December 5th, 2007
07:00 AM ET
10 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. J. Vitt, Burbank, SD

    Good for you, Huckabee!!

    December 5, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  2. Lars, DC

    More proof that Huckabee's rise is based on religous intolerance and ignorance. No answer meant, he does not believe Mormons are Christian. Can such a bigot really be a serious candidate?

    December 5, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  3. Terry, Lakeland, FL

    Good, it's about time someone took the high ground!!

    December 5, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  4. roger, conway sc

    This nation is not ready for a Baptist minister to be president, first of all the only happy citizens will be the religious right who will have someone to spit out there messages, the rest of us will feel like we are living in Saudia Arabia or elsewhere in a nation of Islam...there is nothing wrong with a christian being a president but not a minister there needs to be a separation between the church & state...and all of our concerns need to be considered not just the religious right...I do not feel Huckabee can be fair in considering anything that he does not believe is good for his religion or faith.

    December 5, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  5. john,san marcos, tx

    Until they start grilling Reid over his mormon beliefs or any other lib leaning politician, I dont see why any GOP candidate should be forced to talk about it. No bias at all in the media.

    December 5, 2007 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. Adam, Pittsburgh, PA

    It's amazing how much I like Huck, given how horrifying his policy stances are.

    December 5, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. J Houston, TX

    Huck has torn apart Romney. His stance won't last though...I'm afraid Rudy is now a shoe-in.

    December 5, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. Joe Blackford, Henderson, Nevada

    Did Huckabee intend to use the very specific phrase "doctrine and faiths" knowing that one of the books used by Mormon's is the "Book of Doctrine and Covenants"?

    And LDS is NOT Christianity! The Mormon church's current President, Prophet, Seer and Revelator Gordon B. Hinckley said in 1998 that "The traditional Christ of whom they [people outside the church] speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. He together with his father, appeared to the boy Joseph Smith in the year 1820, and when Joseph left the grove that day, he knew more of the nature of God than all the learned ministers of the gospel of the ages." Joseph Smith later wrote the Book of Mormon. LDS teaches that Jesus is the brother of Satan.

    December 5, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  9. Bryan, Sacramento, CA

    I think Huckabee is taking the high road here and I applaud it. On the other hand, I'm sure he understands good and well that there are others who are making these religious attacks for him.

    The furor with which anti-Mormon sentiment has spewed out in these political columns (and more especially in the commentary), and in the push-polls, betrays a kind of feverish frenzy of the part of the anti-Mormons to hurt not just Mitt Romney but all Mormons. One has to wonder why. Certainly they believe they are right and therefore the Mormons must be wrong. But then, of course the Mormons must also believe in their own position, and yet the hate only seems to flow in one direction.

    What emerges is that we have two groups that both claim to be followers of Christ. One is slavering and chomping at the bit to denigrate, degrade, defame, and discredit the other. The other tries to defend itself where it can, but its members are often forced to answer simply that this is their belief, that they feel that God has witnessed to them of its truth. And this answer is simply sneered at. The question of who, if any, of these groups is Christian becomes as ironic as it is trivial.

    This isn't just religious discrimination. That would be not hiring someone or perhaps not voting for someone on account of their religious beliefs (though the latter of course is not illegal and shouldn't be). No, this is simply hate and the highest order of religious intolerance. It's not enough to simply exclude. They feel the need to pour their acid down the throat of every Mormon, to punish them for their beliefs.

    The trouble Mitt's been getting on account of all this just reveals the tip of an iceberg that's been floating along in this country for 175 years.

    December 5, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Frustrated Mormon, Alabama

    You people who call yourselves Christians according to your own definition, but who do not accord to others the same right (i.e. Mormons), are a particularly frustrating bunch. You have come to consider protestantism the "orthodox" Christian doctrine. You have a short historical memory. Protestantism, as its name suggests, was established through a beak with other doctrines that were at the time considered the "orthodox" Christian faith. Jesus himself established a doctrine which at the time ran completely counter to the "orthodox" religion of his society. What you are trying to do through this charge that Mormonism runs against orthodoxy is to paint Mormonism as strange, bizarre, and therefore illegitimate. In each of the other breaks from orthodoxy I mention above, that same critique would have been leveled against the new doctrine, including your own protestantism. And what is it about Mormonism that is so much stranger, objectively, than orthodox Christianity? Is it objectively more strange to believe in a Garden of Eden, or to believe that the Garden of Eden was located in Missouri? I pick this example only because its been in the news recently. If the beliefs of "orthodox" protestants were examined by an atheist, they would appear no less objectively strange than does the doctrine of the LDS church. Indeed, in some ways it would appear more strange. Many "orthodox" protestant Christians believe in the literal interpretation of the Old Testament, and some have even established museums to try to reconcile the belief in the 6 day creation of the earth with scientific findings. Mormons do not believe doctrinally in the 6 day creation of the earth, and so our views are more in line with scientific findings. Which is the more strange by this accounting? Mormonism is Christianity and would be judged so by any fair minded person. Our belief is in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Savior, and the Holy Ghost as they are testified of in the Bible. The Book of Mormon does not change any doctrines of the Bible, it simply adds another witness of them. I am tired of people telling me that we are not Christians.

    December 5, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. Dr. Bill Conklin Lake Worth, FL

    The reason Huckabee won't talk about Mitt's religion is he CAN'T. IF he does it honestly, he will have to say he and the "right" wing christians believe Mormonism is a cult and they are all doomed to hell...These are the real "neo-cons" that highjacked the GOP...thank "whatever" for some candidates that bring back a voice of reason and tolerance to our party. Huckabee scares me. Religious nut, LOTS of tax raises, wants to send kids of illegals to college? NO WAY!

    December 5, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    Mormonism is polytheistic,
    Posted By steve mayrson, henderson, nv : December 4, 2007 7:58 pm

    Uhh, wrong!
    And to belabor the obvious, any religion that claims Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior is a Christian religion. Inform yourself moron.

    December 5, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  13. Sandra, Elk Grove, CA

    First of all, those who think Mormonism is a cult or even non-christian are sadly and wholly ignorant on the subject and should keep their opinions to themselves until they have a better understanding of what they're talking about. We should all applaud Huckabee for doing just that. He is completely correct to let politics be the topic of public interest instead of slinging misinformation about other faiths around.

    December 5, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Jim, NY, NY

    Yeah, he better not. Not like his religion is spot on great. SB has more holes in it than swiss cheese. So keep your opinion to yourself if you want to be the leader of a country that is so diverse.

    December 5, 2007 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  15. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    Mormonism is polytheistic,

    Posted By steve mayrson, henderson, nv : December 4, 2007 7:58 pm

    Uhh, wrong!
    And to belabor the obvious, any religion that claims Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior is a Christian religion. You're sitting at a computer, surely you've heard of Google. Inform yourself before posting such idiocies, moron.

    December 5, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. Heather, Chicago IL

    Yeah right. The only people Huck has to thank for his "surge" in the polls are CNN, FOX News, and the polling companies.

    And i think it was awful telling that Mr. Huckabee didnt jump at the chance to call out Mr. Romney at the CC/Youtube debate when he flat out LIED and said he believed the bible that the kid was holding and asked specifically about. Mormons have their own bible – its completely different. Romney nearly peed his pants out of fright...and then Mike let him get away with it. Hmmmm. Looks like someone is still trolling for that VP nomination.

    December 5, 2007 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. Carrie, Chattanooga, TN

    Let's see . . .
    Guiliani lies and is inconsistent.
    McCain isn't an expert in education, doesn't really know how to approach the subjet, and whole-heartedly supports a war over 70% of Americans are against.
    Huckabee doesn't believe that faith and politics mix and Arkansas has rising unemployment.
    Romney belongs to a cult and can't hold a position to save his life.
    Thompson is in it for the cameras.
    That leaves Tancredo and Paul. . . .
    Personally, I didn't see how the candidates in the last debate were trying to "out-Tancredo, Tancredo". I haven't heard anything all that great come out of his mouth.
    So, that just leaves Ron Paul. The OB/GYN with principles that he isn't afraid to voice and are displayed in his 10-term Congressional voting record. He's consistent, outspoken, and has a reputation that lobbyists know to avoid. Oh, and he was the first one to say "The IRS needs to be abolished". He was saying it long before the recent rising popularity of Huckabee. Goodness gracious, people, the Republican race is really a no-brainer. You are making it far more difficult that it needs to be.

    December 5, 2007 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  18. Terry, Lakeland, FL

    Mormonism is polytheistic, a belief in more than one God again someone showing the total lack of knowledge. How about you go get some facts before you spew more falsehoods

    December 5, 2007 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. Terry, Lakeland, FL

    Hey I thought America was a land built on freedom, freedom to have whatever religios beliefs you want? The fact that there are people who are saying someone isn't good enough to be pres basied on the fact they do not beleive the same things they do is sad. After reading this and other posts over the last few days, I'm sad to say theer are a lot of people who do not need to be anywhere near the government, or pretty soon we'll have a state religion and we'll be breaking out the fires again.

    December 5, 2007 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  20. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    The only smart thing this man has said lately.

    December 5, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  21. concerned voter, Lexington KY

    Mormons are taught to not drink alcohol, swear, use tobacco in any form, drink coffee or tea, break their vows of chastity, say daily personal and family prayers, help others of any faith via service projects or donations, read the Bible (and yes the Book of Mormon too) and to actively worship in church services and serve in unpaid clergy positions. They have a considerably longer life expectancy than average Americans. The name of their church is The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints. Those things deserve distrust?

    December 5, 2007 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. Matt Baker, Chanute Ks

    Answer the freaking question HUCK!

    AMERICANS, well myself anyways, would love to know what you think of the MORMON faith! ITS NOT just cuz your running for President that you shouldnt answer this question, you dont answer it because you well know that the back lash would Kill your campaign!

    maybe you should read some letters from x-mormons and give them a Presidential Pardon, or maybe not even read the letters!

    December 5, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Frank, San Diego

    This Romney-Huckabee contest shows one of the Republican Party's major weaknesses. When you build religious commitments into a political platform, you set off a debate that divides your party internally and isolates it from the rest of the electorate.

    A theocratic political party is inherently unstable. And it is always in danger of nominating a candidate whose thinking is so dominated by his religious convictions that he's incapable of critical thinking. Remind you of anybody?

    But this is exactly what the Republican base seems to want. I hope they're happy now that they have it.

    December 5, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. Rich, Des Moines, IOWA

    Why would Huck actually hold that there should be (as guaranteed under the constitution) no religious test for the executive office? This is his only card.

    He vastly pails when you stack him up to any other candidate on the GOP ticket. The only thing he has is a bunch of fellow church members that want another election based on only religion and not qualifications.

    "we ought to be talking about education, health care, etc" then why is the only thing you speak of and put in ads about "Christian leader", Baptist Minister, and avoid the real issues with some stupid joke?????

    December 5, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. James, Houston Tx

    Mormonism is the least of Romney's issues. He represents one of the most liberal states in the country and is the biggest flip flop of the campaign. so far he has changed his stance on abortion, gay marriage, taxes, guns, etc. I think his liberalism is a larger concern than his Mormonism. But I agree with the plan not to exploit his religious belief

    December 5, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
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