QUOTE OF THE DAY…. That disgraced former House Speaker sure does say strange things.

Newt Gingrich “warned that America is headed toward becoming a godless society unless voters take a stand against President Obama and liberal-minded college professors and likeminded media pushing his agenda,” the San Antonio News-Express reports.

He also “called for a return to historic, Christian roots he said were critical to protecting the nation’s freedoms.”

Said Gingrich: “There’s a desperation with which our elites are trying to create amnesia so that we literally have generations who have no idea what it means to be an American.”

Yeah, just think about it. Unless we all become conservative Christians, the next thing you know, prominent leaders might start cheating on multiple wives.

Oh wait.

Everything about Gingrich’s little tirade is bizarre. First, the United States remains among the most religious industrialized powers on the planet, so the threat of creeping godlessness seems out of place.

Second, even if the ranks of atheists and agnostics are growing — and they are — isn’t this just a natural development in the marketplace of ideas? Exactly how does Gingrich suggest using political power to “return” America to its “Christian roots”?

Third, the growth in the number of non-believers began in earnest during the Bush era. Blaming Obama, the media, and college professors sounds like the mad rantings of a deeply paranoid person.

And finally, “what it means to be an American”? The true test of patriotic ideals is sharing Newt Gingrich’s religious faith? Really?

This “Holier Than Thou” shtick is already pretty tiresome. Gingrich fears widespread “amnesia,” but I have a pretty good memory, and I remember when the former Speaker was in office and he pretty much ignored the Republican Party’s religious right base. In fact, the vaguely theocratic movement grew so disgusted with Gingrich blowing them off that in the spring of 1998, James Dobson and a bunch of religious right heavyweights said they were prepared to abandon the GOP altogether and form a Christian conservative party. They had no choice, they said, because Gingrich refused to take a faith-based agenda seriously.

Gingrich eventually talked the movement leaders out of it, brought them back into the fold by making a bunch of promises, and then proceeded to ignore the religious right all over again. All the while, Gingrich was conducting his personal life in … how do I put this gently … an ungodly kind of way.

And now he wants to hold himself out as the paragon of all things Christian? Please.

Update: Atrios asks a good question: would Romney, who is Mormon, meet Gingrich’s standards? Since LDS didn’t exist in 1776, the answer, from Gingrich’s bizarre perspective, isn’t obvious.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.