The past two years perhaps no Republican politician in America has had more of an impact on the political landscape than former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
John McCain may have won the nomination, Mitt Romney may have the money, and Sarah Palin has the star power, but it’s the former Baptist minister with the funny sounding last name that has had the biggest impact for three reasons.
First, Huckabee proved during the 2008 Iowa Caucuses that sincerity and clear moral convictions trump money and organization in his huge upset of Romney. Second, his presidential campaign revealed to the Republican Party’s Christian Conservative base just how hated it is by the party establishment, and that Republican media bias against people of faith is just as ugly and prevalent as it is among the Democrats. Third, his political ascension also revealed just how cowardly and compromised many so-called “Christian leaders” are when it comes to their political activity.
The fallout of these three factors is immeasurable, and will continue to have far-reaching consequences long after people forget who Mike Huckabee was. Huckabee has also demonstrated that Christians don’t have to water down their core moral convictions to run for office, but can win with them provided they’re as sincere and winsome as they are serious.
As a result of his impact, Huckabee has inspired a whole new generation of Christians to get politically active, and has been rewarded with multi-media (Fox News & ABC Radio Networks) access to the voting public most politicians would give sensitive parts of their anatomy to have. Probably not coincidentally, he’s currently the leader in the Republican presidential polls for 2012.
However, just when it seems as if Huckabee’s star is about to go supernova, his entire ministry and future political ambitions are now at risk because of this story.
Predictably, the Republican establishment and its various media cronies who hate Christians more than the Democrats do have pounced on this story.
The exact same people who said nothing while Palin put a Planned Parenthood official on the state supreme court where she could kill babies from the bench with little difficulty, or still haven’t come clean about Romney’s far left record in Massachusetts, now suddenly can’t wait to expose Huckabee’s poor judgment and the tragedy that at least partially resulted from it.
But what’s also been unfortunately predictable has been the reaction of too many Christians to this series of unfortunate events. Too many of Huckabee’s most faithful following among the faithful seem too eager to excuse this if you read some of the comments over at HuckPac. And I’ve received more than a few emails from Christians who supported Ron Paul in the caucuses saying “I told you so.”
If only it were as simple as our tribalistic instincts.
Several stalwart Christians I respect love Paul, and have a lot of respect for him as well. I was proud to emcee a recent fundraiser for State Rep. Kent Sorenson in which he was the guest of honor. His stance for constitutional government, the sanctity of life, and against the welfare state is heroic.
However, he has on many occasions expressed a flat out dangerous naiveté regarding radical Islam, even going so far as saying 9-11 happened because of American imperialism in the Middle East. As a Christian, Paul should know better. Radical Islam has been at war with Christendom from the time its founder died fighting wars with Jews and Christians. While I don’t see the United States of America as the central hub for Christendom, our Islamic enemy does and that’s all that matters.
Paul also is soft on homosexuality, even going so far as to refuse to describe it as “sin” which the Bible clearly says it is. But don’t take my word for it, click this link and find out for yourself.
I’ve even had Christians supporting Paul question the sincerity of Huckabee’s faith and call him a liberal Baptist because he doesn’t share some of their doctrinal positions. Yet Paul was raised Lutheran, baptized his kids Episcopalian, and now attends a Southern Baptist Church. That’s quite the theological pea soup for those claiming theological purity, especially when you throw in the fact that one of Paul’s brothers is an ELCA pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s the same ELCA that back in August voted to affirm homosexual relationships and has been providing abortion coverage for its employees for years.
The point I am making here is that I’m not sure why Christians who supported Ron Paul are acting as if they’re political puritans and the Huckabee supporters sold out the faith, because there are some obvious beams in Paul’s eye they should deal with before addressing the speck of dust in their brother’s. If they want to criticize Huckabee that’s fair game, provided they’re willing to hold themselves and their champion to the same standard they hold the others.
On the other hand, as a vocal Huckabee supporter, it’s not as easy for me to just dismiss this as another case of media bias and the establishment having it in for my man. That’s not critical thinking. In fact, it’s the same kind of cult of personality Huckabee supporters often accused Romney supporters of when they kept believing him to be the second coming of Ronald Reagan despite his far left record.
As Christians, we don’t hold ourselves and each other to the standard of the world, and we are to aim higher than the lowest common cultural denominator. We don’t get to say because your guy did this and my guy did that it’s not as bad and I am better than you. That’s moral relativism and that isn’t Biblical.
As Christians we are called to live up to God’s standard, not the world’s, regardless of whether the rest of the world is going to hell in a hand basket. “Everybody is doing it, why can’t we” is the title to Cranberries album, not a verse in the Bible.
Therefore, this is the inconvenient truth we Huckabee supporters must confront: four families in Seattle will be celebrating the Christmas season with one fewer loved one because of the decision Huckabee made several years ago, and while he’s not solely to blame for this miscarriage of justice he is the one that set the wheels in motion.
So what is the proper Christian response to these grisly murders, and a national Christian leader’s role in it? Let’s start with what I think it’s not.
We should avoid at all costs the fleshy temptation to make this about Huckabee’s political future, pro or con. Let me be among the first to say I’ve already violated this suggestion, because my first inclination when I heard about this story was to gauge its political ramifications as well. Mea culpa.
We should also avoid the temptation to lecture our fellow Christian about his support for Huckabee, unless we decided to support nobody last election because nobody was good enough, because the simple fact of the matter is none of these candidates holds up 100% to the scrutiny of the Scriptures.
Those of us that supported Huckabee, beginning with myself, should probably stop projecting our hopes for revival or cultural renewal upon him and his political future since he’s just a man and not Jesus. We should probably admit to ourselves that we made him out to be more than he really was because we were scared for our country, our families, our political party, or all of the above. We should probably admit that we willingly chose to overlook or ignore certain things we didn’t want to be true or didn’t want to know because we saw in Huckabee a man with a heart for God, and we’re desperate for that kind of leadership nowadays. And then we should probably recognize that by doing so we actually hurt our brother’s chances of being the Godly leader we’ve been praying for and didn’t help him get there, because instead of ironing sharpening iron as we become Christ-like we became followers of a man. A Godly man, but a man nonetheless, and with being a man comes all the temptations and shortcomings every other man has to endure and overcome.
We should stop dismissing the importance of theology. The reality is that no matter which god a human being worships, every decision he makes is a theological one—it’s just a matter of who he thinks Theo is. For example, I believe Huckabee’s “prisoner problem” is the result of a well-intentioned but misguided theology that says there is some good in human nature, and because of that a human being – even a hardened criminal – can “choose” to be good if given the chance. Thus, a prisoner expresses remorse, maybe even “asks Jesus into his heart” while incarcerated, and we let him go because everyone deserves a second chance.
The problem is that Biblically that is not the role of the state, not to mention the fact it’s a theological error. The state exists to punish evil-doers, which the Seattle killer commuted by Huckabee clearly is, and not to redeem them. Frankly, that is the sort of thinking liberals base their flawed ideology on, and we have the welfare state, open borders, generation family dysfunction, and overcrowded prisons to thank for it.
It is THE CHURCH that is called to redeem, not the state, and it is the state that is called to administer justice, not THE CHURCH.
Therefore, as Arkansas governor Huckabee’s first job wasn’t to be a minister of the Gospel, but a minister of justice. It’s not the governor’s job to hand out second chances, that’s the pastor’s. It’s the governor’s job to make sure those that blew their first chance don’t have another chance to hurt more people and property before they’ve been adequately punished and are sufficiently repentant.
Huckabee blurred the ministerial lines here, and a tragedy happened because of it. His intentions were good, but so are the intentions of most liberals that engage in the same thinking with American taxpayer money. Besides, didn’t someone once point out the road to Hell is often paved with good intentions?
That then leads us to what we should do. For that I have one simple suggestion. Take Huckabee’s advice and make the Gospel the one and only priority we filter all other things through, including (and perhaps especially) our political involvement.
Instead of looking at Huckabee’s ordeal through the lens of salvaging a Godly man’s political ambitions, we should see it as an opportunity to show true humility, mercy, and justice to the unbelieving world.
Instead of thinking Huckabee or some other man is the next messianic political figure that will lead us out of the wilderness, we should start realizing we’re lacking those leaders because the real Messiah’s message isn’t being preached and taught in our pulpits.
Instead of spinning our mistakes, we should own up to them and make restitution to those offended before wondering how it will impact our own ambitions and desires.
Instead of first testing the positions of our Christian leaders, we should examine their hearts and test their convictions. It is the fear of the LORD that is beginning of wisdom, and if a Godly man has that reverential fear in him God can take care of where he’s at on the issues later.
A loyal listener to my show, who is also a big Huckabee supporter, expressed this paradigm shift as righteously as I ever could have. That’s why I’m closing today’s blog with her comments:
I have been trying to process all of this. First, let me say that my prayers are for the victims’ families and Huckabee is correct when it is a shame that it is turning into a political circus instead of letting the families grieve. I just hope that the people out there “celebrating” this (and you know there are a few of those) realize that they are doing it at the expense of four lives.
Huckabee is the one that set this tragedy into motion by commuting the shooter’s sentence. I know he used his best judgment with the facts at the time and never meant for this to happen, but the fact is that no matter how legitimate Huckabee’s decision might have been, the shooter would have still been in prison had it not been for him. This set in motion a multitude of failures in the system in two states. There was chance after chance to keep this man behind bars and they all failed. While Huckabee set it in motion there were many others equally to blame.
Because of all these failures on every level that contributed to the deaths, I think that Huckabee will be wounded but will not bleed to death except for the fact that it has happened twice—twice. He succeeded in getting past the Dumond case and I believe that one was even worse. I believe he raped and murdered a girl almost immediately after being released. You see, one time is a freakish thing to happen especially when it involves multiple screw ups for the deaths to happen, but it happened twice. I know without a doubt that Huckabee never wanted this to happen. I believe he carried through his decisions with the highest regard to all sides, but that doesn’t change the facts that are out there—twice.
His critics were waiting………..waiting for something to happen. Like I said, I hope they remember that there are four mourning families out there. I don’t have an answer for what this will all mean for Huckabee and his future in politics. God’s ways are not our ways. Although I believe most everything hinges on if Huckabee admits it was his action that set the whole thing in gear.
All I know is that our prayers should be with Huckabee that he will handle himself in a way that shows the world why we all support him. He is a good man who was a good Governor. Even if this event takes away his political future, I don’t want those things taken away from him. He has worked too hard and does not deserve to have what good he has done and still is doing to be stripped from him.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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