The Church of Huck: Growing Government in the Name of Religion

Selwyn Duke
Issue CXXXVII - December 29, 2007
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There is a candidate in the presidential race who has a serious religion problem.  No, it’s not Mormon Mitt or recently-religious Rudy.  It is Mike Huckabee. 
Just for the record, I share Huck’s faith in Jesus Christ.  Not only have I no problem with religion in public life, I also understand that one can’t really separate a person’s world view from his politics.  The political is merely a reflection of the spiritual; our politics doesn’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.  It’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?
He believes. 
Belief can be a great thing, of course.  Our Founding Fathers’ unprecedented respect for liberty was born of their Christian belief that rights were bestowed by the divine king and not worldly ones.  Mother Teresa’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 Christianity’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 explicitly cited the same “Christian duty” 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 ol’ Huck sense of Christian duty, “Thou shalt not bear false witness” seems no more a part of it than does the imperative to protect the innocent.  He denied playing a role in Dumond’s pardon, but this is contradicted by the very man who had to sign the criminal’s parole papers, one Ermer Pondexter. Said he,
“I signed the [parole] papers because the governor wanted Dumond paroled.”
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 “identified five specific, easily documented misrepresentations of historical facts” in Huck’s answer to the question.
Yet there is another fact: In his quest to fill the schools, Huck hasn’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 Huck’s philosophy on one of the biggest issues of our time, terrorism.  He has some very definite ideas about thwarting it, and they’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 — which all translates into a lack of opportunity and hope. The United States’ strategic interests as the world’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?  I’ll also note that there is no moral obligation to use other people’s money for your government-run charities.
Then there are Huck’s silly health-police measures.  He says he would favor a national smoking ban (not the role of the federal government – 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 the Arkansas school system. 
Is this Huck’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, you’re now officially, legally fat – signed and stamped by the state.  
Huck’s puerile passions are understandable, but not excusable.  He lost all that weight, and he said his wife’s 1975 battle with cancer left him “scared to death” of the disease.  Thus, like gun-control nut Carolyn McCarthy – elected to Congress after her husband and son were shot in the L.I.R.R. massacre – he is a statist who feels compelled to impose his passions through government.  But, I’m sorry, I don’t find the nanny state more attractive because she’s dressed up like the church lady. 
Protect our borders, Huck; I can protect my own lungs and arteries, thank you.
Perhaps what’s most offensive about the Huck, though, is his clear message that those opposed to his statist measures aren’t good Christians.  Yet I will cede that he’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,
“You will know them by their fruits. . . .  Not everyone that says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. . . .”
Nor do simple pronouncements qualify one to enter the White House.  Sure, Huck now speaks in a tongue palatable to his audience; he’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 hasn’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 God’s will, you won’t bend.
This is the greatest asset; that is, when you have the right principles.
As to this, it’s just too bad the Church of Huck has nothing to say about lying to get elected.

Selwyn Duke lives in Westchester County, New York. He is a tennis professional, internet entrepreneur, and writer, whose works have appeared on various sites on the Internet, including Intellectual Conservative and Mensnet. A large number of his works can be found at his site, Mr. Duke can be contacted at 

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