Friday, January 9, 2009

Mike Huckabee Extends Olive Branch To Latter-Day Saints On KSL's Doug Wright Show, Now Says He "Loves Mormons"; But Many Mormons Are Still Skeptical

Former Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who was critical of Mormonism and Mitt Romney during the campaign, took a tentative step towards mending fences with the Latter-day Saint community on January 9th, 2008 when he appeared on the Doug Wright Show aired by KSL radio in Salt Lake City. Media story by the Deseret News.

During the 12-minute radio program, Huckabee says he loves Mormons and believes they make the most effective public servants in America. "Utah doesn't need to think there is a problem with me," said Huckabee.

Huckabee was strongly criticized in Utah and elsewhere for critical comments previously made about fellow former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is also LDS. In the process, he also criticized some of the church's religious beliefs and created the impression that he believed a Mormon shouldn't be President of the United States.

During the interview, set up with several major radio stations across the nation, Wright asked Huckabee, a born-again Christian and former governor of Arkansas, about his comments concerning Romney. Huckabee admitted that he saw a different Romney than the man he knew as a fellow GOP governor. He claimed that during the Presidential primary campaign Romney was not the Mitt he knew. He also claimed that the other Republican candidates also noted that Romney acted differently on the campaign trail than when he was governor or otherwise out of an intra-party race. But Huckabee conceded that perhaps Romney's attitude and atmosphere around him may have been caused by people who gave him very bad advice.

Huckabee still believes he never said anything unkind about Mormons. He reminded Doug Wright that when "11 words were completely misconstrued" when spoken about the LDS religion in a long New York Times profile of him, he immediately apologized publicly to Romney and church members in general. Romney accepted the apology. Furthermore, he said he advocates no religious test in running for office, and defends Mormons running for office. In particular, he singled out Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr. as being of Presidential timber.

Huckabee also said that when he saw the backlash against the LDS Church following the bitter Proposition 8 race in California last November, he was one of the first to commend the church for standing up for its beliefs, although as recently as August 2008, he criticized Romney along with Arnold Schwarzenegger for allowing gay marriage to go forward in their respective states. Huckabee said he would have refused to implement it if he had been in their position.

Reaction: As of this post, 140 comments have been posted to the Deseret News story. Many are quite critical; even some Mormons want nothing to do with Huckabee. Most of the critics think Huckabee is merely being opportunistic, and hold him responsible for creating a religious divide within the Christian community which allowed proponents of gay marriage to make so much progress in misleading the American people.

But should we really turn our backs on Huckabee? The successful Proposition 8 campaign resulted in tentative ties being knit between the LDS and Evangelical communities. If we slam the door on Huckabee now, we risk rupturing those new ties. At the very least, we should take Huckabee at his word for now, and afford him the opportunity to demonstrate that his desire to reconciliate with Mormons is genuine. We call ourselves a church of Jesus Christ; isn't that what He would do?

Consequently, I appreciate Mike Huckabee's change of heart, and while I don't expect him to become a Mormon, it would be useful if, after prayerful consideration, he would decide that Mormonism is not a cult and that it is Christian, and give public statements affirming that opinion. He can still express doctrinal disagreements; just don't demonize the entire denomination.


Bot said...

Mike Huckabee was regarded by fellow Republican governors as a compulsive tax increaser and spender. He increased the Arkansas tax burden by 47 percent, boosting the levies on gasoline and cigarettes. The Arkansas editorialized that Mike Huckabee raised more taxes in 10 years in office than Bill Clinton did in his 12 years.

The National Education Association endorses any candidate who raises taxes and opposes school choice – thus they endorse Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee “broadly repudiates core Republican policies such as free trade, low taxes, the essential legitimacy of America’s corporate entities and the market system allocating wealth and opportunity,” according to George Will.

The Arkansas Ethics Commission held proceedings 20 times on the former governor. During his tenure, Huckabee accepted 314 gifts valued overall at more than $150,000, according to documents filed with the Arkansas secretary of state's office. (He accepted 187 gifts in his first three years as governor but was not required to report their value.)

Two months after taking office, Huckabee stunned the state by saying he questioned rapist Wayne DuMond's guilt and that it was his intention to free the rapist, DuMond murdered a women in Illinois after Huckabee set him free

Huckabee battled conservatives within his own party who were pushing for stricter state-level immigration measures, such as:.
- proof of legal status when applying for state services that aren’t federally mandated
- proof of citizenship when registering to vote
- Huckabee failed in his effort to make children of illegal immigrants eligible for state-funded scholarships and in-state tuition to Arkansas colleges.

He joined the Democratic chorus in indicting President Bush for his "arrogant bunker mentality." Is he in the right party?

Huck’s use of the “Christian Leader” title and the Cross in his ads and his attempt to denigrate Mitt Romney’s religion is a thinly-veiled attempt to impose a religious test in violation of Article Six of the Constitution

The Huckster was the keynote speaker at an anti-Mormon conference in Salt Lake City. And he knows nothing about Mormons? And the "Christian Leader" doesn't want to release his sermons?

He led the Arkansas Baptists liberal congregations in a dispute with the conservative Southern Baptist Conference.

The Jack Mormon said...

Bot - thanks for reminding us of Huckabee's political limitations. His politics were the primary reason why I could not support Huckabee; he openly pandered to La Raza, which gives signs of being a Latino supremacist group.

His anti-Mormonism was merely the icing on the cake. But if Huckabee wants to mend fences with us and work with us on social issues, I think he deserves the opportunity to prove he has modified his views on Mormons. Besides, it will be easier for us to get forgiven our sins if we will be quicker to forgive others' sins.