Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Reverse Religious Test

It seems to me that a lot of Republican voters I converse with via blogs, email, and even in person are still unsure who they will vote for as the Republican nominee for the presidency. I can certainly understand this because the "field," quite frankly, does not have a clear, Christian Conservative choice. Each candidate has some "liberal-leaning baggage" to overcome.

As I've said before on this blog, there is no such thing as a "perfect" candidate. People are human, have their flaws, have their weak points on issues, and have past mistakes/comments to overcome.

When it comes down to making the right choice, people will need to pray, examine the morals and values of each candidate, clearly understand their positions regarding the war on terrorism and how they intend to defend our country from any and all enemies. Another big issue they need to deal with is the illegal immigration problem. After praying and evaluating all of this in our own minds, we then will each pull the lever in the voting both for the candidate that each of us believe will best lead our country over the next four years.

I wanted to share an email that I received from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. I thought that his points regarding the smearing of Mike Huckabee (especially now that he's in first place in many of the polls) were quite relevant and newsworthy for all to read and consider when evaluating an individual's worthiness to become president of the United States.



A Reverse Religious Test

Over the weekend I had flashbacks of the brutal judicial confirmation hearings that took place between 2003 and 2005 where certain nominees like William Pryor, Janice Rogers Brown, Charles Pickering, and others were filibustered by the Democratic minority because of what Sen. Charles Schumer called their "deeply held personal beliefs." Those "beliefs" were the religious convictions that led them in part to hold a position that abortion was wrong. There was a reverse religious litmus test applied. A subtle message was being sent that a person had to choose between an active, life-impacting faith and public service. It was wrong then and it is wrong now as it is being applied to Mike Huckabee. Let me preface what I am about to say by first recalling what I wrote last week (Dec. 3, 2007) explaining why I had not endorsed a presidential candidate and at present have no plans to do so. I remain undecided and what I say below does not imply a change in those plans; however, I feel compelled to rise to the defense of Mike Huckabee.

The media had been toying with and even promoting Mike Huckabee, thinking he would go nowhere; however, after FRC Action's Values Voter Summit he began a steady rise in the polls. In my opinion it was not because he finished a close second in the straw poll to Mitt Romney, but because he came out for the first time at our event, co-hosted by Focus on the Family Action and others and spoke unabashedly and unequivocally conservative on all the core social issues. He began to compete for territory that had been ceded to Gov. Romney. That message has resonated and he has not only climbed to first place in Iowa, but nationally he is second only to Rudy Giuliani in the most current polls. There is apparently fear now among the elites that his rise could be real and not a creation of the media.

Enter the reverse religious test that is being applied. In various settings over the last few days Huckabee has been confronted with articles from nearly a decade ago containing statements on the morality of issues like HIV-AIDS, homosexuality and even the need for spiritual awakening in America. He was basically asked to recant. I am pleased to say that he did not recant.

This morning, for example, the lead story on Drudge was a 1998 article from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporting on a speech that Huckabee gave at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptists calling on the church to wake up following a rash of school shootings. The Drudge headline touted, "Take this nation back for Christ," a subtle but clear warning to secular elites. Columnist Richard Cohen wasn't as subtle last week when he said Huckabee is climbing in the polls because of "his obdurate and narrow-minded religious beliefs."

There is clearly a reverse religious standard being applied to Mike Huckabee, a standard that says there will be no defining religious beliefs. I would hope the other candidates, including the Democrats, would clearly and absolutely denounce this reverse religious test and keep the media from going further down this path. If not, I predict that bible-believing Christians will step over policy differences they have with Mike Huckabee to stand by and support a candidate who is being attacked because he believes, as they do, that their Christian faith should actually impact the way they live. If that happens, the recent meteoric rise of the Huckabee campaign in the polls could look minuscule compared to the tsunami of support that he will get from Christians who are tired of the elites who belittle their beliefs and attempt to rob them of every public reflection of their faith.


David Stoker said...

You mention praying to know who to vote for president. I'm not so sure God endorses a certain candidate. I certainly see Him as having an interest in the affairs of this country and the value of a president who is willing to seek the counsel of the Divine. But I think it is faulty thinking to expect God to answer the prayers of all praying Christians pointing to one candidate. I can envision a backlash from the "secular elites" if they perceive that the selected candidate was put into office strictly because of a religious appointment or endorsement.

Jan Shipps had an interesting article in the Christian Science Monitor yesterday about the Romney speech that the implications for the proper place of religion in the political sphere.

While Romney is not the candidate I currently endorse I think he was spot on for the place of religion in White House.

Matt W. said...

How very true this blog post is. I hadn't thought of it with regards to a reverse religion test, but it's a very good point.

As far as Christians praying about whom to support, of course they should, we should ask for guidance in all aspects of our lives, and we should know that God has far more than a passing interest in human affairs, in fact, He has a plan for this world, and if the US has a place in that plan (I can't presume to know if it does or not) then you can be assured that He has a plan for who becomes President in 2009, and He may well point people to vote for a certain candidate.

As far as Romney's speech, overall, it was a pretty good speech, but, be that as it may, it was purely political.
Matt W.

Anna said...

I tell you one thing, I'd rather vote for a flawed Conservative than see Hillary and her crowd in the White House.

I'd also hope no one becomes a third party candidate in reaction to a flawed Conservative. This would only split the vote, we'd end up with the worst case scenario.

Matt W. said...

Are you so sure that Hillary is the worst case senario? I mean, at least if she is in there Republicans and Conservatives will fight her tooth and nail to try to defeat her agenda. Giuliani, being a wolf in sheeps clothing, would lull Republicans into a false sense of security... and his agenda is only marginally better than Hillary's. Something to think about.

That being said, nominating someone like Rudy (who is flat out liberal, not a "flawed Conservative") would guarantee the entry of a third party candidate on the Conservative side, and yes, that would almost certainly hand victory over the democrats, Hillary, if she wins the nod... but what if it's Obama? That really could be the worst case senario.

Christinewjc said...

Hi David Stoker,

When I pray, I usually ask God for guidance in any given area of concern. In this case, I pray for discernment in who to vote for in the primary.

It seems that each presidential election is more fiercely contended and divided than the last.

All social issues aside, what worries me most is the fact that the liberal end of the political spectrum seems to want to shrug their shoulders to the ongoing threat of radical Islamic terrorism that we see happening globally.

How ironic that former democrat, now independent, senator Joe Lieberman has chosen to support Republican John McCain! He gets it...the threat we and other nations face, whereas, Hillary, Obama, and Edwards would bring our troops home not caring about how Iraq turns out.

I also think that adding a third party candidate this late in the game would be disasterous. It would probably lead to a Hillary or Obama presidency.

God forbid!