Thursday, January 10, 2008

Does Faith Disqualify Mike Huckabee from being President?

Floyd McKay is a contributor to the Seattle Times and a former journalism professor at Western Washington University. In Wednesday’s Times he wrote a compare and contrast piece on presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and former President Bill Clinton.

Both are from remarkably small Hope, Arkansas. Both rose from very humble circumstances. Both served as Governor of Arkansas. Both became respected leaders in their political parties. McKay grants that both are inspiring figures with exceptional life stories.

Then McKay offers the contrast. Clinton attended Georgetown University and then was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford. He went on to marry his brightest classmate at Yale Law School. Huckabee stayed in Arkansas and graduated from a small Baptist college 40 miles from Hope, married his high sweetheart, attended a Southern Baptist seminary in Texas and then became a preacher.

McKay opines that the White House is too large and too important of a stage with too much complexity for a preacher. Clinton was broadened by his education. Huckabee was limited by his education as is seen in Huckabee’s support for teaching creationism.

McKay quotes a NY Times blog that declares Huckabee is a hick who has “exploited Wal-Mart Republicans” for eight years.

McKay claims to like Huckabee and concludes that Huckabee’s faith-driven decency and compassion commend him to public service but not to the presidency.

McKay writes an interesting piece and I’ve referred to it in a few conversations over the last day. These conversations have immediately jumped into “faith fears” that if elected Huckabee would simply pray and ask God what to do and not consult or work with knowledgeable experts; he will impose his religion on the nation; he will ignore and/or violate laws and legislation that differ from his convictions; etc.

All of this initially strikes me as stereotypical but upon further reflection it occurs to me that if someone is not evangelical Christian and doesn’t live in that world then most of one’s information about evangelicals would come from the main stream media and perhaps some would come from personal experience.

In either case one’s opinion is likely to be unfairly shaped. Let me hasten to concede that there are some strange evangelicals who say and do strange things. But, there are large numbers of evangelicals who are the embodiment of life’s finest virtues and social characteristics.

Obviously the primary season is the time to investigate candidates, both in character and competency. In our “sound-bite” world it is too easy to dismiss or embrace caricatures. Let’s not “judge books by the cover”.

Is faith important? I would argue that it is. So are experience, intelligence, diplomacy and world view. I would also argue that faith alone should not disqualify Huckabee or any other candidate.


tzink said...

Hi, Scott,

This comment has nothing to do with your post. Instead, it has to do with your sermon today, January 13.

You quoted a passage today which I believe was erroneous. You were going through some characteristics of the devil and I believe you quoted Luke 13:10. I didn't bring it up at the time, but that passage has nothing to do with the devil.

I think you probably misquoted something.

Scott Brewer said...

Wow Terry, thanks for paying such close attention.

Yes, I was commenting about characteristics of the devil and referenced Luke 13:10-16 which describes Jesus healing a crippled woman whom He commented as having been bound by Satan for 18 years.

My point was that one characteristic of the devil is that he works destruction and ill will against people such as the crippled woman.

Hope that clarifies. Glad you were there.

tzink said...

Ah, thanks. On your Powerpoint slide, you only quoted a single verse, not the range.