Green Room

Mike Huckabee, America’s Christian Candidate?

posted at 7:16 pm on June 21, 2010 by

I was going to post about this discouraging turn of events when I saw it at Ace’s but I just didn’t have the heart for it. I’m picturing the 2012 campaign where the candidate who complains the most about Shiites is not referring to Iran, but to conservative Republicans. Doubtless practicing self-control not to vandalize cars with Huckabee stickers in the church parking lot will do me good – it will build character, or something.

What has always repelled me most about Mike Huckabee is his dishonesty, especially given how the man who made Judicial Watch’s 2007 “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” list puts himself forward as the Christian candidate.

He was deeply dishonest in his treatment of Mitch Romney’s faith. It’s certainly fair to disagree with Romney’s Mormonism, and if you think some Mormon beliefs are a bit nutty, well, so do a lot of people. (And in all fairness, others consider my Christian hedonism equally odd.) But that sneaky way he wondered whether Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers – when it beggars belief that Huckabee was unfamiliar with the basics of the Mormon faith, having spoken at the 1998 Southern Baptist Convention in Salt Lake City – was disgraceful.

He did manage to muster a weak disavowal for his supporters who dishonestly push-polled on his behalf – again, way to be moral and upright! A Christian leader who fails to stop his supporters from being dishonest on his behalf is either not a Christian or not a leader.

In the New Yorker’s article about him – which reminds me of nothing so much as the hagiographic coverage Obama enjoyed during the election – Mike Huckabee, America’s Christian Candidate, defended the faith thusly:

Other members of the group politely admitted that they had no doubt that most Israelis, and anyone else who had not accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour, would be spending eternity in Hell. (“That is an issue,” a man named Randy Rebold told me apologetically.) Huckabee’s formulation is considerably more politic. “If somebody asked me, How do I get to Heaven, I would tell them that the only way I personally am aware of is faith in Christ, because I believe the New Testament,” he said. “That’s the only map I got. Somebody says, Well, I got a different map. O.K.! You know what? If it works, I’m not going to argue with you.”

If it works. I’m not going to argue. Is Huckabee in some doubt about whether Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life – the only mediator between God and man? Because that’s kind of a deal-breaker where biblical Christianity is concerned. If he doesn’t believe that, he’s not really a Christian. And if he’s embarrassed to say that Christianity is exclusive in this regard – just as every other faith is exclusive in its claim to truth – then perhaps a reassessment is in order.

As if that weren’t enough, Huckabee promoted the classic “poor, uneducated and easy to command” smear with this lovely anecdote about a 1979 rally he helped coordinate -

More than ten thousand Christians came to a “Freedom Rally” at the Reunion Arena, in Dallas, to protest Robison’s expulsion. “There was this amazing energy coming up from these evangelical Christians,” Huckabee said. “I remember almost being frightened by it. If someone had gotten to the microphone and said, ‘Let’s go four blocks from here and take Channel 8 apart,’ that audience would’ve taken the last brick off the building.”

That’s all it takes to drive us to violence, evidently – we’re simply awaiting orders. No biblical mandate nor earthly law could have protected that building from the howling, frenzied mob had someone just gotten to the microphone to give the command.

The icing on the New Yorker cake was this straw man worthy of the Democratic Party -

In defiance of libertarian laissez-faire, Huckabee has extended his Christian vision to include the poor. “If there are a certain number of kids from single-parent homes who aren’t going to school and don’t have health care, you can say that’s not government’s job,” Huckabee told me. “Well, sweet and fine! But you know what? If the kid’s sitting outside the door of the hospital choking with asthma, do I sit there and say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t think, philosophically, government should get involved’? I’d much rather the kid get help than I sit around and say I’m so pure in my ideology.”

Because people who oppose Huckabee’s big government programs – like his mandated public school weigh-ins – want to kill children. No child sits outside an emergency room suffocating due to lack of health insurance, and nobody of import has ever argued that she should. She absolutely will get treated, and for Huckabee to pretend that is not the case is dishonest. If challenged that he’s arguing that point against essentially nobody, because no mainstream politician or pundit espouses denying emergency treatment to dying children, the Huckster would probably clarify, “I’m only arguing against laissez-faire libertarians.” The truth is he’s pulling an Obama, dishonestly framing an opposing argument as a ridiculously extreme position. That’s a typical political trick, and I’d let it pass without comment if he didn’t keep reminding us all what a good, moral Christian candidate he is.

It’s the same argument he’s used time and again – if you don’t agree with him on the proper care and treatment for illegal aliens, clemency, or support his tax increases, then you must drink a different kind of Jesus juice than he does.

Crossposted.

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Palin will rip him apart in a debate, and he will be the one looking nasty while she smiles turning the knife.

We’ll see who the Crhistian candidate is, when the time comes :)

Brian1972 on June 21, 2010 at 7:44 PM

Mike Huckabee is best described as Bill Clinton with a halo.

No. No way.

SDN on June 21, 2010 at 7:49 PM

SDN on June 21, 2010 at 7:49 PM

Some of his initiatives put me in mind of Bloomberg with a Bible.

It would help if I could spell Christian properly.

Brian1972 on June 21, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Hmm, what a surprise, a lefty rag promoting the candidate they would absolutely love to run against Oblahblah in two years.

northdallasthirty on June 21, 2010 at 8:07 PM

What has always repelled me most about Mike Huckabee is his dishonesty, especially given how the man who made Judicial Watch’s 2007 “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” list puts himself forward as the Christian candidate.

So Democrats file ethics complaints against a Republican Governor, and that disqualifies him as being a real Christian?

But that sneaky way he wondered whether Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers –

He was discussing religion with a religion reporter. The reporter brought up the topic of mormonism. Huckabee asked a question…the interview was over…what’s sneaky about that? You presume to know what was going through the Governor’s mind? Poor “Mitch” Romney…he couldn’t win the nomination because Huckabee asked a question.

He did manage to muster a weak disavowal for his supporters who dishonestly push-polled on his behalf – again, way to be moral and upright! A Christian leader who fails to stop his supporters from being dishonest on his behalf is either not a Christian or not a leader.

How do you propose he should have stopped them? Perhaps he could have tracked the individuals down, and held them at gunpoint until they agreed not to do those naughty politics anymore.

If it works. I’m not going to argue. Is Huckabee in some doubt about whether Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life – the only mediator between God and man? Because that’s kind of a deal-breaker where biblical Christianity is concerned. If he doesn’t believe that, he’s not really a Christian. And if he’s embarrassed to say that Christianity is exclusive in this regard – just as every other faith is exclusive in its claim to truth – then perhaps a reassessment is in order.

Yes, Huckabee is a politician. He is not going to tell millions of prospective voters that they are going to hell. No politician would. Your objection is completely unreasonable.

Huckabee’s point on libertarian laissez-faire philosophy is that philosophizing and governing are very different things. His point is that he is Conservative, and Republican, but not an unflinching ideologue, like his detractors on talk radio and other media claim to be. If you read any of Huckabee’s writings, you will discover that his guiding principle is the Golden Rule. His theory is that if people just followed that, we wouldn’t need Government intrusion into anything.

ceruleanblue on June 21, 2010 at 8:49 PM

his guiding principle is the Golden Rule. His theory is that if people just followed that, we wouldn’t need Government intrusion into anything.

ceruleanblue on June 21, 2010 at 8:49 PM

From the Cato Institute’s Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors: 2006 on Mike Huckabee:

Arkansas
Mike Huckabee, Republican Legislature: Democratic
Final-Term Grade: F
Final Overall Grade: D

Thanks to a final term grade of F, Huckabee earns an overall grade of D for his entire governorship. Like many Republicans, his grades dropped the longer he stayed in office. In his first few years, he fought hard for a sweeping $70 million tax cut package that was the first broad-based tax cut in the state in more than 20 years. He even signed a bill to cut the state’s 6 percent capital gains tax—a significant progrowth accomplishment. But nine days after being reelected in 2002, he proposed a sales tax increase to cover a budget deficit caused partly by large spending increases that he proposed and approved, including an expansion in Medicare eligibility that Huckabee made a centerpiece of his 1997 agenda. He agreed to a 3 percent income tax “surcharge” and a 25-cent cigarette tax increase. In response to a court order to increase spending on education, Huckabee proposed another sales tax increase. Huckabee wants to run for the GOP presidential nomination next year. He’s already been hailed as a viable big-government conservative candidate by some. That seems about right: Huckabee’s leadership has left taxpayers in Arkansas much worse off.

That hurts.

Brian1972 on June 21, 2010 at 9:19 PM

How do you propose he should have stopped them? Perhaps he could have tracked the individuals down, and held them at gunpoint until they agreed not to do those naughty politics anymore.

Straw man. A response – especially one on YouTube – refuting each push polled point would have put a stop to it immediately. No guns required – just the type of leadership you’d see in someone with a solid character who was genuinely offended at what was being done on his behalf. I don’t expect that out of a normal politician, but if you put yourself out there as explicitly Christian, you should be prepared to go the extra mile.

Yes, Huckabee is a politician. He is not going to tell millions of prospective voters that they are going to hell. No politician would.

So his politics are more important to him than his faith. He’s willing to compromise on what is arguably the most important value he’s got. And you’re okay with that. Message received. Carrie Prejean did a better job of standing up for her faith than Huckabee.

Laura Curtis on June 21, 2010 at 9:49 PM

I never can think of Judas Iscariot without losing my temper. To my mind Judas Iscariot was nothing but a low, mean, premature Mike Huckabee.

Luka on June 22, 2010 at 4:12 AM

I never can think of Judas Iscariot without losing my temper. To my mind Judas Iscariot was nothing but a low, mean, premature Mike Huckabee.

Luka on June 22, 2010 at 4:12 AM

But wasn’t God’s plan to have Judas betray Jesus, and that Jesus knew it beforehand? Thus I cannot view Judas as a Benedict Arnold type, but merely a cog in God’s plan.

As for Huckabee, he isn’t a conservative. OK, he’s pro-life and believs in God, but he also believes in a big nanny state. I guess that makes him C.K.’s conservative progressive.

Heck, I’d prefer Romney to the Huckster.

rbj on June 22, 2010 at 9:29 AM

Disappointing to see the Governor using easy-to-swallow formulations to compromise the uniqueness of Christ’s sacrifice, according to this believer.

But that sneaky way he wondered whether Mormons believe Jesus and Satan are brothers –

To me, this speaks to exactly the same issue as above. The LDS website answers Huck’s question: yes, they do believe this. (http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=4a10ef960417b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD) Please do not get mad, I am ONLY linking to the LDS website itself.
Scroll down to the second boldface question. It wouldn’t hurt anyone to learn what that actually means. The LDS church obviously doesn’t consider this defaming to Jesus, as they taught Satan had a choice and chose evil.

If Huckabee objects to this teaching (and there are proper biblical grounds to do so, for certain), he should have said so, rather than played coy. Either he doesn’t believe this, or he does, and if he does, it is a matter of great urgency that he unequivocally denounce the teaching.

But if he did so, there would be a howling cry of “unfair!” for dragging religion into politics. So what’s a Christian candidate to do?

Does the author think Huckabee should, or should not, compromise his Christian witness in order to run in politics?

bcm4134 on June 22, 2010 at 10:25 AM

Either he doesn’t believe this, or he does

I should have said, “either he doesn’t believe this teaching to be harmful, or he does…”

Sorry for any confusion.

bcm4134 on June 22, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Gomer Pyle should keep his day job at Fox. Makes you wonder if he didn’t eat too many stewed squirrels when in seminary.

Kissmygrits on June 22, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Does the author think Huckabee should, or should not, compromise his Christian witness in order to run in politics?

He should not compromise it, of course – and he doesn’t have to compromise it just because he wants to serve in politics. I’m mightily offended by the way he brings up religion at his convenience and as a method to hurt an opponent, and tap dances around the issue when it could potentially hurt him. It’s dishonest. It cheapens faith. As we get to know candidates, part of that is getting to know what their core beliefs are – to know what formed them, to help voters understand what motivates them. So I’m not suggesting he never speak of religion. But as I see it, Huck uses faith as a weapon in the political arena.

Huckabee is not under any obligation to proselytize, and he could easily have answered the reporter with the ‘hell’ question something along the lines of, “Yes, Christianity, just like other religions, claims exclusivity; there’s nothing shocking or odd about that. And of course people are free to disagree with Christianity and with me, but if somebody asked me, How do I get to Heaven, I would tell them that the only way I personally am aware of is faith in Christ, because I believe the New Testament.” Almost the same answer, but omitting the multi-culti denial that what he himself professes to believe is correct is on the same level with beliefs which by definition he believes are incorrect.

Laura Curtis on June 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM

The best thing that I can say about Mike Huckabee is that he is the Republican version of Barack Obama. He is NOT strong enough to stand up for what needs to be done, and he will go along to get along.

I think that all of us know “Christians” like the Huckster – they say one thing, and hide behind their religion when it is convenient for them (or when they are caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing). A true Christian stands out in front of their religion, and doesn’t use it to excuse their behavior….

TeresainFortWorth on June 22, 2010 at 2:50 PM

He was discussing religion with a religion reporter. The reporter brought up the topic of mormonism. Huckabee asked a question…the interview was over…what’s sneaky about that?
ceruleanblue on June 21, 2010 at 8:49 PM

Except that’s not how it happened.

Zev Chafets, the reporter who interviewed Huckabee, for that infamous New York Times article explained how it all went down:

“I asked Huckabee, who describes himself as the only Republican candidate with a degree in theology, if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion. ‘I think it’s a religion,’ he said. ‘I really don’t know much about it.’

Chafets wrote next: “I was about to jot down this piece of boilerplate when Huckabee surprised me with a question of his own….”

Reached Wednesday in Cooperstown, N.Y., where he’s writing a book on the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Chafets told Politico: “I asked him the question about Mormonism and whether he thought it was a religion or a cult.

“He said it was a religion, and didn’t know much about it. There was a pause. Then he asked his question,” Chafets continued.

“He can spin it any way he wants. It was on the wires and picked up by candidates, and I can’t be accountable for that,” Chafets said, adding, “I hope that the article, as I wrote it, was entirely in context.”

Lieberman said she also understood that Huckabee’s question “was an unbidden response.”

Source.

Whose version of the interview do you believe? Huckabee or Zev Chafets because one of them is lying about how the interview went down.

I’ll believe Zev Chafets over Huckabee.

If Huckabee objects to this teaching (and there are proper biblical grounds to do so, for certain), he should have said so, rather than played coy

bcm4134 on June 22, 2010 at 10:25 AM

The reason many people dislike Huckabee is that he played coy over his ignorance about Mormonism.

It was the faux innocence of Huckabee’s question that upset a lot people, including the Mormons themselves.

The whole scenario was offensive. Mike Huckabee claimed he didn’t know about LDS doctrine and yet he immediately gave himself away by asking about a very specific and minor doctrine of the LDS Church all in the same breath.

One cannot claiming “ignorance” on a subject like a particular religion but immediately demonstrate knowledge of that religion’s theology.

The reason why no one believes Huckabee was ignorant about Romney’s faith because we have a former Baptist minister who claims he doesn’t know much about the LDS faith yet he was the one who gave the keynote address at the Baptist Convention in Salt Lake City in an effort to convert Mormons away to the Baptist faith.

The average citizen in the United States doesn’t know about the Satan as Jesus brother doctrine. The only way some knows about this minor LDS doctrine is if they have studied the LDS faith or is a member of that faith. It is isn’t doctrine that is common knowledge to the general public. You have to be well studied in LDS theology to be aware of this particular belief.

What was the point of brining up this theological belief of Mormons if it wasn’t to scare Christian voters away from Mitt? Why even bring that up? I mean, really?

Pretending to be ignorant of Romney’s faith is Huckabee’s standard practice of playing passive aggressive against his enemies.

I also think its dishonest of Mike Huckabee to claim he has no problems with having an atheist for President yet its well known that he has issues with having a President who is Mormon.

Conservative Samizdat on June 22, 2010 at 3:20 PM

ceruleanblue on June 21, 2010 at 8:49 PM

ceruleanblue try this on:

The Huckster was in the pulpit and went into politics…correct?

When did he start lying, when he was in the pulpit or did he acquire that talent(gift) after he got into politics?

There is not much difference between politics and religion, they both want to control the masses.

belad on June 22, 2010 at 10:24 PM

It seems a lot of people who dislike Huckabee really just have a problem with his religion… or some kind of perceived hypocrisy. I think the comments on this page are evident of that. I can at least respect Brian1972 for looking into Cato’s version of Huckabee’s record. I just don’t hold the Cato institute in as high of regard.

For the record, I am an agnostic Huckabee supporter.

ceruleanblue on June 22, 2010 at 10:52 PM

It seems a lot of people who dislike Huckabee really just have a problem with his religion…

I have no problem with Huckabee’s religion.

Its how treats others who are not of his faith. That’s the problem.

Conservative Samizdat on June 23, 2010 at 2:04 AM

Aside from the skin-crawl factor, the truth is worth repeating about this despicable creature.

Flat panel TVs offer startling realism. No thanks to Fox News, I recommend anyone in the market check menu items for “disable snake-oil port.”

Feedie on June 24, 2010 at 3:33 AM

I could never support Huckchuck. He’s not really a conservative, he’s just a Christian statist authoritarian who’d use the power of the state as easily as does Obama, he’d just have different targets. Huckchuck is almost a parody of moderate and independent fears about Republicans.

If Huckabee is the Republican nominee, he will lose worse than anyone since McGovern.

CatoRenasci on June 27, 2010 at 7:38 PM