The Church of Huck: Growing Government in the Name of Religion
By: Selwyn Duke
There is a candidate in the presidential race who has a serious religion problem. No, itâ€™s not Mormon Mitt or recently-religious Rudy. It is Mike Huckabee.
Just for the record, I share Huckâ€™s faith in Jesus Christ. Not only have I no problem with religion in public life, I also understand that one canâ€™t really separate a personâ€™s world view from his politics. The political is merely a reflection of the spiritual; our politics doesnâ€™t emerge in a vacuum.
So what is my problem with Huck? Do I accuse him of false religiosity?
No, what scares me is that his beliefs are all too real.
To that enormous secular conservative voting block out there, I will say, be not afraid. Itâ€™s not that Huck would impose religion through government. No, his actions would truly offend you.
He would impose statism in the name of religion through government.
While Huck will say what you want to hear to win office, he will not hear what you want to say once there. He will make tone-deaf Bush seem like a maestro. How do I know this?
Belief can be a great thing, of course. Our Founding Fathersâ€™ unprecedented respect for liberty was born of their Christian belief that rights were bestowed by the divine king and not worldly ones. Mother Teresaâ€™s Christian beliefs inspired her to toil tirelessly to aid the destitute and dying in India. But whereas the founders kept charity out of government and Teresa kept government out of charity, Huck conflates the two in a disastrous mix of bad theology and bad political science. Perverting Christianityâ€™s message and violating 2000 years of its tradition, he believes it is his Christian mandate to do good works through government.
With, of course, your money.
Huck invokes faith to justify ambitions ranging from the insidious to the idiotic. For the former, look no further than immigration, where Huck espoused the Christian principle, â€œDo unto others as you would have others do unto you,â€ while advocating an apparent open-door policy. This, despite the fact that if any good Christian were to find himself in a country illegally, he would expect its citizens to demand he return home.
This illegal-enabling attitude was also apparent in a deal to establish a partially taxpayer-financed Mexican consulate office in Little Rock, a scheme involving the lease of building space to the Mexican government for $1 a year. Then there was Huckâ€™s support of driversâ€™ licenses, government benefits and in-state tuition rates for illegals and his opposition to a bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote.
What was the motivation for these outrages? While some critics assert that he created a â€œmagnetâ€ for illegals at the behest of business interests, for certain is that Huck invoked his Christian faith while attacking supporters of the proof-of-citizenship bill. He labeled the measure irresponsible, un-American, anti-life and un-Christian. This prompted one of the assailed legislators, Jim Holt, to say that â€œChristian charity does not include turning a blind eye to lawbreaking.â€
The problem, according to many, is that Huck doesnâ€™t agree. For instance, Daniel Larison at the American Conservative wrote,
â€œ. . . Huckabee regards it as his Christian duty to help subvert and liberalize U.S. immigration laws. Together [with Sam Brownback], they embrace the notion that fidelity to the Gospel requires privileging the interests of non-citizens over those of fellow citizens.â€
(Note: This is why immigration crusader Tom Tancredo just exited the presidential race and endorsed Romney; he knows Mexicali Mike must be stopped.)
Huck explicitly cited the same â€œChristian dutyâ€ when explaining a lenient attitude toward felons that would allow for twice as many pardons under his Arkansas administration as those of his last three predecessors combined. Among those pardoned was the notorious Wayne Dumond, a thug serving 25 years for raping a teenage high school cheerleader. But Dumond had no feeling of Christian duty. He then raped and murdered a woman named Carol Sue Shields.
As for that olâ€™ Huck sense of Christian duty, â€œThou shalt not bear false witnessâ€ seems no more a part of it than does the imperative to protect the innocent. He denied playing a role in Dumondâ€™s pardon, but this is contradicted by the very man who had to sign the criminalâ€™s parole papers, one Ermer Pondexter. Said he,
â€œI signed the [parole] papers because the governor wanted Dumond paroled.â€
This Clintonesque relationship with truth also evidenced itself in the YouTube debate when Huck was asked about his plan for college tuition benefits for illegals. Writing about this, columnist Jerome Corsi has â€œidentified five specific, easily documented misrepresentations of historical factsâ€ in Huckâ€™s answer to the question.
Yet there is another fact: In his quest to fill the schools, Huck hasnâ€™t forgotten citizens. No, not at all. Huck signed a bill in Arkansas making it more difficult to homeschool your children, perhaps at the behest of the left-wing National Education Association (whose endorsement he captured). The homeschooling families supporting him should take note.
But what will concern all families is Huckâ€™s philosophy on one of the biggest issues of our time, terrorism. He has some very definite ideas about thwarting it, and theyâ€™re probably a bit different from yours. Said Huck,
We must first destroy existing terrorist groups and then attack the underlying conditions that breed them: the lack of basic sanitation, health care, education, jobs, a free press, fair courts â€” which all translates into a lack of opportunity and hope. The United Statesâ€™ strategic interests as the worldâ€™s most powerful country coincide with its moral obligations as the richest.
Ah, true innovation: Giving social programs international scope. And, I wonder, does Huck know that Osama bin Laden is worth about $300 million? Iâ€™ll also note that there is no moral obligation to use other peopleâ€™s money for your government-run charities.
Then there are Huckâ€™s silly health-police measures. He says he would favor a national smoking ban (not the role of the federal government â€“ unconstitutional). Then, many of us have heard about how Huck shed more than 100 pounds after developing diabetes, a commendable achievement. But, not content with personal victory in the battle of the bulge, Huck took his crusade public, creating a program to test the body-fat index of every student in Arkansasâ€™ school system.
Is this Huckâ€™s conception of small government and proper use of tax money? Does a 10-year-old child oft-teased as a double-wide need that assessment affirmed through a taxpayer-funded program? Yes, Christy, just so you know, youâ€™re now officially, legally fat â€“ signed and stamped by the state.
Huckâ€™s puerile passions are understandable, but not excusable. He lost all that weight, and he said his wifeâ€™s 1975 battle with cancer left him â€œscared to deathâ€ of the disease. Thus, like gun-control nut Carolyn McCarthy â€“ elected to Congress after her husband and son were shot in the L.I.R.R. massacre â€“ he is a statist who feels compelled to impose his passions through government. But, Iâ€™m sorry, I donâ€™t find the nanny state more attractive because sheâ€™s dressed up like the church lady.
Protect our borders, Huck; I can protect my own lungs and arteries, thank you.
Perhaps whatâ€™s most offensive about the Huck, though, is his clear message that those opposed to his statist measures arenâ€™t good Christians. Yet I will cede that heâ€™s half right, in that we should pursue charity in ways that correspond with our gifts.
And I hear that the Ghatal Missionary Baptist Fellowship in India is looking for candidates.
As for candidates, Huck is the only one who would bring not just missionary zeal to the White House, but missionary intentions. This makes him especially dangerous because, to use a variation on a famous Blaise Pascal line, men never grow government so completely and cheerfully as when they do it with religious conviction.
This is why those who support Huck because he has religious conviction ought to wonder what those convictions actually are. Is it enough that he professes some version of Christianity? I will remind you that Jesus himself said,
â€œYou will know them by their fruits. . . . Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. . . .â€
Nor do simple pronouncements qualify one to enter the White House. Sure, Huck now speaks in a tongue palatable to his audience; heâ€™s Tom Tancredo on immigration, Torquemada on punishment and the ancient Chinese on border barriers. But you can believe the rhetoric or the reality. He hasnâ€™t changed his ways and in office would fulfill his statist promise, not his promises. How do I know?
Because he believes.
As a man of faith, I understand that when you believe your principles reflect Godâ€™s will, you wonâ€™t bend.
This is the greatest asset; that is, when you have the right principles.
As to this, itâ€™s just too bad the Church of Huck has nothing to say about lying to get elected
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