huckabee2.jpgGod-o-Meter is flattered to learn that Charles Krauthammer is a devoted reader! Here he is channeling GOM’s recent post alleging an anti-Mormon bias in Mike Huckabee’s refusal to answer the Is Mormonism a cult? question:

Huckabee has exploited Romney’s Mormonism with an egregious subtlety.
Huckabee is running a very effective ad in Iowa about religion. “Faith doesn’t just influence me,” he says on camera, “it really defines me.” The ad then hails him as a “Christian leader.”
Forget the implications of the idea that being a “Christian leader” is some special qualification for the presidency of a country whose Constitution (Article VI) explicitly rejects any religious test for office.
Just imagine that Huckabee were running one-on-one in Iowa against Joe Lieberman. (It’s a thought experiment. Stay with me.) If he had run the same ad in those circumstances, it would have raised an outcry. The subtext — who’s the Christian in this race? — would have been too obvious to ignore, the appeal to bigotry too clear.
Well, Huckabee is running against Romney (the other GOP candidates are non-factors in Iowa) and he knows that many Christian conservatives, particularly those who have an affinity with Huckabee’s highly paraded evangelical Christianity, consider Romney’s faith a decidedly non-Christian cult.
Huckabee has been asked about this view that Mormonism is a cult. He dodges and dances. “If I’m invited to be the president of a theological school, that’ll be a perfectly appropriate question,” he says, “but to be the president of the United States, I don’t know that that’s going to be the most important issue that I’ll be facing when I’m sworn in.”
Hmmm. So it is an issue, Huckabee avers. But not a very important one.
And he’s not going to pronounce upon it. Nice straddle, leaving the question unanswered and still open — the kind of maneuver one comes to expect from slick former governors of Arkansas lusting for the presidency.
And by Huckabee’s own logic, since he is not running for head of a theological college, what is he doing proclaiming himself a “Christian leader” in an ad promoting himself for president?
Answer: Having the issue every which way. Seeming to take the high road of tolerance by refusing to declare Mormonism a cult, indeed declaring himself above the issue — yet clearly playing to that prejudice by leaving the question ambiguous, while making sure everyone knows that he, for one, is a “Christian leader.”

God-o-Meter’s question: How many highly respected conservatives must call Huckabee out before he changes his non-answer on Mormonism? Surging in the Iowa polls, GOM doubts he’ll shift gears anytime soon. But that doesn’t make it right.


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