Friday, March 9, 2007

Newsweek Interviews Huckabee

I was disappointed with several answers that GOP presidential candidate and former Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee gave in a recent interview with Newsweek magazine. I’ve already posted an article about Huckabee’s candidacy. You can read that here. There is much about this candidate that I appreciate, but some of his answers in the Newsweek interview were disappointing. I encourage you to read the entire interview. I am only going to post and comment on his answers which I found most troublesome.

The Rev. Billy Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, once told me about how when she preached at a major Baptist event, the audience turned its back on her. You used to be head of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Do you agree that women shouldn’t be allowed to be preachers?

It would seem so rude, no matter what a person thought about the structure of a church, to do that. That’s not Christian behavior. One of the unique things about Baptists—every church is its own autonomous unit. My attitude is, let each church make that decision. I go to a church in Little Rock. A lot of people think we’re strange. We don’t fit the mold of a traditional sit-there-stiffly-in-the-pews-church. We don’t even have pews. We focus on ministering to people who are poor. We feed hundreds of kids every week. Our church has offered line-dancing lessons to get people to come. You can be a person off the street with more metal in your mouth than a GM car has on its exterior.

Are you personally against women being preachers?

I’d rather speak up for the Lord than not. I let each person in each church deal with their own conscience. I have enough of a challenge being obedient to God in my own life than to try to dictate to someone else. It’s not an issue for me.

Do these two questions have anything to do with a man’s ability to be President? No. I am certain that no other candidate will be asked his or her opinion of whether women should be preachers or not. Huckabee was asked that because he is a former Baptist pastor. Quite frankly, his answer bombed.

I understand that this was a loaded question, and providing a Biblical answer might (probably) be harmful. But you either believe what the Bible says about this subject or not. I think that Huckabee could have provided a Biblical answer and still articulated that women are not demeaned or devalued because they cannot be pastors.

Do you believe that gays are going to hell?

No. I don’t know that Baptists would make a statement that anyone goes to hell based on sexual orientation. Heaven is about one’s personal faith and therefore it has to do with one’s relationship to Jesus, not someone’s relationship to someone else.

Again he offers a politically correct response. He should have said that unrepentant sinners, straight or homosexual, will go to hell. Instead he mixes in truth, “Heaven is about one’s personal faith and therefore it has to do with one’s relationship to Jesus.” That’s true, but then he has to throw in “Not someone’s relationship to someone else.”

Huckabee is someone that I can support. Even though he doesn’t have a shot at winning the nomination he is still more appealing to me than the other GOP candidates.

But this interview was a disappointment.

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