Mike Huckabee: 'The Lord Truly Gave Me Wisdom'
The Republican presidential candidate discusses feeling God's presence during the debates and improving Christianity's image.
BY: Interview by Steven Waldman
and Dan Gilgoff
One of the comments you’ve made that’s getting a lot of discussion in the press is the point you made in the last day or so that we might need to amend the Constitution to have it apply more to God’s standards. Do you want to elaborate on that? In particular the question of people who might hear that and think, “Well, that’s a conversation stopper,” people who might agree with you on policy but feel that the constitution is secular document and should be driven by secular concerns rather than aligning it with God’s word.
|On Amending the Constitution to Meet God's Standards|
Well, I probably said it awkwardly, but the point I was trying to make– and I’ve said it better in the past – is that people sometimes say we shouldn’t have a human life amendment or a marriage amendment because the Constitution is far too sacred to change, and my point is, the Constitution was created as a document that could be changed. That’s the genius of it. The Bible, however, was not created to be amended and altered with each passing culture. If we have a definition of marriage, that we don’t change that definition, that we affirm that definition. And that the sanctity of human life is not just a religious issue. It’s an issue that goes to the very heart of our civilization of all people being equal, endowed by their creator with alienable rights of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That was the point. The Bible was not written to be amended. The Constitution was. Without amendments to the Constitution, women couldn’t vote, African-Americans wouldn’t be considered people. We have had to historically go back and to clarify, because there’ve been injustices made because the Constitution wasn’t as clear as it needed to be, and that’s the point.
Just to follow up on that question, according to that standard, if the Constitution and its amendments are subject to biblical interpretations, doesn’t that mean it would be subject to biblical argument over what the proper interpretation is? And where does that leave, say, nonbelievers or members of other faiths in a proudly pluralistic like our own when amendments to the Constitution are subject to a biblical interpretation?
I think that whether someone is a Christian or not, the idea that a human life has dignity and intrinsic worth should be clear enough. I don’t think a person has to be a person of faith to say that once you redefine a human life and say there is a life not worth living, and that we have a right to terminate a human life because of its inconvenience to others in the society. That’s the real issue. That’s the heart of it. It’s not just about being against abortion. It’s really about, Is there is a point at which a human life, because it’s become a burden or inconvenience to others, is an expendable life. And once we’ve made a decision that there is such a time – whether it’s the termination of an unborn child in the womb or whether it’s the termination of an 80-year-old comatose patient -- we’ve already crossed that line. And then the question is, How far and how quickly do we move past that line?
And the same thing would be true of marriage. Marriage has historically, as long as there’s been human history, meant a man and a woman in a relationship for life. Once we change that definition, then where does it go from there?
Is it your goal to bring the Constitution into strict conformity with the Bible? Some people would consider that a kind of dangerous undertaking, particularly given the variety of biblical interpretations.
Well, I don’t think that’s a radical view to say we’re going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal. Again, once we change the definition, the door is open to change it again. I think the radical position is to make a change in what’s been historic.
Do you think that on issues other than marriage and the life of the unborn that the Constitution should be brought into conformity with the Bible, which is what that quote seemed to suggest?
No, I was specifically talking about those two issues. Those were the only two issues I spoke about in the speech, and that was the point. I’m not suggesting that we say, “Okay, the Bible says you should tithe, so now in the Constitution we’re going to amend it to say everyone tithes.”
Those were the two issues that I felt like are talked about in the political realm. I support both the human rights amendment and a marriage amendment, and the reason that I do is because I think we need to codify in our Constitution that which has been acceptable and accepted view of what life and what marriage means. Frankly, if it weren’t being challenged, it wouldn’t be necessary. But it is being challenged. Now you have states that are passing same-sex marriage laws or civil union laws.
And you also have states that not only practice abortion, but if Roe v. Wade is overturned, we haven’t won the battle. All we’ve done is now we’ve created the logic of the Civil War, which says that the right to the human life is geographical, not moral. I think that’s very problematic. That’s why I think that people like Fred Thompson are dead wrong when he says just leave that up to the states. Well, that’s again the logic of the Civil War – that slavery could be okay in Georgia but not okay in Massachusetts. Obviously we’d today say, “Well, that’s nonsense. Slavery is wrong, period.” It can’t be right somewhere and wrong somewhere else. Same with abortion.