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."

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- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (275 Responses)
  1. Raman, Plano TX

    If religion is such a good idea to garner evangelical votes, why do evangelicals and bushys alike think it is so horrendous for Pres. Ahmadnejad of Iran to propagate Islam fundamentalism to pursue his own goals.
    Is it not right to say that most evangelists are propagating the same kind of religious fundamentalism and religious intolerance, for which Ahmadnejad of Iran is being condemned.

    December 12, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  2. Reetah, Minneapolis, MN

    It appears to me that Huckabee is ignorant. He clearly states he doesn't know much about the religion and still he consists on belittling it. Maybe he should spend a few minutes reading about Mormonism and then he might be a better man and a better candidate. Can you imagine this guy in office? I cannot based on the issue that this man is closed minded and would like to remain ignorant.

    December 12, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Julie, Houston, TX

    Hey Mitt – not only is "attacking someone's religion" going too far – discussing religion in the context of a presidential election is going too far. "It's not the American way". I don't know if they realize that they're campaigning for President, not Christian in Chief or Pope. Just the mention of religion in this way seals the deal for me – neither will get my attention.

    December 12, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. D Mills Garland, Tx

    Okay, Huckabee wants to have the constitution amended to ensure gays can't marry, quaranteen aids victims, believes women should be silent and should graciously and willingly submit to their husbands, now Mormons are a cult. Wow, with so many positive attributes and fresh ideas how can he not be president.

    December 12, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Alex, Winter Springs FL

    Being Christian doesn't mean being intolerant or small-minded. Jesus was the least small-minded of anyone at the time. He ate with sinners that no one else would get near.

    That said, the Republicans would be foolish to nominate Huckabee or Romney. Both have too much baggage (Huckabee has Dumond et al and Romney has flip-flopped on many issues) If the GOP wants to win in November, they'll suck up their pride and nominate John McCain

    December 12, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Mach Kleef, Willits, CA

    Mr. Huckabee’s comments are accurate and correct (he knows much more about Mormonism than he would have us believe). The fact that Mitt Romney is Mormon brings into question his judgment. Unlike our current president, our next president must have good judgment. Unfortunately for both Mr. Romney and Mr. Huckabee, they have proven time and again that they have extremely poor judgment in both their personal and professional lives.

    December 12, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  7. ETM, Springfield, VA

    CHUCK, I could not agree more. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison must be rolling over in their graves at all this nonsense about personal beliefs having nothing to do with any of the issues confronting this country.

    December 12, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  8. Mark, Houston, TX

    I'm a Mormon and didn't find any of these comments offensive. He asked a question about a core belief of the Mormon doctrine. We do believe that Satan and Jesus are brothers in the sense that the are both God's creation and he is the Father of all. Don't all Christian religions believe this?

    December 12, 2007 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Russell, Pasco Washington

    I believe a candidates religion should be called into question. It reflects on their judgement and can bare witness to the fervor with which they practice. First, whether your religious or not the constitution strictly points the separation between church and state. While you may a person of faith before you were that you were an American. You're asked to make decisions for Americans, ALL Americans. Including Atheists, Neo-Nazis, Christians, Evolutionists and all the glory and scourge in between... As a president you need to do this as an American first. NOT a Baptist, Mormon, Catholic or whatever brand of religion you may subscribe to. Listening to Kennedy's speech, I believe that was his point. John Kennedy the Catholic should not be confused with John Kennedy the President. It appears that Huckabee AND Romney want religion playing a part in their Administrations where it really has no place. Kennedy spoke with conviction, honesty and answered tough questions about his religion, the Vatican and more. What a breath of fresh air it would be to have any of these candidates actually answer a question outright.

    December 12, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    mormons do, in fact beleive that

    December 12, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Julie, Petaluma, CA

    Huckabee's campaign said their candidate was "illustrating an unwillingness to answer questions about Mormonism." How so? He answered every question posed to him and in an intolerant manner. It's a shame he "doesn't know much about Mormonism" and yet appears to have plenty of answers that show ignorance nonetheless.

    December 12, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Mark, Houston, TX

    By the way, those whose main argument opposing the Mormon church because it is a Cult are already showing their ignorance. By definition all religious groups are Cults. What makes any Christian sect any better than Mormonism? Both believe pretty radical things.

    December 12, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Ruth, Louisville, KY

    I am so confused!! I thought our country was founded on freedom of religion??!!! Why is this a conversation?!!!

    December 12, 2007 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Ian, Eastham MA

    What a bunch of losers. I love the theoretical debate of who's make believe world is right.

    December 12, 2007 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  15. Judy, Fremont, CA

    Not only should Mitt Romney worry about people wanting a Christian to represent them, but he needs to accept the fact that one's religion affects every aspect of their life. No person of any religious faith should deny that. Sounds as if he wants to win so bad that he is already willing to lie.

    December 12, 2007 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. chuck

    Just what we need. Another hateful chistian in the White House. Haven't we all had enough?

    December 12, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. Benjamin, Albuquerque, NM

    Don't blaim Huckabee for disparaging the Mormon Religion; he is simply pointing out some of their strange teachings.

    The Mormon Religion teaches that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers - both created by the Father. Another odd teaching is that men can become gods and populate their own planets with their wives.

    The Mormon Religion is deceitful. They use the same terminology as Christians but they mean something totally different.

    Mitt Romney is trying to hide from his religion because it is so odd and different from Christianity.

    December 12, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. John, Washington DC

    Well, do or do not Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers? How is asking a question about Mormon doctrine attacking it?

    December 12, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  19. Anonymous, Omaha, NE

    As an ex-Mormon, I can confirm that Huckabee's comments are correct in regard to the belief that Jesus and the devil are brothers. Mormon's also believe that only they will enter heaven, which consists of three levels, and only the highest level of heaven if they are married to another Mormon and this marriage has been blessed by the Temple. (This belief is really no different that that of which most religions have!)

    Rather than attacking one another's integrity, shouldn't the real issues currently facing our nation be addressed instead?

    December 12, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. Daniel, NY

    A just released Iowa poll has Huckabee ahead by 5% on Romney - we have seen much worse for Mitt in the last few days.

    December 12, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. louis

    This is so ridiculous, what is it now ? hate speech !!
    The Mormons also believe that their founder Joseph Smith will sit in judgement of all believers.
    Do I agree or believe in it ?? the answer is NO !!.
    How is that offensive ??

    December 12, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. JFK's last stop, TX

    Huckabee is completely factual in his statement. Why are people so up in arms about the truth? He could have used more tact in that statement/question, but he did not slander the Mormon faith.

    December 12, 2007 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  23. Jen

    I am a Mormon and I see nothing wrong with Huchabee's question. It was a question and not a comment, according to the NY Times peice. He said he thinks Mormonism is a religion, that he doesn't know much about it, and then asks a question.

    And, the answer to the question is yes. We believe that we are all God's children–which makes us all brothers and sisters. Everyone. Even Satan.

    So...what's the big deal? Nice picture though. CNN makes him look like a grimmacing demon. Is Political news real slow today?

    Move on, people. There is nothing to see here.

    December 12, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. Jim, Compton CA

    I can’t believe I just wasted my time reading this stream of comments from all these theological experts and whiners (sorry Christen). Yes, I’m whining as well. Thank-you for the education.
    Oh, by the way, I hear there is a Presidential election on the way. Maybe I’ll concentrate on the candidate’s positions and policies instead of their religion. Face it; there will be a new president one way or the other. We better pick the best.

    December 12, 2007 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. Ben, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    There are a lot of ways to twist someone's religious beliefs. How would Huckabee feel if Romney twisted one of the Baptists beliefs?

    Taking someone else's religious beliefs out of context is not the right way to run a campaign.

    December 12, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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