Huckabee's Cross

Mike Huckabee's Christmas commercial (video) outraged both secularists and some Christians. I don't have a problem with politicians wishing the public a Merry Christmas or, as Huckabee did, talking about how Christ is too often missing from the season. Huckabee is a preacher and it's fine for him to let people know what is important to him.

However there comes a point when the religious imagery goes too far. The bookshelf/Cross that appears behind Huckabee in the ad may have been coincidental. The way the camera pans across the room makes me wonder, though. Peggy Noonan says these things don't happen by accident.

In 1989 there was an uproar about this "artistic" photograph of a Crucifix immersed in a jar of urine, at taxpayer expense no less. It was a blasphemous outrage. I'm not sure that dropping the Cross into a political campaign, however subtly, is a great deal more appropriate.

Be that as it may, Noonan's column mentions something else that I thought was interesting.

In an interview this week with David Brody of CBN, Huckabee said people everywhere were coming to him and saying, "We are claiming Isaiah 54 for you, that the weapons formed against you will not prosper."

This language calls to mind the "Name it and Claim it" theology of certain fundamentalists like Kenneth Copeland. Sometimes it is called the "Positive Confession" or "Word of Faith" movement. These people believe that God wants us to be healthy, wealthy and successful. In their view, if we simply pray hard and show our faith God will give us what we ask for. Those who are poor and sick obviously don't have enough faith.

Needless to say, I don't accept this view. Does Huckabee? I don't know, but he's the one who brought it up. At the very least it's an odd choice of words. It's also an odd interpretation of Isaiah 54, in which the prophet describes "New Zion," the restored and glorified Israel. If, in fact, some of Huckabee's supporters are "claiming" this chapter for him, they seem to be equating their candidate with God's Chosen People. Maybe they don't mean it that way, but the implication is inescapable.

They might want to read the whole chapter, too. The line about weapons is in verse 17. Back up a little to verse 4, where we read "You will forget the shame of your youth." This is not politically helpful. What part of Huckabee's youth was shameful, and why did he forget it? Inquiring minds want to know.

While I still support Ron Paul, I was initially open to Huckabee. Some bloggers I greatly respect like The Catholic Knight are pushing for him. He may be the best available option, all things considered. Yet as I learn more, I still can't muster much enthusiasm for Huckabee. The most I can say is that he seems sincere in his faith and is on the right side of the life and social issues.

In other words, Huckabee is essentially George W. Bush without the pedigree: a big-government conservative who wants to save the world. If you liked Bush, you'll love Huckabee.

Think I'm wrong? Leave a comment and tell me why.

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