Mike Huckabee, Politics, and Christianity

One of the things I like about having my own blog is that I can get on my soapbox anytime I feel like it. Of course there is a chance that I will come to disagree with what I write sometime in the future (I always reserve the right to change my mind).

One of the big news stories this week is about four Washington state police officers that were murdered this past weekend. The murderer (I suppose I can call him a murderer since he is dead and there will never be a trial making it “official”) was Maurice Clemmons who had a long jail sentence at least partially commuted by then Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (this happened around ten years ago). While I will be up front and say that I have never trusted Mike Huckabee, I also want to say that this post is not really about former Governor Huckabee but about the divisions I am seeing between Christians because of this situation.

What has brought this to a head for me is an article I read today (link here) at the Ace of Spades website written by a Christian under the nom de plume of Russ from Winterset. Russ lives in Iowa and appears to be heavily involved in politics there. His article is a reaction to an article written by an influential Christian Republican in Iowa by the name of Steve Deace who used to be a friend of Russ’ (that’s already a bad sign). Deace has been a serious backer of Mike Huckabee and, as a Christian, made Huckabee into THE candidate for Christians to vote for in the 2008 presidential election. While Deace does manage to admit that Huckabee messed up he does it in a way that Russ objects to.

If you read the article you can see the divisions that this has exposed, and probably widened, between Christians in Iowa and probably elsewhere. Rather than jump in and take sides I want to state my belief that putting faith in a politician, and that means any politician, is a disaster for any Christian. I used to be critical of the Democratic Party (actually I still am) for what I believed to be their pandering to certain groups within the party and then, after an election, being rather carefree about following through on their promises. As time has gone on I began to realize that the Republican Party treats Christians in the same way. We are needed to get Republican politicians elected but after the election we are not taken seriously. I believe that the political calculus is that the Christians don’t have anywhere else to go so they need to sit down and shut up like good boys and girls.

Here are a few examples of political contempt or manipulation aimed at Christians:

  • Early on in President G.W. Bush’s first term I read an article by Dick Morris (who is widely acclaimed to be a political genius) that for the Republican Party to claim a permanent majority they would have to ditch their appeals to the Christians in the Republican base (this article has quotes).
  • Karl Rove, one of G.W. Bush’s closest advisors, had a meeting with the heads of several Christian organizations a few years back. Reportedly, after the meeting he openly mocked them (behind their backs of course).
  • I read an article during President Bush’s tenure that claimed that he made a point of reading the bible through every year (the link provided is not the original article that I read). Later I found out that he and the First Lady would hold an Iftaar Dinner (I believe this celebrates the end of Ramadan). I really don’t believe that someone who reads the bible through every other year, and takes it seriously, would do such a thing. I suspect that the article I read was carefully staged to manipulate people like me.

For Christians to become dependent on politicians will lead to an inverting of priorities that will sooner or later compromise our true priorities and nullify our witness to this lost and dying world. When dealing with politics it is a good idea to always keep this in mind:

5 Thus saith Jehovah: Cursed is the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from Jehovah.
Jeremiah 17:5

Christians keep your priorities straight!

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