Like many political conservatives – and, also, like more than a few political liberals — I have, in recent weeks, found much to like about Gov. Huckabee. (Full disclosure: I support Fred Thompson for the GOP nomination.) I liked it, that is, that he seemed (for a while, anyway) not to endorse base anti-immigrant rhetoric; that, as Governor, he was willing to commute the sentences of, and pardon, convicted criminals; and that, for a while, he avoided Giuliani-esque over-the-top statements about how tough he is willing to be on detainees, etc. (I have been bothered, though, by his cosy relationship with the teacher unions, among other things.) I even gave him some money.
This column, by Robert Novak, leaves me very troubled. Now, to be clear, it is not (for me) a reason to worry about Gov. Huckabee’s candidacy that some Southern Baptist leaders are not endorsing him. What does bother me, though, is (what seems to be) Gov. Huckabee’s close relationship with Steven Hotze, Rick Scarborough, and Vision America.
I’ve been pretty clear, I think, about my disdain for the tedious and ignorant “the theocrats are coming!” thing that is so popular in some circles. (See Ross Douthat’s take-down of the genre here.) But, as I see it, Hotze, Scarborough, and Vision America really do have troubling and misguided views about faith and the political order. We’re not talking Fr. Neuhaus’s critique of the naked public square here, or John Courtney Murray’s We Hold These Truths.
I am, of course, pro-life and fairly conservative. I agree entirely with those who insist that religious faith has a role to play in politics and policy. I don’t see “theocracy” looming behind efforts to, say, protect unborn children from partial-birth abortions. But, I do worry about Vision America (not that they could actually achieve their aims, but that they will become associated in the public mind with *my* aims).
Also troubling to me – and, I hope, to other Catholics — is the fact that Gov. Huckabee apparently has no difficulty appearing with, and preaching at the church of, Pastor John Hagee, a virulent and ignorant anti-Catholic polemecist who has, to put it mildly, not yet got the word about “Evangelicals and Catholics Together.”
So: tell me, Vox Nova readers who support Gov. Huckabee, if you think I’m overreacting here. Should I not worry about Huckabee’s relationship with the attendees at the event described in the Novak column? About his date with Hagee?