Marvin Olasky

Humorous Mike Huckabee has become the sum of all fears for many members of the GOP establishment. Some of the attacks arise out of plain old Christophobia, and Huckabee can't do much about that. But some come from concern that he's a Christian-only candidate: On these matters he can take lessons from Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry.

Adams failed as an 18th-century brewmaster but mastered the art of building coalitions without losing a biblical edge. Adams, sometimes called "the last Puritan," prayed every morning, read the Bible with his family every evening, and frequently emphasized the importance of "Endeavors to Promote the spiritual kingdom of Jesus Christ."

And yet, Adams in his political writings emphasized not Isaiah but the understanding that "security of right and property is the great end of government." He argued that "the religion and public liberty of a people are so intimately connected, that their interests are interwoven and cannot exist separately." He worked hard to convince Christians and anti-tax libertarians that they were fighting the same battle.

For example, Adams opposed the Stamp Act in 1765 not only because it imposed a tax but also because it mandated that church documents be on stamped paper sold only by government-selected distributors. He brought together opponents of taxation without representation and opponents of governmental interference with churches.

Patrick Henry acted similarly in Virginia. He became famous in 1763 for opposing a pay increase to corrupt, government-supported Anglican priests. He supported good Anglican reverends but opposed those like John Brunskill who perpetrated "monstrous immoralities." Henry criticized "rapacious harpies [who] snatch from the hearth of their honest parishioner his last hoe-cake."

Henry united financial and spiritual concerns by seeing the salary debate as both economic and moral. Later, he personally paid the fines that some Baptist ministers received for preaching without a license, and thus made new allies.

Christians like Adams and Henry allied with deists like Benjamin Franklin and libertarians like Thomas Jefferson who believed that the miracles of the Bible never happened. Agnostics or atheists like Richard Henry Lee and Ethan Allen, uncomfortable with sermons about original sin, relished allusions by Adams and Henry to the corrupting nature of power.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit
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