Rev. Huckabee and Rev. Wright

--- published in the Circleville Herald, October 26, 2010


May 19, 2008 Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee  did something rare in this day of hateful talk radio and cable news networks. During the blood-in-the-water feeding frenzy over Barack Obama’s Pastor Jeremiah Wright’s sermon condemning America for its’ treatment of African-Americans I was both surprised and proud of candidate Huckabee.  Jeremiah Wright had said “G—D--- America!” The Reverend Wright further  noted that the U.S. had brought the 9/11 attacks on by ourselves by our arrogant and exploitative foreign policy. 

Candidate Huckabee said of Rev. Wright and Obama: “As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say ‘That’s a terrible statement!’… I  grew up in a very segregated South. And I think that you have to cut some slack… and I’m gonna probably be probably the only conservative in America who’s gonna say something like this, but I’m just tellin’ you we’ve gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names..”  Most regrettably, the compassionate and thoughtful Rev. Huckabee has not been supportive of  equal rights for gay persons, nor does his faith lead him to address one of God’s primary messages revealed in thousands of Bible passages: economic and social justice. 

Many of us learned in vacation Bible school that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of homosexuality. Scripture teaches otherwise. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for “arrogant unconcern” (NIV) for the needy among them: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy”( Ezekiel 16:49)

Rev. Huckabee has said “… homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle”…(1992), equivalent with lying and stealing (December 2007) and like drug use and incest (April 2010). As such Rev.  Huckabee bears some responsibility for the recent suicides of four gay teenagers. These suicides are only the currently newsworthy and thus visible portion of a huge iceberg of pain that the Religious Right inflicts on the gay 6-8% of our population. God made some of his children gay just as he made some left-handed. I wonder if women speak in Rev. Huckabee’s church? Do members of his church beat unruly children to death, stone adulterous women, prohibit wearing polyester/cotton blend garments? These are all clear violations of scripture.  Rev. Huckabee supports smaller government, except when he wants a larger government to enforce his  hurtful theology.

What about the common convenient, selective interpretation of the thousands upon thousands of verses about God’s desire for social and economic justice? The Religious Right, by joining forces with small government/ huge corporations politics  believes God only meant that it is up to the individual to be charitable. According to Ezekiel  16:49 and Isaiah, Jeremiah, Micah, Amos, the other prophets and Jesus, it is the whole nation , not individuals that bear responsibility for the marginalized and abandoned.

The final act that got Jesus killed was his cleansing the Temple of the dove-sellers and moneychangers that took advantage of the poor.  As he upset the tables, scattered the coin Jesus quoted Jeremiah 7:5-11.  Jeremiah notes that the God would allow the Israelites, as a nation, to possess the land conditionally, only if their entire nation, acted justly. “Do you look on this Temple that bears my name as a den of bandits?” (11)…”But if you really amend your behavior and your actions, if you really treat one another fairly, if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan and the widow…THEN ( my capitals) I shall let you stay in this place, in the country I gave to your ancestors of old.”( New Jerusalem trans.)

Rev. Huckabee opposes the admittedly imperfect Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that brings 30 million more of the currently uninsured into safety as well as prohibiting insurance companies from dumping patients when they become unprofitable. Rev. Huckabee supports Fair Tax legislation that eliminates all federal income taxes, replacing the IRS with a national sales tax . As the poor must spend 100% of their income on survival needs, while the rich have money to invest in capital gains, such tax continues the 30 year trend of increasing the burden on the middle and working classes, thus redistributing the national wealth upwards.

What would Jesus say about Wall Street bankers,  health insurance and pharmaceutical companies reaping obscene cash rewards while we lose our jobs, our homes, health and hope? I would like to hear the words of a poor carpenter’s son who was born in a barn and lived among the lowest of the low, who blessed the leper and the prostitute, who never mentioned gays but who praised the compassionate Samaritan over the Religious Right Levite, I would like to hear those words from  the Rev. Huckabee when he speaks at OCU on the 27th. I know the Rev. Huckabee that courageously defended Rev. Wright has those words of justice and compassion. Let’s hear them.

---  Brad Cotton