Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Defending Huckabee

Gregory Boyd has a recent post (here) disparaging presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee on his announcement that he wanted to bring the constitution into line with God's standards. Besides bringing up issues that are irrelevant (such as the fantastical notion that Huckabee lobby for slavery, polygamy, concubines and holy wars merely because they're in the O.T.) Boyd doesn't even address the policy decision Huckabee announces. That is, if Boyd did the work he would discover that Huckabee is firmly adamant about the separation between church and state. And instead of contradict this position, the new announcement only signals his desire to see America regain some of its moral fiber.

Two further comments on his post. First, bringing the constitution into line with God's standards does not mean making the Bible our new constitution (though Micah 6:8 might be a good starting point). Second, simply because a saying isn't in the Bible doesn't mean it isn't in line with God's standards. In fact, we rely on the fact that our Christian teachers and preachers speak words that are in line with God's standards everyday. So to say that the opening of the constitution, drawn partly from John Locke (the last part is unique to our Constitution), would be disallowed because of its source is untrue. Even if, and Huckabee never insinuated this, he wanted to overhaul the entire Constitution, Locke's phrase wouldn't automatically be eliminated. In philosophy we call this the genetic fallacy - judging a proposition by its source and not by its content - and a fallacy it is.

I respect and admire former Governor Huckabee and I think that, rather than call for an overhaul of the Constitution as Boyd fears, he is merely stating the need to bring moral value back into America. I would hope that those who try to bring their lives into line with God's standards wouldn't be the ones criticizing a leader for wanted to bring those he leads into line with God's standards.


jeremy zach said...

hahahahhah....dude I was going to post about this same subject.

I like your critique it was well stated.

However the press has been pressing Huckabee about his Christian convictions. To be honest, Huckabee just needs to shut his mouth. He does not have an obligation to answer any of the media's questions about religion. Back in the early 90's he endorsed the SBC (southern Baptist Conference) doctrinal statement. Now in 2007, he is getting flack for it, especially the SBC interpretation of Ephesians 5.

Also, one needs to understands Boyd's argumentation and convictions to why a politician cannot fuse a political agenda and God. Boyd argues, in "The Myth of a Christian Nation", that a significant segment of American Evangelicalism is guilty of nationalistic and political idolatry. (11) Sadly, many today have made Christianity out to be about many other things. Some people claim if you’re “really” a Christian, you “of course” vote a certain way, support a certain candidate, take a particular stand on a particular issue, etc. This is unfortunate because most political issues are ambiguous enough that sincere, intelligent and Bible-believing people can and do strongly disagree about them.

So I suspect that whenever Boyd even senses this Christian rhetoric within politics he goes off!

Jake C. said...

Yeah I agree Huckabee should stop playing into their hands because the more he speaks the more he alienates the people he needs to win an election. I heard him speak on the SBC doctrinal statement and it seemed that his explanation was more complementarian that it was egalitarian anyways...but I think he explained his position well.

And I have not read his book but definitely agree with the premise that far far too many Christians do think that kind way about politics. But then on that same note I think the criticism directed at Huckabee isn't only misdirected then but unwarranted. Huckabee himself isn't accept by the "institution" of conservative Republicanism because they fear that he is too liberal (oh no he's lobbying for social justice!) and I think he has some important critiques of the Republican party that show he doesn't want to be in this box of Republican/Fundamentalist Evangelical ideology.

"We've lost our soul," Huckabee said. "It's time that we regain it, remind ourselves what made us a strong party, strong national defense, conservative fiscal policies. But it's also a commitment to those issues of the family and the working class people of this country who are the bread and butter every day of this nation's economy."

There is also this attack by Thompson that shows the conservative Republican fear of Huckabee (though I don't necessarily agree with Thompson's appraisal): "He would be a Christian leader, but he would also bring about liberal economic policies, liberal foreign policies."

So yeah I think its sad to criticize this guy who is getting slack from everywhere when he is trying to make the best balance possible - being a follower of Christ and leading the free (including religiously) world.