Huckabee’s Challenge

Posted on June 7, 2007 In Blog

The Constitution of the United States is pretty clear on at least a few things, one being religious tests for public office. So long as you take the oath to defend the Constitution and protect the nation, then “… no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” End of story.

Mike Huckabee, the affable former governor of Arkansas (ok, the other affable former governor from Arkansas) isn’t in the top tier of GOP candidates. But he gets points for thoughtful, and candid, commentary. (He also gets points for humor; his “I’m from the small town of Hope. You may have heard of it. All I ask you is, give us one more chance” line gracefully straddled between political humor and ad hominem attack.)

Wolf Blitzer asked (we paraphrase here) whether Huckabee was a rational human being who believed in evolution or was he a radical, foaming at the mouth creationist.

Huckabee responded (in part with various ellipses for brevity): “It’s interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president. I’m not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. I’m asking for the opportunity to be president of the United States … To me it’s pretty simple, a person either believes that God created this process or believes that it was an accident and that it just happened all on its own… I believe there is a God who was active in the creation process. Now, how did he do it, and when did he do it, and how long did he take? I don’t honestly know, and I don’t think knowing that would make me a better or a worse president.” (You can catch the entire, unedited transcript here)

Huckabee is speaking to a feeling that sometimes the mainstream media is disdainful of real religious faith that conflicts in some way with the overwhelming, publicly accepted view. But Huckabee is refusing to stand down. Were he a top tier candidate, it could really get interesting because he’s being far more tolerant than past candidates who carried the banner for social conservatives (see his Newsweek interview on faith here) but the flip side of that tolerance combined with belief of his own is that he is demanding tolerance in return. It will be interesting to see whether he gets it.