The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Nation's Standard

I am posting this to join in the chorus of voices calling for presidential candidate Mike Huckabee to make a pronouncement regarding his understanding of the role of religion in the public square and in the execution of one's duties as President of the United States. Recently Huckabee commented to evangelical Christians that he would make the U.S. Constitution conform to "God's standards," meaning to the understanding of the scriptures that he and his fundamentalist cohort share.

If you read this blog, you know that I am a Christian minister. I am proud to acknowledge Jesus as Savior and the ultimate authority in my life. But I am troubled by the idea that Huckabee might attempt to legislate Christianity, especially his narrow version that allows him to bolster his tough on crime stance by citing the number of execution warrants he signed and simultaneously to promise a human life amendment. While I believe that one's religiously informed personal convictions will ultimately have a bearing on one's voting record, there is another orthodoxy of freedom of thought, speech, and religion in this nation. The free exercise clause exists to protect religion from government and to protect religious dissenters (including nonbelievers)from the imposed or established faith of the majority. This is the Constitution's standard, the nation's standard.

After several weeks of avoiding discussion about his Mormon faith, public concern and falling popularity forced Mitt Romney to make a "religion speech." It seems time for Huckabee, the former Southern Baptist minister and expert on God's standards, to make his religion speech. Rather than his closed to the press preaching gigs, we need a clear statement demonstrating that he understands the difference between the White House and the Sunday School.


Johanna said...

I agree with your commentary on Mike Huckabee. I do have to disclose that I actively support one of his opponents, though. I think that traditional republican and the religious right are oxymorons. Unfortunately, the religious right, particularly in recent years (although their sway is diminishing a bit), has hijacked the republican party. Traditional republican principals include the respect for the republic system -- meaning that the Federal government is limited to those authorities listed in the Constitution and all others revert back to the states or to the people. As such, the Federal government ought not to have authority, even if it violates someone's idea of what is life and when does it start. The perfect example of this eggregious behavior was during the Schiavo case in which Congress attempted to stop a husband from allowing his wife to die in Florida. I did not agree with the husband's decision, but it was a family decision, upheld by state courts. The U.S. Congress should not have had any role in the matter.

Of course, Huckabee recognizes this and supports an amendment to the Constitution. But, it seems hypocritical to tout a limited government, but then to seek to expand its authority over our lives.

There is one thing I am very sympathetic to Huckabee and the religious right about...that is it seems as though society is swinging from one of religious foundation to that of secular foundation. It feels sometimes that certain groups have as their mission to carve out of mainstream society any hint of religion...or more specifically Christianity. We see that in all the law suits regarding Christmas displays to books and information in schools -- its as if anything that mentions God or suggests there is one is somehow a violation of the Establishment Clause. This standard, to me, attacks freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Under this standard, not even some books from world renown scientist Stephen Hawking would be acceptable in a high school because he sometimes speculates whether God may have been the initial cause before the big bang.

Somehow it feels that, if there were not the extreme right, the extreme left would not have a balance.

Leslie D. Callahan said...

Are you supporting Ron Paul?

Johanna said...

Nope. My candidate, one of my former bosses, just dropped out of the race :(

I may support McCain, but am not certain. All of my friends (99% of whom are dem or even further left) think I am insane being on the republican side anyway (I think they just tolerate me), so perhaps support for Ron Paul maybe in the cards. I like the idea of eliminating the IRS. We shall see. Here are my issues with the remaining candidates:

McCain - I like him, he tends to be reasonable and works well with dems. He angered me, however, on the immigration issue.

Romney - I can not really put my finger on why I don't like him. It's the same type of feeling I got when Kerry was running -- elitest, I guess. Plus his health care plan scares me.

Guiliani - I think he's a liberal George Bush -- law enforcement at any cost, despite civil rights and liberties, and he'll put his friends in power regardless of qualifications or background (ex. his recommendation of Bernard Kerik to be homeland security secretary)

Huckabee -- he has a likeable character, but is too conservative on social issues and, like McCain, I have issues with some of his immigration stances.

Ron Paul - I think he's simply insane -- but, he would make politics a lot more interesting.


Clinton -- hmmm..I don't even know where I'd begin. Clinton-care terrifies me. I once thought that I'd vote for the first viable woman to be president, regardless of party...then Hilary came along.

Obama - you know, depending on who's the republican nominee, if he was the dem nominee, I could be persuaded to vote for him. While I probably disagree with him on most issues, he seems more measured and open to working with both parties.

My two cents...

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