huckabee5.jpgGod-o-Meter joked earlier about adding a special “11” rating for Mike Huckabee, but now it is seriously considering doing so. From an article in this Sunday’s New York Times Magazine called “The Huckabee Factor”:

Huckabee is, indeed, a discreet fellow, but he has no trouble making his feelings known. He mentioned how much he respected his fellow candidates John McCain and Rudolph W. Giuliani. The name of his principal rival in Iowa, Mitt Romney, went unmentioned. Romney, a Mormon, had promised that he would be addressing the subject of his religion a few days later. 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.’’
I was about to jot down this piece of boilerplate when Huckabee surprised me with a question of his own: ‘‘Don’t Mormons,’’ he asked in an innocent voice, ‘‘believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?’’

After the Associated Press broke a story about the forthcoming Times Magazine story last night, the Huckabee campaign issued this response:

….the full context of the exchange makes it clear that Governor Huckabee was illustrating his unwillingness to answer questions about Mormonism and to avoid addressing theological questions during this campaign.
“Governor Huckabee has said consistently that he believes this campaign should center on a discussion of the important issues confronting our nation,” said Senior Advisor, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, “and not focus on questions of religious belief. He wants to assure persons of all faith traditions of his firm commitment to religious tolerance and freedom of worship. Governor Huckabee believes that one of the great strengths of our nation lies in its diversity of thought, opinion and faith.”

But after studying the exchange in the Times Magazine (excerpted above in full) God-o-Meter has to agree with the crew over at Evangelicals for Mitt: the context doesn’t change anything. Huckabee’s remarks go beyond his earlier coyness in refusing to say whether or not Mormonism is a cult. That was one thing. His Christian Leader ad was another. But does anybody out there still believe that Huckabee is not playing the anti-Mormon card?


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