Back in July, a well-placed conservative Christian friend sent me a post about how Huckabee was really the man. Well, my friend clearly has some political sense. He’s back:
Until just a couple months ago, the only thing most people knew about Mike Huckabee (if they knew anything) was that he’s a former Baptist Minister now running for President of the United States. Recently, voters have taken a second look at the former Governor of Arkansas. And they like what they’ve seen.
His folksy charm, sense of humor, and populist message is refreshing compared to the stiff, rehearsed, and boring political banter that typically dominates political campaigns. He has a unique way of relating to people and has a long, proven record as Governor that he can point to.
He’s not an angry conservative, he’s not beholden to the GOP, and he’s not afraid to talk about the issues Republicans aren’t supposed to talk about – such as health care, education, poverty, and the environment. Conservatives don’t like him because he’s not “conservative” enough. The Republican establishment doesn’t like him because they can’t control him. And yet his numbers keep rising and he is now the frontrunner in Iowa and moving up in the national polls.
But, of course, there’s that whole religion thing.
No other candidate has been asked more about their faith than Huckabee – not even Mitt Romney and his devout Mormon faith. This country has long decided that there needs to be a strict separation between church and state. The church should not be dictating our laws and the state should not interfere with the church. And I couldn’t agree more.
But does that mean a person’s faith should have no bearing on their qualifications for President? I would argue that it does and should matter. I’m not looking for a President that will replace the Constitution with the Holy Bible or turn its teachings into law. But it gives me comfort to know that each and every morning a President Huckabee would wake up and pray to God for guidance. And I am reassured to know that he approaches life – morally and ethically – in the way I strive to. I trust the man that has made the wise decision to follow Christ and put Him first in his life.
And Huckabee has found a way to turn his pastoral experience into an asset. Just listen to him here:
“There’s not any social pathology that I couldn’t put a name and a face to. Somebody says they want to talk about the issue of the elderly, I’ve dealt with those folks. I’ve dealt with a 14-year-old girl who’s pregnant and hasn’t told her parents yet. I’ve talked to the young couple who’s head over heels in debt. … I think it gives you a real perspective about people and what they’re going through that’s important.”
Huckabee has done a good job of staying away from theology and engaging questions about Mormonism – something he says he knows very little about. There’s been recent controversy, however, over a comment he made in a long interview when he innocently asked, ”Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?” It was politically stupid, but his explanation here is worth a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzzWFbHfbg4&eurl=http://marcambinder.theatlantic.com/ .
Finally, there is the question of whether or not Huckabee should release his sermon transcripts, which some say he has refused to do. There needs to be a distinction here between faith and theology. Voters have every right to care if a candidate believes in God, has similar morals and ethics as they do, and will approach situations in the way and manner that they agree with. A candidates’ theology is an entirely different thing and should not be determining his or her qualifications for President. It’s a fine line, but an important one.
Christians and non-Christians should give Huckabee a serious look. He’s authentic, sincere, and has a strong vision for America. As he always likes to say, voters don’t care about horizontal politics, right versus left, liberal versus conservative. Americans want vertical leadership. They want to know if a candidate will lift them up or take them down. And I want to see how high President Huckabee will take us.