November 26th, 2007
07:19 AM ET
13 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. Ben, Odessa, TX

    This is even more frightening that when Bush prayed to Jesus to help him govern the country. Did Jesus tell him to go ahead and kill thousands of Iraqi children in that "conversation"? What about the Christian song "Jesus Loves the Little Children?" I guess that excludes little brown ones in the Middle East. Red, yellow, black, white.. oops... no brown? Bush probably took that as his opening to bomb the hell out of those innocent little kids. Its probably easy to sleep at night when you are a president without a soul.

    November 26, 2007 05:28 am at 5:28 am |
  2. Maeve

    It takes a real stretch of the imagination to think Huckabee will win the republican nomination, much less win the presidency. In addition, he is neither serving in any other political office now, nor running for any other political office.

    As such, what he says from behind a pulpit should be taken for just what it is: sermonizing.

    Shrug and yawn.

    The only striking thing about his statements is that they sound vaguely reminiscent of Poppa Bush's "thousand points of light" call to action.

    Shrug and yawn again.

    November 26, 2007 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  3. Jim, Columbus, GA

    U DA MAN Huckee!!

    Don't flip flop like the Defeatocrat party and continue to stand by your convictions!

    Scoff all you want naysayers - But here is an undinable Truth ...

    One day everybody will get know if their choice was right – be it the athiest nothing, the moon idol "Allah", or Jesus –

    I'm betting my soul on Jesus Christ –

    You "intels" need to think about that – eternity is a long time to be wrong

    Pick Liberman as your VP and you'll smoke em!

    November 26, 2007 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  4. D. Driskill, Little Rock, Arkansas

    As an Arkansan all I can say is we thank god everyday since he left the office of governor. Check his record carfully I urge all of you he is the most Bias Prejudical Devisive Governor we ever had.

    November 26, 2007 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  5. Jack, Fort Myers, FL

    I guess because he was once ordained–that makes him not only endorsed by Chuck Norris, and the wrestler...but God as well.

    November 26, 2007 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  6. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    He needs to go back to Ark., get out of politics and go back to what he does best – spouting hate, bigotry and the other "Chrisitian" values. This type of person has no buiness in government.

    November 26, 2007 07:59 am at 7:59 am |


    November 26, 2007 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  8. C. MacLean, Raleigh, NC

    Perhaps he isn't as familiar with the New Testament as he claims – whatever happened to "render unto Caeser what is Caeser's..."?

    We have separation of church and state in this country for a reason. If Huckabee, or any of the rest of the candidates, want to speak in church, or synagogue, or under a full moon, fine, but the microphones and cameras don't belong.

    Personal religious beliefs are just that: personal. Attempts to show that one is a "good christian" or a "good" anything are about pandering, not character, and certainly not about appropriate governing.

    Jesus is not running for president.

    November 26, 2007 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  9. Jim in Orlando, FL

    So Huckabee used to be a salesman for a book that advocated genocide, slavery and oppression of women, and he still very much believes in the book. That's not a plus in my book.

    Posted By Brian, Somerset, NJ : November 25, 2007 9:04 pm

    How Absurd !! But assuming it is as you say Brian, and Huckabee is an advocate for such things, then poor you !! You are compelled to live in a country founded by those who were agents for such mayhem ! They aren't called "cross"hairs for nothing, huh ? Eejit.

    November 26, 2007 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  10. Jason Vaughn, Oklahoma OK

    All these insenitve comments regarding Huckabee's role as a minister illuminates just how intolerant liberals are!

    For all the those out there who are products of Pulbic Education, I think a course in basic Western Civilization is nessacary.

    The Bible is THE most prtinted book in history.

    The Bible has been translated into MORE languages than any other book.

    The Bible WAS taught in public until the 1960's.

    NO other book has had more influence on history than the Bible.

    All who find it difficult to have a president who is a minister need to get a grip; and come to an understanding that by 2020 there may be two billion Christians on this planet.

    What about Mike's right to free excercise of religion?

    Don't worry, you'll be seeing more of Mike!

    November 26, 2007 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  11. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    To Mary of Seoul:

    The study of Western history and civilisation has been my principal avocation for most of the last thirty years, and that perforce involves the study of Christianity. And, actually, prior to the so-called Reformation, "salvation through good works" was the accepted doctrine of the Catholic church. ("Salvation through faith," as well as the logical trap of predestination, was a development of Protestantism.) So yes, in Christianity, at least in the original Catholic version, "salvation" was at least in part a function of lifestyle.

    To "Lover of God:" Perhaps Christ didn't advocate "forced conversions" of Jews and others, or the travesties of the Office of the Holy Inquisition, but people acting on behalf of the religion did. I'm not "bitter" about Christianity, I'm just cynical–what the religion preaches and what it's practitioners practice are very different things. No doubt Christianity has done some good over the last two thousand years, but it has also been the cause of more killing and suffering than anything else in my awareness.

    Ad rem this discussion, my objection to Mr Huckabee isn't with respect to his profession of religion–he, like everyone else, is perfectly free to believe anything he likes–but with respect to the nature of the religion. Christianity has been used–or, I suppose some might say, abused–too much over the centuries for me to trust it or its most fervid adherents.

    November 26, 2007 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  12. Chris, Pensacola FL

    Henry.. actually if you studied up on religions you would find that Christianity is the only religion that does NOT believe in getting to heaven through good deeds.. so your belief that Christianity tells you a "certain" way to live is completely unfounded.

    Posted By Mary, Seoul : November 26, 2007 1:54 am

    I suggest you read James VERY closely. Faith alone is not suffice without action. Action (deeds) demonstrates that the faith is found willful and glorious.

    November 26, 2007 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  13. Jose Huertas, Fort Lee, VA

    This country was founded with God's direction, there is NOTHING WRONG with having a TRUE LEADER, a President that lead a our great nation and that he believe in GOD. Some Americans believe this is a joke, a plot or an incorrect mix of politics and religion. Some of us, Americans, that fight for this country, more than once recognize the need for God Fear men in leadership positions. We need must go back to basics.

    November 26, 2007 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  14. Paul Thompson

    Sure is a double standard.

    And you can't prove that God exist,
    but the critics always have.

    Go Huck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 26, 2007 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  15. Flagship, Hartford, CT

    It is on video tape that George Bush also said,
    "God wants me to be President".

    All should be be aware.

    November 26, 2007 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  16. Jeff Manhattan, KS

    After reading some of these comments I am more worried about the general stupidity of my fellow Americans than a Christian becoming president.

    November 26, 2007 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. David, Alabama

    To Ben Odessa, TX:

    You've got to be kidding me. The Nation of Islam attacked us killing thousands of not just US citizens, but visitors from other countries. Are you saying we shouldn't defend ourselves. There's not a religious belief out there that says you shouldn't. As far as killing children, some have died in our attacks, but not near the number that under Sadam Hussein.

    November 26, 2007 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  18. thehypocrit

    "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"

    NO!! I'm melting, meeeeeelting....

    November 26, 2007 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. B, Alden, NY

    If I get the chance I will vote for Mike Huckabee. If not, I will pray for whoever gets voted into office.

    November 26, 2007 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  20. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Nothing more exciting than a good religious and political debate. Way to go Huckleberr!! I can see you're healing the nation already!!! Oh, and the lady who listed all the good things about the bible...I'd like to add a few:

    -It's great for elevating the front of my projector to hit the movie screen.

    -Just the right size to prop my bedroom window.

    November 26, 2007 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  21. Ryan Indianapolis

    Dont really see a problem with this,,I am sure the left will be up in arms about it but hey 70 percent of americans go to christian churches therefore that is a majority ,,get over it.

    November 26, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. andrew s. rostolder hillsdale nj

    how could any inteligent person vote for a jesus freak. these people believe the world was created a few weeks ago. gimmy a and brim stone, armeggdon, the world has that now with the idiot admin. we have. let's start to change that situation by electing someone that cares what americans need not who they pray to. if jesus talks to you personally, do america a favor and sit this one out.

    November 26, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  23. B McMann, Mesa, Az

    Why must you always affiliate God with war or soldiers. Pleeeease for God's sake stop using his name in vein or reference to war and armies. You can do better than this. If you are what you say you are then you would also know that God doesn't approve of his name being associated with these terms either. GOD IS LOVE.

    November 26, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  24. Cable King Pittsburgh PA


    If you are going to fabricate facts, at least don't be a complete nut job – half of Americans don't even go to church.

    When trying to make a point please at least tell the truth.

    November 26, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  25. Terry, El Paso, TX

    America is a polytheistic nation. We worship dozens of gods who are all named capital-G "God." The God of the Pope and the God of Ralph Reed are two different beings. They don't think alike, they don't sound alike, and they have very different ideas of how we should live. The God of gay-hating Episcopalians is very different from the God of gay-loving Episcopalians. The God of the Salvation Army is very different from the God of Catholic Irish terrorists who, in turn, is very different from the God of the Jews who, in turn, is very different from the God of Brigham Young.

    Since no two Christians can agree on theology (20% of American Christians believe in reincarnation), they are voting based on religiosity – that is how devout the candidates are. To get into the religiosity contest, you must (1) be Republian (the party of Christ), (2) go to a church that meets on Sunday morning, and (3) say "Lord, Lord" over and over during speeches.

    Christians are being hornswaggled by their leadership, which is, frankly, unworthy of them. The best Christians are in the pews, not the pulpit. Their evangelical mega-church leadership has been corrupted by their dreams of power, their love of large bundles of cash collected via toll-free numbers, their fondness for stretch limos, and their heroic vision of themselves as a righteous David facing the Liberal Goliath (Nancy Pelosi). They are misleading their flocks, persuading them to vote contrary to their own self interest because they have been seduced by status/power/money/fame.

    Huckabee is speaking to the faithful in code, invoking the image of the Christian Warrior – the Crusader – who defies the heathen (Democrats) and marches off to the holy land (the voting booth) to vote for the most evangelical of the evangelical candidates: Huckabee.

    There would be nothing wrong with this, I guess, if Huckabee was supporting policies that would promote the welfare of his voting flock. However, he not only opposes sin, abortion, and flagburning but he supports lower wages (free market "voodoo" economics), health care for children (medicaid), food for the poor (government nutrition programs), medicine for the sick (universal health insurance), and unwanted pregnancies (sex-education). The faithful are being led down the garden path. In the "Children's Crusade" of 1212, says Wikipedia, "Nicholas, a shepherd from Germany, led a group across the Alps and into Italy in the early spring of 1212. About 7,000 arrived in Genoa in late August. However, their plans didn't bear fruit when the waters failed to part as promised and the band broke up. Some left for home, others may have gone to Rome, while still others may have traveled down the Rhône to Marseille where they were probably sold into slavery. Few returned home and none reached the Holy Land."

    November 26, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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