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Monday, December 24, 2007

Why Evangelical Leaders Aren't Lovin' On Huck

As a follow-up to Bob Novak's horrendous article on Baptist support of Mike Huckabee, Deborah Caldwell who is the managing editor of Beliefnet.com has a similar article titled "Baptist Civil War Fallout, Or Why Evangelical Leaders Aren't Lovin' On Huck."

Here's her conclusion:
So today, while some Baptists have endorsed him —including Ronnie Floyd—others have not. Judge Pressler is behind Thompson; Patterson is neutral; so is Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (and a Casting Stones contributor).

And while all of these non-endorsing Baptist leaders have good things to say about Huckabee, the fact that they won’t endorse him or act on his behalf is crucial, in my opinion. It’s a signal to other evangelical leaders, such as Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, who endorsed Romney; Sam Brownback, who endorsed John McCain; Pat Robertson, who endorsed Rudy Giuliani; James Dobson of Focus on the Family who remains officially neutral; and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, also officially neutral. And I think it tells evangelical voters, particularly Southern Baptists, all they need to know.
It is true that Paul Pressler did not endorse Mike Huckabee. However, Caldwell does not mention that Huckabee has the support of Tim and Beverly LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins of Left Behind fame, Jerry Falwell Jr., Homeschool leader Michael Farris, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, Rick Scarborough and presumably Christian Zionist John Hagee. All of these men (+ one woman) have huge national followings. And all are about as far outside of the mainstream as one can be. And all undoubtedly wield real influence. And frankly, Huckabee's positioning as the candidate of choice for many Christian Right leaders should be a cause of concern for those of us in mainstream America.

Nonetheless, Caldwell needs to reconsider how many Southern Baptists in the pews are actually influenced by fundamentalist leaders of the past like Paul Pressler. Outside of the beltway, how much influence does Sir Richard Land sling around? If Southern Baptists took their cues from Richard Land and Paul Pressler - I expect Fred Thompson would be doing just a bit better in the polls right now.



Blogger Debbie Kaufman said...

This reason alone makes me want to vote for Mike. It seems if one is snubbed by these men that may not be such a bad thing. It may be a sign of character. :)

7:53 PM

Blogger Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

I am not now, never have been, and never intend to be...a Southern Baptist...nothing against them...I'm just not one.

I'm a tried and true Pentecostal/Charismatic who attends a non-Pentecostal/Charismatic church.

I fully endorse and will vote for Governor Huckabee. He has the best record of any candidate, in my opinion.

Love your blog, by the way. Not bad for a 20-something....LOL

12:23 PM

Anonymous Lee said...

As I said before, there isn't one in ten Southern Baptists who even know the names Richard Land, Paul Pressler or Paige Patterson. And there isn't one in a hundred who allows the convention leadership to make their presidential decision for them.

Robertson's decision to endorse Giuliani is just downright hypocritical. Of course, no one is listening to this nut case any more. Dobson's credibility rests on his endorsement. You will see him lose money and support big time if he supports either Romney or Giuliani. Other than Huckabee, McCain is probably the only candidate he could endorse and not risk losing huge amounts of support.

I'm pleased to see that, in spite of being accused of being mindless, single issue voters, there are thousands upon thousands of evangelical, right wing Christians who are ignoring their posturing, blustering leaders and are making their choice based on conscience. They are not mindlessly following leaders who have sold them out to partisan politics, but instead, they are being true to their long-held position. So, apparently, is Mike Huckabee.

7:51 PM

Blogger foxofbama said...


Samford President's wife was a appointee of Hbee's to ARkansas Education Commission when they were at Oauchitau.
I am groping to frame a better question about the implications of HBee's candidacy for SBC and vice versa than has been framed so far.
So far, I think you and Ms. Caldwell, like me haven't quite gotten down to the real nitty gritty of this matter.
Check my blog for some links and join me in pursuing this discussion wherever it goes.
What are Kimball and Dunn and Leonard thinking? not to mention Barry Hankins.
There is no health in the SBC as long as it is funding Land's ERLC. Long as that continues unabated, HBee campaign is just a distraction from a greater disease.
Have you read Garry Wills yet. His thoughts are part of the solution, but then again, implementing them outside me and you and a few others; what's the Hope?

10:47 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Mike Huckabee Going to Rock & Roll Hell? A Public Letter to Bill Gothard from Justin Jeffre (of 98 Degrees)
The Cincinnati Beacon, December 29, 2007

11:00 AM

Anonymous Chuck said...

Big Daddy,

Who are Christian Dems supporting, and why?

We're hearing about Republicans vying for the Christian Right, but who's solidifying the Christian Left?

2:35 PM

Anonymous Michael Westmoreland-White said...

The "Christian left" is not a voting bloc. Although center-left Christians agree that faith affects politics (as it does all of life) and often agree on many social issues (economic justice, the environment, peacemaking, education, etc.), we do not tell our congregations for whom to vote. Those of us who are Baptists would find that a violation of both church/state separation AND of liberty of conscience.

Those of us who are ministers will not endorse candidates, either.

Although there are many Christians whose politics are center to left, there is no "Christian Left" voting bloc--and, God willing, there never will be. We don't need to mirror the evil of the Religious Right.

So, the Christian left is not going to coalesce around one candidate. I was at a meeting of the Kentucky Council of Churches, recently--which is center left. I asked the Dems present to, off the record, say which candidates interested them since this wasn't a pulpit situation, nor were media present. Some still wouldn't answer. Of those who did, opinions were quite varied: Many liked Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), but few think he can win--or will even be still in the race by the time KY gets to vote. Some like Bill Richardson (D-NM), although his support for nuclear power and opposition to gun control worries others. Chris Dodd (D-CT) has won support recently because of his strong stands in the Senate--but most think he should stay there--and maybe try for Senate Majority Leader.
Sen. Clinton gets strong support from some feminist Christians (but not all), but doesn't do well with the peace & justice crowd--which is about equally divided (when not dreaming of a Kucinich surge to victory!) between Obama and Edwards. Obama wins with those who want a healer and visionary. Edwards wins with those who are convinced we need a fighter to take on the monied interests and get real economic justice.
In general, my observations have shown that whereas Republicans, including the Religious Right, are frustrated at not finding a single candidate they like well enough to coalesce, Democrats, including the "Religious Left," like most of our candidates--even the ones we think have little chance of winning. I frequently hear things like, "Well, I have some I like better than others, but any one of these people is better than all of those on the other side put together." With which sentiment I agree.

6:20 PM

Anonymous Chuck said...


Thanks for the insights.

It sounds like the Christian Right might not be a voting bloc either--at least this time around.

8:39 PM


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