Romney, Huckabee, and Religion

Much discussion has swirled recently about the role of religion in politics, particularly in the race for the Republican nomination. Of course the main focus has been on Romney and his Mormonism, but what of the religious beliefs of Huckabee? In 1998 he was party to this:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A full-page ad in USA Today Aug. 26 voiced the affirmation of 131 evangelicals to the Southern Baptist Convention that “you are right!” in holding forth the Bible’s teachings on marriage.
“At a time when divorce is destroying the fabric of our society, you have taken a bold stand for the biblical principles of marriage and family life. We thank you for your courage,” the ad stated. The ad also appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of WORLD, an evangelical magazine based in Asheville, N.C.

[…]

The SBC article describes marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime.” It also notes, “The husband and wife are of equal worth before God, since both are created in God’s image. … A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. … A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.

(emphasis mine)

How does such a religious belief, specifically as it relates to women, compare to the beliefs of Mormons? Huckabee is a Southern Baptist who believes in Creationism, has declared homosexuality sinful, and made some controversial statements about AIDS patients in the past.

Also, mention has been made of how his foreign policy thinking is informed by his religious beliefs:

This is the kernel of Huckabee’s foreign policy. He wants to anthropomorphize (sic) international relations and bring a Christian commitment to the Golden Rule to our affairs with other nations. As he told the Des Moines Register the other day, “You treat others the way you’d like to be treated. That’s to me the fundamental issue that has to be re-established in our dealings with other countries.”

I’m bringing all this up mainly to illustrate that a candidates religious beliefs have an impact on how he or she can be expected to govern. Plenty of people are put off enough by Huckabee’s beliefs that they’d refrain from voting for him.

Compare this to the reasons often given for not voting for Mitt Romney, based on his religious beliefs:

1)It’s a cult, 2) “Don’t Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?”, 3)Mormons are not Christians.

In my post from the other day about how I was offended because Romney felt obliged to give a speech to reassure people that his Mormonism shouldn’t be a disqualifier, an interesting comment thread developed around my assertion that it’s silly for voters to write Romney off simply because he’s Mormon. It was suggested I’m arguing that his religion doesn’t matter, or that a candidates religious beliefs in general shouldn’t be part of the calculus in deciding for whom to vote.

Well, I have big problems with Mike Huckabee’s religious beliefs and how they have and presumably will inform his policies in office. Naturally, if anyone else voiced the same objections to Huckabee based on his religious beliefs I wouldn’t disagree.

While I understand Mitt Romney shares many opinions with Huckabee and Southern Baptists in general (some would say belatedly and conveniently), these aren’t derived uniquely from him Mormonism. To the extent Romney holds the same beliefs Huckabee does on the various issues outlined above, I disagree with him as well, but that’s an entirely different argument from that made by those opposed to Romney simply because his religion is different.

In my view, to argue effectively that Romney’s religion should disqualify him from the office of President, one would have to explain how his beliefs would impact his policies and decisions from a Mormon point of view that’s unique in comparison with other religious traditions.

So far the only reasons I’ve seen given are those I’ve listed above. Given that, I’ll state once again that it’s silly and, in my opinion, un-American to write Romney off simply because he’s a Mormon. I don’t think this is a relativistic point of view, and I don’t believe what I’m arguing is that religion shouldn’t matter, because it obviously does matter.

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Embarrassing

This is a satire skit from the now defunct Australian outfit called CNNNN, but the people in the video are real Americans. I don’t know what to say. Just watch. Did you know Fidel Castro is a singer?

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National Review Endorses Romney

There’s dispute about how much influence NR really has these days with the Republican base, but I think this is an important endorsement. Key paragraphs:

Uniting the conservative coalition is not enough to win a presidential election, but it is a prerequisite for building on that coalition. Rudolph Giuliani did extraordinary work as mayor of New York and was inspirational on 9/11. But he and Mike Huckabee would pull apart the coalition from opposite ends: Giuliani alienating the social conservatives, and Huckabee the economic (and foreign-policy) conservatives. A Republican party that abandoned either limited government or moral standards would be much diminished in the service it could give the country.

Two other major candidates would be able to keep the coalition together, but have drawbacks of their own. John McCain is not as conservative as Romney. He sponsored and still champions a campaign-finance law that impinged on fundamental rights of political speech; he voted against the Bush tax cuts; he supported this year’s amnesty bill, although he now says he understands the need to control the border before doing anything else.

Despite all that and more, he is a hero with a record that is far more good than bad. He has been a strong and farsighted supporter of the Iraq War, and, in a trying political season for him, he has preserved and even enhanced his reputation for dignity and seriousness. There would be worse nominees for the GOP (see above). But McCain ran an ineffectual campaign for most of the year and is still paying for it.

Fred Thompson is as conservative as Romney, and has distinguished himself with serious proposals on Social Security, immigration, and defense. But Thompson has never run any large enterprise — and he has not run his campaign well, either. Conservatives were excited this spring to hear that he might enter the race, but have been disappointed by the reality. He has been fading in crucial early states. He has not yet passed the threshold test of establishing for voters that he truly wants to be president.

[…]

For some people, Romney’s Mormonism is still a barrier. But we are not electing a pastor. The notion that he will somehow be controlled by Salt Lake City or engaged in evangelism for his church is outlandish. He deserves to be judged on his considerable merits as a potential president. As he argued in his College Station speech, his faith informs his values, which he has demonstrated in both the private and public sectors. In none of these cases have any specific doctrines of his church affected the quality of his leadership. Romney is an exemplary family man and a patriot whose character matches the high office to which he aspires.

(emphasis mine)

I’m glad they confronted the anti-Mormon stuff head on. I still think Giuliani is the best bet, but Romney is more acceptable to me than either Huckabee or McCain.

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Romney’s Mormonism Is Only A Problem For Other People

Via Allahpundit: Polls: 80% say they’d vote for a Mormon — but only 45% say most people they know would

In other words, bias against Mormons is real — but it’s nowhere near as prevalent as people think it is. Just look at the spread as of June, before the sharp uptick in the Times poll. It’s an almost 50-point swing between people’s willingness to vote for a Mormon and their confidence in whether others are similarly willing. Any other explanation here besides the media blowing the Mormon issue out of all proportion?

I put in my two cents on the supposed controversy surrounding Romney’s religion a few days ago. I was offended that he felt the need to reassure people that’s it’s okay to vote for a Mormon, although I later heard that part of his speech was dedicated to assuring religious voters that he disdains atheists and secularists as much as they do, which I thought was counterproductive. Speaking of atheists – according to the polling Allah highlights most people wouldn’t vote for one. Oh, well. As for the media’s role in hyping Romney’s religion, may I suggest it’s the beginning of an availability cascade?

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Moonbat “Scandals” Keep Unravelling

Don Surber has an excellent roundup of the moonbat scandals that seemed so promising over the weekend, but now seem to be imploding:

This scandal got off to a good start.

On Saturday, the New York Times reported: “C.I.A. Was Urged to Keep Interrogation Videotapes.”

ABC News: “Harriet Miers Knew of Destruction of Interrogation Tapes.”

But by Sunday, the story began to unravel. Hold the pitchforks and torches, everyone.

Washington Post: “Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002: In Meetings, Spy Panels’ Chiefs Did Not Protest, Officials Say.”

On Monday, more bad news. The NYT: “C.I.A. Official in Inquiry Called a ‘Hero’.”

By Silvestre Reyes, the Democratic chairman of (dramatic pause) the House Intelligence Committee.

And finally, today, NYT threw in the towel: “Destruction of C.I.A. Tapes Cleared by Lawyers.”

Come on. There is no scandal. Again.

Follow the links to see how this has played out. I noted the other day that the Democrats are being hypocritical about the issue of waterboarding, but running in tandem with that story has been the destruction of those tapes. In my opinion no matter who knew what when, if those tapes had been requested in legal proceedings after being in a vault for a couple of years and were then gotten rid of, it looks like some obstruction of justice going on. However, the moonbats won’t be satisfied with that. They want it to be framed as the Bush Junta orchestrating the whole thing. As Steve Benen at Crooks and Liars says: Torture-tape Story Doesn’t Add Up. Well, of course it doesn’t add up for you, Steve. It’s not the scandal you hoped for.

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Max Mayfield: Bush Didn’t Silence Me

We knew Henry Waxman was going to be in the business of creating scandals and conspiracies to investigate when the Democrats took over congress last year. Yesterday his office released an ominous sounding report about how the Bush administration has allegedly been silencing and censoring information about catastrophic climate change.

Today Max Mayfield, the former director of the National Hurricane Center, had to go on the record that he wasn’t pressured to change his testimony about the role of global warming in the frequency and strength of hurricanes.

“I can truthfully say that no one told me at any time what to say in regard to possible impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones,” said Max Mayfield in an e-mail to ABC News.

Mayfield was responding to questions about a section in a new report titled “Political Interference With Climate Change Science Under the Bush Administration” — the end result of a 16-month investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The committee is chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

The report notes that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mayfield was due to testify at a Sept. 2005 hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee on disaster prevention. The connection between global warming and stronger hurricanes had been getting renewed attention after new scientific studies released over the previous summer.

The Waxman report details an e-mail from Tom Jones, a staffer for Alaska’s Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, that he wrote to Noel Turner, an employee in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in the days leading up to the hearings. Jones apparently wanted Mayfield to say that global warming was not making hurricanes stronger.

“We’re going to work on smacking the [expletive] out of this issue,” Jones wrote. “I’d love to have an answer from him that doesn’t contain any long words or flavor of equivocation. Something like, ‘mr chairman, the individuals who are implying that Katrina has something to do with global warming are just plain wrong. They don’t understand the science and they’re shamelessly trying to make political hay out of a national tragedy.'”

Turner then e-mailed a colleague at NOAA about Jones’ request.

“If we can get something close and quotable, that would probably be good,” Jones wrote. “I think the number one priority with this hearing is making FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] look bad. Number two could be killing the climate change and hurricanes issue.”

The Waxman report claims that “this political motivation seems to have impacted NOAA testimony and talking points” because Mayfield’s written testimony included a statement similar to what Jones had asked for.

For example, Mayfield’s written testimony read in part: “the increased activity since 1995 is due to natural fluctuations/cycles of hurricane activity driven by the Atlantic Ocean itself along with the atmosphere above it and not enhanced substantially by global warming.”

Mayfield, however, denies that anyone told him to alter his testimony as the Waxman report suggests.

“I want the record to show that no one forced me to say anything on the subject of climate change and tropical cyclones that I didn’t believe at the time,” Mayfield told ABC News.

[…]

As Bryan at Hot Air points out, this committee didn’t even bother asking Mayfield about what happened. Waxman and his bunch just ran with the conspiratorial thinking because it plays into the moonbat preconceived notions.

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Democrats Heart Huckabee

Me on December 5th:

He’s (Huckabee) been getting a lot of attention in the media lately. My inner cynic leads me to believe that maybe they’re pushing him because they know he’s an easier mark for the Democratic nominee.

Drudge Report today:

Democrat party officials are avoiding any and all criticism of Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee, insiders reveal.

The Democratic National Committee has told staffers to hold all fire, until he secures the party’s nomination.

The directive has come down from the highest levels within the party, according to a top source.

Within the DNC, Huckabee is known as the “glass jaw — and they’re just waiting to break it.”

In the last three weeks since Huckabee’s surge kicked in, the DNC hasn’t released a single press release criticizing his rising candidacy.

The last DNC press release critical of Huckabee appeared back on March 2nd.

Add to that this story from CNN today:

WASHINGTON (CNN) — While presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee is surging in new polls of GOP candidates, a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released Tuesday shows he would lose to all three leading Democratic candidates by double digits in hypothetical contests.

In head-to-head matchups — the first to include Huckabee — the former Arkansas governor loses to Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York by 10 percentage points (54 percent to 44 percent), to Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois by 15 points (55 percent to 40 percent) and to former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina by 25 points (60 percent to 35 percent).

The poll comes on the heels of a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Monday that showed Huckabee doubled his support nationally among likely Republican voters in the last month and is in a statistical dead heat with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Okay, so it wasn’t really that difficult to see what’s going on. We’ll see how this plays out in the media over the coming weeks.

Update: I should note that via Politico the DNC is denying Drudge got his information from them. Allahpundit at Hot Air isn’t all that convinced that Drudge is on the right track either:

I’m skeptical. Granted, he often appears not to know what he’s talking about, and the claim from Drudge’s source that the past week’s fiascos “ain’t even scratching the surface of what we’ve got on him” is all too credible, but he’s got a lock on the south in the general and chumps like me are bound to hold our noses and vote for him, especially if he’s matched up with Hillary.

[…]

Or maybe I’m wrong. Could be; read this. Exit question: When exactly did Drudge become to the anti-Huckabee camp what Hugh Hewitt is to the pro-Romney camp?

Me: It doesn’t matter if Huckabee does well in southern states. I mean, haven’t the Democrats written them off anyway? Huckabee is a dream for the Democrats because he’s got all baggage (Horton moments) as well as his comments about AIDS and homosexuals to use against him in the general election. I agree with Allah that if Huckabee is nominated by the GOP he’d be better than Hillary and I’d hold my nose and vote for him, but I believe Giuliani is the best hope for picking off purplish states.

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