Meet Michael Youssef, Gingrich's Divisive Faith Co-Chair

January 25, 2012 12:57 pm ET — Media Matters Action Network

Last week, Newt Gingrich's presidential campaign announced that Michael Youssef, an Egyptian-born evangelical pastor who runs a megachurch in Atlanta, would co-chair the campaign's Faith Leaders Coalition. Like Gingrich, Youssef is a divisive figure who has accused President Obama of not being a "true Christian," has said that those who argue that the U.S. is not at war with Islam are naïve, warned that a nonexistent "Counsel of Islamic Nations" is trying to "outlaw the preaching of the gospel anywhere in the world," and has written that democracy in the Muslim world is "a figment of the imagination."

Much like Gingrich, who has warned that America is fast becoming "a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists," Youssef has advanced the narrative that American liberals are waging a war against Christianity, claiming that the media is "likening Christians to the Taliban and the Jihadis."

Youssef is also a vitriolic critic of the Episcopalian and Presbyterian churches, which he says are outside the fold of Christianity for being inclusive. Youssef, who believes that floods and tornadoes are warnings from God about the "abomination" of homosexuality, thinks the two churches "spread apostasy" and practice the "Chinese water torture method of homosexual lobbying."

Check our backgrounder on Michael Youssef HERE.