December 12th, 2007
09:40 AM ET
12 years ago

Huckabee takes fire for Mormon comment

Huckabee is taking heat for his comments on Mormonism.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican Mike Huckabee is facing fire Wednesday for comments he makes in an upcoming New York Times Magazine article that appear to disparage the Mormon faith.

In the article, a preview of which is posted on the New York Times Web site, the former Arkansas governor is quoted as asking, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"

The comment came after New York Times reporter Zev Chafets asked Huckabee point-blank whether he thought Mormonism was a religion or a cult. Huckabee, a former Baptist minister, said he thought it was the former, but conceded he doesn't "know much about it."

Speaking on NBC's Today Show, rival candidate Mitt Romney - himself a Mormon - said, "I think attacking someone's religion is really going too far. It's not the American way."

In a statement released late Tuesday night, Huckabee's campaign said the candidate was taken out of context in the New York Times article and was not bashing the religion but instead was "illustrating his unwillingness to answer questions about Mormonism and to avoid addressing theological questions during this campaign."

"Gov. Huckabee has said consistently that he believes this campaign should center on a discussion of the important issues confronting our nation, and not focus on questions of religious belief," Dr. Charmaine Yoest, a senior advisor to the campaign said in a statement. "He wants to assure persons of all faith traditions of his firm commitment to religious tolerance and freedom of worship."

Full story

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (275 Responses)
  1. anon, new york, NY

    Huckabee's mouth is always faster than his brain.

    December 12, 2007 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Alexis, Northampton, MA

    "I think attacking someone's religion is really going too far. It's not the American way." "I'm just not going to go off into evaluating other people's doctrines and faiths. I think that is absolutely not a role for a president" Both interesting comments, considering that the neocons are perfectly willing to attack people or punish people for countless other aspects of their personal lives. Just another example of "do as I say, not as I do"

    December 12, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. Dan, Lexington, KY

    If I understand Mormon theology correctly, Huckabee was right in what he said. Is it such a bad thing to correctly state one of the doctrines of Mormonism?

    December 12, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  4. Terry, El Paso, TX

    If you think about it for only a moment, you will see that there is not a dime's worth of difference between a devout Mormon and a devout evangelical Christian. They look the same, act the same, have the same values, have the same politics, etc. Both have swallowed Conservatism's baited hook even though the achievement of Conservative goals will result in a serious deterioration in their quality of life.

    The only real difference is theology. What is theology and where is it found? It exists only in the minds of believers. It is a pattern of thoughts in the brain. For example, let's say that one competitive runner motivates himself by saying "I will win this race in memory of my dead father, who just passed away and who always encouraged me." Another runner might think, "I will win this race because coach says he'll drop me from the team unless I start producing results. My father will be devastated if I'm dropped from the team!"

    Both men run their hearts out and it is a photo finish. The difference between the winner and loser cannot be determined even by the fast action camera. That is, both men act the same way, even though they have different thoughts in their minds motivating them.

    Let us stop quibbling over how many angels can fit in a Volkswagen.

    December 12, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  5. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    Is Romney actually DENYING that a fundamental aspect of LDS belief is that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit-brothers? If so, he is blatently lying, because that is precisely what the LDS believe. Why should making an accurate comment be characterized as an "attack"? On the other hand, if Huckabee is honest enough to make such an observation in a non-critical way (which it appears is the true context of his remark), then what does that say about Romney's counterattack?

    Mitt Romney has spent over $40 million (a good deal of it from his own pocket) trying to shmooze his way into the hearts and minds of Republican voters; Huckabee has spent barely a million and a half, and has overtaken him. It must annoy the heck out of a man like Mitt to have to keep throwing good money after bad.

    December 12, 2007 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  6. BlueGoose

    I thought Christians weren't allowed to say hateful things?

    December 12, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  7. Tim, Las Vegas, NV

    I absolutely do not like any of the candidates. But as a fact, Mormons do believe that Jesus and Lucifer are, in fact, literally spirit brothers. Both put forth salvation plans before God. God chose Jesus' plan. Lucifer sulked off and did his own thing. Technically speaking, Huckabee is correct.

    December 12, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. Laura - Tulsa OK

    Romney is right- attacking someone for their religion, ESPECIALLY in America where we pride ourselves on religious toleration, is not acceptable. And this during a time when there's movements to be open to Muslims in America. So we're NOT open to Mormons, too?

    December 12, 2007 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  9. Justin, Lincoln, NE

    Religion and Politics taken separately can be very interesting and insightful, but when you mix the two together you get: Unjust wars(crusades), Divided nations, intolerance of those different than the "norm". We need to do all we can as citizens to bring back the separation of church and state because I really believe that if we don't this country will fall even deeper into the chasm that is our corporate, theocratic, dictatorship that we are in now.

    December 12, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  10. therealist

    Disparaging comment? It sounded like a question to me.

    What is the answer CNN? Are their only atheist among you??
    Then how about some investigative reporting for a change..

    December 12, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  11. Dan, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    These clowns can't have it both ways. If their "faith" is so important then they must answer the theological questions, just like if waterboarding is OK, then its fine for Al Queda to waterboard Jena if they "suspect" her of being a terrorist.

    December 12, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. Erik, Austin TX

    I don't really see how the comment is offensive, it's just an incomplete understanding of the Mormon doctrine. In the strictest sense, the Mormon faith DOES believe Jesus and Satan are brothers, but that's not even close to the whole story.

    Mormons believe, like some other religions do, that Lucifer is a fallen angel that was cast out from Heaven. Since angels are exalted ("perfected") humans, and since all humans are sons and daughters of God, all humans are brothers and sisters (and refer to each other as such in the Mormon faith), including Lucifer.

    More than that though, Lucifer is said to be the second son of God, who was second in stature only to Jesus until he rebelled and was cast out of Heaven. After that, he became the Father of Lies that we are all familiar with today.

    I was raised in the Mormon faith, and I don't see how any of this would be offensive. It is simply a story about how Lucifer came to be the father of evil, and makes just as much sense as any other story in religious doctrine.

    December 12, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. Bryan, Firestone, CO

    Let's be honest, Huckabee –

    he said during the recent Florida CNN/YouTube debate that he was the only candidate that had a degree in Theology. I can hardly accept his claim that he doesn't know much about Mormonism given his educational background and career as a Baptist minister. His statement about not making religion a political spectacle reeks of hypocrisy. He may not be overt in some of his religious critique, but he'll certainly take a backdoor to make subtle jabs that he masks as being "metaphoric". Cute, Huckabee. Cute. No thanks

    December 12, 2007 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. John Martin Bloomington, Indiana

    This is unfortunate. Mike Huckabee is starting to show his true colors. He says he believes the election should center on a discussion of the important issues confronting our nation, and not focus on questions of religious belief. But this is just lip service. Huckabee has consistently been painting himself as the Christian candidate in TV ads, insinuating that the other candidates aren't Christian. In addition he has said this comment about Mormonism. Huckabee is clearly running on his the religion and playing on the uneasiness that some evangelicals may have towards Mormonism. It is unfortunate that it has come to this, Mike Huckabee has exposed himself as a hypocrite and a bigot. This is truly un-American and violates the constitution.

    December 12, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  15. George, Raleigh NC

    What do you expect, he's a baptist preacher. They are hard headed and think they are all knowing. In reality they are more jacked up than most.

    December 12, 2007 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  16. Tracy McAfee, North Augusta, SC

    Whether main stream America knows it or now, Mormons DO believe that Jesus & Satan are brothers. Why should he take criticism for that? Remember that this is America and people can believe what they want. In my view as a Christian, Mormomism is a cult but they have the right to believe what they wish... just like satan worshippers... Why attack Huckabee for his view? He isn't denouncing Romney...

    December 12, 2007 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  17. Geoff Elliott, North Canton, Ohio

    Today's candidates should follow Abraham Lincoln who, when faced with his own religion litmus test, told a famed preacher that it was basically no one's business. Here's the story:

    http://abrahamlincolnblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/abraham-lincolns-own-religion-litmus.html

    The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees Americans Freedom of Religion, and that includes *any* religion, not just that of Evangelical Christians.

    December 12, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  18. Matthew D. chicago IL

    Huckabee = Bush

    December 12, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  19. Ron Blackford, Henderson, NV

    If Romney feels this is 'attacking' his religion, my take would be that he feels vulnerable on this one question by Huckabee; "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"
    Is publicizing this fact that threatening to Romney that the mere exposure equates to 'attacking'?

    The answer is yes, they do. That is whu their Jesus is differnt from the Christian Jesus.

    December 12, 2007 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  20. Todd, Minneapolis, MN

    I'm not fond of any of the Republican candidates this election season, but a thumbs up for Huckabee. It is indeed true that if you look at the details of what the Mormon religion believes, Jesus and Satan are indeed brothers, born to one of Elohim's (God) polygamous wives in the spirit world. Huckabee might also want to take note that early (mormon) church leaders taught that the US constitution would hang by a thread in the last days and that the Mormon brethern would save it. Theocracy anyone?

    December 12, 2007 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  21. Anonymous, U.S.

    Ah yes, the old "I claim ignorance about a subject; therefore I can make any idiotic remark about it that I wish" technique.

    December 12, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Marie, Mesa, AZ

    How is asking if Mormons believe Jesus & the devil are brothers a disparaging comment? Especially when it is Mormon doctrine that both Jesus & Lucifer are spirit children of Heavenly Father?

    December 12, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. Benjamin Peacock, Augusta, Georgia

    Mormanism was discussed at length last week. This generates interest and questions. Why become defensive? Just answer the question!

    December 12, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  24. Gordon, Boston MA

    This is why he has repeatedly refused to answer questions about others' faiths, because as soon as he did say something it was taken out of context.

    December 12, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  25. mike rochester, nh

    It's one small piece of the interview with that reporter. He asked a question, didn't make a comment. That was it and it was apparently insignificant enough that in the other 11 pages of the article it wasn't mentioned....

    December 12, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
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