Mike Huckabee on Pastoring: Missing the Forest for the Trees

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee addressed the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference in Houston recently.

The ex-pastor and ex-presidential candidate told his rapt clergy audience that the pastorate once was

… a wonderful, respected position, but not anymore.

He added that that’s because pastors across the country are besmirching their calling and their profession by engaging in extramarital sex, rape, serial rapechild molestation, sexual assault, kidnappingsexting children, stalkingfinancial fraud, passing bad checks, public lewdness, forcible sodomyhealthcare fraud, money laundering, burglary, drug possession, insurance fraud, incitement to murderattempted murder, criminal threatening, property destruction, indecent exposureembezzlement, wire fraud, selling meth, selling heroin, pedophiliaharassmentsecurities fraud, possession of child porn, animal cruelty, making false police reportsdomestic violence, incest, incitement to child abuse, bigamyworkman’s comp fraud, vehicular manslaughter, necrophilia, child abuse, and homicide.

Just kidding.

Huckabee said it’s because

…people have contempt for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

He’s right, I just wonder if maybe he’s pointing the finger at, you know, the wrong people.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • The Other Weirdo

    It may once have been a wonderful, respected position, when the clergy happened to be the most educated people around. Now, not so much. That, or all the weird crap the clergy get up to these days.

    • jdm8

      I think it’s because it gets harder to cover it up.

    • Spuddie

      Ehh, I think a lot of it was the PR the clergy put out themselves.

      There has always been a lot of criticism of clergy in media for being money hungry, hypocrites, pervy and whatnot. Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Scarlet Letter come to mind. In fact the “bad priest” is probably more common a depiction than the “saintly priest”.

  • Ders

    The requirement for becoming a member of the clergy is completing several years of book reports on a single book.

    • icecreamassassin

      I want to marry this comment and have its adopted babies.

      • allein

        That’s just so wrong! You…you…commentophile!

      • C.L. Honeycutt

        Jesus, keep it in your keyboard. ;-)

      • SeekerLancer

        Stop ramming your commentosexual agenda down our throats!

    • Tor

      A degree in theology is a degree in fairy tails,and equally useful.

      • C Peterson


        Actually, a degree in fairy tales (accompanied, I assume, by a rich knowledge of the same) strikes me as something interesting and potentially useful. Anthropologists learn a lot about cultures from their fairy tales. That includes religious fairy tales, of course, but if you restrict yourself to just those you’re only getting a tiny piece of the whole picture.

        An expert in fairy tales is orders of magnitude beyond an expert in the myths of any one religion.

        And most important, when you have a degree in fairy tales, you don’t actually believe that Little Red Riding Hood was a real person.

        • Tor

          Blame trying to type on a phone.

    • Stev84

      Not even that. These days anyone can call themselves “pastor” or “reverend” and it will immediately get them respect.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        It can even be true! The Internet sells ordinations. They’re rather cheap.

        • ShoeUnited

          Sells? I’ve been ordained by the Unitarian Church as a Minister since 1999. They were giving them away.

          • DavidMHart

            Check out the Dyscordians. They’ll make you a Pope whether you like it or not.

  • Compuholic

    … a wonderful, respected position, but not anymore.

    And why exactly is that a bad thing?

  • Jansen Waddell

    “Just kidding”

    At first I lol’d but then I was saddened.

  • Art_Vandelay

    …people have contempt for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    And yet I also cease to have respect for imams, rabbis, and even the Dalai frickin’ Lama.

    • islandbrewer

      Hey! Lamas are nice, except for the spitting. And they’re spelled with two “L”s: “llama.”

  • Rain

    “Jesus is talking about good food, biblical food,” Huckabee noted, lamenting that “we are living in a time of biblical ignorance.”

    Actually it’s easier nowadays to find the dumb stuff in the Bible because you can search it online. Also you can find all the dumb things pastors say. Sorry but it’s the complete opposite of ignorance. It’s knowledge. It must be “opposite day” again, lol.

    • baal

      If they don’t constantly repair the wall between their parallel reality and the material (only) one, real-reality breaks in and they wind up losing followers when that happens.

      • Rain

        No wonder he says he honestly doesn’t know if he’s a creationist, but he does say he’s not an evolutionist, and he does say he wants creationism in schools. Makes sense!

    • Tor

      Biblical ignorance it the traditional tool of pastors to keep their flocks under control.

    • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

      Mainly it’s that we don’t cover up for crimes and lapses of ethics on the party of members of the clergy like we used to in the past. Do you think the Boston Globe would have dared report on the RCC child rape scandal in the 1950s? We used to give ministers and priests carte blanche. That was wrong and we do that a lot less these days. Everyone should be held to the same standard.

  • jdm8

    Yep, blaming the wrong trees.

  • C Peterson

    Being a slave trader was once a wonderful, respected position.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    He’s right, I just wonder if maybe he’s pointing the finger at, you know, the wrong people.

    When you point your finger ’cause your plan fell through,

    you got three more fingers, pointing back at you.

    - Solid Rock, Dire Straits

    • Tor

      My childhood pastor taught us that – Probably the only truth he ever spoke.

  • Baby_Raptor

    I know there are decent Christians. There are several Christians on this planet that I respect, and would call a friend if we ever met outside the Slacktivist’s comment section.

    But the view that any given non-theist is likely to have of Christianity in the US is not that great. The Religious Right…Well, they’re kinda assholes. They hurt people, and they openly brag about doing so. And openly push to do so more.

    There’s nothing respectable about that. In fact, contempt is the perfect word for it. I guess Mr. Huckabee is butthurt that he can’t make people respect and obey him despite how we view him.

    Edited because my thought was half complete and jerk sounding.

  • Hat Stealer

    Fortunately, I don’t respect the pastorate because of all the stuff they do AND because I have contempt for the gospel of Cheesus Crust!

    • allein

      I could go for some pizza now…

  • WallofSleep

    “…people have contempt for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

    No, I have contempt for the people who would wield it like a cudgel or gavel. The gospel by itself means very little to me.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I don’t respect anyone just for being in the clergy. I have known a great many members of the clergy in my lifetime and they ranged from the kindest, most honorable people I’ve ever met to some of the most heinous excuses for humanity and just about everything in between. No one gets any points from me for being in the clergy any more than they would for being a CPA.

  • IDP

    They always do that. Church membership is declining? They don’t want to hear from people like who left the church give our reasons, no, it’s usually ideas only Christians could come up with like “people are afraid of our message!” “We have strayed from the Gospel!” Can you imagine if any other group operated like that? “People aren’t eating Big macs anymore! How can we bring them back to McDonald’s? Is it because the food is bad? Maybe we could ask people who started going to Burger King?” “No way! It’s because the Big Macs are TOO DELICIOUS for their deprived tongues!”