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. Oscar A., Alhambra, CA

    Religion. The downfall of man.

    December 12, 2007 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. Candy, Bartlesville, OK

    I agree with Bryan of Firestone, a Baptist minister (who are famous for bashing Mormons over and over in their church classes) Huckabee surely knows a lot of what Mormons believe....or what Baptists and other evangelical churches...SAY they surely this is a SUBTLE way of creating fear or dislike in the minds of others. WHY is that brought up in a POLITICAL venue?!?! Hypocrisy when Christian values of religious liberty mocked.
    Yes, LDS do believe that as SPIRIT brothers and sisters, Satan is OUR spirit brother just as Jesus Christ is. No, LDS do not believe that "the Only Begotten of the Father" is the son of himself. We I think MANY people do.....that Heavenly Father and his Only Begotten Son are TWO separate beings with ONE in purpose and ONE in unity. The Son prays to himself in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 17)....asking that his disciples are ONE as they are ONE???? ONE in unity, not one is actual being. LDS believe that Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven whereby we can be saved.....and they say we aren't Christians? THEIR definition...the Nicene Creed definition...of what a Christian is THEIR definition. Certainly not what we believe the Bible to teach. For all of those out there that have a negative taste in your mouths for religion, I am sorry that such discussions are taking place over POLITICS. One of the LDS tenets is that we should "allow all the men the same privilege. Let them worship how, where or what they may." May a man be judged to be president based on his ability to lead, to get things done that will benefit the purpose of this country and follow the Constitution which we support. I am disappointed in Huckabee's not overtly malicious but subtle comment.

    December 12, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  3. Wendy; Wenatchee, WA

    The comment is true, but it is delivered in a mean spirited way.

    December 12, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  4. Matt, Greensboro NC

    Humanity bickering about religion is going to be our undoing. Isn't it time we all grew up and let go of old foolish myth based thinking? This is the age of reason. Faith and religion are simply quaint reminders of our past when we were unaware of the facts. Faith is over – reality has arrived. All you people of faith need to grow up.

    December 12, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Anon, New York

    When did stating a fact about a religion become disparaging. I question any religion that is not open about their beliefs and the foundations of those beliefs. Open discussion about religion is always healthy unless you have something to hide.

    December 12, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. matt

    This could be a fatal mistake for Huckabee. Although most GOP voters have no problem attacking a qacky religion, the actual attack on Mitt doesn't really help. The same effect could have been gained by simply laying back and waiting for Romney to continue his implosion.

    December 12, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. anon, NYC, NY

    Why concern ourselves with the relationship between two fictional characters? It's like asking whether Smurfette was Papa Smurfs daughter or mistress. We as a nation have resources that far outweigh those of any other country on the planet and have the potential for true enlightment and progress, yet we mire ourselves in a never ending "My imaginary friend can beat up your imaginary friend" argument.

    Harvest the dew from your eyes, America.

    December 12, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. John, Kentville, Nova Scotia

    Wake up folks! Sitting here with the principal literature of the Mormon Church on my desk in front of me I am surprised at how far we have diverted from critical and informed thought and discussion. Although I am a Christian, I appreciate the scholarship that has taken place in and around traditional Christianity. As a theological student it has aided tremendously in my reconciling the inner life with the traditionally held tenets of the Christian faith. Thankfully, critical scholarship has become standard in both Catholic and Protestant seminaries the world over.

    While I certainly uphold an individual's right to choose their own spiritual journey I must conclude that the Mormon's have not been subject to anything like the scrutiny that traditional views on Jesus and the Bible have been. Why is this so? Otherwise, some of what I am reading here would warrant a public backlash towards Joseph Smith (Mormonism's founder) and his religion. If Mormons wish to engage with mainstream society, they need to come clean on their ideologies and their history. Somehow I hope they can reconcile their inward hope with some things that just don't add up.

    Appropriate or not, Mr. Huchabee merely commented on one facet of what are a whole series of peculiarities from the mind of Joseph Smith and recorded in the Mormon scriptures. These writings speak of a salvation that is principally for men, that North American Indians descended from a boatload of Israelites who landed in Central America, they position 'dark-skinned' people as spiritually inferior, teach a 'god' who was formerly a man and say it is the destiny of Mormon males to likewise achieve that god status, etc., etc., etc.

    Just as mainstream media has on numerous times presented the birth, life, death and resurrection and person of Jesus of Nazareth from an entirely non sacred and critical point of view, how about an hour or two objectively devoted to Mormonism (its beliefs and history). No religious belief should receive immunity in a free and society that separates church and State. How is it that we are held at ransom by a significant force within Islam and now Mormonism too. This is terribly reminiscent of the muzzle the church once had on our mouths and minds. Truth can only be a good thing. Perhaps a healthy dialogue of this kind could serve as a precedent for future dialogue between the majority and other growing minorities within our society.

    December 12, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Andre' J. Perrin Richardson, TX

    Seems like Huckabee needs to head back to Arkansas and start picking cotton,at least he will be able to keep his mouth shut.

    December 12, 2007 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Chris Seattle WA

    Just the fact that so many of you keep repeating yourself that Mormons do believe that proves Romney's point. Should Huckabee point out all religous differences just because they are true? All religions believe different things. We don't need to hear about it. Huckabee knew exactly what he was doing. Ask a question that stirs up religous intolerance based on perception. Who cares if mormons believe that. It is a minor difference and irrelevant to the election.

    Posted By Anonymous : December 12, 2007 1:10 pm

    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.
    Posted By Jen : December 12, 2007 1:08 pm

    I just thought both these comments were really good and worthy of reposting!

    December 12, 2007 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Mark, Brown Summit NC

    Man or womans religion does not matter due to the "absolute seperation of church and state". As spoken by John Kennedy. Another quote from the Kennedy family of leaders, "The youth of our nation are the clearest mirror of our performance." From Bobby Kennedy while running for president of our nation in 1968. Kind of inspirational to me as a former hippie.

    December 12, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    Atheism is a religion, therefore, it's a cult too (according to your theory Atheist).

    Posted By statistical hypothesis : December 12, 2007 12:11 pm

    By what means do you determine the above fact. Atheism absolutely is not a religion. Who do they pray to or worship? What is the dogma? What is the doctrine? Where do they congregate? Whan an idiot!

    I am a Mormon and they do believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers, so what's the big deal.

    Posted By Tilamen, Salt Lake City, Utah : December 12, 2007 12:16 pm

    You say you are a Mormon, why do you refer to them in the third person?

    I guess Romney could retort with asking something along the lines of: "Doesn't Huckabee believe the earth is only 6000 years old?" or "Doesn't Huckabee disavow the mountains of evidence supporting evolution?"

    I'm a supporter of neither of these men, but I believe that Huckabee would be much more inclined to let his religious views influence the way he would run this country, and that's just plain scary.

    December 12, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  13. jack, phoenix,az

    Huckleberry doesn't have a chance.

    December 12, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. Brian G., Decatur, GA

    I really believe that we would all be a lot better off if we voted based on the candidates position on the issues, their integrity and honesty rather than what religion they follow. The emphasis on religion in the last two presidential elections and now the current campaigning has torn our country apart and tainted our political discourse. Everyone has a right to practice what ever religion they choose and as far as I am concerned no one religion is any better or worse than the others.

    December 12, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. Walt, Belton, TX

    Idiotic comments by an idiot directed toward another idiot. What's the problem, folks. None is worth the effort to get excited about. Just vote "none of the above."

    December 12, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. Ken, Suitland MD

    "Huckabee and Romney are both religious nuts. Just like Bush!"

    Posted By Lee, Phila. : December 12, 2007 12:06 pm

    Hey Lee, I disagree. I do not believe that Bush is a religeous nut, not in the way the true "believers" like Huckabee and Romney and the typical religeous-right regresso-facists are. Bush was told to merely put on that mantle to win the 2000 primaries. Since then he has kept that mantle on in order to please and garner support from our own home-grown ayatollahs, since it serves the purposes of his right-wing and war-mongering policies. If his handlers told him to, this guy would even ignore his conservative principles and believe that spending 1 trillion $ on an unnessessary war and occupation is a good idea....oh wait, that actually happened....

    And now republicans must decide: (a) if they want a fake relio-nutjob or a "real" religeo-nutjob to lead them in 2008; and (b) just which ones of the [R] candidates are the "real" religeo-nutjobs. Tough decisions. Poor [R] buggars. Good luck deciding on these critically important issues for our county.

    I hope the rest of us that enjoy living in the extended "age of enlightenment" will ignore this pathetic crap on the right altogether, and get on with electing [D]s to office so that some progress can be made in getting out of this [R]-made mess that we are in.

    And oh, by the way, Fred, NY (12:18pm):
    yes, by all means, let's blame the media because Huckabee looks like Jesus' brother. And, I'm glad you find one of our [D] candidates so attractive; but, the way you [R]'s have been going lately I'm just surprised it wasn't one of our male candiates you were focussing on!

    December 12, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. Lorretta, Waynesboro, GA

    But it's true! Mormon missionaries were here the other day and I asked them and they DO believe that Jesus and satan are brothers. It's even on their own mormon website! "...that Lucifer the son of the morning, is our elder brother and the brother of Jesus Christ..."(Documents & Covenants by Bruce McConkie, pp.163-4.

    December 12, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Lee

    As evidenced by the wide margins of victory in Utah and other strongly Mormon precincts in Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming, and Nevada, by every Republican Presidential candidate since Reagan, Mormons are the most underappreciated group of Republicans. If this type of Mormon bashing attack continues, maybe the Mormon vote will start to swing to the Democrats. After all, Senator Harry Reid is a devote Mormon too, and was selected as the Majority leader. This is why Gov. Huckabee needs to be chastised for is bigotry by Party leaders.

    Concerning the question that the good reverend asked, Mormons believe that we were all created as spirits by God- you, me, Jesus, and Lucifer. God said he wanted to have an earth created so we could come and be born with a body and then come back to live with God again. Jesus, the first spirit created (and the most holy too) was essential to the whole plan because God knew we would all sin (except Jesus) but no unclean thing can live with God. Jesus had the job of suffering for the sins of the world, dieing on the cross, and then, because He was the Son of God, He had the power to be resurrected. His suffering and grace made it possible for all to repent of their sins, be resurrected, and return to live with God. But Lucifer, one of the spirits in the “inner circle” (but not necessarily the second oldest spirit), didn’t like the idea, and wanted to take the throne of God for himself. He rebelled against God, and told anyone who would listen that he had a better idea that didn’t require Jesus to pay for our sins. This is the War in Heaven referred to in the Revelation of John, where Lucifer is called the dragon that fought with Michael. This idea was an empty promise, because nobody could return to live with God unless they learned how to have faith in Jesus, be obedient and repent of there sins. Lucifer and his followers were cast out and became the devil. God prevailed over Satan in the War in Heaven, and sent his Son, Jesus, to pave the way for us to be able to return to live with God after this life is over. What is so un-Christian about this???

    The reason Catholic and Protestant theology schools (like the ones Huckabee attended) teach that Mormons are not Christian is because Mormons believe God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are three separate individuals, unlike what the Creed of Nicaea teaches. A careful reading of the Bible shows the Mormon interpretation to be more in line with the scripture, yet one can find scriptural support for both ideas. So why the big argument in a presidential election??

    December 12, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. gary, chicago, il

    What's that Shakespeare thing about too much protesting?

    Yeah, we're all God's kids, if you buy the "talk," but that's the problem. Jesus is called the Son of God but he's also God, which is not what the Mormons are saying. By saying J & Lucifer are bros, people are saying that J is a created being and not eternal. That's way different from what Christians believe.

    December 12, 2007 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Frank VT

    Huckabee's astounding bigotry toward those who don't have HIS particular view of Christianity settles it for me: he's completely off my list of possibilities as a candidate.
    I honestly thought he had a better grasp of the Constitution. He obviously has a very dark side.
    There should be NO religious test for ANY political candidate in this country.

    December 12, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Richard, Reston VA

    Whether or not his inference is true about Mormon theology, he was wrong to ask it. And I believe he calculated its effect in asking it. If he doesn't want to get into discussing other people's faiths, as he's stated, he should have stopped at "I don't know much about Mormon beliefs." But instead, he got in a sucker punch. Again, true or not, the question really serves as a means to divide candidates into "one of us" Christians and "those others". He sees Romney's faith as a weak spot to be exploited. Would Huckabee go on the record about a Catholic opponent with "I don't know much about Catholicism – do they really believe the bread and wine literally changes to the body and blood of Jesus?" I doubt it, since Catholicism isn't on the fringe. But because the LDS church is not in the mainstream of American Christianity, he deems it OK to draw this distinction with his question.

    Face it, Mormons have strange beliefs not backed up by evidence. So do traditional Christians. Neither fact should have a role in determining our president, unless the candidate wishes to enact his religion's practices and beliefs into US law.

    December 12, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. Brian, Brookfield, MO

    Alex Mooney is trying to make something out of nothing.

    Pushing things together to make a story or a heated debate that really didn't exist in the beginnning A tactic used by the press. How sad.

    Mormons(members of the Church of Jesus Christ of latter Day Saints) do believe that Jesus and Lucifer were spirit borthers and believe that they are spirit brothers with all of you on this board.) That is the correct answer to the question, but what does it matter how each christian believes in Christ?

    Baptists themselves are considered by many a protestant faith. Meaning they had a difference with another faith and broke away to begin there own faith. A difference in belief but still believing in christ.

    Romney is right though, this is the USA and with that comes religous freedom, and if anyone attacks another faith that is wrong and definately shouldn't be in the election process.

    This is obviously an issue for social republicans. I'm sure the Foreign Policy & Economical Republicans could care less just like the socials really should.

    December 12, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Matt Connelly Boston, MA

    Huckey, please GET OFF the religious issue. Let it go. Of course the reason you won't let it go is because getting the religious nuts to vote for you is the only way you'll get votes. Nobody silly enough to make statements like this deserves to be president. Go Romney!

    December 12, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Nina, Knoxville TN

    This is ridiculous...Mormons DO believe that Satan and Jesus were originally is makig a comment to that effect attacking someone's religion?? I'm so sick and tired of this attempt to mainstream's not Christianity..people who think that it is are simply ignorant. Mormons may try to mask it as such, but even a brief exploration into Mormon theology would prove otherwise. I see nothing wrong with Huckabee's comment. It was just the truth...

    December 12, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. Mary Seabolt, Oneida, Tn

    Just asking the question if "Jesus and the devil are brothers" sounds to me like Gov. Huckabee slipped in "theologic questions during his campaign". Any candidate who "doesn't know much about it" would do well to stay away from religious issues or questions that contain implied answers.

    December 12, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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