Huckabee Called for Taking This Nation Back for Christ

Mike Huckabee, the new front runner in the Republican race if you believe the polls, has made the cover of Newsweek with a story on The New American Holy War. With all that has been written on the topic this is not a very memorable story. It deals with both Mitt Romney following his recent speech on religion as well as with Huckabee.

The author did discuss the most controversial portion of Romney’s speech in which he said, “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.” After chastising Romney for his “failure to make a noble public stand for the rights of atheists and skeptics” the article turns to Huckabee with another quote from his past which might now be embarrassing:

After citing Adams, Romney said: “Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.” The second part is an ancient theological tradition: without free will faith is not faith but coercion. The first point, however, is arguable, for societies can be secular, free and successful. I asked Romney to explain his thinking. In sum, he believes a republic is dependent on the virtue of the people, the virtue of the people is dependent on morality, and that morality is dependent on religion. To support his case he (wisely) alluded to Washington’s Farewell Address, which says, “of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports … let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.” But Washington was simply raising a “caution,” and it is a mistake to think that one need be religious to be moral.

Romney would have been on safer ground had he said that America has always been largely religious and largely free, and that America’s religious traditions should fight for the freedom of all, if only out of self-interest. Without freedom of conscience, today’s tyrant could be tomorrow’s tyrannized, and the other way round. With freedom of conscience, we come closer to living out the promise Washington made in his 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation at Newport, R.I., in which he said that the government of the United States was “to give to bigotry no sanction … and to persecution no assistance.”

Romney’s failure to make a noble public stand for the rights of atheists and skeptics is tactically understandable if intellectually disappointing. The man he is now trailing in Iowa is smooth on the campaign circuit, appealing to conservative Christians without alienating other kinds of voters. How long this will last is an open question. Huckabee the front runner is only now beginning to face new scrutiny. A speech he gave in 1998 is likely to come up again. Addressing Southern Baptist pastors gathered at the Salt Palace Convention Center, Huckabee, then governor of Arkansas, said that he “got into politics because I knew government didn’t have the real answers, that real answers lie in accepting Jesus Christ into our lives … I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ.”

Take this nation back for Christ: the phrase echoes the language of Jerry Falwell, who was against ministers’ mixing in politics when the subject was civil rights but changed his mind after the Roe decision in 1973. In a Moral Majority report, Falwell’s organization urged “an old-fashioned, God-honoring, Christ-exalting revival to turn America back to God.” Such talk was precisely what the Founders had hoped to avoid.

Huckabee is facing closer scrutiny now that he has a serious chance of winning. While he has skillfully managed to appear rational and nonthreatening during the campaign, his old statements, including the recent revelation that he supported isolating those with AIDS, show the need to be cautions about electing someone with such a world view. His call to “take this nation back for Christ” will further add to the concerns about Huckabee.


  1. 1
    L. Step says:

    Think about this: the average I.Q. is 100. Which means that overall, one of two people you meet, will fall into those having I.Q.s of either more than or less than 100. Now, because the I.Q. scale is grounded in a “bell curve” (approaches “0” at both ends of the scale), 3 of 4 people you meet will have an I.Q under 106. This is 66% of the people, the majority. Now then, those under the 106 ranking would not be the brightest. So, these folks, in their doubts, unsure of what is “the case”, will expectedly look for answeres tp their questions, not in themselves, but in some external authority. They will accept these answers “on faith”. Some, functionally illiterate, are only familiar with one book — the Bible. Being told, by their local authority, the Preacher, that Jesus is the absolute authority, will now become ready to “bring the nation back to Christ”, and so get answers to their questions. Ah, what about Roman Catholics? Well, not bible-based, they look to the Pope. He has little to say other than to be “good” and obedient (to the Church). As all organized religions, Evangelical and otherwise, rest upon the peace that authority gives. Huckabee has a great chance of becoming President of a Theocracy. But what of significance would come about with Huckabee’s Presidency? Nothing. Lots of the usual Bible-thumping, but nothing more. I won’t vote for the creep, but many will. I get along with my God — who, incidentally, is not that “thin-skinned and short-tempered” war God, Jehovah (Huckabee’s favorite — the Father of Jesus). Try to find your own God. Tell Huckabee and John Hagee to mind their own business.

  2. 2
    James says:

    “the virtue of the people is dependent on morality, and that morality is dependent on religion.”

    Just one tiny problem: religious voters in American life since 1976 (when the so-called New Right first made its presence known) increasingly have been opposed to true morality. Falwell is a good case in point, when justice for African Americans was the issue, he was opposed to Christians in politics. Fortunately, the vast majority of churches in the mid-west were not in agreement, and they became one of the important blocks of voters that pressured their representatives in Congress to support the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the voting rights bill of 1965. On the other hand, when religious bigotry, militarism, homophobia, and anti-feminism emerged as viable political issues, Falwell advocated the rush of evangelicals into politics. Both the American polity and American religion have been damaged beyond recognition by the immorality of the New Right’s agenda. Restoring morality to American policy appears more likely when the most openly religious lose all chance of election.

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