In class today, when the question “What is the status of morality in American politics” was raised, I immediately thought back to an article about Mike Huckabee that I read last week in the NY times. The article, called “Pulpit was the springboard for Huckabee’s rise”, covered the life and beliefs of the candidate. Thinking about the political roles of morality and religion as well as notions of party politics, this quote seemed especially relevant:
“Some other Christian conservatives have accused Mr. Huckabee of encouraging lawbreaking by supporting government social services for illegal immigrants. Mr. Huckabee defends himself on religious terms. He talks of a Bible-based injunction to care for illegal immigrants, just as he points to biblical admonitions to minister to the sick and protect the environment.”
It is quite evident that some of Huckabee’s Christian perspectives do not line up with standard conservative viewpoints. In the case of Huckabee’s support of illegal immigrants and his alleged “lawbreaking”, it becomes clear that for this candidate, religious morality can take precedence over law. Huckabee seems to embody the merger of religion and politics that we talked about in class today. Additionally, his Christian morality causes him to ignore the political boundaries of his party. Blurring the line between liberal and conservative, in the Iowa caucuses, Huckabee has emerged as a strong contender. Could this former evangelical pastor be the “moral leader” that some Americans are looking for? I wonder though, where does moral leadership end and religious control begin? Mike Huckabee’s candidacy forces us to search for the location of this boundary.
Here is the link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/06/us/politics/06huckabee.html