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Huckabee Stands by ‘Christ’ Comment

Associated Press
Des Moines, Iowa – Mike Huckabee, a Republican relying on support from religious conservatives in Thursday’s hard-fought presidential caucuses, on Sunday stood by a decade-old comment in which he said, “I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ.”
In a television interview, the ordained Southern Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor made no apologies for the 1998 comment made at a Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Salt Lake City.
“It was a speech made to a Christian gathering, and, and certainly that would be appropriate to be said to a gathering of Southern Baptists,” Huckabee said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
He gave the speech the same year he endorsed the Baptist convention’s statement of beliefs on marriage that “a wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.” Huckabee and his wife, Janet, signed a full-page ad in USA Today in support of the statement with 129 other evangelical leaders.
The former governor, who rallied Christian evangelicals to make him a surprise force in Iowa, has put his faith front and center in his campaign. His stump speech sounds like a pastor’s pitch from a pulpit. Campaign ads emphasize faith and call him a Christian leader. He frequently quotes Bible verses.
As his fortunes have improved, Huckabee has faced a drumbeat of questions and criticism about his gubernatorial record and the role of faith in his administration. He also has made some missteps while trying to fend off a challenge – and critical TV ads – from Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and Mormon whose faith unsettles some religious conservatives.
Four days before the caucuses Thursday, a new poll found Huckabee’s surge may have stalled; his once double-digit lead over Romney has evaporated. Private polling shows the two in a dead heat.
The television interview was Huckabee’s only campaign appearance Sunday.
With the media throng following him having grown immensely, Huckabee scrapped a public event at a church in favor of attending a private service closed to reporters. Instead of courting voters, he hunkered down to film new TV ads, perhaps spots responding to Romney’s barrage of critical commercials.
As recently as Friday, Huckabee insisted he wanted to run a positive campaign. He also reserved the right to respond aggressively.
“Hopefully we’ll just be talking about issues,” Romney told reporters Sunday. In contrast to Huckabee, Romney had a full slate of events on a bus tour of eastern Iowa.
In the NBC interview, Huckabee, a longtime opponent of legalized abortion, said he does not believe that women should be punished for undergoing the procedure, but that doctors might need to face sanctions.
“I don’t know that you’d put him in prison, but there’s something to me untoward about a person who has committed himself to healing people and to making people alive who would take money to take an innocent life and to make that life dead,” Huckabee said.
He also argued that his emphasis on his Christian beliefs does not mean he’s alienating atheists. He said, if elected, he would have no problem appointing atheists to government posts.
“The key issue of real faith is that it never can be forced on someone. And never would I want to use the government institutions to impose mine or anybody else’s faith or to restrict,” Huckabee said.
Those skeptical of the role of faith in his presidency, he said, should look at his record in Arkansas.
“I didn’t ever propose a bill that we would remove the Capitol dome of Arkansas and replace it with a steeple,” he said. “You know, we didn’t do tent revivals on the grounds of the Capitol.”
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Michael

    Mr. Huckabee’s proposal that “we. . .take this nation back for Christ,” contradicts his assertion, “never would I want to use the government institutions to impose mine or anybody else’s faith or to restrict.” Maybe one is metaphor, and the other is not. If so, the question is, which one is only metaphor.
    Furthermore,the “we” to which he refers does not include me, or any non-Christian Americans.
    Mr. Huckabee seems likable, witty and charming, and is probably an excellent minister. However, his perception of America as a Christian-only country is offensive. True, his comments were appropriate at a religious convention, but inappropriate as delivered by a politician. My concern is that I doubt if Mr. Huckabee understands why that is so.

  • Henrietta22

    Can’t remember John Kennedy “stumping” with Roman Catholic retoric, such as Huckabee or Rommney is doing. Of course in the days of Kennedy everyone wasn’t running around with a “Bible” complex, as the last seven yrs have been. Huckabee is a minister first and foremost. I don’t want a Minister of any religion running the United States of America. I don’t think any thinking American does.

  • pagansister

    The more I read about Huckabee just re-enforces my decision that I wouldn’t vote for Huckabee even if he was the only person running. He is first and foremost a “preacher” and I think he’d just continue to be, even if he were to get elected….and I really hope he WON’T be.
    I haven’t found him to be at all charming or personable when I’ve seen him interviewed. He also would be in favor of punishing doctors who perform abortions….this would make it hard for women to obtain a safe one. No thanks, this man certainly doesn’t need to try and run this country. He could be worse (if possible) than the current person in the White House.
    What happened to no religious test for being in public office?? This seems to be all anyone talks about with this group of candidates.

  • JohnQ

    He also argued that his emphasis on his Christian beliefs does not mean he’s alienating atheists.
    Not being an atheist, I guess I can not know for sure. However, as a Christian that believes in respecting people of all faiths as well as those without…..he has alienated me.
    Huckabee reminds me of a white guy telling racist/misogynist/homophobic jokes while assuring those who are the brunt of his jokes that the jokes are not offensive.
    I ma encouraged that his campaign is stalling.
    Peace and Happy New Year!

  • jestrfyl

    Old Mike just does not get it. Maybe his schools only had some some of those ooollldd history books that left out anyone that was not Protestant, AngloEuropean. Here’s to hoping that he does win in Iowa – it will make any of the Democratic candidates look that much better!

  • Henrietta22

    “The key issue of real faith is that it never can be forced on someone. And never would I want to use the government institutions to impose mine or anybody elses faith or to restrict”, Huckabee said.
    But I guess it is all right for him to remind people where his faith is by posing in front of the “ichtys” sign (of the fish) in a couple of his campaign commercials. An accident, of course.

  • Anonymous

    “Mr. Huckabee’s proposal that “we. . .take this nation back for Christ,” contradicts his assertion, “never would I want to use the government institutions to impose mine or anybody else’s faith or to restrict.”
    It bore repeating, so I repeated it.

  • Anonymous

    “Can’t remember John Kennedy “stumping” with Roman Catholic retoric, such as Huckabee or Rommney is doing.”
    Kennedy had to assure people his religion would NOT influence his policy. Now it seems that it is mandatory that a candidate’s religion MUST influence his policies. How sad.

  • pagansister

    You sound a bit skeptical…you KNOW that the commercials in front of the “ichtys” sign was an accident!! They forgot to remove it before taping the commercials. Had it up there for the prevideo prayer meeting.
    He claims that he would have no problem appointing atheists to government posts….golly! That certainly makes me feel better! Gotta have your “token Atheist” to prove he’s an “equal opportunity employer”. Sure. No trust this “Christian” man. He’s pushing his religion way too much. Guess he’s running to be the minister for the United States, oh, I mean the president of the United States!

  • Henrietta22

    PS that was skeptical sarcasm, NJ style. 😉
    Don’t miss this artical elsewhere on Should Preachers Like Mike Huckabee Run for Public Office?
    A Unitarian minister calls him “reverend politician”. Quote his last paragraph: We must ask ourselves whether a candidate who advertises himself as “a Christian leader” and declares himself answerable only to Christ has,in fact, “absorbed democratic principles” well enough to serve as president of all the people. To preserve the institutions bequeathed to us by our founders, we must be certain that our next president intends to swear on the Bible to uphold the Constitution, not swear on the Constitutilon to uphold the Bible.

  • cknuck

    He’s bright, he’s got morals and he loves the Lord, so he’s not a fit for this country.

  • Ruairi

    His brightness and his morals are not the issue. Its the fact that he proscribes the attitude that only a christian nation is right. As an elected official he has a responsibility to represent me as well as you. I don’t feel he is capable of that just as Bush has not be capable of it.
    Morals don’t come only from religious training. It comes from knowing what is right and wrong. I don’t need a church to tell me what that is. I am responsible for my actions and i don’t a higher authority to forgive me. Only I can do that.

  • pagansister

    You’re right…he’s NOT fit for this country…as he couldn’t separate the fact that he is an ordained minister from decisions on what would be right for this (not Christian) country. Policy decisions shouldn’t be based on a president’s religion. Example? the current person in the White House!

  • Anonymous

    Interesting. Just saw a CNN segment on Huckabee, and one of Huck’s supporters said regarding Mitt Romney that “He’s not a Christian.” It came across as “He’s not Christian enough!” (whereas Huck must be “just right” in Goldilocks parlance, I guess).
    This does not bode well for a country that allegedly prides itself on, ahem, not having a ‘religious test’ to hold public office, especially if you’re, say, a Sikh (or a Buddhist, etc.) no matter how devout.

  • nnmns

    “He’s bright, he’s got morals and he loves the Lord, so he’s not a fit for this country.”
    He’s clever, but George Bush is clever. If he’s nominated we’ll have a long time to see if he’s bright but so far I see no evidence for it. He’s apparently a pretty slow study on foreign policy.
    I liked some of the things he tried to do in Arkansas, like elevating education there and helping illegal aliens, but he apparently has an immense appetite for gifts and a great distaste for criticism and he’s now joined the race to be the Republican most harmful to illegal aliens, so I don’t think his morality is any great shakes.
    As for loving the “Lord”, so does GWB, none more, and look how he’s turned out.
    But I agree he’s not a fit for this country; I hope it realizes that.

  • Anonymous

    “George Bush is clever”
    That was a joke, right?

  • nnmns

    As a politician I’ve come to think he’s clever. Certainly he’s sucessful. Believe me I don’t mean it in a good sense. Maybe “crafty” but that could be an insult to a lot of craftspeople.

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