Christians in the U.S. today are "surrounded by paganism" and need to get involved in politics to preserve religion in American life, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich declared.
Gingrich spoke at a "Rediscovering God in America" forum at a church in Virginia Beach, Va., on Friday, and said: "I think this is one of the most critical moments in American history.
"We are living in a period where we are surrounded by paganism."
Gingrich and other speakers, including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, pointed to the availability of abortion, the spread of gay rights, and attempts to remove religion from school history books as threats to Christian values.
Gingrich told the gathering that the ties to religion in American government date back to the Declaration of Independence, when Thomas Jefferson wrote that men are endowed by God with certain inalienable rights, The Virginian-Pilot's Web site HamptonRoads.com reported.
"I am not a citizen of the world," he said. "I am a citizen of the United States because only in the United States does citizenship start with our Creator."
Huckabee, who like Gingrich has been mentioned as a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2012, criticized President Barack Obama's statement in his Cairo speech last week that one nation should not be exalted over another.
"The notion that we are just one of many among equals is nonsense," he said, calling the U.S. a "blessed" nation.
He also said that California's approval of a measure overturning a state law legalizing same-sex marriage was "a miracle from God's hands."
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