Peter Schramm of the Ashbrook Center, in his recent Ashbrook Update, recently wrote about the Huck phenomenon. That his appeal is not limited to folks who can’t abide Mormons or their faith, and that he is “too evangelical to be elected,” I have to agree.
For the record, I’m a Baptist; part of Mike Huckabee’s natural core constituency. Except for the small problem that I have with anyone who flogs my faith as a reason to vote for him. And that one Baptist distinctive has always been an aversion to mixing faith and politics. Even if quite a few prominent Baptists appear to ignore this potentially fatal mixing.
This said, for a Christian, it should be impossible to ever be too evangelical. All Christians are evangelical, or should be, if they believe in following Jesus’ command to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). And if they don’t believe in this simple command, I’d have to question whether they are truly Christian. Not speaking here of how one evangelizes; just in accepting that this is a requirement.
All well and good. But the purpose of preaching to Gospel is not to win worldly goods or elective office. It is to save souls. Mike Huckabee is running for president, not pastor. When he states that he is a Christian man, he is merely stating a fact, and it is good to have someone who isn’t shy about his faith. But when that becomes the virtual entirety of the campaign, as an American I’ve got to stop, and think.
The presidency is a secular office; it is not intended to exclude anyone. To run explicitly as a Christian candidate, as Gov. Huckabee appears to be doing, is to start out by excluding all who do not share his faith.
That is unacceptable, and has nothing to do with his policies on taxes, national security, or any of the other issues that must be dealt with. Would I prefer an atheist or Hindu or Jew or Muslim, or, even, heaven forfend, a Mormon? (darn; where’s that HTML coding for sarcasm?). Depends on their character and their records.
Given the beliefs of some, especially Muslims, I’d have to look long and hard to determine if their professed faith was incompatible with our First Amendment. For some Muslims, and Christians as well, their faith is not compatible: because some in both faiths believe it is their God-given mission to convert all others or die trying.
That, my friends, is simply un-American. So far, I don’t at all believe that Mike Huckabee is un-American. Just not a candidate for those who don’t share his brand of the Christian faith.