The big winner in the Iowan caucuses is Jesus Christ. Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama are the two most religious — politically religious — candidates of their parties. I’m surprised that those candidates came in first. However, I don’t believe that they’ll win the nominations (though I think it likely that Obama joins somebody else’s ticket). Indeed, I would be stunned if either candidate made it to the general election. If both make it, that will demonstrate that this country is in worse shape than I thought, and that we are likely headed toward more expansive religious-based politics.
Here’s why I don’t think Huckabee or Obama will last. In late 2006, Time published a map titled, “Denomination Nation.” If you select for “Mainline Protestants,” you will find that Iowa is among the states most heavily populated by such Christians. West of Nebraska, the numbers drop off dramatically.
Huckabee’s motto is “Faith. Family. Freedom.” — in that order. Huckabee leaves no doubt that he will interpret “freedom” through the lens of faith, which means that he will sacrifice genuine freedom to faith.
Under his “Issues” page “Faith and Politics,” Huckabee writes, “My faith is my life — it defines me. My faith doesn’t influence my decisions, it drives them. For example, when it comes to the environment, I believe in being a good steward of the earth.”
On the issue of abortion, Huckabee writes,
I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. … I have no desire to throw women in jail, I just want us to stop throwing babies in the garbage. … With respect to stem cells, I am opposed to research on embryonic stem cells.
However, if Huckabee passes an amendment outlawing abortion, this will necessarily impose criminal penalties on women and/or their doctors. (I do not imagine that the amendment will read, “Pretty please don’t have abortions; Congress shall pass no law enforcing this amendment.”) Then real police with real guns will arrest real people and throw them into real jails, Huckabee’s disingenuous “desires” notwithstanding.
It is unclear to me what exceptions Huckabee might allow. Would he outlaw all abortions from the moment the sperm enters the egg? What about cases of rape, incest, or dangers to the life of the mother? And who gets to make such calls? How many doctors will be called before the Inquisition to prove that an abortion was necessary to protect the woman’s life? And how many women will be called to prove that their miscarriages were accidental?
However, even an abortion ban with numerous exceptions and light enforcement would severely violate the rights of pregnant women who do not wish to have a child. (The fact that many abortions result from irresponsible sex does not change this fact.) The sort of abortion ban that many Christians favor would outlaw abortions of fertilized eggs. Thus, the “morning after” pill would be outlawed, and, presumably, manufacture, distribution, possession, and use of such a pill would bring criminal penalties. Yet the position that a fertilized egg or a cluster of cells should be granted the same rights that you have is grounded on the Christian dogma that God infuses a fertilized egg with a soul. Such a policy imposes religion by political force.
Huckabee also wishes to outlaw certain types of medical research based on his religious beliefs. I don’t know where Huckabee stands on issues of censorship and “faith-based” tax subsidies. (For further discussion on religion in politics, see my blog post on Fred Thompson and then link back from there.)
Aside from his rejection of the separation of church and state, Huckabee is a typical “moderate” left-wing statist. He endorses environmentalism through political force and better health through federal controls, as examples. Mark Joseph’s December 31 column about Huckabee is telling:
The stunning and rapid ascendence of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has shocked prominent old-guard Washington Republicans and conservatives, leaving them shaking their heads, wondering how a social conservative with a fairly liberal record on issues like immigration, education, taxes and spending can possibly be commanding the allegiance of so many Christian conservative voters. …
For Huckabee is an unreconstructed and unapologetic pre-1980 Republican who has more in common with William Jennings Bryan than Ronald Reagan and whose views expose the deep rift that has always existed between social and economic conservatives. …
[T]he emergence of Huckabee and his hybrid conservative/liberal style may finally produce the much ballyhooed conservative crackup that so many commentators have been predicting.
Obama would expand national controls over virtually every aspect of our lives. Yet at least he talks about the separation of church and state. Yet he clearly believes that God has called him to use the power of the national government to carry out religious goals. The document, “Barack Obama on Faith,” states that “God is constantly present in our lives…” And Obama wants to make sure of it. “Faith is a source of action for justice.” In this context, “justice” is a euphemism for political controls to force people to obey Obama’s version of Christian “charity.” For some examples, see Obama’s proposals on poverty. He wants to expand “career” subsidies, “create a green jobs corps,” expand subsidies for “urban planning initiatives,” increase the forced wage rate, etc. Obama also wants to impose “a new national health plan.”
Obama is thus in tune with the socialist tradition. The difference is that he justifies his socialism by faith.
The election of Mike Huckabee or Barack Obama as President of the United States would constitute a national disaster. Fortunately, that’s not likely to happen.