Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Huckabee's Questionable Question

Last night I posted about Huckabee's questioning Mormon beliefs:

Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?
I cautioned that we should wait to see the context in which Huckabee's question was asked.

The context is here:

On the road to Pella, Huckabee talked about the enthusiasm he now encounters everywhere he goes. For example, he said, his driver in California not only declined payment but also wrote the governor a $50 personal check right on the spot. It was, I thought, a dangerous anecdote to tell within earshot of a professional driver traveling along an icy highway at high speed, but Huckabee was feeling invulnerable, and the driver, I later realized, was already on the governor’s team. Huckabee normally starts his mornings by running 6 to 10 miles and reading a chapter from the Book of Proverbs. Today he was too pressed to do either, but he planned to catch up later. Anyway, he knew much of the day’s assignment, Chapter 3, by heart. ‘‘Trust in the Lord,’’ he quoted, ‘‘and lean not upon thine own understanding.’’ Not a bad motto for a campaign that is still too broke to do any independent polling.

Chapter 3 also contains the admonition to ‘‘keep sound wisdom and discretion.’’ Huckabee is, indeed, a discreet fellow, but he has no trouble making his feelings known. He mentioned how much he respected his fellow candidates John McCain and Rudolph W. Giuliani. The name of his principal rival in Iowa, Mitt Romney, went unmentioned. Romney, a Mormon, had promised that he would be addressing the subject of his religion a few days later. I asked Huckabee, who describes himself as the only Republican candidate with a degree in theology, if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion. ‘‘I think it’s a religion,’’ he said. ‘‘I really don’t know much about it.’’

I was about to jot down this piece of boilerplate when Huckabee surprised me with a question of his own: ‘‘Don’t Mormons,’’ he asked in an innocent voice, ‘‘believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?’’
Huckabee didn't walk into a fall into a clever political/religious trap. No, instead the Huckabee volunteered his questionable question, even after admitting that he's not well-versed in LDS theology.

Unfortunately, we can see from the context that Huck went and volunteered his thoughts on this point, even after admitting that he doesn't know what he is talking about when it comes to Mormonism.

When one doesn't know much about what one is talking about, they should remain quiet. The campaign for the Republican presidential nomination should be about ideas that can move the country forward. It should not be about inciting discord over one another's religious beliefs.

Huckabee has put out a statement concerning the article that originally caused me to post about the questionable question:
A report released tonight cites an upcoming article in the Sunday edition of The New York Times Magazine which quotes former Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee asking a question about the content of the Mormon faith. In fact, the full context of the exchange makes it clear that Governor Huckabee was illustrating his unwillingness to answer questions about Mormonism and to avoid addressing theological questions during this campaign.

“Governor Huckabee has said consistently that he believes this campaign should center on a discussion of the important issues confronting our nation,” said Senior Advisor, Dr. Charmaine Yoest, “and not focus on questions of religious belief. He wants to assure persons of all faith traditions of his firm commitment to religious tolerance and freedom of worship. Governor Huckabee believes that one of the great strengths of our nation lies in its diversity of thought, opinion and faith.”
Huckabee's That statement can not be squared with Huckabee's questionable question and the context in which is was asked.

Romney retorted to questions about Huckabee's questionable question by declaring that "attacking someone's religion is really going too far:"
"But I think attacking someone's religion is really going too far. It's just not the American way, and I think people will reject that," Romney told NBC's "Today" show.

Asked if he believed Huckabee was speaking in a coded language to evangelicals, Romney praised his rival as a "good man trying to do the best he can," but he added, "I don't believe that the people of this country are going to choose a person based on their faith and what church they go to."
Wasn't that the message Romney tried to deliver last week? Too bad Huckabee didn't listen.

1 comment:

C-Guy said...

Not sure what Huckabee is apologizing for--what he basically said was true. He could have also asked additional valid questions, such as:
Didn't the Mormon church bar Blacks from the priesthood until just 30 yrs ago?
Don't the Mormons believe that God use to be a human being, and the all Mormons can ascend to "Godhood?"
Don't Mormons believe in the Book of Mormon, which details the story of Jesus and Jews in ancient America, a story which is completely unsubstantiated by archaeology?

If Americans have concerns with Romney's religion, perhaps people should actually take a closer look at his religion to understand why.