Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee and the Alternative Reality Conference

Kevin Swanson appears to be a tortured soul. It is beyond ridiculous that Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee spoke at a conference organized by this fellow.
During the conference Christian reconstructionist minister Phil Kayser distributed a publication calling for the death penalty for gays and others who violate Mosaic law. I brought Kayser’s views forward four years ago when he endorsed Ron Paul. Paul initially was thrilled to get Kayser’s endorsement until I pointed out Kayser’s views on gays.
One speaker at the conference said the movie “Frozen” was satanic.
Here is Swanson saying gays need more time to repent.
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LgZU6pGKgRk[/youtube]
Religious liberty is a cherished right. However, the right to impose one’s religious views on a minority is not a right and should be resisted by followers of Christ.
Cruz, Jindal, and Huckabee have offered a legitimacy to Christian reconstructionism that is frightening. Even Ron Paul distanced himself from Kayser and his reconstructionist views 4 years ago. It is appalling that these three went anywhere near that conference.

Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz Fuss Over Kim Davis

According to the Texas Tribune, Ted Cruz showed up at the Kim Davis Freedom Rally and was shown the door by Mike Huckabee’s handlers. According to Patrick Svitek with the Tribune:

In the footage, Cruz exits the Carter County Detention Center, where Davis was being held, and heads toward the microphones where Huckabee was later broadcast alongside the clerk. However, Cruz quickly runs into a Huckabee staffer who points him in another direction, setting off a roughly 15-second back-and-forth followed by Cruz repeatedly trying to maneuver around the staffer. Cruz, appearing dumbfounded by the situation, ultimately follows the staffer offscreen. 

A cynical person might take this as evidence that the Kim Davis controversy isn’t about same-sex marriage but capturing the religious right vote.
I don’t know for sure, but I heard that Cruz and Huckabee broke out into song and dance after the presser and sang this together.
[youtube]https://youtu.be/nE3zJgO-0S4[/youtube]

Jerusalem Post Chides Mike Huckabee for Holocaust Analogy

Adding to the fallout over Mike Huckabee’s ill-advised comparison of the Iran nuclear treaty to the Holocaust, the Jerusalem Post rebuked the GOP presidential hopeful earlier today.
Certainly, the Israelis oppose the Iran deal but lament that Huckabee’s comment make it harder to secure the opposition necessary to derail it. The Post says:

As for sense, Huckabee’s comment just made it tougher for Israel and its allies in Washington to round up Democratic votes needed to override a presidential veto.

Huckabee made the remarks last Saturday:

Speaking with Breitbart News Saturday, the former Arkansas governor called Barack Obama “feckless” and “naive,” adding that by signing the deal the President “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.”

Huckabee hasn’t backed away except to claim he wasn’t comparing President Obama to Hitler.
The JPost disagrees:

But in Netanyahu’s analogy, the Obama administration and the West are playing the role of Neville Chamberlain. Huckabee, on the other hand, cast President Barack Obama as Hitler when the Republican presidential hopeful declared that the Iran deal “will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven.” 

Huckabee’s rhetoric doesn’t appear to be helping him with evangelicals. In a survey of evangelical leaders from World magazine, only 4% of participants favored Huckabee as their first choice.
 

Historian Thomas Kidd on Why Mike Huckabee Won't Be the Evangelical Darling in 2016

Thomas Kidd nails it at the Washington Post.
Kidd finds several reasons why Huckabee isn’t catching fire among evangelicals. One reason Kidd identifies is Huckabee’s status as a former Fox News host. As an example, Kidd correctly points out Huckabee’s attachment to David Barton.

Fox’s cozy confines allow candidates to get into an insulated mindset, in which they are not used to having to face critical reporters or be accountable for outlandish statements. You knew something was going wrong with Huckabee in 2011 when, at a “Rediscover God in America” conference, he sang the praises of the widely discredited Christian history writer and Republican Party activist David Barton. Huckabee said that he “almost wished” that “all Americans would be forced — forced at gunpoint no less — to listen to every David Barton message.” A year later, a massive outcry led by evangelical and Catholic scholars forced an embarrassed Thomas Nelson Publishers to pull Barton’s book “The Jefferson Lies” from circulation.

Well said.
Note Kidd’s observation that “a massive outcry led by evangelical and Catholic scholars” led to Thomas Nelson’s actions. Barton claimed only four college professors had a problem with it. Hardly. Kidd is correct, Barton is not.
I wasn’t aware of Huckabee’s outrageous statement about Obama leading Jews to the oven door. That alone should end his campaign. Understandably, Jewish groups condemned it.
Go over and read Kidd’s article at the Post.
 

Should America Establish Christianity as a State Religion?

Everyone who reads here should know where I stand on that question — absolutely not!
I was surprised and sad to see that among Republicans, I am in the minority. According to a Public Policy Polling survey (question 17), 57% of Republicans said they “support establishing Christianity as the national religion.” Thirty percent did not support that policy and 13% were unsure.
Tom Ehrich pointed to the poll results in his commentary opposing the establishment of Christianity. Ehrich asks, if the U.S. is a Christian nation, then whose Christianity do we follow?
He begins:

(RNS) A recent survey found that 57 percent of Republicans agreed that Christianity should be established as the United States’ national religion.
Not only would this violate the clear wording of the Constitution and the intention of the founders to keep religion and government separate, it also raises a difficult quandary.
Whose Christianity?

I have asked a similar question before of those who want to turn America back to God.
Which god?
Ehrich rightly questions the wisdom of having one approach to Christianity endorsed by the government. As Benjamin Rush believed, Christianity doesn’t need government help. Ehrich writes:

We are safe from religion — which was the founders’ goal — when all religious voices can be heard. A competition of ideas is healthy. But if one religious voice became dominant, the resulting intolerance would take us back to the religious wars that tore Europe to pieces.

Among current GOP candidates, Mike Huckabee did best among those who said Christianity should be established as the national religion. Of course, Huckabee is a big supporter of David Barton’s Christian nationalism. Those who think Barton is a side show need to wake up and smell the poll numbers.

Mike Huckabee and David Barton Coming to PA Pastor's Conference in March

Yesterday, the PA Pastors Network, a small group of far right pastors announced that Mike Huckabee will appear via video at a March 19 conference at Lancaster Bible College. Also appearing will be David Barton, and George Barna. The title of the conference (U-Turn: A Conversation with Pastors on Society, Culture, and Leadership) makes it sound like a stop on the promo tour for Barna’s and Barton’s new book (U-Turn).

Other confirmed speakers for PPN’s “U-Turn” conference include: author Steve Scheibner, Gary Dull of the American Pastors Network, Sandy Rios of the American Family Association and American Family Radio, Jeff Mateer of the Liberty Institute, Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ, and Ralph Drollinger of Capitol Ministries, who will speak on PPN’s Ministers Together project, an initiative which brings together pastors and elected officials on a biblical rather than political basis.

Looks like big fun if you are a tea partier or Christian nation advocate. Sam Rohrer heads the PA pastors’ organization and is also working with David Barton on the initiative to make the Ukraine a biblically based nation.
Lancaster is about 5 hours from here; maybe I’ll go over and see what happens.
PA is home to numerous conservative Christian historians (Historians at GCC and Messiah College come to mind immediately and there are others). If Sam Rohrer wanted pastors to hear from Christian historians on the nation’s founding, he has a wealth of options.

Mike Huckabee endorses Bully

Color me surprised, but pleasantly so.

Mike Huckabee, former GOP Presidential candidate and now FOX News host has endorsed the movie Bully.

From the Huckabee’s column in the Daily Beast:

Bully is compelling. It’s not a pretty or pleasant story, but needs to be told.  The message is not a “horizontal” message of left vs. right; liberal vs. conservative; Democrat vs. Republican. It’s a “vertical” message that says we’ll either get better, or God forbid, we won’t learn from this and it will get worse.Surely this nation, so divided by almost everything, could unite behind the notion that the youngest among us should be treated with dignity and respect. Bully helps achieve that goal. Keeping kids from seeing it does not.

 

David Barton: Pluralism not the goal of the First Amendment

Now I know where Bryan Fischer gets at least some of his material.
On an April 11, 2011 archived program, a brief statement is made by Barton which sounds a lot like Bryan Fischer’s argument that Christianity is the only religion covered by the First Amendment.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Unearthing America’s Christian Foundations, part 1
(at about the 12 minute mark, a narrator introduces David Barton)

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Joseph Story is one of the most important names in American jurisprudence. Not only was he placed on the US Supreme Court by President James Madison, he also founded Harvard Law School and authored numerous legal works on the Constitution. While today’s revisionists claim that the goal of the First Amendment was absolute religious pluralism, Joseph Story vehemently disagreed. He declared, “The real object of the First Amendment was not to encourage, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity, but was to exclude all rivalry among Christian denominations.” According to Founder Joseph Story, Christianity, not pluralism, was the goal of the Founding Fathers in the First Amendment for only a Christian nation is tolerant and thus is truly pluralistic.

Barton must have another version of Story’s book because the wording is a little different in his quote than what I found in Google’s archived copy:

The real object of the amendment was, not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity, by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects…

Barton’s brief argument is worded somewhat differently that Bryan Fischer’s but the effect is the same. According to Barton, pluralism springs from non-pluralism. I addressed Fischer’s argument here and here. One must go on and read all of what Story has to say about the First Amendment. Furthermore, taken to logical conclusion, this argument would establish Christianity as the religion of the nation, something the Founders specifically did not do.  
David Barton is a favorite of Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich, two potential GOP Presidential candidates. Huckabee gushed recently

I just wish that every single young person in America would be able to be under his tutelage and understand something about who we really are as a nation. I almost wish that there would be a simultaneous telecast and all Americans would be forced, forced at gunpoint no less, to listen to every David Barton message and I think our country would be better for it. I wish it’d happen.

Gingrich has said that if (when) he runs for President, he will call on Barton for help. In light of Barton’s view of the First Amendment, I hope media inquire about Huckabee’s and Gingrich’s view of the First Amendment. Do they believe it only applies to Christians?

Bam! George Will on Huckabee, Gingrich and the coming GOP apocalypse

I am coming late to this party, but I am just glad to be here.

George Will explained concisely in his Sunday column why any Republican with a set of working neurons is really nervous about 2012. Let me start where Will finishes:

Let us not mince words. There are at most five plausible Republican presidents on the horizon – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Utah governor and departing ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, former Massachusetts governor Romney and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.

So the Republican winnowing process is far advanced. But the nominee may emerge much diminished by involvement in a process cluttered with careless, delusional, egomaniacal, spotlight-chasing candidates to whom the sensible American majority would never entrust a lemonade stand, much less nuclear weapons.

Notice that Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich are not on that list. Will delineates with precision that these two men have fallen on the Obama-is-not-a-real-American sword in such a way that they may not only impale themselves but also the rest of the party. 

Huckabee disappoints the most as he first panders to two far right talk show hosts about Obama’s birth place. Huckabee first told Steve Malzberg that the current President grew up in Kenya, then later after being called on the error, said he simply meant Indonesia and went on a bit to the second, Bryan Fischer, about Obama and community madrassas. Will dismisses the excuses and notes that such episodes have consequences:

Republicans should understand that when self-described conservatives such as Malzberg voice question-rants like the one above and Republicans do not recoil from them, the conservative party is indirectly injured. As it is directly when Newt Gingrich, who seems to be theatrically tiptoeing toward a presidential candidacy, speculates about Obama having a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” mentality.

Let’s pull over and park here a minute. There in a nutshell is my point about why GOP candidates are digging themselves a hole by doing puff interviews on the American Family Radio network with Bryan Fischer. The current crop of contenders is so intent on injuring Obama that anything goes, and in the process, the critic is injured more than the target.

Will then dismisses Gingrich’s affair with Dinesh D’Souza’s theories about Obama.

To the notion that Obama has a “Kenyan, anti-colonial” worldview, the sensible response is: If only. Obama’s natural habitat is as American as the nearest faculty club; he is a distillation of America’s academic mentality; he is as American as the other professor-president, Woodrow Wilson. A question for former history professor Gingrich: Why implicate Kenya?

Reading Gingrich further, he calls Obama’s world view “factually insane” and says the President “is fundamentally out of touch with how the world works.” In addition to Will’s correction of Gingrich’s picture of Obama, I offer this. Gingrich’s hyperbole obscures any serious consideration of his ideas from those he most wants to reach. He is talking trash to the choir; most others dismiss him after the first sentence or two. Gingrich, Huckabee, Malzberg and Fischer almost make Obama look appealing by comparison, even to some of the choir.

Now let me end where Will began:

If pessimism is not creeping on little cat’s feet into Republicans’ thinking about their 2012 presidential prospects, that is another reason for pessimism. This is because it indicates they do not understand that sensible Americans, who pay scant attention to presidential politics at this point in the electoral cycle, must nevertheless be detecting vibrations of weirdness emanating from people associated with the party.

Color me pessimistic.

Why is Huckabee using the madrassa attack on Bryan Fischer’s show?

Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor, Fox talk show host, and probable GOP presidential contender got himself into some trouble when he said Obama learned anti-American ways growing up in Kenya. Later he said he misspoke and meant Indonesia. Kenya. Indonesia. Practically next door neighbors. Whatever.

Anyway, he had just about come through the storm of his birther-speak when he appeared on Bryan Fischer’s Focal Point show to complain about Obama’s childhood some more. On Fischer’s show, Huckabee said:

And I have said many times, publicly, that I do think he has a different worldview and I think it is, in part, molded out of a very different experience. Most of us grew up going to Boy Scout meetings and, you know, our communities were filled with Rotary Clubs, not madrassas. (emphasis supplied by Salon’s Steve Kornacki)

A madrassa of course is a Muslim school, with recent associations to radical elements of Islam. While nasty, Huckabee is not terribly original in his attack. Properly or not, Hillary Clinton was credited for unearthing this fact early in 2007.

Terry, this is appearing on a Web site today, Insight magazine, which is a subsidiary of The Washington Times. Here’s the question. I’ll put it up on the screen: Barack’s madrassa past. He says that “during the five years that we would live with my stepfather in Indonesia, I was sent first to a neighborhood Catholic school and then to a predominately Muslim school.” That’s from his book, “The Audacity of Hope.”

Now in the meantime, this is what Democrats are saying, according to Insight magazine. They’re looking into his background. They’re saying: He was a Muslim. He concealed it. His opponents within the Democrats hope this will become a major issue in the campaign.

Now, we have heard about dirty politics before. Republicans aren’t involved in this one. What do you think about what’s going on over there?

TERRY HOLT, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: John, the last time I checked, there was still a freedom of religion in this country. And this is either a despicable act by an absolutely ruthless Clinton political machine. We know that they are capable of doing this. But it wasn’t directly linked to Hillary Clinton. If it wasn’t her, then certainly she should disavow it because I think we have spent an awful lot of time in this country trying to tamp down anti-religious sentiments.

Note what Republican Holt said about the effort to paint Obama as a radical Muslim – “a despicable act.” As Holt pointed out later in the interview, when Obama went to school, a madrassa was similar to any other parochial school associated with a religious view.

Now beyond Huckabee’s confusion of Kenya with Indonesia and his below-the-belt attack on Obama’s childhood is the fact that he is again propping up Bryan Fischer and the American Family Association. As regular readers here know, Fischer believes homosexuals are responsible for “six million dead Jews” during WWII, wants to ban construction of new mosques, and believes that Native Americans got what was coming to them in the near eradication of their tribes during the American settlement and expansion. The American Family Association has been silent on their official position on any of these matters and offers a considerable platform for Fischer’s supremacist views.

Is Huckabee so desperate for an audience that he needs to make news in that fringe-right environment? As Salon’s Kornacki points out, Huckabee is now making this ugly, and I add that he found one of the ugliest places to do it.