2008 campaign

Mike Huckabee’s Anti-Catholic Problem

Deal W. Hudson

Published January 2, 2008

Author’s note: I no longer consider Pastor John Hagee as anti-Catholic. What happened, however, with Rev. Tim Rude and Tim LaHaye remains relevant to Huckabee as a political candidate.

Gov. Mike Huckabee will be a major player in the run for the GOP presidential nomination regardless of whether he finishes first or second in the Iowa Caucus. As in Iowa, Evangelical voters will undergird his efforts in Michigan (Jan 18), South Carolina (Jan 26), and Florida (Jan 29).

Huckabee, however, will need Catholic voters to win in states like Michigan and Florida, not to mention the many Catholic-heavy states on February 5 and 9. Prospects for Huckabee attracting Catholic voters are not good, and they are getting worse.

That’s because Mike Huckabee is developing an anti-Catholic problem.

When the former Southern Baptist minister spoke at Cornerstone Church in San Antonio on December 23, he evidently did not know that the pastor, Rev. John Hagee, has a long record of statements about the Catholic Church that the Catholic League has labeled as anti-Catholic.

Hagee, for example, accuses the early Catholic Church of inventing anti-Semitism; the medieval Catholic Church of creating the Crusades and the Inquisition to “punish the Jews”; of infusing Adolph Hitler with his anti-Semitism; and of not standing up to the Third Reich:

In all of his [Hitler’s] years of absolute brutality, he was never denounced or even scolded by Pope Pius XII or any Catholic leader in the world.

After the controversy hit the headlines, Huckabee distanced himself from Hagee’s opinion about Catholics:

“I would certainly never characterize the Catholic Church as being pro-Nazi, never. Catholic voters surely appreciate that, but it’s not the first time Huckabee has been associated with anti-Catholic rhetoric.”

But back in June, in the build-up to the Ames Straw Poll, a Huckabee supporter, Rev. Tim Rude, sent out a blast e-mail containing the following:

“Huckabee is an Evangelical. He has not learned how to speak to Evangelicals; i.e. Bush 41 & 43. He is one of us. I know Senator Brownback converted to Roman Catholicism in 2002. Frankly, as a recovering Catholic myself, that is all I need to know about his discernment when compared to the Governor’s. I don’t know if this fact is widely known among Evangelicals who are supporting Brownback.” (Emphasis added)

In the days that followed, the Brownback campaign asked Huckabee to join them in condemning Rude’s email.

He never did.

It should have been apparent then, as it is now, that Huckabee does not understand the reality of lingering anti-Catholic attitudes among some Evangelicals and other religious groups. If he did, he would never have accepted the invitation to speak at Hagee’s church.

But the problem does not stop with Hagee and Rude. Campaigning with Huckabee in Iowa has been one of the most prominent leaders of the Religious Right, Dr. Tim LaHaye, author of the popular Left Behind novels.

Carl Olson has documented the anti-Catholic comments throughout LaHaye’s writing, including the Left Behind series. The following quote should suffice to represent LaHaye’s point of view:

“The Church of Rome denies the finished work of Christ but believes in a continuing sacrifice that produces such things as sacraments and praying for the dead, burning candles, and so forth. All of these were borrowed from mystery Babylon, the mother of all pagan customs and idolatry, none of which is taught in the New Testament” (Revelation Unveiled, 1999, 66-67).

Someone needs to ask Huckabee if, along with the “pro-Nazi” label, he would refuse to describe the Catholic Church as “Babylonian.”

Catholics have long formed part of the ground troops of the Religious Right. Leaders like Robertson, Falwell, Reed, and Dobson have made sure that the anti-Catholic element among Evangelicals would not deter Catholics from joining the coalition.

There is nothing that will drive a Catholic voter away from a candidate quicker than a whiff of the prejudice that hounded their ancestors since the days of the Thirteen Colonies. So why is Huckabee tone deaf to this important issue for Catholic voters? Is it because, as one commentator points out, he comes from a state with the third-lowest percentage of Catholics?

Huckabee claims to be very comfortable with Catholics, says that he has worked with Catholics, and has Catholics in his campaign, including his campaign manager.

That is fine and good, but what happens when Catholic voters start to hear that some of his biggest supporters think the Catholic Church “denies the finished work of Christ,” is the product of Babylonian mysteries, and is the source of anti-Semitism, including that of Hitler?

Catholic voters will want more than the stale “Catholics are some of my best friends” explanation.

Obama and Infanticide

Deal W. Hudson

Published July 2, 2008

Infanticide is becoming a touchy subject for Barack Obama.

So much so that his supporters either deny that their candidate ever voted against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, or they describe his votes as “procedural,” as if Obama never really opposed providing medical treatment for infants who survived an abortion.

The facts show otherwise.

The Born Alive Infant Protection Act was first introduced in the Illinois legislature in 2001 after nurse Jill Stanek revealed that babies born alive in Christ Hospital in botched abortion procedures were left to die, unattended by medical personnel.

That same year Stanek testified before the Judiciary Committee, where Obama asked whether the bill would subvert a woman’s right to abortion. Obama voted against the bill in committee but “present” on the Senate floor.

When the bill was reintroduced in 2002, Obama again voted against it in committee and was the only state senator to speak against it on the Senate floor. Again the bill was defeated with Obama voting “no” and leading the opposition.

Here is what he said:

“Whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the Equal Protection Clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a — a child, a 9-month old — child that was delivered to term.

That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place. I mean, it — it would essentially bar abortions, because the Equal Protection Clause does not allow somebody to kill a child, and if this is a child, then this would be an anti-abortion statute.”

2002 was the year the U. S. Congress passed and President Bush signed the federal version of the Born Alive Infant Protection Act. Unlike Obama in Illinois, Sen. Hillary Clinton voted to support the bill. In fact, the bill passed the Senate 98 to 0 with pro-abortion senators like Boxer (D-CA) and Reid (D-NV) supporting it.

In 2003, the bill was introduced in the Illinois legislature for the third time and directed to a committee chaired by Obama, Health and Human Services. They refused to bring the bill to a vote.

Only when Obama left for Washington in 2005 did the Born Alive Infant Protection Act pass the Illinois legislature. It’s for good reason Barack Obama has been called “the most pro-abortion presidential candidate ever.”

The Roman Catholics for Obama Web site has no mention of his opposition to the Born Alive Infant’s Protection Act. Look under its section “Life and Dignity of the Human Person,” and you will find statements on the death penalty, the Iraq War, gun control, and the promise to nurture “a socio-economic environment” that will provide “a safety net that will make abortion increasingly unnecessary and rare.”

Some of Obama’s infanticide apologists argue that since the declared intention of Obama in voting against the BAIP Act was to uphold Roe v. Wade then it was not evidence of “support for infanticide.” Such poor logic completely detaches Obama’s act of voting against the bill from its consequences. Without the passage of the bill, infants born in Illinois remained vulnerable to the lack of treatment witnessed first-hand in Christ Hospital by Jill Stanek.

It would be like a senator arguing that his vote to approve Iraq War funding was just to “support the troops” but not the war. How can you put a gun in a soldier’s hand without taking responsibility for what happens when he shoots it?

Democratic pundits don’t want to talk about Obama on abortion or infanticide, either. On a recent CNN broadcast, Wolf Blitzer asked Bill Bennett what he would ask Obama, if given the chance.

Bennett said he would ask Obama about his abortion extremism and why he “doesn’t see a problem with killing a baby after it’s been born after eight months.”

Donna Brazile, well-known Democratic consultant, reacted strongly: “You want to have a conversation about narrow issues, but the American people want to talk about gas prices.”

Brazile can be sure that $4.00 per gallon gasoline isn’t going to divest the millions of religious conservatives who care about the dignity of human life of their repugnance for infanticide. The last thing the Democrats want to hear are questions raised about Obama’s “moral judgment,” as Bill Bennett did on CNN.

Obama’s attempt to move to the middle of the political spectrum will have to overcome two major obstacles: the memory of Rev. Wright at the National Press Club and Obama’s voting record on the BAIP Act.

Obama does seem to have distanced himself successfully from his old pastor, but once Americans start asking why he would allow doctors to deny medical treatment to a newborn child, it may raise larger questions about moral judgment.