A Religious Double-Standard?

Matt Lewis
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Posted: Dec 07, 2007 11:00 AM
"A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus".
Whether you thought those comments were funny -- or blasphemous -- Kathy Griffin's remarks at the Creative Emmy Awards back in September touched off a firestorm of controversy. 

Of course, she was mocking award recipients who thank Jesus when they win an award.  (Those of us who find it ironic when gangster rappers, for example, thank Jesus for their People's Choice Awards, understood what Griffin was getting at.) 

Still, as Catholic league president Bill Griffin wrote: 
"It is a sure bet that if Griffin had said, 'Suck it, Muhammad,' there would have been a very different reaction."

Along those same lines, I'm noticing a disturbing trend emerging in politics.  While Mitt Romney's Mormonism is politically unassailable, Mike Huckabee is beginning to be portrayed as a "kook" -- for referencing his faith.

Specifically, some pundits disapprove of Huckabee's inference to a student that his surge in the polls was due to prayer

Many Evangelicals will view Huckabee's comments as an example of humility; he's not taking credit for his success, he's giving credit to the Almighty.  Of course, not everyone sees it this way.  Some speculate that Huckabee believes his success is "Divine providence."

Regardless, while it has been established that Mormons believe some things outside America's religious mainstream, it should also be noted that Evangelicals have  some beliefs many Americans might find too charismatic for their taste. 

For example, most Evangelicals believe the Almighty still performs miracles -- and intercedes in the affairs of men and women.  That belief is well within the mainstream of Evangelical thought, but it might strike others as unusual.  Huckabee's comments are representative of that theological belief.

Aside from that, from Lincoln's "House Divided" speech to Martin Luther King, Jr., there is a long tradition of of political leaders using Biblical references.  (I'm certainly not comparing Mike Huckabee to either of these leaders, but stylistically, Huckabee is of this same rhetorical tradition.) 

In any event, let's not have a double-standard.  If criticizing Romney's religion is off-the-table, then Huckabee's faith should also be off-the-table.

UpdateDwayne Horner has some thoughts on the subject.