November 26th, 2007
07:19 AM ET
15 years ago

Huckabee talks Jesus, not politics

Watch part of Mike Huckabee's sermon at Gateway Baptist Church in Irmo, South Carolina.

FOUNTAIN INN, South Carolina (CNN) - Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee stepped into a familiar role on Sunday morning: that of Baptist minister.

Huckabee, who was a minister before he served two and a half terms as governor as Arkansas, took to the stage for about half an hour at two Baptist churches in South Carolina and told the congregations: "I am here today to talk about Jesus and not to talk about me."

"I always try to remind people that there is a place for politics, but when I come to church, it's to worship," he said at Gateway Baptist Church in Irmo, where he was mistakenly introduced as "Governor Hucklebee."

In Irmo and at First Baptist Church in Fountain Inn, Huckabee weaved jokes and anecdotes from his life in Arkansas into his sermons while also demonstrating a deep familiarity with the New Testament, quoting passages from memory.

"God is still looking for good soldiers, good soldiers for Christ," he told the congregation in Irmo. "Every single person here is a soldier that God needs in his army. He is just waiting on us to say here am I, send me."

Huckabee said he has been confronted by people unsure about his transition from faith to politics.

"If you've been a pastor as I have and then you run for office, there are some people who are incredibly uncomfortable with all of that," he said, but joked that they were "undecided voters."

In his second sermon of the morning, Huckabee urged the audience into avoid arrogance and selfishness.

"Any time we ever look down on somebody for whatever reason, that's the sin," he said. "What we look down on them for is not nearly as sinful a behavior as our act of looking down, somehow thinking that our standard of behavior was superior to theirs and not understanding that neither our nor their standard of behavior matches up to His, because His is the only behavior that ever really hit it right on the mark.

"The only good thing about any of us is the God in us, not the us," Huckabee said.

After the later service ended in Fountain Inn, Huckabee and his wife Janet lingered for an hour shaking hands with dozens of church-goers who had lined up to meet them, many of whom told CNN they were already supporting Huckabee's presidential bid.

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Faith • Mike Huckabee • South Carolina
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Audrey

    This is a scary guy, probably the only one scarier than Bush. A 'Soldier' for Christ?! Letting go of relationships? What in the world is this guy talking about? One thing I can't stand about evangelical christians (not capitalized on purpose) is their holier-than-thou, exclusive, militaristic and violent rhetoric. And some of the comments on this site are truly frightening to a normal, sane individual. 'Monkey' design (of course meant to put down scientists (like myself with a BS in Molecular Biology), 'Liberal Protestants' bringing down the end of the world??

    I knew other people that talked like this- they shot at me when I was in Iraq.

    The christian right is neither. You wanna quote the founding fathers? How about these apples...

    The clergy, by getting themselves established by law and ingrafted into the machine of government, have been a very formidable engine against the civil and religious rights of man. (Thomas Jefferson, as quoted by Saul K. Padover in Thomas Jefferson on Democracy, New York, 1946, p. 165, according to Albert Menendez and Edd Doerr, compilers, The Great Quotations on Religious Liberty, Long Beach, CA: Centerline Press, 1991, p. 48.)

    I do not find in the superstition of christianity any redeemable feature- Abraham Lincoln

    He [Jefferson] rejoiced with John Adams when the Congregational church was finally disestablished in Connecticut in 1818; welcoming "the resurrection of Connecticut to light and liberty, Jefferson congratulated Adams "that this den of priesthood is at length broken up, and that a protestant popedom is no longer to disgrace American history and character."

    And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a Virgin Mary, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.... But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away [with] all this artificial scaffolding. (Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, 11 April 1823, as quoted by E. S. Gaustad, "Religion," in Merrill D. Peterson, ed., Thomas Jefferson: A Reference Biography, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1986, p. 287.)

    Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprize [sic], every expanded prospect. (James Madison, in a letter to William Bradford, April 1, 1774, as quoted by Edwin S. Gaustad,

    [on Washington's first inaugural speech in April 1789] . .. That he was not just striking a popular attitude as a politician is revealed by the absence of of the usual Christian terms: he did not mention Christ or even use the word "God." Following the phraseology of the philosophical Deism he professed, he referred to "the invisible hand which conducts the affairs of men," to "the benign parent of the human race." (James Thomas Flexner, George Washington and the New Nation [1783-1793], Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1970, p. 184.)

    Washington's religious belief was that of the enlightenment: deism. He practically never used the word "God," preferring the more impersonal word "Providence." How little he visualized Providence in personal form is shown by the fact that he interchangeably applied to that force all three possible pronouns: he, she, and it. (James Thomas Flexner, George Washington: Anguish and Farewell [1793-1799], Boston

    So get of all your high horses, all you rewriters of history. There is not a SINGLE reference to god in the Constitution.
    I am an American. I will NEVER vote for someone who doesn't acknowledge the worth and dignity of all Americans AND their religions, whether they be christians, atheists, buddhist, jews, muslims, what have you. I, for one, will not be voting for the installment of the 'army of Christ' at the next election.

    For everyone out there, this guy should make you very afraid.

    I was deployed to a theocracy. Check it out. all you need to do is walk down the nearest army recruiter.

    Judgemental, exclusionist, militaristic...not the typical words I would use to describe the Great Jesus Christ. If the end times are indeed coming, you religious zeolots of all faiths will bring it on yourselves, for turning away from reason, inclusion, enlightenment and understanding.
    Get your head out of the sand. Worship your God not by inflammatory rhetoric but by encouraging freedom and respect for all humanity. That means all humanity, not just when everyone becomes a christian. Persoally, I believe in the True Christ. The 'WIMPY' Christ, as put by one cruel commentor. The one who wouldn't fight for himself, who loved both his neighbors and his enemies, who walked with prostitutes and destitutes.
    Sheesh, you people sound like a bunch of raving islamic fundamentalists. you haven't started strapping bombs to yourselves yet but that's probably coming in the not too distant future.

    January 8, 2008 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
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