A headline seen on the Drudge Report today states “Huckabee Delivers at NH Church: ‘We have signed up to be part of God’s Army, to be soldiers for Christ’…” and links to a Washington Post article by Perry Bacon, Jr. entitled “Huckabee Steps Back Into the Pulpit at Evangelical Church in N.H.” While many will try to paint Huckabee as a religious extremist, I think a few things need to be put into perspective before jumping on these headlines and running wild with them.
First, as clearly stated in the article, Mike Huckabee, who is a former Baptist minister, stated the above quote in a 20+ minute sermon he delivered on January 6 in a church. His sermon was on how to be part of “God’s Army” and was for the church members and not for the campaign. Bacon’s article clearly states that the Huckabee campaign “did not allow cameras into the church, and the candidate did not make an appeal for votes as part of his sermon.”
I have a problem with those who attempt to take obvious spiritual quotes out of context and apply them within a political context. He was delivering a sermon, not a campaign speech! Mike Huckabee is a former minister and has deep church ties so what’s strange about him delivering a sermon on Sunday in a church. Is there anything sinister in that? While the church in general does not have a perfect track record, think of all the good that has come out of churches in this country — movements like abolition, women’s suffrage and civil rights to name a few. What other organization can provide the clarity of purpose, vision and moral authority needed to tackle problems of those magnitude?
Obama and Clinton have both spoken in churches and used spiritual analogies within their campaigns as well. All candidates regularly tout their past experiences and Huckabee is doing no differently. To fault him for having a Christian resume is like saying we don’t want a President who might actually believe in right and wrong or obey the Ten Commandments. Such would be utter foolishness yet it seems some argue in a way that suggests they actually prefer somebody like John Edwards with a trial lawyer’s past over Mike Huckabee with a minister’s past.
And there’s one more issue that concerns me. It seems that many people want a President who attends church and occasionally acknowledges God and religion but at the same time they want his or her religion to be superficial and almost meaningless. For example, many argue as if no Presidential candidate should actually believe that God created the universe in six literal days — even if they were a Baptist minister. You could liken this to wanting the President to have a military background but then expecting him to be opposed to using guns in war. Such would be ludicrous.
So with this in mind, let’s not take Huckabee’s preaching and campaign messages out of context.