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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mike Huckabee Refuses To Release Sermons

Mother Jones has the details.

The article nicely sums up some of several of Huckabee's somewhat inconsistent statements regarding faith and politics. A snippet from author David Corn:

Once upon a time Mike Huckabee was a Baptist preacher. Then Mike Huckabee became a lieutenant governor. Then Mike Huckabee became a governor. Then Mike Huckabee became an ex-governor running for president--and a front-runner in the all-important little state of Iowa. And that Mike Huckabee was not so keen on sharing with voters and the media all the glorious words that Mike Huckabee the minister preached.

Since becoming a hot commodity, Huckabee has zigzagged on statements regarding faith and politics. In one speech he said the power of prayer was responsible for his surge in Iowa polls; he then quickly backtracked. In one debate, he indicated he believed in creationism; more recently, he dodged the question. And days ago he hit a rough patch when harsh statements he made in 1992 about AIDS were publicized.

I'm not sure whether Huckabee should release his sermons. Is that info fair game?

Nonetheless, I'd like to read his sermons. As a very conservative Baptist minister, who knows what Huckabee has said along the way? Perhaps an anti-Catholic nugget or two? The typical False Church stuff. Or a few less than generous characterizations of other Christian groups? Maybe some pronouncements against Baby-sprinklin' denominations?

One this is for sure - Huckabee has everything to lose and nothing to gain from releasing his sermons



Blogger D.R. said...

The questions you ask in the paragraph after the quote from David Corn are exactly the reason why he should not release his sermons. When we start lifting one's religious beliefs to the place where they are judged alongside of one's public policy beliefs, then we violate the desire of the Founders to not place any religious test on office holders. That's not to say that individuals cannot judge candidates based on their religious views, but we must be careful as a society to not aid in the public's possible religious bigotry.

One very important, but so far absent, question that I think should be asked of Huckabee is, "How do your particular religious beliefs affect how you set a particular public policy?" That's really what people need to know - not what he thinks of the Catholic Church in relation to the universal Church of Jesus Christ. We should never judge any candidate on the basis of how he views a group religiously, but rather how he treats that group from a public policy standpoint. Unfortunately, we don't have an electorate in this country who is mature enough to see the difference, or a media who really cares to educate them on it.

11:37 AM

Blogger Debbie Kaufman said...

Mike Huckabee must be raising enough in the polls to be a threat. The supposed trash that is trying to be dug up is evident.

12:29 PM

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I don't think his sermons are fair game. His statements as a politician are: Like his '92 statement that people with AIDS should be quarantined or his statement that we need to be armed to protect ourselves from our own government. Plus, his previous actions as a politician--such as influencing a parole board to release a rapist who promptly raped and murdered again. I don't believe in the death penalty, but I sure think some people deserve to be locked up for life--and Huckabee showed remarkably bad judgement here.

1:29 PM

Blogger D.R. said...

Michael, I think you've been listening to the left-wing bloggers too much. Mike answered the charges about letting out the rapist. Maybe you should research that before regurgitating false assumptions. Those on the parole board claimed emphatically immediately afterwards that Huckabee DID NOT influence them, and then 6 years later, after they were not reappointed to $75,000/yr. jobs, they recanted of their statements and claimed he did interfere (after, of course, Dumond, had killed the girl in MO). So which time were they lying? And can we really believe people who have proven to be untrustworthy enough to change the facts about a situation they were coming under fire about?

And of course, that is only the tip of the iceberg on that case. Dummond had already been made eligible for parole by the previous administration and there were plenty of people outside of the government calling for his release, declaring that he had been unjustly convicted. Add to that his very public castration in prison and the treatment he received from the authorities (the sherrif had the results of his castration in a jar in his office) and I think what we have is an unfortunate situation that got worse (and of course needed a scapegoat). And, surely you appreciate the fact that Huckabee, uniquely among politicians admitted they had all made a mistake and has been visible bothered by it.

When it comes down to it, I don't see why a guy like you who pushes civil rights and is concerned about the justice system isn't thrilled to know that oversight the extent of which went on under Huckabee is capable under his administration. He has been known to pour over court documents before making any decision judiciously. Don't we need more of that in government?

As for the AIDS situation, he clearly has moved away from that position and is now advocating for a rise in appropriations for fighting AIDS. Isn't that your hope for politicians? That they would error, admit it, and moved to position more in line with what is needed?

In the end, Huckabee has many attributes (honesty, compassion, desire for justice, willingness to fight against unfair taxes and trade) that one of your heroes Jimmy Carter had. Would it be bigotry to reject those in a Republican and celebrate them in a Democrat?

And finally, he shares with you a love for Christ and a willingness to put his faith into practice. Unlike Bush, who used his faith to win voters, Huckabee is the real deal and yet he did very little to solicit that until, because of his terrific showing in debates, it was thrust upon him. And you have to love a politician who knows how to restrain spending and energy in campaigning (heck, he claims to want to make us energy self-sustaining in 6 years using many green energy sources!).

I could go on and on, but I am excited to see a politician I think I can actually trust, rather than folks like Hillary who see terribly shady (and you've even noted your disdain for her, though your willingness to succumb to your convictions in order to elect a Democrat - BTW, what happened to your status as a libertarian?).

5:58 PM

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

D.R., after hearing interviews with the people who were the members of the Arkansas parole and pardons board during Huckabee's admin., I was not satisfied with his answers. I don't think it should disqualify him; all of us--including all politicians--make mistakes. But there are some aspects of this case which I still find troubling.

There is much about Huckabee to admire--especially compared to most of the other GOP presidential candidates: e.g., his desire to alleviate poverty; his refusal to demonize the children of illegal immigrants (the only GOP candidate not trying to "out Tancredo Tancredo" as Tancredo himself put it); his moderate environmentalism--which is not strong enough to suit me, but is a refreshing change from the Bush year; and much else. I also liked the fact that, unlike most of the GOP candidates, Huckabee actually showed up for the African-American debate at Morgan State Univ. and even met with fellow Baptist (and one of my heroes) Cornel West, a liberal who disagrees with Huckabee on much, but knew he was the real deal, not racist, and that African-American conservatives could look at Huckabee as someone who wouldn't just be out to exploit them. I wish he would reconsider and come to the New Baptist Covenant celebration and help keep it visibly bipartisan. Other parts of his views trouble me, but, along with McCain, he's probably the only GOP candidate whom I could tolerate as president.

And, yes, I am glad that he's moved away from his '92 position on AIDS. But his answer for why he took that view in '92 was disturbing--that he didn't know how hard it was to transmit AIDS. In '92? I could see being somewhat ignorant in '82, but '92? To still speak of quarantines? That's either a rather slow learning curve or it was an attempt to pander to the "gay plague" folks in his '92 run for the U.S. Senate. If the latter, he should be honest and publicly repent.

I was also disturbed that he hadn't heard of the new National Intelligence Estimate on Iran 48 hours after it had been on all the news networks and didn't know its significance. We've had 7 years now of someone in the Oval Office who knew so little of foreign affairs at the start of his presidency (and still!) that he couldn't find most nations on a map with Rand and McNally both to guide him. These are dangerous times--made more so by the Bush/Cheney arrogance and incompetence. To meet the test of these times will take someone with a knowledge of the world--and on the GOP side only McCain fills that notch and, although he's strongly against torture (thank God), he's still gung ho for the war in Iraq.

I'm not trying to take cheap shots at Huckabee. I'm also not surprised at his recent surge in the polls. I was more surprised that Giuliani and Romney were out front for so long (and still are nationally) and that GOP faithful looked to a dud like Thompson as a potential "savior candidate."

As Frank Rich of the NY Times said the other day, '08 could turn out to be a contest between the 2nd Man from Hope (Huckabee) and the author of The Audacity of Hope (Obama). Both are the youngest candidates in their parties (and Huckabee is also younger at 52 than all of the Dems except Obama who is 46--half a year older than me). Both want to rise above the nastiness of the Clinton and Bush years.

I can't see myself voting for Gov. Huckabee--but if he were to win the GOP nomination, I wouldn't be tempted to leave for Canada no matter who wins on Nov. 3. In other words, I don't think Huckabee would embarass the nation globally as GWB has done--if he can take time from campaigning to bone up on international affairs!

3:54 AM

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

P.S.--I've never been a libertarian, D.R., just a civil libertarian. I find economic libertarians extremely frightening.

3:56 AM

Anonymous Lee said...

I doubt if Huckabee has anything to fear from the content of his sermons. The church he pastored, while it is conservative, is not fundamentalist or landmark, and Huckabee's reputation among Arkansas Baptists was more of a moderate one. He doesn't strike me as one of those preachers who rails about the errors in everyone else's faith.

Mother Jones is not exactly an unbiased source of information.

The conservative establishment in the Republican party has more or less declared war on Huckabee, and appear to be as bent on stopping him as they are on stopping Hillary Clinton. They've even trotted out their favorite ugly word, "Populist," to describe his economic policy position. I think they genuinely fear he will initiate, and perhaps, with a majority Democrat Congress, succeed in implementing a fair tax plan, along with other economic adjustments and policies which will put an end to the legalized stealing of the wages, savings and retirement investments of the working and middle class that is the core of the current administration's policy. I've always thought that economic populism married to conservative social policy, would be a winning combination.

The common excuse for not supporting Huckabee among some of the self-proclaimed leaders of the religious right like Richard Land and Pat Robertson is that he can't win. However, I believe Huckabee, because of his unique social/economic position, may be the only Republican who actually has anything close to a chance.

8:59 AM

Blogger Michael Westmoreland-White said...

I get different opinions from different folks about how conservative Huckabee was as a pastor and since I never heard of him until he decided to run for prez., I have no opinion about that. I say his sermons are not fair game, period.

On the rest, I agree, Lee, that economic populism and social conservatism (on some issues like abortion) makes an appealing candidate for many. I think the "can't win" refrain is because Huckabee doesn't have much money--but that could change if wins the GOP in Iowa--or Romney could spend him into the ground in NH. We'll just have to see.

If Huckabee didn't trot out the usual GOP standard talking points about the so-called "war on terror," Iraq, the use of torture, etc., then I would be happier with him than I am.

And, I agree with D.R. (this really must stop) that Huckabee's faith seems genuine rather than the manipulation that went on by Bush. I don't exactly "heart Huckabee," but I do find him a refreshing change from much of the rest of the GOP field (and even some of the Democratic field).

If you could combine Huckabee with McCain's strong stand against torture and desire to tear down the Gitmo gulag, Ron Paul's views on the war in Iraq and the need not to go to war with Iran, the result might be a GOP candidate who could even attract many Democratic voters--especially if a hawk like Hillary were to become the nominee.

7:41 PM

Blogger Greg said...

On his website, Huckabee says he will "take America back for those who belong." It's pretty bad to suggest that some people actually "belong" in the U.S. and some don't. I can only imagine how horrible and exclusivist his sermons must be! I would like to read them - he'd never get my vote anyway.

11:00 AM


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