December 5th, 2007
07:00 AM ET
11 years ago

Huckabee won't give thoughts on Mormonism

Huckabee refused to give his thoughts on Mormonism Tuesday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Mike Huckabee has evangelicals to thank for helping him surge in the polls and in Iowa, Mitt Romney is his chief rival for those votes.

Still, the former Baptist preacher is trying to steer clear any comments about Romney’s religious beliefs that might help him gain support among those voters, some of whom believe that the Mormon faith is a cult.

Huckabee has refused to say whether he shares that belief.

“I’m just not going to go around evaluating other people’s doctrine and faiths, that is absolutely not a role for a president to engage in,” Huckabee told CNN.

The former Arkansas governor held an event at his Iowa headquarters Tuesday where he accepted the endorsement of some three dozen of the state’s religious leaders. He is currently running an Iowa campaign ad on the importance of faith in his life.

But he’s avoided taking advantage of widespread evangelical suspicion of Mormonism, saying he’s “not going to be critical of other candidates.”

“We ought to be talking about education and health care and energy independence and all these other things,” said Huckabee. “And for me to discuss anybody’s faith, whether it’s Mitt Romney’s or John McCain’s or Rudy Giuliani’s or Hillary Clinton’s – other than to say I want to have great respect for anyone else’s belief system – it’s theirs to explain, not mine.”

When asked by another reporter for his views, as a Baptist minister, of the Mormon faith, he responded: “I am running for president – and if I’m invited to be the president of the theological school, that will be a perfectly appropriate question. But to be the president of the United States, I don’t know that that will be the most important issue I’ll be facing when I’m sworn in.”

- CNN’s Dana Bash

Filed under: Iowa • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. steve mayrson, henderson, nv

    The worst failure a candidate for president can display is that of not revealing to the public their own inner beliefs. Mormonism is polytheistic, a belief in more than one God. Very simple no arguement. Therefore in the Christian mind it cannot be a Christian religion.

    December 4, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  2. Jay, Folsom, CA

    I completely agree with Huckabee. An attack on someone's religious beliefs is not right and has no place in politics or any other reasonable conversation. Let's stick to the issues like education, the environment, social security, etc.

    December 4, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. redbeard

    Hi ya Huck-
    Can you please try to convince me why I should trust you sir?
    The last one that came out of Ark sold us down the river

    ,and the last time I went threw Ark- months ago I saw alot of huge empty places where JOBS used to be
    seems like that is a scary reminder of what will come you you are
    "sworn in"

    December 4, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Kevin, Homer Glen, IL

    Nice to see people are finally taking issue with Romney's Mormonism. That is Romney's Achilles heel and it should be exploited and be shone under the glare of the campaign lights. Huckabee's position is nice, but it won't last.

    December 4, 2007 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  5. Utah

    Everyone knows Mormons are the true church, whose followers are they only ones going to Heaven.

    A bunch of Sheep!

    December 4, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  6. HUCK,LA.


    December 4, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  7. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    Huckabee's brand of christian religion and Mitt Romney's mormonism are both zany and looney in their own ways, but they are clearly different.
    Huckabee denies evolution and claims the earth to be not much more than 6000 years old. He is a christian but a fundamentalist believer. You may believe that he is backward but his religion is chritian.
    Mormans belive that Joseph Smith is a prophet and found golden plates in his backyard in New York state a century and half ago. They acknowledge the old and New Testament but added on the "The Book of Morman" like christians added the New testament books to the old. Christians are not Jews and Mormans (as well as Muslims) are not Christian as they "added on" prophets and a book to that which was before.
    Mormons also think that you can become a god and live on your own planet after death as well as a host of other bizarre ideas. They are uniquely American, and they've built upon the American brand of christianity, but it is not Christian given the "add-ons".
    However in some circumstances they may want to be identified as "Christian" and confuse people so that it would be easier to convert those already believing in Jesus to the "add-ons" of Mormonism.
    It's all strange and batty, but it is different. Frankly I'd prefer that the United States be led by someone who would return us back to reason and progress rather than this wild stuff or an anti-science attitude, but for republican voters that get into this seriously, they should at least understand that mormons like Mitt are no more christian than christians are jews. Each belief system "added on" in fundamental ways.

    December 4, 2007 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  8. J. Price, Jackson Hole, WY.

    The Huckster won't answer the Mormon question, not because "I’m just not going to go around evaluating other people’s doctrine and faiths, that is absolutely not a role for a president to engage in,”

    He has done so in public already – Fox News, Aug. 1, 2007, on the tussle with Brownback – "I consider Sam Brownback a Christian brother and know that he feels likewise toward me," he said. "Like Senator Brownback, several key members of my staff are Roman Catholic. As believers, we don't have time to fight each other."

    He won't answer the question because it will reveal the ugly religious bigotry he subscribes to. The Southern Baptist Convention, Huck the preacher's religion, considers Mormons strictly and adamantly "non-Christian," as if they have the authority to determine who is and who is not.

    Huck has some very interesting dark sides, (read what the Arkansas media has to say of him) masked by his "nice, likeable, compassionate" front.

    I hate labeling people, even politicians, but The Huckster is a label well and truly earned.

    December 4, 2007 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  9. Peter, Houston, TX

    I am a Democrat and an Obama/Edwards supporter. But if Hillary is the Democratic nominee, I will gladly throw my support behind Huckabee.

    December 4, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  10. John Allen, Boston MA

    Too bad The Huckster is not being truthful in this interview. In fact, Huckabee IS taking advantage of anti-Mormonism by trying to brand himself as "The Christian Candidate." It's obvious that he's trying to contrast himself with Romney, implying that Romney is the non-Christian candidate. By doing this, he hopes to piggyback on the widespread evangelical belief that Mormons are not Christian. This kind of politicking is particularly disgusting...tearing town another's faith to achieve your political ambitions. It shows Huckabee is (a) not as Christian in his behavior as he says he is, and (b) is just another politican...speaking out of both sides of his mouth.

    December 4, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  11. Independant/from Iowa/Darrel

    Cool answer Mike Huckabee. If the mormans are a cult (which I don't Know)
    that theres to be. We have this Jeff guy in jail for his rapeing of young girls by him self and others in his cult. However Mitt Romney is not that sort of person. He has one wife and I think intends to stay that way. (much better morals than Rudy)
    Bottom line is Huckabee is going to represent me the way I want to be represented. For now Huck is the MAN
    He show Common Sense!!

    December 4, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  12. Laura, Manchester NH

    I am a registered Independent, but I tend to lean strongly toward the Democrats in any election. I am also what those among the faithful would consider a non-Christian. That being said, Huckabee has earned some of my respect with his responses to these questions. I would most likely not vote for him, regardless, but I admire him for not taking the easy road and scoring some cheap-and-easy political points.

    December 4, 2007 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  13. L, NY

    Good for you Mike; your wisdom is one of the things that will help you when you win the election.

    December 4, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  14. I. Dern (Fairfax, Va)

    Huckabee's thoughts on Mormonism is a non-issue. Romney's relationship to the church and how his status as an LDS bishop might effect his presidential choices THAT IS A HUGE ISSUE

    December 4, 2007 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  15. AJ, IC, IA

    This guy is as dirty as the muddy banks of the Mississippi. Look into his record. Hickl-libby will run out of jokes soon and won't be the cute little gopher people see now. Do we really want to vote for two liberals in Nov '08? Please tell me no!

    December 4, 2007 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  16. Zac, Atlanta, GA

    Whats this? Decency from a Republican?

    December 4, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  17. Michael Columbus, IN

    Good for Huckabee. What a breath of fresh air. I'm certainly no conservative, but how nice is it to hear and see someone have respect and stick the issues.

    Hey Huck...if Hillary's the nominee, I'll leave the Dem party for you. Let's get the Fair Tax going.

    December 4, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  18. K Wilkinson MG TX

    “We ought to be talking about education and health care and energy independence and all these other things,” said Huckabee. “And for me to discuss anybody’s faith, whether it’s Mitt Romney’s or John McCain’s or Rudy Giuliani’s or Hillary Clinton’s – other than to say I want to have great respect for anyone else’s belief system – it’s theirs to explain, not mine.”

    He is absolutely right! yet the people who follow him expect just that! They expect Romney to explain his relegion to their satisfaction. When it comes to Romney its ALL about relegion. What a bunch of hypocrits, and they call themselves Christians!

    December 4, 2007 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  19. David Reke, Troy Ohio

    This is an interesting response. Romney's Mormonism will definitely hurt him to some unknown degree. No doubt Huckabee as a Conservative Baptist Preacher believes Mormonism is not Christian, as do most Christians, but it would be wrong to make Romney's religion a campaign issue. Some one's religion shouldn't be used against them.

    December 4, 2007 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  20. Les MacKallen, Portland, OR

    He won't comment because he doesn't want to ruin his image as the innocent preacher.

    December 4, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  21. aaron Smithsburg, Maryland

    Jesus, Salamanders, and Indians, oh my!!! No more of a stretch than intelligent design, I suppose. Kucinich and his flying saucers are looking more believable by the minute.

    December 4, 2007 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  22. Ben, St. Louis

    About time someone said something about it. Now maybe the media will get a clue and realize we're not voting for a new pope or spiritual guide... we're voting for a president.

    December 5, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  23. Carson Minneapolis MN

    It's truly amazing to me that Mike Huckabee and the rest of the freaks in illegalize-abortion camp can tell a woman what she can and can't do with her body, can oppress and deny civil rights to the GLBT community but they will not question someone because they are a Mormon. That's inappropriate. If by some fluke this man is elected President (or even if he just gets the nomination), it will only serve to solidify my opinion that Republican party has been completely hijacked by religious facists that have a lot of money and absolutely nothing better to do with their pathetic lives than attempt to legislate their own irrational breed of morality. Why not just say what's on your mind Mike. Tell everybody that Mitt Romney is going to hell along with everyone else on this planet who does not adhere to your own particular brand of religious zealotry.

    December 5, 2007 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  24. Dale Davis, Glendora, California

    Well. Duh. I don't think Huckabee has to say anything about Mormons. His supporters will do that for him. Huckabee wouldn't go there, of course. That would certify him as a definate bigot. But then, one can only wonder what gets said by the Huckabee Camp behind closed doors.
    (By the way, I wonder if Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention would give equal advice to Huckabee to address the possibility of suspicious Mormons in the Utah area, that he also will not be running to become their Pastor In Chief, the same way he advises Romney to do in the South.)

    December 5, 2007 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  25. jw, canadian,ok

    That's ok Huck, you don't have to tell me what you think of a Mormon, IF your're a true Southern Baptist, one only has to attend a Baptist church service and listen to the preacher rail against Mormons, Catholics, Muslim and every other religion under the sun.

    December 5, 2007 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
1 2 3