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. william, NY, NY

    Huckabee's quote doesn't concern me as much as the overall negative tenor of the NYT Magazine article (which is dissappointing for a publication of its caliber). While the author offers a balanced assessment of Huckabee's record as governor, he can barely veil disdain when describing (some of) the candidate's personal characteristics. Shame on the author for not entering the interview with the same good faith that the candidate apparently brought. Also, it is hypocritical of the author (Zev Chafets) to paint Huckabee's extremes when Chafets himself brings an agenda to the table (take a look at Chafets history of articles outside of NYT publications).

    December 12, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  2. HH, Pittsburgh, PA

    The neo-cons are the ones who coupled religion with politics, so please pass Romney the crying towel. I don't care whether he is offended. In fact, it pleases me to no end.

    December 12, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Matt, Oklahoma City, OK

    This is an outstanding article. I am confident that if this issue is pushed further with Huck a mushroom cloud will erupt. Keep asking Huck if Mormonism is a cult; keep asking what he truly believes about Mormons in yes or no questions. One of two things will happen, first he will have to cater to the evangelicals by continuing to hint Mormons are a cult (etc…) or second he will back down from these types of innuendos and explain the situation outright. If he were to back down, what would that make him in the face of the average voter and/or evangelical? Why are representatives/leaders of one religion trying to define another religion, either by innuendo or otherwise with comments like: “I would not vote for a Mormon?” Comments of this nature are despicable and shameful, and this will only cause them to continue to falter and loose credibility. Huck needs to come out and say that Mormons are not a cult and it is not right to proclaim Mormons are not Christian. Stand up Huck… Stand up.

    December 12, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  4. Pedro L.Fernandez, Portland, Oregon

    Well, as it turns out, Mr. Huckabee, a mental lightweight who believes in creationism, is right: Mormons in fact do believe, as part of their doctrine of faith, that Jesus and the Devil are brothers.

    Now why, exactly, is this literal and accurate recitation of fact considered a low blow?

    December 12, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  5. Susan

    The reporter asked a simple question and got a simple question back. Good question Huckabee!

    December 12, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  6. Heather, APO, AE

    Perhaps if Romney has a problem with what Huckabee said, he could further elaborate on what he actually believes. He says that his religion shouldn't b attacked, but I don't think that it was. He did his whole religion speech, and made it sound as though Baptists and Mormons have the same basic doctrine, which is false. Seems to me that Huckabee was making a correct statement – how is that absurd or disparaging? But, maybe we are all wrong – what is it that Mormons DO believe?

    December 12, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. Buzz, ChillinByTheSea, California

    If these folks knew how much humor they were providing to non-Beleivers, with their childish spiritual spats, they would probably quit it on their own. Terry from El Paso nailed it. It is really incredible that so much space and time is taken up in a dispute about someone's choice to believe in diaphanous spritual entities. Now, they are arguing which unverifiable myth is more correct. Truly incredible. Both views of who Satan and Jesus are have equal evidence and credibility to back their beliefs. None whatsoever. Why do we keep wasting time on someone's personal choice to believe in something that exists only in the minds of those who wish to believe it? That's fine, but both of these gents and many others need to learn that believing in "unseen spirits" is a personal thing, and, has no place in government business. Both have shown they do not understand that, therefore, they should not be elected. In short-who cares? We are not electing an Imam, are we? I could care less what supernatural beliefs others have as long as they don't try to legitimize them by legal means, such as prayer in school for example. Shouldn't even be a discussion. I'd love to see these folks just clam up about Jesus for awhile and talk about issues based in reality.

    December 12, 2007 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Geoff, Washington, D.C.

    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.

    And on a side note, if people were to read the bible in Revelations it STATES that there was a fallen one (Lucifer) who was a member of God's family (as were all of us) and he fell, so what is so "strange" about Mormons using the Bible as their doctrine???? Get it right're a preacher, read Revelations. It's all in there. You are being very sneaky and sly in saying you don't know anything about Mormons and yet you plaster them and Romney with little inuendos about things you say you do know about the religion, yet you said in one sentence earlier you didnt' know anything.

    December 12, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. I. Dern, Farifax, VA

    Huckabee is correct. That is Mormon theology.

    The question itself is a low-blow by the media because they're terrified he's in first all of a sudden.

    December 12, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Jon S. Ann Arbor, Michigan

    The GOP is the party of intolerance. Period. They are no better than feuding radical sects of other religions. Fighting over who practices the "correct" version of Christianity is sad.What America needs is a leader who wants our government to provide health care for all, fair taxation, treat immigrants like people, not criminals, not worry about whether gays want to marry and let women choose what to do with their bodies, and not stress one religion over another. That is not a platform that is compatible with any GOP candidate, by any stretch of one's imagination, when your party's agenda is controlled by the radical right. We will see a Democrat elected President in November 2008 – it's just a matter of which candidate will win.

    December 12, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. Joe Atlanta, GA

    ALLLLLLL Christians, well the ones who read the bible at least, accept that all being are God's children, literally. That would make Jesus, Lucifer, you, and me all brothers and sisters in the most literal sense. What the hell is the problem with these idiot politicians who want the Christians vote but who do not even understand the very religion they pander to in order to win elections? It is mind boggling!

    December 12, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  12. David, Gilbert Arizona

    I guess I'm confused here. How is a question asked by Mike Huckabee an attack on Mormonism especially when the question is valid?

    "Hence, there is - and must be - a devil, and he is the father of lies and of wickedness. He and the fallen angels who followed him are spirit children of the Father. As Christ is the Firstborn of the Father in the spirit, so Lucifer is a son of the morning, one of those born in the morning of preexistence..."

    December 12, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. James Shipley, Stanton CA

    So it will not be taken out of context, I quote Zev Chafets from the New York Times who writes: “I asked Huckabee, who describes himself as the only Republican candidate with a degree in theology, if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion. ‘I think it’s a religion,’ he said. ‘I really don’t know much about it.’ I was about to jot down this piece of boilerplate when Huckabee surprised me with a question of his own: ‘Don’t Mormons,’ he asked in an innocent voice, ‘believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?’”
    This last statement by Mike Huckabee appears to be a true representation of Huckabee’s belief that Mormonism is a cult. Fortunately he slipped by making this comment and we see his true colors. This is an attack on Romney's religion. Mitt Romney is right; this is truly un-American for someone seeking to be the President of the United States. Romney’s speech last week showed us the best of America and religion.

    December 12, 2007 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Dani Cothern, North Little Rock, Arkansas

    Of course Huck doesn't know about the Mormon faith, he went to Southwestern Baptist Theological and Ouachita Baptist Bible College – if you're baptist, you don't need to know about anybody else's religion. Besides, what we need to be asking Huck – the "Christian" candidate about is his last few days in the Governor's Mansion in Arkansas. Why did he feel the need to use state funds to destroy (and by destroy I mean physically smash) the hard drives of several state-owned computers on his way out? And why did he deplete the state's Emergency Fund on non-emergencies on his way out of office, leaving the next governor with no money to help the several Arkansas towns hit by tornadoes shortly after the change in governorship? These are just a couple of questions that might be more appropriate for a potential presidential candidate. His 10 years as governor ought to provide anyone w/ many more. CNN (and every other news agency) needs to get somebody in Arkansas to start looking into these and other issues.

    December 12, 2007 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  15. M. Winners, Mesa, AZ

    Huckabee, like all of the other necon evangelicals who want to "purify" our "christian" nation to their standards, have no business in the political arena and this whole flap just proves it.
    Why aren't these "family values" jokers who are in the final analysis nothing more than religious bigots being asked the serious questions like, how are you going to run the country? I want real answers from any of the so called "christian candidates" of either party, not some hollow invocation like "I'll pray a lot".

    December 12, 2007 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. Robert Shannon, Dallas, TX

    The point is, Huckabee is acting EXACTLY like a Christian – bigoted, small-minded, and wrong.

    December 12, 2007 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  17. Scott, Bountiful, UT

    I'm an active Mormon and I don't care what Huckabee thinks of my faith. He made a comment. No one died. Get over it.

    December 12, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  18. Z, St. Louis, MO

    Yet none of them seem to notice that
    both of the "holy books" they are
    sniping about are riddled with errors
    contradictions and lies.They are both
    blinded by their own belief in their mythology to to see reality..Do we
    want leaders that still believe in
    fairy stories?

    December 12, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. Karl R, Wilmington NC

    Jess L. Christensen, Institute of Religion director at Utah State University, Logan, Utah. On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some—especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. Lucifer, too, was an angel “who was in authority in the presence of God,” a “son of the morning.” (See Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:25–27.) Both Jesus and Lucifer were strong leaders with great knowledge and influence. But as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)

    Why would Romney (or any other Mormon)be upset with what Huckabee said? It is the truth according to LDS doctrine.

    December 12, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. Rodney Dallas TX

    Momonism is a cult. It's like Scientology. It's not a religion. I will NEVER vote for a Mormon. They do not share the same beliefs as most Americans. Huckabee was right in asking the question. I've often wondered the same thing. If I had ask, no one would care. I'm glad he asked.

    December 12, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  21. LH Miami Florida

    Huckabee also has ways of thinking that are even stranger. Huckabee's views and record are the worst you can never find in one candidate from either party… the man thinks the world is only 6,000 years old and all the evidence about evolution is not even acknowledged by him. He want your children go to school and be instructed in other alternatives to evolution (creationism) in public schools. The man is a flake and I hope he’s the GOP candidate.

    December 12, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. Raman, Plano TX

    OK. If religion is such a good idea to garner evangilical votes, why do evangelicals and bushy's alike think it so horrendous for Pres. Ahmadnejad of Iran to propagate Islam fundamentalism to achieve his own goals.

    By the above argument, is it not right to say that most evangelist are propagating the same kind of religious fundamentalism and religious intolerance, for Ahmadnejad of Iran is being condemned.

    December 12, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Rev. Michael McCartney, Canton, OH a Baptist minister

    It has already been shown today that Huckabee did not make this comment, which by the way is in the form of a question not a comment even in your out-of-context quote. Another Baptist minister stupidly asked this question. Stop showing your own political biases!!

    December 12, 2007 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. Christian, Tampa FL

    Actually, what Huckabee said is an extremely simplistic version of an actual theological belief of LDS. It also shows one of the fundamental religious differences between Mormonism and Christianity, in that (theologically speaking) Christ is not one with God or part of God, but rather a separate figure entirely. In Christianity, Christ is part of God's being, the "God-made-flesh" who is both a distinct aspect of God but also unified with his being. That is kind of important in terms of religion, but thankfully WE ARE NOT ELECTING A RELIGIOUS LEADER. Let's get back to politics.

    December 12, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. 4huckabee, dayton, ohio

    i do not see how Huckabees comments are offensive. nothing was out of line. he didnt go to far. but anything he says is going to be taken out of contex because people are mad that he doesnt have to spend millions of dollars to get the bid. sorry Romney but your not going to get it. but you have good tactics. keep throwing mud so no one can dig up yours. trust me though your time will come when the truth comes out

    December 12, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
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