I think our country is in a great struggle, and it’s something that Paul wrote about frequently. Paul wrote about a world where there was paganism. That’s where we are. A number of people with great social prestige think that paganism is a reasonable way of life. They like to think that they’re unique, but they’re not.Now let's turn to the Merriam Webster online dictionary:
So, let's be clear -- Paul was talking about pagans of definition 1 (who were often quite devout followers of their own religions); Gingrich is talking about the pagans of definition 2; and the neo-pagans of definition 3 are a rather small part of the current-day population. It seems that Gingrich is trying to capitalize on this ambiguity -- to stoke anxieties of current-day Christian conservatives that they are being persecuted by the government, as the early Christians were in pagan (definition 1) Rome.
Main Entry: pa·gan
Etymology: Middle English, from Late Latin paganus, from Latin, civilian, country dweller, from pagus country district; akin to Latin pangere to fix —more at pact Date: 14th century
1 : heathen 1; especially : a follower of a polytheistic religion (as in ancient Rome)
2 : one who has little or no religion and who delights in sensual pleasures and material goods : an irreligious or hedonistic person
3 : neo-pagan
If Gingrich wants to denounce people for being hedonistic or irreligious, let him do so. I don't generally share his concerns, but at least I'll respect his terminology. But using "paganism" as an expansive and slippery term of abuse (as I suggested in comments on my earlier post) is not in keeping with the classical heritage that inspired the American founding fathers. And considering that Gingrich has a PhD in history, he should (and does) know better.