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.
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.
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.