January 13th, 2008
05:12 PM ET
1 year ago

Huckabee spends Sunday behind the pulpit

Huckabee at a Michigan church Sunday.

Huckabee at a Michigan church Sunday.

(CNN) – As evangelicals mobilize for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor is bristling at suggestions his political success in South Carolina depends on people of faith.

"I don't think it’s just evangelicals. I think there is a strong support for me among evangelicals - at least I hope so - but I think there is also a strong support for me for people who want immigration to be addressed," he said Sunday, a day in which he addressed three church services in two states.

But he didn’t deny the potential political influence of the state’s ministers. Does he hope they’ll mobilize on his behalf? "Well, I just hope they don't mobilize against me, that's the first thing. Kind of like the Hippocratic oath, first do no harm,” he told reporters.

“The second thing, I mean, we would love for pastors... they can't mobilize, for example, from the pulpit, say ‘everybody, the bus leaves the church 8 a.m. on Saturday,’” he added. “It's a matter of urging them to use the influence they have to get their people out to vote. And I hope they will. Why wouldn't they?”

Huckabee has garnered overwhelming support from evangelicals, and his strongest showings in recent surveys have come in states with significant Christian conservative populations.

The former governor said he felt confident in South Carolina. “We really want to win here," he told reporters, before heading off to campaign events in Michigan. "To say we would be content with fourth place is not true, we wouldn't be, we want to win." But he also said that winning is not vital, as long as he continues to place at the top of the field.

The ordained Baptist minister had looked at home behind the pulpit at First Baptist Church North Spartanburg early Sunday, as he discussed his faith in God and spoke in detail about heaven. "You may be surprised the people you see in heaven, but they might be surprised to see you there as well," said Huckabee.

As Huckabee spoke, grassroots organizers across Michigan planned an ambitious day of evangelical outreach in advance of Tuesday’s primary, including phone trees by attendees of the state’s biggest churches and attention-grabbing events in church parking lots.

Evangelicals may make up as much as 40 percent of GOP primary voters in that state, according to a recent Detroit News poll. Huckabee is running behind Mitt Romney and John McCain there in surveys released this weekend.

Related video: Huckabee reprises preacher role

–CNN's Trisha Henry, Wes Little and Rebecca Sinderbrand


Filed under: Michigan • Mike Huckabee • South Carolina
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. chicken

    HUCKABEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 14, 2008 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Bob Sadler

    Shame on Clinton and Obama, too! Let worshipers worship God, not the presidential candidates, who most think they are God.

    January 14, 2008 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  3. David, Encinitas, CA

    Something people are tending to forget: The next president will appoint supreme court justices who will change the makeup of the bench and influence it strongly for the next several decades. If you really want your kids to be taught creation alongside evolution, go ahead and vote for this guy! While most other developed countries with restrictive laws on abortion are loosening them (e.g. Portugal), Roe v Wade will likely get overturned – and regardless of how you feel about the issue, it should NOT be up to the federal government! This election is far more important than most people realize. Wake up, folks, we need a leader, not a preacher.

    January 14, 2008 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Michelle, AL

    Guiliani was in church yesterday also in Miami asking for their prayers. Obama and Clinton were in church yesterday quoting the Bible and speaking. So why is this article leaving that out and only focusing on Huckabee, trying to pit people against him as a religious fanatic. I hate only getting part of the story.

    January 14, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  5. leppohr

    Clear Conservative choice...Fred Thompson.....accept no substitution for the real thing!

    January 14, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. Z, St. Louis

    Hucklberry (i use that intentionally as an insult this bozo) is just a sleazy
    salesman..It doesn't matter if he's selling used guitars or his fairy tale
    ghost in the sky..Thats all he is..Most of his life he's been a leech on society,
    like every other religious con man.He's made his money off the work of other people. Preachers don't "produce" anything, they just take money from other people. They beg and plead on a stage for money for the "church". But these
    people are really begging for money for themselves. The people who attend these
    side shows are paying the bills for the people on stage to put on a show for them.
    It doesnt matter what religion it is..Huckleberry is a huckster, a showman, a fraud,
    a a con man,a second story man, and any other phrase you'd like to stick to
    someone selling fairy tales for gold..I don't want some clown like this trying
    to dictate my life, via the government, based on his beliefs. He needs to go back
    to the big piney woods and sell it to the 7 toed hicks that will belive this kind of gibberish..

    ** Vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE ** Political parties are corrupt and useless..

    January 14, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  7. danielle

    Excuse me....but the last time I checked its not the place for pastors to preach politics from behind the pulpit, but religion.

    January 14, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. Read a book

    It's so interesting to read that people get their morals from Christianity. As if people wouldn't steal or kill each other without the bible telling them not to do that. I'd say one would be a very rotten person if the only reason one doesn't kill or steal is because they are afraid of what will happen to them in the "after life".

    I have no problem with people who want to gather in churches and profess their faith in a god…..much like I have no problem with people talking about vampires or leprechauns or unicorns. However, I do have a problem when those people leave the churches and begin to push their beliefs onto other people and attempt to include their beliefs in the laws and policies of my country.

    The people who support Huckabee are the same who support the teaching of creation science and intelligent design in schools. They are the same who want to overturn Rowe Vs. Wade, who want to prevent our children from learning about safe sex, who think homosexuality is a sin and who fear anything outside of their narrow realm of understanding.

    I cannot in good conscience allow this country to be further degredated by such and anachronistic and unreasonable way of thinking. The evangelical populous is truly behind the times and as intolerant as they come. Furthermore, they do nothing to abolish their ignorance and continue to revel in the indoctrination they have received. Is it any wonder that this way of thinking has the highest occurances in the poor and undereducated communities?

    Huckabee is a step backwards. His supporters will watch this country march on without them. They can only resist truth and reason for so long before the very fire feeding their myths is extinguished forever.

    January 14, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  9. Joy Greer, SC

    "No man can serve two masters. Either he will cleave to the one and forsake the other..." I wonder who Huckabee will forsake God or country? Either answer is wrong.

    January 14, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Chris, jacksonville

    I do not trust Hackabee in the slightest.

    Isn't it sad that out of nearly 300 million citizens these candidates are the best we can do?

    From Jeferson, Hamilton and Adams to these 2 bit fools. My have our standards slipped.

    January 14, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  11. Sherry

    The question is: Why can't Mike talk about his faith in Church? If not, should he talk about his faith on the street? He didn't talk about politics in that Church. Nobody says president candidates are not allowed to practice their faith during their campaign period. As long as he didn't talk politics in Churches, he is keeping his promise that he won't mix religion with politics!

    Go Mike!!!

    January 14, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Greg, OH

    you, sir, are at the pulpit. this church should lose tax-exempt status. and, Huckleberry, are you still so dumb to think that it's anyone but the evangelicals that keep you afloat. that's your majority pal. I don't know any moderates that even mention your name. you need to get a clue. but then it looks like you need to get a clue about many things.

    January 14, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Schnarfe

    @ Chris from Middletown, CT:

    Thank you for speaking the truth! If in fact 70% of Americans are "moderates" in that they are socially liberal, fiscally conservative (i.e. libertatian-leaning), then Huckabee is in fact utterly unelectebale, being the exact opposite of that (as he is socially conservative, fiscally liberal)! I am not sure the percentage of socially liberal, fiscally conservative citizens is as high as 70%, but I do believe them to be the majority (with doctrinaire left-liberals and hard right conservatives minorities). One thing is for sure, while libertarian-leaning centrists may be the majority, 70% of Americans ARE currently opposed to the disasterous war in Iraq.

    Having said that, I think you are on the right track but are dead wrong on Giuliani. Rudy is quite fiscally conservative, but calling him a social liberal is a huge stretch. Sure he is pro-choice and sides with the Democrats on other social issues, but overall, Rudy is a police-state authoritarian. And he is pro-war! Rudy Giuliani is the most hawkish top-tier Republican besides John McCain, and unless you are one of the 30% of people left in favor of the war in Iraq, you would not vote for him. I am thankful you mentioned Ron Paul, but you dismissed him as a Libertarian! Thanks for demonstrating that you know not what a Libertarian is. Ron Paul served 20 years as a REPUBLICAN and ran for Texas Senate as a REPUBLICAN. He only ran for president as a Libertarian in 1988 when George Herbert Walker Bush, the first modern neoconservative Republican, ran on the GOP ticket. Ron Paul is not a doctrinaire Libertarian, but even so, by your own admission 70% of Americans are moderately libertarian!

    Here is to hoping that Ron Paul is the ONLY choice for the Republicans and that Rudy Giuliani is a fascist hack with no experience in national politics. At least Obama got elected Senator, even if he has yet to complete a single term. What is Rudy's claim? 9-11! Not to mention, Giuliani would easily lose, even if he is more electable than Huckabee, Thompson, or Romney.

    January 14, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  14. SC_GOP

    Huckabee has been a guest speaker from time to time, EVEN BEFORE HE STARTED THE CAMPAIGN. He came to Easley SC about two years ago and gave a sermon at a church. Look folks, if a sportsman who plays golf happens to be running for president and go for a golf on Sunday, nobody would have complained. So why then, a Christian, who happens to be running for president, comes to worship on Sunday?

    McCain cannot be GOP nomination because he is to left-leaning to the extend that Joe Liberman endorsed him. He has his own records for people to look at.

    Mitt Romney is the same. He changes his positions whenever it suits his political climate. He will be a very good weatherman, though.

    Comparing him with Jimmy Carter is ridiculous. Carter left a state with deficit; Huckabee left AR with surplus. Carter loves big government; Huckabee builds efficient government. Carter loves abortion; Huckabee cares about human lives (both before and after birth). Fair Tax is the best thing to happen for EVERYONE. If you spend wisely, you will be fine. Plus EVERYONE get tax rebates. What a day to come when the government has to do the tax (and give me back money) so I can enjoy my weekends before April 15.

    I don't need to go further.

    January 14, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  15. Solomon

    I'm convinced 75% of people have no idea what Separation of Church and State actually means.

    January 14, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. Bigv

    So what if he is using his faith to run for President. If you look back thru out our History we have had men of great faith. To many now are, or seem ashamed to say they believe in God. And that there faith is what drive's them.
    The bottom line...is to go and look at what he stands for on issue's..
    One thing is I can trust a man of faith much better than person with out it.
    We have been a blessed country. Lets not forget who has played a role in blessing us...GOD.
    Now if you have trouble believing that.....then you must be the same people that believe you ancestors came from Ape's...

    January 14, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. Gary, Detroit, Mich.

    Let the illegals stay in the U.S. We'll deport the bible thumpers south of the border instead !

    January 14, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Michelle, AL

    By the way, this article also leaves out the fact that Huckabee did not speak about anything political. He was essentially a guest preacher in this church. I would suggest that everyone who reads this article do their research before taking everything CNN has to say as gospel (no pun intended.) They are leaving out 75% of the story here. As I mentioned earlier, look up where Giuliani, Clinton, and Obama were yesterday morning.

    January 14, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. CD

    Wayne, Greenville TX January 14, 2008 8:56 am ET

    What part of "separation of church of state" does Mike Huckabee not understand???

    He probably understands that "separation of church and state" doesn't exist in the Constitution. Please, be like Dennis Kucinich and pull out a pocket Constitution. You will not find "separation of church and state" there. Even my liberal law professors had to admit to that. I am not a supporter of Huckabee, but he doesn't have to understand "separation of church and state".

    If people want to argue the Constitution please take a look at the only candidate who will bring up the Constitution–Ron Paul.

    January 14, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Jerad

    Michelle, AL –

    You asked why people are focusing on Huckabee at the pulpit and none of the other candidates. CNN didn't run this story to try and make Huckabee look bad, they ran it to try to make him look good. They want the evangelicals out in droves tomorrow to get Huckabee the nomination. CNN wants Huckabee to run against Clinton or Obama in November because he doesn't stand a chance against either one of them. They will do anything to make sure the Dems. get the Whitehouse back. I bet the moderator doesn't have the guts to put this on the blog. Come on moderator, prove me wrong!

    January 14, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. Chris, TX

    How is it that a church should lost its tax-exempt status because they have a pastor speak who is also running for president? I believe most of those commenting here are simply showing their colors as people who hate Christianity or any form of religion at all. Every candidate has done this, so I'm not sure how Huckabee is being singled out here. Among them all, he's the one who has the best reason to be behind the pulpit on Sunday since he's an ordained minister. I also don't see how this is hypocritical.

    January 14, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. Michelle, AL

    Hillary Clinton said she was proud of Obama following her attendance at a service at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Spartanburg, SC.

    Rudy Giuliani asked the congregation of El Rey nondenominational church in Miami for their prayers after he quoted from the book of Joshua in the Bible.

    Obama will play a special part in the service next week at Dr. Martin Luther King's Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

    You want to talk about not mixing religion and politics? Or Obama not playing the race card?

    January 14, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  23. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    Go Huckabee, keep on keeping on. We need a change, a new drection for America

    January 14, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  24. Jason

    I love people who forget that the 'separation of church and state' clause was originally designed to keep the state out of the church, not the other way around.

    January 14, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. AJ, Iowa City, IA

    what a joke! Hick-a-bee

    January 14, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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