Mike Huckabee’s Faith

The New Yorker has a lengthy piece all about former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and his faith… because you really can’t have the former without the latter.

A few excerpts are below.

On homosexuality:

Huckabee found the reflexive piety of his community “very pharisaical in nature” when he was young. “People would say boys and girls shouldn’t go to R-rated movies, or they shouldn’t swim together,” he said. “I was the guy that always asked why. ‘Because we said so.’ Well, that’s not an answer! I don’t accept ‘Because we said so.’ That always made me really angry.”

One afternoon in Jerusalem, while Huckabee was eating a chocolate croissant in the lounge of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, I asked him to explain his rationale for opposing gay rights. “I do believe that God created male and female and intended for marriage to be the relationship of the two opposite sexes,” he said. “Male and female are biologically compatible to have a relationship. We can get into the ick factor, but the fact is two men in a relationship, two women in a relationship, biologically, that doesn’t work the same.”

I asked him if he had any arguments that didn’t have to do with God or ickiness. “There are some pretty startling studies that show if you want to end poverty it’s not education and race, it’s monogamous marriage,” he said. “Many studies show that children who grow up in a healthy environment where they have both a mother and a father figure have both a healthier outlook and a different perspective from kids who don’t have the presence of both.”

In fact, a twenty-five-year study recently published by the American Academy of Pediatrics concluded that children brought up by lesbians were better adjusted than their peers. And, of course, nobody has been able to study how kids fare with married gay parents. “You know why?” Huckabee said. “Because no culture in the history of mankind has ever tried to redefine marriage.”

But in the Old Testament polygamy was commonplace. The early Christians considered marriage an arrangement for those without the self-discipline to live in chastity, as Christ did. Marriage was not deemed a sacrament by the Church until the twelfth century. And, before 1967, marriage was defined in much of the United States as a relationship between a man and a woman of the same race.

Regardless of the past, wouldn’t Huckabee be curious to know whether allowing gay people to marry had a positive or negative effect on children and society?

“No, not really. Why would I be?” he said, and laughed.

Because saying that something ought to be a certain way simply because that’s the way it supposedly has always been is an awful lot like saying “because we said so.” And Huckabee is supposed to be the guy who questions everything.

On evolution:

Huckabee had more executive experience than any other candidate, Republican or Democratic, in the 2008 campaign (with the exception of Tommy Thompson, who dropped out of the race after the Iowa straw poll). “And yet you didn’t hear a Chris Mathews saying, ‘Governor, I want to talk to you about your education policy; you did some innovative things,’ ” he said. “No. It was, ‘O.K., you were a Baptist preacher. Let’s talk about evolution.’ It’s, like, ‘Are you an idiot? Is that the only thing you can ask me?’ ”

When Wolf Blitzer pushed Huckabee to say whether he believed in evolution, at a debate in New Hampshire in June of 2007, Huckabee expressed exasperation that the question “would even be asked of somebody running for President—I’m not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book.” He said that the question was unfair, because it “asked us in a simplistic manner whether or not we believed, in my view, whether there’s a God or not.”

As President, though, he would appoint the Secretary of Education. And it is difficult to comprehend what is unfair about the question when he has written, “Everything you do and believe in is directed by your answer to the ultimate question: Is there a God? It all comes down to that single issue.” According to Huckabee, a person who believes God created man has a world view that is “absolutely irreconcilable” with that of someone who believes man created God. And “either by numbers or persuasion, one side of this polarized culture will defeat the other in setting public policy.” This is the defining paradox of Huckabee: his adamant resistance to being branded a zealot paired with his insistence that faith defines character and, consequently, has an essential place in government.

There’s also a little bit about his interview with Michael Tracey from a couple months ago.

As governor of Arkansas, Huckabee successfully championed laws that prevented gay people from becoming foster parents and banned gay adoptions. “Children are not puppies — this is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out how does this work,” Huckabee told a student journalist at the College of New Jersey in April. “You don’t go ahead and accommodate every behavioral pattern that is against the ideal. That would be like saying, ‘Well, there are a lot of people who like to use drugs, so let’s go ahead and accommodate those who want to use drugs. There are some people who believe in incest, so we should accommodate them.’ ” These comments proved unpopular. On his Web site, Huckabee accused his interviewer of trying to “grossly distort” and “sensationalize my well known and hardly unusual views” about homosexuality. The student publication then posted the audiotape of the interview online. Huckabee had not been misquoted.

There’s nothing in the piece you haven’t heard before if you follow politics, but it’s a terrific reminder of why Huckabee is unfit to hold elected office.

It’s not that he’s a Christian — it’s that he has a habit of making decisions for everyone based on his personal faith, regardless of where the evidence leads.

It’s been said before, but we need a Commander-in-chief, not a pastor-in-chief.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    He is “likable Huckabee”. Although, if he had his way, he would probably have a “gay and atheist round-up” kind of like the Texan’s rattlesnake roundup. I guess we would all be put in concentration camps and be re-educated to become straight or “Jesus believing” depending on our “affliction”.

    Well to be honest, as a free-enterprise republican, he probably wouldn’t have the government do it. He would just give tax incentives for private companies to do it.

  • Pingback: Hemant quote of the day « Le Café Witteveen

  • http://www.redheadedskeptic.com Laura

    Very nice! He is a nice man my parents are acquainted with, but yes, he should stick to being a pastor. I wonder what he would say confronted with the “because we said so” hypocrisy. (Most Christians I know who do not watch R rated movies and the like give a verse in Philippians about thinking only about pure and lovely things as a reason that makes about as much sense as Huckabee’s answer.)

  • NewEnglandBob

    Huckabee is nothing more than a snake in the grass, hiding out until he can strike with his xenophobia, racism, sexism, etc.

  • JT

    @Jeff
    And much like those rattlesnake round ups, there will be a large spike in the populations of various vermin in the aftermath.

    And I sure hope they’ll have a separate program for gaytheists. I don’t want to have to sit through “come to Jesus” training AND the “you like boobies” training. I don’t have time for all that! I have a busy schedule of double ruining society and doing twice as many things that require people to “think of the children”!

  • The Captain

    What needs to be confronted is his disregard for the freedom of religion. Every time he makes decisions or arguments based on “his” christianity all he is doing is demanding that the government should use the force of law, to force others to practice his religion. Especially when he has no valid secular argument. Example: There are churches that want to perform gay marriages. All of Hucks secular reasons against it fail on an even superficial level, and he knows it. Yet Huck sees no problem having the government step in and tell those churches they have to practice Hucks religion! I would like to hear his thoughts on those churches freedom of religion.

  • Karmakin

    The article makes it perfectly clear. He is not a nice man. He is a deceitful snake in the grass.

  • Iason Ouabache

    You don’t go ahead and accommodate every behavioral pattern that is against the ideal.

    I never noticed it before but that is a classic example of a Nirvana fallacy (with some Appeal to Tradition on the side). Gay couples adopting isn’t the “perfect solution”, therefore we shouldn’t allow them to adopt. Obviously he is ignoring the fact that there aren’t enough heterosexual couples willing to adopt so then the choices are letting gay people adopt or having kids stuck in a crappy foster care system until the age of 18.

  • Claudia

    In Huckabee we have the figure of the authentically pleasant zealot. He seems like a genuinely nice man, with actual good feelings towards others. I don’t doubt he would be nice to any gay person he happened to encounter, whether or not the cameras were on him.

    He, unlike many of his allies, seems to be an authentic love the sinner, hate the sin type of guy. He believes some utterly despicable things (on homosexuality) and acts according to his beliefs, like in the Arkansas law that seeks to ensure that orphans remain orphans. My sense is that, unlike the councilwoman in a previous post, he authentically doesn’t do it out of malice. The effect is the same of course, and I think stiff opposition to him is absolutely warranted, but he’s a curious case.

    I personally couldn’t vote for someone who doesn’t accept evolution and I’d naturally never ever vote for someone with such backward, hateful (if not filled with hate) views on homosexuality. On the other hand, I don’t really think Huckabee is crying over the lost votes of the heathen crowd.

  • http://cafeeine.wordpress.com Cafeeine

    I have taken a huge dislike to Huckabee after the comment found here:

    http://atheism.about.com/b/2010/04/24/mike-huckabee-immoral-but-honest-atheists-are-ok-with-me.htm

    “In what may come as a surprise for some, Huckabee agreed that an atheist could be fit to serve as president. “I’d rather have an honest atheist than a dishonest religious person,” he said.

    “It’s better to have a person who says, ‘Look, I just don’t believe, and that’s where my honest position happens to be,’” he said. “I’m frankly more OK with that than a person who says, ‘Oh, I am very much a Christian. I very much love God.’ And then they live as if they are atheists, as if they have no moral groundings at all. That’s more troubling.”

    To which I commented:
    “Huckabee isn’t saying he’d rather vote for an atheist. He’s saying that given the choice, he’d rather vote for an atheist who is ‘honest’ about having “no moral groundings at all”, than one who’s hiding his immoral atheist ways behind a veneer of christian ‘morality’.

    This is not a ‘nod’ to atheists. Basically, he’s not only calling atheists amoral/ immoral, he’s implying that any religious person acting immorally is [like] an evil atheist hiding their true face, even worse than those atheists who wear their ‘evil’ on their sleeves.
    Its a despicable statement, demonizing atheists for everything Huckabee finds wrong in the world. ”

    It amazed me that some people considered it a pro-atheist statement.

  • fritzy

    Further proof that we as a society (and probably as humans) fail to distinguish between the very different characteristics of “nice” and “good.” Huckabee is very much the former; the latter–not so much.

    What a disgraceful hypocrite.

  • http://whatpalebluedot.blogspot.com WhatPaleBlueDot

    As I’ve said since first I heard of him…

    Fuckabee.

  • Ben

    Clearly we are biologically meant to have hair on our heads. We should ban bald people from having kids. Otherwise their kids might grow up thinking its okay to be bald.

  • http://thishollowearth.wordpress.com/ Victor

    Huckabee is just bigoted through and through. He really does not see any reason to treat anyone else like a human being unless they’re holding the same Bible he is.

  • Hypatia’s Daughter

    “Many studies show that children who grow up in a healthy environment where they have both a mother and a father figure have both a healthier outlook and a different perspective from kids who don’t have the presence of both.”…..wouldn’t Huckabee be curious to know whether allowing gay people to marry had a positive or negative effect on children and society? “No, not really. Why would I be?” he said, and laughed.

    Huckabee’s minds made up. Don’t confuse him with the facts.

  • http://twitter.com/achura Rooker

    I view the possibility of Huckabee becoming president with the same horror as a white Southerner reading about the 1860 election results. There’s a better and more accurate comparison than that but it would probably violate Godwin’s Law if I mentioned it, so I’ll leave it alone.

    Somewhere out there is a transcript of an interview where Huckabee stated that America should be governed according to religious law and that this is why he got into politics, to govern that way himself. It is his intention to turn America into a theocracy.

    It would be far more dangerous for this person to be president than it would for Bush to have two more terms. Bush was just a damned fool dangling at the end of puppet strings pulled by people with enough IQ to pronounce “nuclear” correctly. Huckabee is crazy AND smart. And charismatic enough that he just might get there.

  • Jen

    There are a lot of things people do I find icky. Eating squid, getting face tattoos, polar bear clubs, vajazzling, calling it “vajazzling” even though it is “vulvjazzling”, being near lard, having sex with Mike Huckabee- all of these are gross and wrong in my book. Should I ever run for president I will not try to make any of those thing illegal because I am not Lord and Master of everyone, and I am ok with not trying to stop adults from making their own lives without my input.

    Mike Huckabee is like those fabled dates who are nice to you and mean to the waiter. If you are nice to someone’s face, and then you go and vote to take away their rights, you are not nice. Plain and simple.

  • Brandon

    What a hypocritical dipshit.

  • Ben

    Obviously he is ignoring the fact that there aren’t enough heterosexual couples willing to adopt so then the choices are letting gay people adopt or having kids stuck in a crappy foster care system until the age of 18.

    This is what pisses me off the most. Fundies would rather kids rot in state care for their entire childhoods than allow gay couples to raise them. Their fear of “breeding teh gay” and “legitimising teh gay” is greater than their fear of having the state raise kids with out loving parents of any variety* in a stable environment.

    The only word I have to describe these people, is c***s.

    * This isn’t to say that foster parents aren’t loving, but that environment certainly isn’t stable.

  • http://annainca.blogspot.com Anna

    Sure, he’s affable and friendly, but Huckabee is one scary individual with close ties to the Christian Dominionist movement.

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/joe_conason/2008/01/18/huckabee

    It’s frightening that someone like him could be elected President.

    As governor of Arkansas, Huckabee successfully championed laws that prevented gay people from becoming foster parents and banned gay adoptions. “Children are not puppies — this is not a time to see if we can experiment and find out how does this work”

    Gee, thanks, Mike. Thanks so much for comparing my brother and me to puppies and calling our family an “experiment.” Facts don’t seem to matter to these rabid anti-gay bigots, but the least they could do is drop the “social experiment” card. There’s over 35 years of research on children of lesbian and gay parents. How many more generations need to grow up before they start realizing that? There are adults in their 30s (like me) who were raised from birth in same-sex families. Perhaps they’ll never realize it, which would certainly fit their agenda. Their whole “think of the children” mantra only works when they pretend those children either don’t exist or are too young to speak for themselves.

    I never noticed it before but that is a classic example of a Nirvana fallacy (with some Appeal to Tradition on the side). Gay couples adopting isn’t the “perfect solution”, therefore we shouldn’t allow them to adopt. Obviously he is ignoring the fact that there aren’t enough heterosexual couples willing to adopt so then the choices are letting gay people adopt or having kids stuck in a crappy foster care system until the age of 18.

    Not to mention, it isn’t even true. Huckabee claims that same-sex parents aren’t the “ideal,” but he can’t point to evidence to support his assertion. All the longitudinal studies that have followed children from lesbian families from birth to adulthood have not shown any disadvantages whatsoever. On the contrary, they show some benefits. Anti-gay politicians can’t provide evidence of the so-called superiority of the heterosexual two-parent home, so they try to dodge the issue either by pretending the research doesn’t exist or muddying the waters by falsely claiming our experiences are equivalent to those experienced by children of single mothers or children of divorce.

  • SpencerDub

    Huckabee has some incredibly backwards views. Like someone upthread said, I don’t doubt that he’d be very kind and friendly to any gay and/or atheist person he met, but as an elected official, he’d fail to extend them the same basic level of respect.

    We don’t need people like him in office.

  • Dan W

    I remember taking the time to look up Huckabee’s political and social views back in 2008. He’s the sort who I’d never want to see in any elected office. His positions are so defined by his religious faith, and he wouldn’t be able to be impartial in his decisions. He’d make all his decision based on his faith, ignoring any evidence if it didn’t fit his religion-based views.

  • brent

    I just sent this email to my dad and sister:

    —-
    (going back to a post dinner heated conversation about 3 years ago)

    hang on. is it?

    When you stop and think about it, “Marriage” means different things to different people. The idea that a man (ie a male adult) and a woman (a female adult) make a vow at the start of their life to be married to only each other is a relatively inconsistent idea. You can’t even define the term what ‘marriage’ means in that sentence:

    * sexual fidelity? It’s the norm but not a definition. Plenty of people openly have sex outside of happy (and legally binding) marriages. For that matter, plenty of people have sex outside of unhappy marriages but stay married. Plenty of people also define fidelity to include abstinence from pornography – but porn wouldn’t be a bigger industry than Hollywood if the majority of marriages were defined that way. If sexual congress were a binding part of our definition of marriage then judges would award 0% of divorce proceedings to the party which elected to stop having sex.
    * common ownership of property? Well it works like that in my marriage. But not in Beth’s parents’.
    * Common surname? Decreasingly common.
    * Statement that you’re going to raise kids together? Childless marriages don’t get annulled or rendered socially invalid when people go past child-bearing age.
    * Statement that you were virgins when you made your vows? Ha. And aside from ‘ha’, I suggest that it would be more common for people to find out if they’re sexually compatible before finding out if they share the same taste in home decoration and holiday destinations.

    I think that ‘marriage’ has to be defined just as, well, quite disappointingly – people who want to be married get married and that’s what a marriage is.

    This is the paragraph that started me thinking:

    http://friendlyatheist.com/2010/06/21/mike-huckabees-faith/
    “Because no culture in the history of mankind has ever tried to redefine marriage.”

    But in the Old Testament polygamy was commonplace. The early Christians considered marriage an arrangement for those without the self-discipline to live in chastity, as Christ did. Marriage was not deemed a sacrament by the Church until the twelfth century. And, before 1967, marriage was defined in much of the United States as a relationship between a man and a woman of the same race.

    What’s the definition of marriage here? Who decides? How many of us agree to that definition. I think we’ll find that ‘marriage is between a man and a woman’, like many strongly conservative ideals, only stands up under very light scrutiny.

    How many people are there in a marriage? Muslims and Mormons limit that by a man’s income.

    Who decides which people can get married? That depends; are you a Romulet or a Capulet?

    Why do people get married? For love? Well that was why Romeo and Juliet married, but that kind of romantic wedding was one of the first in English literature. Historically it’s rather more common for a girl to marry the boy her father tells her to marry because the father literally owns the girl to start with (in many Muslim countries a father of a murdered unmarried girl can demand the dowry payment from the family of the murderer) – it’s even still the custom that the boy ask permission from the father (I didn’t, is that a problem?) and that the father gives the bride away (which has just caused an enormous controversy in, I think, Holland, because the princess who just married her personal trainer wanted to be given away by her father which is considered to be obviously a sexist and patrio-dominant symbol of the oppression of women.) When did the English stop paying dowries, by the way?

    Or do people get married to the people they’re assigned to – like Hindus? I hear that arranged marriages have a remarkably low divorce rate – although that could just be that a society made up of people so individually beholden to the beliefs of society as a whole to agree to marry a stranger in the first place are probably not independent enough to make other life choices.

    Is marriage literally a life sentence? Or is it temporary? If belief in the permanence of marriage were more widespread wouldn’t the divorce rate be closer to, say, 0% rather than, say, 50%?

    How old should you be when you’re married? Mohammed, one of the most truly holy men ever to have lived, married a 9 year old. Until recently it was very common to marry in the early teens. These days people panic about lost opportunities if they make a life commitment at 32. And personally I find most traditional ideas about marriage render invalid unions between a pair of 95 yr olds in a nursing home – or a person marrying their terminally ill partner on their deathbed. Are marriages between playboy bunnies and decrepit billionaires any less legally binding when it comes time to read the will?

    I saw a youtube clip the other day of a pair of Indians who were in hiding from their family because they had married within the same caste and were therefore to be executed. It’s common to hear stories out of Iran and Pakistan of women being murdered by their brothers and uncles in honor (honor!) killings because they married the wrong person. In my world you marry anyone you want. Except if you’re related, because there’s genetic factors involved so that’s immoral.

    Except that there was a bizarre story a few weeks ago of a UK couple finding out, after they’d married and had children and bought a house etc etc etc, that they were actually brother and sister – orphaned and sent to separate homes 300 miles apart. They didn’t break up, and nobody’s saying “Well you were never married in the first place, were you? Come on, give back the rings. Let’s see your certificate. You’re going to have to change back to your maiden name, love.” In fact, they’re still planning to have more kids.

    Even within Australia there isn’t even a common understanding of what a wedding actually is – what does the vow entail? Who delivers it? What is in the ceremony? What is not in the ceremony? Who gives permission for them to be married? Do the couple even ASK for permission to be married? Is God mentioned?

    The wedding tradition is like the Christmas tradition: you’re kidding yourself if you think that your idea of the true meaning of a wedding/Christmas is anything like anyone else’s.

    It’s a common atheist punchline to say to a Christian:”Given that there are so many religions in the world, and you have chosen just one God to believe in, that means you don’t believe in all the other hundreds. Statistically we are the same, I just believe in one fewer Gods than you do.”

    I think in the same way you could say to a person who believes that a legitimate marriage is:

    1. between one adult male one adult female
    2. entered into without coercion
    3. without regard to their
    1. race
    2. age (as long as they’re of voting age)
    3. caste
    4. religion
    4. for the remainder of their life unless they decide that it’s not
    5. for the purposes of having children together unless they don’t want to
    6. and to agree to sexual ownership of each other unless they decide not to…

    “Given than there have been over history, and are now across the world and throughout Australia, so many understandings of what a ‘marriage’ is, and you have chosen just one definition, that means you have rejected all the other definitions of ‘marriage’. A person who believes that gay marriages should be legally recognised has just rejected one less definition than you.”

  • Lisa

    Huckabee also wanted to federally ban smoking. He is big government republican like the worst of them, and a theocratic. No thanks. Like a previous commentor, i prefer to call him fuckabee.

  • muggle

    I just don’t get it. Yes, he’s softer-spoken than most of the Religious Reich but he’s really no more charming. Is that it? People just don’t listen because he’s not shouting? That’s in the you’ve got to be kidding me category.

    I have to agree with the others who say Huckabee is even scarier because he’s wily and knows how to comport himself public-wise and, therefore, actually convinces people he’s harmless.

    He is, in other words, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.