What is Newt Gingrich talking about?

WHAT IS NEWT GINGRICH TALKING ABOUT?…. The White House unveiled its final list this week of the 25 members of President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. There’s at least some ideological and spiritual diversity — including more than a couple of conservatives. Indeed, most of the council members aren’t even pro-choice.

But the White House also picked a gay guy for the council so some conservatives are throwing a fit. A certain former House Speaker is leading the charge.

Newt Gingrich said Tuesday the Obama administration is “intensely secular” and “anti-religious,” the former House Speaker’s second hard-hitting criticism of the new administration this week.

In an interview with FOX News, Gingrich said he strongly disagreed with Obama’s choice of Harry Knox — an outspoken activist for gay rights — to the White House advisory council on faith-based initiatives.

“I think their goal is to have a very secular America in which government dominates everything,” he said. “Why wouldn’t you put an anti-religious, left-wing zealot on a faith-based group? It’s a perfect pattern for this administration.”

Since 2005, Knox has served as the director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national organization that advocates on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. He is also a former Methodist pastor.

Gingrich does find the strangest things to whine about. Conservatives are very well represented on this advisory council — by some measures, the right is over-represented on the panel given that this is a left-leaning Democratic president. Ideology aside, the council has obviously religious figures — priests, rabbis, pastors — from a variety of backgrounds.

But the president picks the director of the Human Rights Campaign’s Religion and Faith Program — who happens to have experience as a Christian minister — and all of a sudden, it’s evidence of the White House’s “anti-religious” agenda? Please.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.