WHAT GINGRICH SAID — AND WHO HE SAID IT TO…. We talked yesterday about disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R), and his belief that the nation will become “a godless society” unless voters reject President Obama, college professors, and journalists. As it turns out, that’s not all he said.

“I have two grandchildren: Maggie is 11; Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church here. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

Now, I’m not a theologian, but I’m fairly certain that a country cannot be atheistic and dominated by radical Islamists at the same time. This has something to do with the fact that they’re complete opposites.

But putting aside Gingrich’s jaw-dropping foolishness, let’s also note the audience. More to the point, who Gingrich was talking to was every bit as interesting as what he said.

In this case, the former House Speaker was sharing his unique brand of idiocy at a San Antonio ministry called Cornerstone Church. And who’s church is that? It’s run by a radical preacher by the name of John Hagee.

If that name sounds familiar, it should. In 2008, John McCain sought out Hagee’s support for his presidential campaign, but the Republican was ultimately forced to disavow the right-wing preacher and repudiate his endorsement.

As Jamil Smith recently explained:

Mr. Hagee’s name should ring a bell. He is the Texas megachurch pastor that, as Mother Jones reminds us today, senator John McCain couldn’t escape fast enough in 2008 after news of his endorsement brought forth revelations (natch) that Hagee blamed gays for Hurricane Katrina and called Catholicism a “false cult” and a contributor to Hitler’s anti-Semitism.

Hagee also believes Jews are to blame for centuries of persecution, called the Roman Catholic Church is “the great whore,” and preached that Hitler and the Nazis had operated on God’s behalf.

And while we’re at it, there was also the time Hagee said God is using Muslim terrorists to massacre Americans because the United States supports a two-state solution in Israel.

This is who Newt Gingrich is reaching out to for political support.

The crazy quote about Islamists in atheistic America is hilarious, but let’s not lose sight of the context here. The forest is more scandalous than the trees.

Steve Benen

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.