Huckabee Strikes Again
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 02:09:22 PM EST
Fox News talk show host Mike Huckabee distinguished himself recently by asserting that the reason for the Newtown massacre was that America has removed God from the public schools.   Unsurprisingly, other other Religious Right leaders have made similar assertions, although they vary in the reasons from a generalized national apostasy to marriage equality. All this has generated several rounds of unsurprising outrage.  

And now Huckabee has struck again.

This time, Huckabee broadened his argument.  In a sermonette on his show, he  blamed contraception, which he demagogued as "abortion pills" -- in an apparent reference to the Obama administration's requirement that oral contraception be included in employee insurance packages.

Think Progress transcribed Huckabee's latest:  

Christian-owned businesses are told to surrender their values under the edict of government orders to provide tax-funded abortion pills. We carefully and intentionally stop saying things are sinful and we call them disorders. Sometimes, we even say they're normal. And to get to where we have to abandon bed rock moral truths, then we ask "well, where was God?" And I respond that, as I see it, we've escorted him out of our culture and marched him off the public square and then we express our surprise that a culture without him reflects what it's become.

Of course, God and gods, are very much a part of our culture and our public life. That has not changed in any important ways in decades. The way that these things are expressed evolve over time, and not everyone likes change, but people are nevertheless free to express themselves in the "public square" (just try and stop Huckabee!). And in a free society, they might get some feedback when they do.  

That Huckabee and his allies on the Christian Right want hegemonic conservative Christian control over our society, our institutions and our laws, is no secret even if they do not always speak openly about it.  But when the leaders of the Christian Right are speaking more frankly, we hear declarations that they have a God given mandate to seek and achieve that hegemony. And when they don't get their way, they blame the unspeakable on their failure to achieve the unspoken. And, of course, it is someone else's fault.




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you might not hear much from or about Huckabee.  But it is worth recalling what happened at a meeting of the Council for National Policy in the wake of the 2008 GOP primaries, according to a remarkable insider account of a Christian Right leadershiop discussion of what went wrong and how widely loathed John McCain ended up as the GOP nominee:

   

Last month at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New Orleans, several dozen leaders of the "Christian right" met to strategize next steps--but the meeting inevitably included discussion of missteps in the GOP presidential campaign. Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, an early supporter of Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, chided the group for cold-shouldering his candidate until it was too late. Others, including Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, disagreed. The meeting quickly threatened to dissolve into accusations, rebuttals, and recriminations.

    Then, venerable Paul Weyrich--a founder of the Heritage Foundation, the Moral Majority, and the Council for National Policy (CNP)--raised his hand to speak. Weyrich is a man whose mortality is plain to see. A freak accident several years ago left him with a spinal injury, which ultimately led to both his legs being amputated in 2005. He now gets around in a motorized wheelchair. He is visibly paler and grayer than he was just a few years ago, a fact not lost on many of his friends in the room, some of whom had fought in the political trenches with him since the 1960s.

    The room--which had been taken over by argument and side-conversations--became suddenly quiet. Weyrich, a Romney supporter and one of those Farris had chastised for not supporting Huckabee, steered his wheelchair to the front of the room and slowly turned to face his compatriots. In a voice barely above a whisper, he said, "Friends, before all of you and before almighty God, I want to say I was wrong."

    In a quiet, brief, but passionate speech, Weyrich essentially confessed that he and the other leaders should have backed Huckabee, a candidate who shared their values more fully than any other candidate in a generation. He agreed with Farris that many conservative leaders had blown it. By chasing other candidates with greater visibility, they failed to see what many of their supporters in the trenches saw clearly: Huckabee was their guy.



by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Dec 26, 2012 at 03:44:43 PM EST

It's easy to turn a blind eye to situations which effect only a person and his family. I grew up, like most kids, telling my folks "everybody is going/doing it/wears that..." to which my folks responded you're not everybody. I don't actually fault Huckabee for his views. Never talked to any of his congregation, or listened to any of his sermons, but I assume he must have seemed successful, and had support within his congregation. Part of the task is to hold strong positions on what people should believe, think, and how they should act. Parents do that with their children. It is why certain traditions develop at Christmas, family members often value the same things, attend the same churches, tend to like the same styles. When it does not involve abuse of their children - no one is very concerned. Actually those who dress conservatively - don't participate in community group events (dances, bingo, often charity fund raisers etc. ) or who personally teach a disciplined life style which can range from no pre-marital sex - abstinence for alcohol or tobacco and drugs, even life-style of thrift and charitable giving. Children rebel, but many adopt these learned lifestyle patterns. The difficulty is when these values are imposed on children raised in more permissive homes -- where parents values are questioned as "immoral" or where reasonable practices are no longer tolerated. While a majority may personally oppose abortion - it becomes a part of a position which also attempts to deny birth control/sex education/and certainly access to porn (unless discretely hidden and private as many in that culture practice it.) The Christian right had a mass psychosis, where a majority of it's leadership struggling with failure to keep their own children in check, thought that through political power they could bring an entire nation under their influence. This delusion of grandeur lead them away from their pulpits and into politics. It is there than their small minded simple agenda was channeled by a more experienced political elite, and channeled to bring people into line in political voting blocks which they control with language which sounds "righteous" but with a agenda which is actually destroying what these people struggled so hard to produce in their own children. As angry as I am at the effect they have with their dysfunction in the political process, I feel most sorry for them, for in betraying their call to ministry they now serve the enemy they fear. I really don't know if they are caught in this position because they are to dumb to know better, or if in selling the soul's for political power, they have simply become evil. The situation is tragic either way.

by chaplain on Fri Dec 28, 2012 at 07:00:24 PM EST
and not a minister. He has some schooling at a Bible college. He might be considered qualified by a congregation, but he has not served as a full time professional minister to a congregation. His current gig is as a "pundit", a radio/TV personality whose major topic is politics. Think Rush Limbaugh, not Franklin Graham.

by NancyP on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 02:03:15 PM EST
Parent
Huckabee was indeed a minister to a Baptist congregation for years before he ran for office.

by Frederick Clarkson on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 08:21:11 PM EST
Parent

We can't really have it both ways... We either treat him as a right wing politician (there are many of them) of we treat him as a right wing politician-preacher, giving his positions credibility as speaking for "Conservative Christians". Unfortunately, the cross-over and failure to distinguish roles, has hurt both. Political dysfunction in American politics is fueled in great measure by an "evangelical - religious" passion and language. Many churches and communities are suffering greatly because their clergy pontificate on politics more than faithfully serving the people God called his people to serve. Their confusion of political passion for spiritual devotion has left many a church spiritually impoverished. I think we might actually agree - Huckabee as a pastor/politician is out of his league -- perhaps he could do some good somewhere if he stuck to one role. Pulpit and Politics do not often mix well, and Elected officials who attempt to impose their religious zealotry do not make good public servants.

by chaplain on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 04:43:27 PM EST
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