Huckabee has repeatedly invoked the name of Christ; has fired-off innuendo’s criticizing the theology of other candidates (primarily Romney’s theology); has dismissed any criticism of his behavior as “political correctness;” and has generally sought to present himself as the “most Christian” of the candidates. Yet the same “leaders” who are so afraid that Romney might “mix politics and religion” can’t even bring themselves to question Huckabee’s behavior as he forces theological arguments into the political debate.
Additionally, the reaction (or “non-reaction” as the case may be) to the Huckabee campaign from the religious social conservative movement affirms the worst suspicions of the critics. Rather than being a movement that proposes policies that are good for ALL Americans and then seeks to build consensus around those policies, the movement now appears to be fraught with a “double standard,” just as it also appears to support only candidates that profess the “right” theology - - policies and job qualifications not withstanding.
After reading this, many people will email me Bible verses, and tell me that I don’t get it, and tell me that Mormonism is more evil that I realize, and remind me that we want a “godly man” in the White House. And this illustrates my precise point: there is a time and a place for theological arguments, and this isn’t it. I’m writing here about politics, and advancing political ideals. This is what presidential campaigns are about, as well.
While one’s faith can, and should inform their politics, personal faith and personal politics are not the same thing. But it appears that now, in the year 2007, many Republicans view faith and politics as being very much the same thing. This dangerous mindset precludes the possibility of building consensus with anybody who doesn’t happen to go to the “right” church.
So what happened to the Republican “big tent” concept? And how did we arrive at a point where a candidate’s governing philosophies can be so easily ignored, simply because he has been to Bible college and professes the name of Jesus?
The current success of the Huckabee campaign spells trouble for both the Republican Party, AND the religious conservative movement. It is now my hope that there are other conservative Americans who are as disgusted with these conditions as I am, and are ready to bring about change.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.