Over the past few months I have made reference to Mr. Huckabee as being a man with whom I have fundamental differences, but whom I respect for a sense of integrity and his fair spirit when it comes to issues on immigration and poverty. I never ever would vote for the man or even give it a passing fancy- but I can admire people with whom I fundamentally differ as long as we can respectfully agree to disagree and if there is a mutual respect for the rule of law.
All those nice things that I said about Mike Huckabee- I take it all back.
This man is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is a dangerous man. Sure I knew that he was anti-choice and was against gay marriage- but he isn’t the only one and it seemed to me that he had the sort of spirit that although he fundamentally disagreed with these issues, he understood the distinction between religion and civil law. He seemed to say some of the right things to make me feel less concerned about his religious zealotry.
I thought that he said just the right thing in response to the Baptist canon that “A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband,” and “serve as his helper in managing the household and nurturing the next generation.” Many Southern Baptists understand that to mean that just men are meant to occupy certain leadership roles like church pastor. But in a debate last week in Myrtle Beach, S.C., Mr. Huckabee said the position required no subordination at all. It meant, he said, both husbands and wives “mutually showing their affection and submission as unto the Lord.” “Biblically,” he added, “marriage is a 100-100 deal. Each partner gives 100 percent of their devotion to the other.” Maybe he wasn’t a literalist when it came to the interpretation of the Bible like so many others of the Christian radical right. I guess I forgot that he raised his hand when Wolf Blitzer asked the Republican candidates in one of those CNN sham debates about Evolution and divulged he is one of those Creationists.
Of course what made me see Mr. Huckabee’s true colors was his comments about the Constitution. Speaking to a not-particularly religious crowd near Detroit on Monday, before the Michigan primary, he slipped into an argument to amend the Constitution to ban abortion and same-sex marriage, “so it’s in God’s standards, rather than try to change God’s standards.” SAY WHAT?
Does the smiling guy with the dimples who charms the pants off of people with his folksy charm and who has said all the right things to assuage the concerns that a Baptist preacher would be in the position to affect secular policy really have an nefarious Christian agenda? I guess so. It sounds to me eerily like Mr. Huckabee is interested in seeing the United States as a theocracy.
Sure these statements are Republican red meat and were about abortion rights and gay marriage. But his remarks are troubling on so many levels.
First- I don’t understand how any fair-minded “Christian” person, even if they fundamentally disagree with choice and gay marriage, could consider writing limitations to rights and liberties into our constitution. Amending our constitution to limit rights and liberties is antithetical to what we believe that document inherently protects.
Second is just the idea that secular law has to line up with someone’s definition of God’s law. Who is the arbiter of what Biblical laws should be the model for our Constitution.
Are we talking about the fundamental laws of the Bible- the Ten Commandments? If so, neither abortion nor gay marriage is relevant.
Remember those Commandments?
1: ‘You shall have no other gods before Me.
2: ‘You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
3: ‘You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
5: ‘Honor your father and your mother.
6: ‘You shall not murder.
7: ‘You shall not commit adultery.
8: ‘You shall not steal.
9: ‘You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.’
10: ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.
Well I guess we should take the rights away of our citizens who commit adultery? Well I guess that would take out most of the Christian right. They seem famous for their sleazy sex scandal. I guess we should take away the rights of children who do not honor their parents who beat and abuse them. I guess any Buddhist or Hindu or any person not from the Islamic-Judaic-Christian tradition (Never forget that these three religions are tied to one another and all can trace their beginnings to Abraham) would lose their rights. I also think that this country seems to conveniently forget the relationship between Islam, Judaism and Christianity.
Slavery is just fine in the Bible. A father has the right to sell his daughter into slavery. Exodus 21:7 states, “If a man sells his daughter as a female slave, she is not to go free as the male slaves do. Even Jefferson Davis hid behind the Bible when defending slavery for the Confederacy. “Slavery was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts,” said Jefferson Davis, President of the Confederate States of America. Leviticus 25:44-46 states that “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.”
Here’s a little gem from Deuteronomy 21-24: Then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house , and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house ; thus you shall purge the evil from among you. If a man is found lying with a married woman , then both of them shall die , the man who lay with the woman , and the woman ; thus you shall purge the evil from Israel . If there is a girl who is a virgin engaged to a man , and another man finds her in the city and lies with her, then you shall bring them both out to the gate of that city and you shall stone them to death ; the girl , because she did not cry out in the city , and the man , because he has violated his neighbor’s wife . Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
So in fact what Biblical laws are the ones that our Constitution need to reflect? As a gay man I have always found the Biblical arguments against homosexuality rather specious and very selective. If you truly believe that the Bible is God’s law and everything in it should be taken literally. Why are these other issues that are considered heinous- slavery and killing young girls who are not virgins- in contemporary society conveniently forgotten but the two or three references to homosexuality are hauled out of the morality chest when discussing gay issues?
Biblical interpretation- even among the most ardent literalist- is always conveniently weighted to their own specific prejudices and agendas. The Old Testament – the testament that defined most Biblical laws was written thousands of years ago for nomadic tribes living in the desert- not for the contemporary world.
So Mr. Huckabee’s desire to see the Constitution line up with God’s law is again one of those great hypocrisies that feed into hate and prejudice that conveniently extracts portions of the Bible as the final word on an issue. I had thought that Mr. Huckabee’s views were more those of Jesus- love, tolerance and charity and less about the draconian and millennially outdated laws of a nomadic people wandering through the desert.
Sadly I was wrong- Mr. Huckabee is just another one of those wolves in sheep’s clothing. More dangerous than Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell because he is so folksy and “appealing” in his “shucks I’m just a guy” sort of way that hides that evil prejudice and he can make many people, including myself, think that he was a Christian in the model of Jesus, not in the model of Falwell and Robertson. That is scary!