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“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for September, 2008

It Could Have Been Huckabee

Timothy Kincaid

September 15th, 2008

So far this presidential campaign season has seen a markedly reduced emphasis on cultural issues. Unlike George Bush’s efforts to define his distinction from John Kerry by the extent to which he reviled gay couples and sought the restriction of their rights, Sen. John McCain has mostly avoided any reference to gay couples and has, at times, seemed almost apologetic for his views.

But it might not have been this way. Governor Huckabee was considered a credible candidate and could have been the Republican Party’s nominee. And Huckabee would have delighted in crafting his campaign around anti-gay activism – oh, pardon me, protection of marriage, family, and (I kid you not) the universe.

Huckabee was in Southern California this weekend to preach sermons about Proposition 8. The Ventura Star reports

The former Arkansas governor and Southern Baptist preacher spoke from the pulpit of Calvary Chapel Thousand Oaks in two services focused on Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. He told about 1,000 people that marriage was created and defined by God, just as the Mona Lisa was created by Leonardo da Vinci.

“God doesn’t want me to take my brush and paint over his masterpiece,” he said.

Huckabee may appreciate Da Vinci’s work today. But somehow I find it easy to imagine that he would be among those who supported the 1476 prosecution of the artist on sodomy charges.

After all,

Huckabee said he wasn’t there to tell people how to vote on Proposition 8. But he told people that laws related to both life and marriage will determine the future of the universe.

And anything can be justified when you’re protecting the future of the universe.

Huckabee’s Red Meat Strategy

Jim Burroway

January 24th, 2008

What do you do when you’re down in the polls so badly observers wonder if you should give up on Florida? If you’re Rev. Mike Huckabee, the answer’s simple: scare ’em with the gays:

“We’ve been in Florida every day this week. . .We’re spending every night in Florida. We’re doing events every day. This nonsense that we pulled out is utterly, utterly, false,” the former Arkansas governor insisted.

As for tonight’s debate, Huckabee outlined some red-meat conservative Republican stands that he believes will set him apart from his opponents, including his advocacy for gun rights, anti-abortion position, and support for a ban on gay marriage.

Huckabee’s Unimaginative Bash

Jim Burroway

January 17th, 2008

It looks like Southern Baptist minister and former Arkansas Governor Mike Hickabee’s getting pretty tired with all the campaigning. When its time to bash the gays, he can barely work up the energy:

QUESTIONER: Is it your goal to bring the Constitution into strict conformity with the Bible? Some people would consider that a kind of dangerous undertaking, particularly given the variety of biblical interpretations.

HUCKABEE: Well, I don’t think that’s a radical view to say we’re going to affirm marriage. I think the radical view is to say that we’re going to change the definition of marriage so that it can mean two men, two women, a man and three women, a man and a child, a man and animal.

Animal? Thats it? Just animal? Not a “barnyard animal”? No pigs or ducks or dogs? Not even a box turtle? If we’re going to elect someone who doesn’t like gay Americans, the least we could ask is that they show some imagination about it. Rev. Huckabee, we’ve been bashed by far better than that.

Defining “Conservative”

Timothy Kincaid

January 16th, 2008

Fred Thompson and Mike Huckabee are fighting for the evangelical conservative vote in South Carolina, the first southern state primary. They recently engaged in a little dispute over who is the real conservative.

While Huckabee is an ardent social conservative with close ties to the Christian Reconstructionist movement, and while he favors amending the Constitution to bring it into alignment with “God’s Standards“, other Republican nominees and conservative groups have noted that his positions on immigration, taxation, spending, crime, and free-market issues are not at all conservative.

The Wall Street Journal reported a bit about the exchange of words between Thompson and Huckabee.

Mr. Thompson, in a pitched competition with Mr. Huckabee for the evangelical vote in South Carolina, said he’s the one with consistent social conservative credentials. Of the former Arkansas governor’s record, “liberal would be the word I would apply to it,” he said.

Mr. Huckabee said it’s “ludicrous” to think he’s liberal and pointed out he favors a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, and Mr. Thompson doesn’t.

And there you have it. In Rev. Huckabee’s mind, the difference between liberal and conservative is whether one favors a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. The rest is all negotiable.

Huckabee: Amend Constitution to “God’s Standards”

Jim Burroway

January 15th, 2008

It’s unclear whether Southern Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee actually agrees with the strict Christian Reconstructionist views of many of his associates (there’s a lot of end-times theological differences that Baptists usually don’t go for), but there’s more evidence that his C.R. friends are at least influencing his political thoughts. Take this, for example, from a speech in Michigan yesterday:

“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living god. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”

That strange quote even raised some eyebrows at Christianity Today:

A provocative statement, certainly. But what does “amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards” mean? Does it mean that the Constitution does not measure up to God’s standards? Is the Constitution anti-God? Would the addition of a human life amendment and a federal marriage amendment would make it measure up to God’s standards? And is Huckabee suggesting that those who oppose these amendments, say, because of their views on federalism, are trying “to change God’s standards”?

I can see how support for a human life amendment and a federal marriage amendment can win votes among some politically conservative evangelicals. But honestly, I’m thinking that this quote probably cost Huckabee more evangelical votes than it won him.

Rev. Huckabee: “Obey God’s Orders”

Jim Burroway

January 7th, 2008

Yesterday, we reviewed Southern Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s deep connections with two key Christian Reconstructionist figures. We ended that post with a question: What does Huckabee believe?

Well, we know that he says that “The winning worldview will dominate public policy, the laws we make, and every other detail of our existence. We also know that he attributes his standing in the polls as being God’s work. And today, we learn about a sermon he gave at a very small New Hampshire church about being part of God’s army:

“When we become believers, it’s as if we have signed up to be part of God’s Army, to be soldiers for Christ,” Huckabee told the enthusiastic audience.

…”When you give yourself to Christ, some relationships have to go,” he said. “It’s no longer your life; you’ve signed it over.”

Likening service to God to service in the military, Huckabee said “there is suffering in the conditioning for battle” and “you obey the orders.”

No cameras were permitted at the service, which guarantees that this item won’t make the evening news.

Huckabee’s Christian Reconstructionist Ties Run Deep

Jim Burroway

January 6th, 2008

We reported earlier on Southern Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s fundraising event at the home of Houston multimillionaire Steven Hotze, a well-known Christian Reconstructionist. Pastor Rick Scarborough, who also maintains Reconstructionist beliefs, was there as well. Since then, we’ve learned that Huckabee’s ties go far deeper than mere acquaintances and financial backers. He has a history of working very closely with some very well-known Reconstructionists over the years. In this report, we will examine two of Huckabee’s closest Reconstructionist colleagues.

Modern Christian Reconstructionism (sometimes known as Dominionism) was founded by the late R.J. Rushdoony and his son-in-law, Gary North. Rushdoony believed that it was the duty of every Bible-believing Christian to place each and every word of the Bible at the core of that person’s life. According to Rushdoony, this meant that the Bible must necessarily replace all civil laws and constitutions with the Old and New Testaments, including the revival of the death penalty for homosexuality, incest, adultery, lying about one’s virginity, and apostasy or public blasphemy, among a much longer list of biblical crimes. Rushdoony wrote that Democracy is a heresy and “the great love of the failures and cowards of life.”

George Grant
These are core beliefs among several leading figures in Huckabee’s circle. One such prominent figure is George Grant, a well-known Reconstructionist who appeared with Rushdoony in the video, God’s Law and Society. Grant was the co-author for Huckabee’s 1998 book, Kids Who Kill: Confronting Our Culture of Violence. That was the book where Huckabee and Grant lumped homosexuality with pedophilia, sadomasochism and necrophilia as “institutionally supported aberrations.”

Back cover of Huckabee and Grant’s book, “Kids Who Kill”

That line, which Huckabee defended, may well have come from Grant’s 1993 book, Legislating Immorality: The Homosexual Movement Comes Out Of The Closet. In that book, Grant compares homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality. He also calls for the death penalty for gays, saying “[t]here is no such option for homosexual offenses” except capital punishment.

In 1987 George Grant wrote The Changing Of The Guard: Biblical Principles for Political Action, in which he made his call for a theocratic overthrow explicit. On reading these passages, there can be no doubt exactly what Grant is calling for:

Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ – to have dominion in the civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.

But it is dominion that we are after. Not just a voice.

It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.

It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.

It is dominion we are after.

World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less.

If Jesus Christ is indeed Lord, as the Bible says, and if our commission is to bring the land into subjection to His Lordship, as the Bible says, then all our activities, all our witnessing, all our preaching, all our craftsmanship, all our stewardship, and all our political action will aim at nothing short of that sacred purpose.

Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land – of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ. It is to reinstitute the authority of God’s Word as supreme over all judgments, over all legislation, over all declarations, constitutions, and confederations. True Christian political action seeks to rein the passions of men and curb the pattern of digression under God’s rule. (pp. 50-51)

Grant has attained considerable influence within broader evangelical circles. He once served as executive director for D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries, and he has been a vocal advocate for evangelicals withdrawing their children from public schools. Grant operates several educational organizations in Franklin, Tennessee, including a Christian school, and an adult education center. He is “reluctantly” in the process of developing a home-school curriculum.

Bill Gothard
Gothard and HuckabeeAnother strong Reconstructionist tie can be found in Rev. Huckabee’s longtime relationship with Bill Gothard. Gothard runs an outfit called the Institute In Basic Life Principles. As part of the teachings at his institute, Gothard has espoused some very radical principles. The evangelical non-profit Personal Freedom Outreach, whose mission is to warn fellow evangelicals about pronouncements which are considered heretical from an Evangelical point of view, criticized several very odd aspects of Gothard’s theology:

Take for example Gothard’s “Cabbage Patch” flap. In 1986, he taught that the highly popular Cabbage Patch Dolls were causing strange and destructive behavior in children that could only be alleviated when the dolls were removed or destroyed.

In a letter from his organization, his followers were told by representative Ginger Jones that to enter into a written agreement to love a doll was a violation of the First Commandment. The threat as seen by Gothard was that by adopting a doll, children might not want to raise up their own godly children. Children may “love” dolls as they do other toys but this does not mean they worship them.

Testimonials were included with the above letter about the awful effects of the dolls with no allowance made for other environmental and social factors in the homes. The Cabbage Patch doll became a scapegoat.

If only Gothard’s teachings were limited to children’s toys. Unfortunately, it is just one small and amusing manifestation of Gothard’s extremism. Gothard teaches that all of life’s problems can be traced to poor “character choices.” Those choices result in a large number of societal “ills,” including homosexuality, divorce, contraception, crime — even mental illness. In one video, Gothard claims that there is no such thing as mental illnesses, and everything that we call “mental illness” — including schizophrenia — are the direct result of making poor character choices. Among the many unaccredited “training institutes” that Gothard runs is something called “The Medical Training Institute of America,” which emphasizes “the Biblical mandate to call for the elders of the church for prayer before receiving medical treatment for a serious illness.” He describes the “power of crying out” to cure brain tumors, cancer and infertility.

Gothard insists that families and communities must organize themselves on a strict interpretation of Christian Reconstructionist principles. In addition to Cabbage Patch Dolls, he also forbids dancing, dating, rock music (even Christian rock) and “wrong clothes.” Wives must submit to their husbands, adults must submit to their patriarch (the husband’s father), and couples must discard all forms of birth control. Families should limit their contact with those who are not “saved,” they should lock their misbehaving children into “prayer closets,” and they should home-school their children.

To help families with that last injunction, Gothard maintains a home school curriculum, composed of a series of “wisdom booklets” in which “the Bible is the main textbook” for all subjects in the curriculum, including science and mathematics. Gothard’s most famous home-school alumnus to date is probably Matthew Murray, the “Colorado Shooter” who killed four people in two separate shooting sprees in Arvada and Colorado Springs. The particularly tragic irony is that there is evidence that Matthew Murray may have been suffering from mental illness — he reportedly heard voices, which is often a symptom of some forms of schizophrenia which Gothard dismissed as a mere character flaw.

While little is known about Gothard outside the evangelical movement, he claims to have built a large following of 2.5 million alumni of his 25-hour basic seminar since 1964. Matthew Murray’s parents are reportedly among his alumni. Another alumnus is none other than Rev. Mike Huckabee, who wrote this endorsement of Gothard’s prison program, which was implemented in at least one Arkansas state prison:

As a person who has actually been through the Basic Seminar, I am confident that these are some of the best programs available for instilling character into the lives of people.

Huckabee has also Gothard’s “Character Cities” program, which is a secular front organization which tries to inject Reconstructionist goals into local politics under the radar. So far, 171 cities, 37 counties and 8 states have adopted resolutions. In 1997, the Ocala Star-Banner reported on a meeting Gothard held in Little Rock with members of Huckabee’s administration:

Gothard has described his meeting in Little Rock as the start of something big. He said it laid the groundwork for “the most exciting opportunity I can imagine” to merge the institute’s teachings with government programs. In a letter published on the institute’s Internet site, Gothard said his organization has been asked to “present a plan and contract to restructure ( Arkansas’ ) welfare program, their educational system and their juvenile justice methods.” He also claims that Gov. Huckabee’s aides “have already begun taking steps” to put the proposal into action.

What Does Rev. Huckabee Believe?

It’s hard to know where Huckabee himself stands in all of this since he is coy about addressing how he sees the role of church and state. In his 1997 book, Character Is The Issue: How People With Integrity Can Revolutionize America, Huckabee claimed that he despised “legalism” in the Church as much as liberalism (p. 74). Nevertheless, he casts the struggle between liberalism, which he describes as godless, and his form of Christianity as a political fight in which only one side can emerge victorious:

Here’s the bottom line not just for Arkansas and America, but for the world: one worldview will prevail. Either by numbers or persuasion, one side of this polarized culture will defeat the other in setting public policy. When two irreconcilable views emerge, one is going to dominate. Ours will either be a worldview with humans at the center or with God at the center. Standards of right and wrong are either what we establish as human beings (standards which can be changed to suit us), or they are what God has set in motion since the creation of the world.

… The winning worldview will dominate public policy, the laws we make, and every other detail of our existence. (p. 137)

Huckabee clearly believes that his campaign is a part of “what God has set in motion.” Those beliefs echoed throughout his address to students at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, where he explained why he thought his poll numbers were rising:

There’s only one explanation for it, and it’s not a human one. It’s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of five thousand people. (Applause and cheers)

And that’s the only way that our campaign could be doing what it’s doing. And I’m not being facetious, nor am I trying to be trite. There literally are thousands of people across this country who are praying that a little will become much, and it has. And it defies all explanation. It has confounded the pundants, and I’m enjoying every minute of their trying to figure it out. And until they look at it from a… just experience beyond human, they’ll never figure it out. And that’s probably just as well. That’s honestly why it’s happening.

Hat tips: Wayne Besen, Cincinnati Beacon

See also:
Rev. Huckabee: “Obey God’s Orders”

The Iowa Republican Caucus – What Does It Mean?

Timothy Kincaid

January 4th, 2008

Mike Huckabee was the clear winner of the Republican caucus process. Considering that most of the anti-gay posturing is from the Republican side and considering that Huckabee has demonstrated a deep antipathy to gay citizens, just what does that mean?

Not much, really.

Iowa is a tiny state with a population of about 2.9 million, about 1.8 million of which are registered to vote. Of the one and a quarter million registered Republicans, less than 120,000 voted in the caucuses. About 40,000 people voted for Mike Huckabee.

Of course pundits will all tell us what the vote means for all the candidates until your ears bleed. But let’s take some perspective. It’s still a long way to Super Tuesday where about half the delegates will be selected on a single day. After that, we’ll probably know who the nominees will be. And I guarantee you’ll be sick of hearing about them before November.

Contrasting Huckabee’s and Giuliani’s “Sin” Remarks

An Opinion

Timothy Kincaid

January 3rd, 2008

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee made some remarks about the sinfulness of homosexuality on Meet the Press on December 30. Some have found them similar to those made by Rudy Giuliani on December 9. (Transcripts below)

At a first glance it would appear that both candidates agree: homosexual acts are sinful. And all people sin.

But a closer look may illustrate why these two people, Mike Huckabee and Rudy Giuliani, are saying very different things. And to understand the difference we have to look at difference between “sin” and “sinful”.

Orthodox Christian theology includes the notion that certain behaviors are “sins” and that God forgives sins of those who ask Him. Both Huckabee’s Southern Baptist and Giuliani’s Catholic faith observe that doctrine.

While “sin” literally means failing to live up to God’s expectations and can include anything from murder to lying about your weight, not all “sins” are seen as equal. Both politicians are speaking from a consistent place when they say that all people fail in their lives, but clearly they do not see eye to eye on what “degree” of sin would best describe homosexuality.

The key is seen in the use of the word “sinful”. Unlike a sin, which can quickly be forgiven and forgotten, sinful describes a state of being. Generally, that which is sinful is willfully rejecting God’s direction and rebelliously flaunting that which is right.

While Huckabee acknowledges that others sin, heterosexual sex outside marriage – which too is sinful and falling short of the mark – is not “aberrant” or “unnatural”. Nor is it similar to pedophilia, sadomasochism and necrophilia in being outside “the traditional concept of sexual behavior”.

When Huckabee proclaims, “I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle” he includes all persons who identify as gay or engage in sex, regardless of whether it is in the context of a committed relationship or anonymously at a bathhouse. All of those who are openly gay – i.e. live this aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle – are deserving of treatment different from those who do not. This notion of deserving blame and condemnation is readily evident in the way in which Huckabee discusses orientation and behavior.

People who are gay say that they’re born that way. But one thing I know, that the behavior one practices is a choice. We may have certain tendencies, but how we behave and how we carry out our behavior … [sentence unfinished]

Giuliani, on the other hand, believes that the way “that somebody leads their life is not—isn’t sinful.” In other words, they are not living in a condition of rebellion against God.

“My, my, my—no, I don’t believe it’s sinful.”

They may sin, as all do, and that means they need to seek redemption through their faith, but they are not viewed as willfully rejecting God.

This is a very strong distinction. And this difference can also be seen in the way in which the two politicians define their own relationship to sin.

Huckabee says he misses the mark every day. Even married couples do. But it is quite clear that Huckabee’s “missed marks” are not in any way similar to the aberrant, unnatural, sinful “missed marks” of homosexuals. When Huckabee talks about his imperfections, he’s not talking about sexual sins or faults.

Giuliani, on the other hand, seems to feel as though his “sins” are similar to those of gay persons.

Which includes me, by the way. I mean, you know, unfortunately, I’ve had my own sins that I’ve had to confess and had to deal with and try to overcome and so I’m very, very empathetic with people, and that we’re all, we’re all imperfect human beings struggling to, to try to be better.

This may not be readily evident to others, and some may disagree with my conclusion, but I think the distinction is that Huckabee thinks of “them who live a sinful lifestyle” while Giuliani thinks of “us who live a sinful lifestyle”. Perhaps this is because Huckabee’s Southern Baptist denomination holds him in high regard while Giuliani, on his third marriage and an enemy of his church on a number of social issues, is not strongly lauded by the Catholic Church.

Some within the gay community – especially those with no firm faith affiliation – may find any association of homosexuality with sin as being strongly offensive. Yet few candidates from any party could speak consistently from their own denomination’s position and honestly state that “homosexuality is not sin” (Barack Obama, as a member of the United Church of Christ, may be the only one who could do so).

Some tie Giuliani’s comments to those of Huckabee for partisan reasons, and some simply out of ignorance of Christian theology. But the important issue is not whether Huckabee or Giuliani or Clinton or Obama or Edwards or Romney or McCain think that homosexual acts are sin. This is, after all, the default theological position in Christian America. What matters is what they plan to do about it.

We know that Huckabee would be an active enemy of gay people in all facets of their lives. We will watch closer to see whether we can determine what the other candidates will do.

The full transcript of the relevant portions of the interviews can be found after the break

From the transcript of the Huckabee interview
MR. RUSSERT: Peggy Noonan, a woman of faith who writes for The Wall Street Journal, said that sometimes it appears your philosophy is “This is what God wants,” and that doesn’t encourage discussion, it squelches it. And, and this is what you wrote in your book, “Kids Who Kill,” in 1998: “It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations–from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia.” Why would you link homosexuality with sadomasochism, pedophilia and necrophilia?

GOV. HUCKABEE: Well, what I was pointing out is all of these are deviations from what has been the traditional concept of sexual behavior and men and women having children, raising those children in the context of a, of a traditional marriage and family. And, again, taken out of the larger context of that book, speaking about how so many of our social institutions have been broken down.

MR. RUSSERT: But do you think homosexuality is equivalent to pedophilia…

GOV. HUCKABEE: Oh, of course not.

MR. RUSSERT: …or sadomasochism?

GOV. HUCKABEE: No, of course not. I didn’t say…

MR. RUSSERT: But this is what concerns people. This, this is what you did say about homosexuality: “I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle.” That’s millions of Americans.

GOV. HUCKABEE: Tim, understand, when a Christian speaks of sin, a Christian says all of us are sinners. I’m a sinner, everybody’s a sinner. What one’s sin is, means it’s missing the mark. It’s missing the bull’s eye, the perfect point. I miss it every day; we all do. The perfection of God is seen in a marriage in which one man, one woman live together as a couple committed to each other as life partners. Now, even married couples don’t do that perfectly, so sin is not some act of equating people with being murderers or rapists…

MR. RUSSERT: But when you say aberrant or unnatural, do you believe you’re born gay or you choose to be gay?

GOV. HUCKABEE: I don’t know whether people are born that way. People who are gay say that they’re born that way. But one thing I know, that the behavior one practices is a choice. We may have certain tendencies, but how we behave and how we carry out our behavior–but the important issue that I want to address, because I think when you bring up the faith question, Tim, I’ve been asked more about my faith than any person running for president. I’m OK with that. I hope I’ve answered these questions very candidly and very honestly. I think it’s important for us to talk about it. But the most important thing is to find out, does our faith influence our public policy and how? I’ve never tried to rewrite science textbooks. I’ve never tried to come out with some way of imposing a doctrinaire Christian perspective in a way that is really against the Constitution. I’ve never done that.

From the transcripts of the Giuliani interview

MR. RUSSERT: And we’re back. Our remaining minutes with Rudy Giuliani.
Mike Huckabee, leading the field in Iowa, told the Associated Press back in the ‘90s that AIDS patients should be quarantined and that “homosexuality was aberrant, unnatural and a sinful lifestyle.” What’s your reaction?

MR. GIULIANI: My reaction is that I haven’t seen—on the second of that, I haven’t seen Mike’s comment. The first one I think he says that he didn’t have the information, that he’s changed his mind about it, it’s not his current position. Look, I got enough of my own statements and issues, as we’ve seen, that I have to deal with. I think Mike has to…

MR. RUSSERT: But you don’t believe homosexuality is aberrant…

MR. GIULIANI: Oh, no, no, no.

MR. RUSSERT: …unnatural or sinful.

MR. GIULIANI: My, my, my—no, I don’t believe it’s sinful. My, my moral views on this come from the, you know, from the Catholic Church, and I believe that homosexuality, heterosexuality as a, as a way that somebody leads their life is not—isn’t sinful. It’s the acts, it’s the various acts that people perform that are sinful, not the—not the orientation that they have.

MR. RUSSERT: The Congress is discussing and…

MR. GIULIANI: Which includes me, by the way. I mean, you know, unfortunately, I’ve had my own sins that I’ve had to confess and had to deal with and try to overcome and so I’m very, very empathetic with people, and that we’re all, we’re all imperfect human beings struggling to, to try to be better.

Mike Huckabee and the Christian Reconstructionists

Jim Burroway

December 20th, 2007

Gov. Mike HuckabeeIt’s been widely reported that former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee flew down to Houston earlier this week for a fundraiser hosted by Steven Hotze. In today’s column, Robert Novak identified Steven Hotze as “a leader in the highly conservative Christian Reconstruction movement.” According to Novak, that fundraiser’s host committee had an unusual make-up:

State Rep. Debbie Riddle was the only elected official on the host committee, most of whose members were not familiar names in Texas politics. David Welch is executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council. Jack Tompkins heads a firm providing Internet services to the Christian community. Entrepreneur J. Keet Lewis is an active Southern Baptist.

A better-known committee member was Baptist minister Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America. In endorsing Huckabee on Nov. 1, Scarborough said, “I acknowledge that Huckabee is not the perfect candidate” but one “who will listen to wise counsel.”

According to Novak — who is not exactly a flaming liberal himself — until Huckabee’s problems with his fellow Southern Baptists had been that they didn’t think he was conservative enough! A pretty amazing assessment given his many statements on AIDS and homosexuality which have come to light recently (and which Huckabee has refused to back away from, a move which earned him a LaBarbera Award). But as strident as his pronouncements may be, they hadn’t been orthodox enough to fully satisfy the Christian Reconstructionists. But now that he’s receiving donations from them, it looks like things have changed between them.

For those who don’t know, Christian Reconstructionists are the guys who want to replace civil law with Biblical law, which makes them the Christian equivalent to Muslims who advocate for Sharia law. To give you an idea of what these people are about, the Cato Institute posted a snippet of a 1986 statement that was signed by Steven Holtze:

We affirm that the Bible is not only God’s statements to us regarding religion, salvation, eternity, and righteousness, but also the final measurement and depository of certain fundamental facts of reality and basic principles that God wants all mankind to know in the sphere of law, government, economics, business, education, arts and communication, medicine, psychology, and science. All theories and practices of these spheres of life are only true, right, and realistic to the degree that they agree with the Bible.

This statement is virtually identical to some of the messages presented by American pastors at the most recent Watchmen On the Walls conference last November. Other signatories to the statement include D. James Kennedy, Tim LaHaye, George Rekers, Don Wildmon, and R.J. Rushdoony.

Rushdoony is considered the father of Christian Reconstructionism. His 1973 book, The Institutes of Biblical Law, serves as a foundational document for Christian Reconstructionists. In the Institutes, Rushdoony called for the replacement of civil law with Biblical Law, including the legalization of slavery (because the Bible approves of it) stoning as punishment for a long list of Biblical offenses including homosexuality (because the Bible calls for it). Rushdoony defended these beliefs right up until his death in 2001. Scarborough recently declared that his is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, but “a Christocrat.”

Huckabee recently told an audience at Liberty University that God was responsible for his recent rise in the polls. And we’ve noted before that Huckabee has been voicing a rather strange theology lately. Does that theology now include theonomy and the Christian Reconstructionist theology of those whose support he’s seeking?

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LaBarbera Award: Mike Huckabee

Jim Burroway

December 19th, 2007

The LaBarbera AwardWe reported earlier on former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee’s 1992 remarks on AIDS, in which he called for the “isolation” (thus avoiding the “q” word) of “AIDS carriers” — presumably all 253,448 people with AIDS known to exist in 1992. When asked about those remarks last week, Huckabee refused to back down. That storm barely had time to blow over before other outrageous anti-gay comments began to emerge. Some of these comments border on the harmlessly ill-informed, like this one from the New York Times:

The governor regards 1968 as the dawning of ‘‘the age of the birth-control pill, free love, gay sex, the drug culture and reckless disregard for standards.’’ The Rolling Stones album ‘‘Their Satanic Majesties Request’’ provided the soundtrack for that annus terribilis. But Mike Huckabee wanted me to know that he believes in the separation of church and stage.

But others, like his AIDS comment earlier, have a ring of menace to them. David Corn at Mother Jones found this gem in Huckabee’s 1998 book, Kids Who Kill:

In lamenting the “cultural conflicts” besetting the country, he wrote, “Abortion, environmentalism, AIDS, pornography, drug abuse, and homosexual activism have fragmented and polarized our communities.”

Why was he lumping environmentalism with activities he considered sinful? He did not explain further. A few pages later, Huckabee complained, “It is now difficult to keep track of the vast array of publicly endorsed and institutionally supported aberrations—from homosexuality and pedophilia to sadomasochism and necrophilia.”

Gov. Mike HuckabeeInstitutionally supported pedophilia and sadomasochism? Institutionally suppored necrophilia? What “institional support” could he possibly be talking about?

Huckabee said his views on AIDS haven’t changed much since 1992. What about his lumping homosexuality with pedephilia and necrophilia? Joe Carter, Huckabee’s director of research, tried to clarify Huckabee’s remarks:

“He’s not equating homosexuality with necrophilia,” Carter told us. “He’s saying there’s a range of aberrant behavior. He considers homosexuality aberrant, but that’s at one end of the spectrum. Necrophilia is at the other end.”

So homosexuality is in the same class as necrophilia, but we’re just not as bad. As with his AIDS comment, Huckabee stands by this one too. And for that, Gov. Mike Huckabee is today’s LaBarbera Award winner.

Huckabee’s Strange Theology

Timothy Kincaid

December 11th, 2007

huckabee.jpgWhen asked questions about his hostile comments on homosexuality, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee responded:

“Let’s understand what sin means — sin means missing the mark,” he responded. “Missing the mark can mean missing the mark in any area. We’ve all missed the mark. … How we miss the mark is less important than we all miss the mark. The mark is that we have marriage — men and women, they marry, they create children, and they train their replacements and you have a future generation then that creates their replacements and trains them. That’s the mark. If we didn’t have that as the ideal, we wouldn’t have a civilization that was able to perpetuate.”

Now the way I read that, Huckabee is saying that sin is missing the mark and that the mark is heterosexual marriage and children. Huckabee is literally saying that not to marry and have children is sin.

This is nonsense and not the teaching of ANY known Christian denomination, even Huckabee’s Southern Baptists. This is, in fact, in clear contradiction to the teachings of the Apostle Paul who set celibacy as a Christian’s goal and marriage as a lesser option for those unable to control their lust.

It would appear to me that Rev. Huckabee might place his animosity to his gay neighbors at a higher premium than he does his doctrinal beliefs.

Huckabee’s “Isolation” vs. Quarantine: What’s The Difference?

Jim Burroway

December 9th, 2007

Former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to deny that he said we should quarantine all AIDS patients. But he stood by his statements calling for isolating “the carriers” of AIDS.

Here is my quick transcript:

Chris, I didn’t say that we should quarantine. I said it was the first time in public health protocols that when we had an infectious disease and we didn’t really know just how extensive and how dramatic it could be and the impact of it, that we didn’t isolate the carrier. Now the headlines yesterday started saying that that I called for quarantines, which, if you go back and read my comments, I did not.

I simply made the point, and I still believe this today, that in the late eighties and early nineties when we didn’t know as much that we do now about AIDS, we were acting more out of political correctness than we were out of the normal public health protocols that we would have acted as we have recently, for example, with Avian Flu…

Chris Wallace called him on that, noting that as far back as in 1985, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had already established that AIDS could not be spread by casual contact. This was seven years before Huckabee’s statement. Huckabee didn’t back down:

Would I say things a little differently in 2007? Probably so, but I’m not going to recant or retract from the statement that I did make, because, again, the point was not saying we ought to lock people up who have HIV/AIDS. I knew people who had AIDS. I had a close friend who had died of it in the 1980’s. He was a hemophiliac; he had contracted it through a blood transfusion. I had other friends of mine, one of whom passed away, he was in fact homosexual.

But my point is, I was trying to talk about different public health protocols we were dealing with. I think what it really does show though is that when people are digging back into everything I have ever said and done — and I understand that, it’s part of the political process. But what I’m not going to do is to go back and now try to change every story that I’ve ever had. I’m going to simply say that is exactly what I said, I don’t run from it, don’t recant from it. Would I say it a little differently today? Sure, in light of fifteen years of additional knowledge and understanding I would.

Huckabee opened his statement saying “Chris, I didn’t say that we should quarantine.” Here is what he wrote to the Associated Press in 1992. What do you think?

If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague.

It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.

The CDC’s 1992 AIDS Surveillance Report (PDF: 1.2MB/23 pages) counted 253,448 people with AIDS, with unknown numbers more infected with HIV at the time. With those figures documented as of 1992, I’m hard-pressed to understand what the distinction is supposed to be between calling for a quarantine and “isolating the carriers” from the general population. Princeton University’s Wordnet can’t seem to find a distinction either:


  • S: (n) quarantine (enforced isolation of patients suffering from a contagious disease in order to prevent the spread of disease)
  • S: (n) quarantine (isolation to prevent the spread of infectious disease)


  • S: (v) quarantine (place into enforced isolation, as for medical reasons) “My dog was quarantined before he could live in England”

And neither can the folks at Merk:

quarantine (quar·an·tine) (kwor´ən-tēn, kwahr´ən-tēn) [Ital. quarantina, from L. quadraginta forty] 1. restriction of freedom of movement of apparently well individuals who have been exposed to infectious disease, which is imposed for the usual maximal incubation period of the disease (quarantine period). Cf. surveillance (def. 2). 2. a period (originally of 40 days’ duration) of detention of vessels, vehicles, or travelers coming from infected or suspected ports or places. 3. the place where persons are detained for inspection. 4. to detain or isolate on account of suspected contagion.

HIV has an incubation period of six to twelve years before the onset of AIDS. AIDS is treatable but not curable. Given those facts which were also known in 1992, how long would Huckabee’s proposed “isolation” have been enforced? A lifetime?

Huckabee: 1992 AIDS Quarantine Story “Just Politics”

Jim Burroway

December 8th, 2007

The Associated Press has reported that GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee once advocated quarantining everyone with AIDS during a run for the U.S. Senate in 1992:

“If the federal government is truly serious about doing something with the AIDS virus, we need to take steps that would isolate the carriers of this plague,” Huckabee wrote.

“It is difficult to understand the public policy towards AIDS. It is the first time in the history of civilization in which the carriers of a genuine plague have not been isolated from the general population, and in which this deadly disease for which there is no cure is being treated as a civil rights issue instead of the true health crisis it represents.”

He also wrote that Hollywood celebrities should fund AIDS research from their own pockets rather than federal health agencies. And he said this about homosexuality in 1992:

“I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk.”

When asked about his 1992 statements, refused to address the question directly, but he did respond this way:

Many of you know that I’m a human being that’s going to make a whole lot of mistakes, in fact you’re going to hear that I am a human being that’s made a lot of mistakes. In fact, if you don’t know that yet, just keep reading all the press releases from my opponents. And when they can’t find enough, they’ll make some up.”

“And that’s politics,” he added.

Huckabee is being touted as a gentleman’s social conservative. But he sees his campaign in somewhat grander terms. Here’s the explanation he gave before Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University for why his poll numbers have been rising lately:

There’s only one explanation for it, and it’s not a human one. It’s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of five thousand people. (Applause and cheers)

And that’s the only way that our campaign could be doing what it’s doing. And I’m not being facetious, nor am I trying to be trite. There literally are thousands of people across this country who are praying that a little will become much, and it has. And it defies all explanation. It has confounded the pundants, and I’m enjoying every minute of their trying to figure it out. And until they look at it from a… just experience beyond human, they’ll never figure it out. And that’s probably just as well. That’s honestly why it’s happening.

See also:

Huckabee Denies Advocating Quarantine

FRC’s Charmaine Yoest Joins Mike Huckabee’s Campaign

Jim Burroway

December 5th, 2007

The Family Research Council sent out this notice that Charmaine Yoest, the FRC’s vice president of Communications and frequent guest on several national news programs, is taking a leave of absense to join Gov. Mike Huckabee’s presidential campaign:

I am pleased to welcome Dr. Yoest to our team,” said Governor Huckabee. “She brings with her an in-depth knowledge of the issues and policy expertise, as well as over two decades of experience in the conservative movement. Her addition represents increased strength both substantively and organizationally. She joins us at an important juncture as we are working to communicate our policy agenda for the future.

The various leaders and organizations which make up what we often call the “religious right” have had a great deal of difficulty coalescing around a single candidate for the GOP nomination. While many of them were sympathetic to Gov. Huckabee’s platform, few of them were willing to spend much political capital on a candidate who wasn’t seen as viable. But recent polls in Iowa have placed Huckabee’s campaign into serious play and the religious right appear to be re-evaluating their earlier assessment of his chances of winning the GOP nomination, and many are beginning to come on board. With this latest announcement, I suspect that trend will accelerate.

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