “the attack against the Judeo-Christian tradition and the effort to drive God out of public life and eliminate the understanding that our rights come from our Creator.”
The former speaker explained that he was motivated to run for president by the current political situation in America.
“The United States faces the most serious election since 1860,” he said.
“Our challenges are so great and the consequence of choosing American exceptionalism or class warfare and bureaucratic socialism is so large that as a citizen I felt compelled to run.”
Gingrich explained that his faith would influence his political decisions as president.
“Any leader should seek God's guidance,” he said. “The teachings of the Church inform my thinking about solving earthly problems.”
Gingrich said that he would “listen” to the concerns of those who feel threatened by his views and values.
“In many cases better communications and clarification will eliminate their worries,” he said.
“In some cases they are right to feel threatened because we have incompatible values and fundamentally different visions of the future.”
As speaker of the House, Gingrich had a strongly pro-life voting record.
In his race for GOP presidential candidate, he has signed the Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life Presidential Leadership Pledge.
The pledge asks candidates to commit to nominating federal judges who are dedicated to “applying the original meaning of the Constitution;” selecting “only pro-life appointees for relevant Cabinet and Executive Branch positions;” supporting legislation to “permanently end all taxpayer funding of abortion;” and working toward a law “to protect unborn children who are capable of feeling pain from abortion.”
Gingrich has also expressed support for efforts to defend marriage.
“I helped author the Defense of Marriage Act which the Obama administration should be protecting in court,” he said in a Republican primary debate in Manchester, N.H. on June 13, 2011.
“I think if that fails, you have no choice except a constitutional amendment.”
Gingrich told CNA that Catholic voters who are trying to pick a candidate to support in the upcoming election should pray about their decision and “take seriously the responsibility of citizenship.”
“Pray for America and for our leaders,” he said. “Then vote as your conscience instructs you.”
“If possible become an activist helping America regain its sense of purpose and direction.”