As a Christian, the reports that Mike Huckabee used a church sanctuary and a gathering of ministers to raise campaign funds is very troubling.
Here’s how Huckabee defended the instance:
“I made a phone call in and just said hello to them, called in on a speakerphone, said hi and encouraged them, you know. And that was it,” the former Arkansas governor said Tuesday during an interview outside a Tampa polling place. “They told me there was over a thousand of them there. I’m not sure how many because I couldn’t see them. I could only hear them on the phone.”
“If it’s done where it’s a separate entity, sure. I mean you can do anything you want as long as you handle it according to very specific guidelines. And I’m sure they did that,” Huckabee said.
Politically, it is simply moronic for Huckabee. There’s no way he could possibly gather enough money to offset the negatives that could come from this. It keeps him focused on this brewing scandal instead of talking about his message. It also further cements in the mind of voters that Huckabee is a one trick pony. He is nothing more than an “Evangelical candidate” with no appeal to anyone outside of those circles.
Theologically, it is even worse. While I have questions about how much of a “church” the sanctuaries of televangelists like Kenneth Copeland might be, it still should be off limits for explicit campaign and especially for donation requests.
The IRS issues are not even the main point. The bigger injury is not to Huckabee’s campaign but to Christianity and to Christ, whom Huckabee follows. The message of Christianity is further diluted as a means of political power. Christians are viewed as simply one more voting bloc to pander to.
Despite my ever present doubts, I had hoped that Huckabee could truly be a different candidate. One that showcased the true message of Christ in the political arena and avoided so many of the pitfalls where principle is exchanged for power. While this issue could be cleared, it just seems like one more piece of a disappointing puzzle.