January 13th, 2008
05:12 PM ET
10 years ago

Huckabee spends Sunday behind the pulpit

Huckabee at a Michigan church Sunday.

Huckabee at a Michigan church Sunday.

(CNN) - As evangelicals mobilize for Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor is bristling at suggestions his political success in South Carolina depends on people of faith.

"I don't think it’s just evangelicals. I think there is a strong support for me among evangelicals - at least I hope so - but I think there is also a strong support for me for people who want immigration to be addressed," he said Sunday, a day in which he addressed three church services in two states.

But he didn’t deny the potential political influence of the state’s ministers. Does he hope they’ll mobilize on his behalf? "Well, I just hope they don't mobilize against me, that's the first thing. Kind of like the Hippocratic oath, first do no harm,” he told reporters.

“The second thing, I mean, we would love for pastors... they can't mobilize, for example, from the pulpit, say ‘everybody, the bus leaves the church 8 a.m. on Saturday,’” he added. “It's a matter of urging them to use the influence they have to get their people out to vote. And I hope they will. Why wouldn't they?”

Huckabee has garnered overwhelming support from evangelicals, and his strongest showings in recent surveys have come in states with significant Christian conservative populations.

The former governor said he felt confident in South Carolina. “We really want to win here," he told reporters, before heading off to campaign events in Michigan. "To say we would be content with fourth place is not true, we wouldn't be, we want to win." But he also said that winning is not vital, as long as he continues to place at the top of the field.

The ordained Baptist minister had looked at home behind the pulpit at First Baptist Church North Spartanburg early Sunday, as he discussed his faith in God and spoke in detail about heaven. "You may be surprised the people you see in heaven, but they might be surprised to see you there as well," said Huckabee.

As Huckabee spoke, grassroots organizers across Michigan planned an ambitious day of evangelical outreach in advance of Tuesday’s primary, including phone trees by attendees of the state’s biggest churches and attention-grabbing events in church parking lots.

Evangelicals may make up as much as 40 percent of GOP primary voters in that state, according to a recent Detroit News poll. Huckabee is running behind Mitt Romney and John McCain there in surveys released this weekend.

Related video: Huckabee reprises preacher role

–CNN's Trisha Henry, Wes Little and Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Michigan • Mike Huckabee • South Carolina
soundoff (107 Responses)
  1. Skott J.

    Sorry folks – I've got no beef against any candidate's religious beliefs. It often helps make the man (or woman). However, anyone who say's it's time to "take back this nation back for Christ" has shown his primary alligence to his church and NOT his country. I don't trust this guy. He advocated rounding up HIV positive people in camps (remember the Japaneese in WWII?) He's just another evangelical who thinks that unless you believe as he does you should not have the same rights. Elect him and we will be walking down the same path as the countries of the middle east who embraced religious extremism.

    January 14, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. Sebastian Knoke

    Finally someone who not only says that he´s a christian but acts like one. There´s a saying among christians in Germany that would be translated into english as follows: "A half christian is a whole nonsens".

    McCain and Huckabee are honest persons – persons of integrity and not just talkers, persons who profess their faith.

    That´s what everybody in Europe and US hates is that christians do the talk and don´t do the walk. What´s wrong with someone who stands for a fair tax system, who fights for the life of unborn babies as well as for more justice in general?

    If Obama, Clinton and Edwards leave Iraq alone, the world would soon turn up into a whole mess.Terrorists would grow like mushrooms all over the world. That´s absolutely irresponsible. It would encourage Al qaida and Co. to enlarge their terrorist activieties. Who wants that, really?

    January 14, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  3. Jared, Portland OR

    Hello "Read a Book"... your posting uses some pretty big words – which we can only hope you didn't have take time to look them up. I “believe” you are pitting religion against intellectualism and as you do it, you’re even saying one should be supported over the other. This action in itself is an “opinion”.

    It should be mentioned that many intellectuals have also believed in a “Christ” or to reduce it to something you “intellectuals” can understand, a “supreme intelligence”. You have also used the term “Safe Sex”… which in my opinion demoralizes the action in itself. Is there any such thing as dangerous sex if you’re practicing it with the right person to begin with? Also, whether you believe in a God or not, your own common sense may tell you that it’s wrong to take another’s life. It just so happens that some people out there also have the same “common sense” telling them that men and women are born with specific body parts that fit together.

    Of course, all of this may just be collections of opinions from many different people. But any time we force our own opinions on someone else, we’re just as wrong. We’re all born with agency… and we should and can have the great responsibility of acting in ways that enable our agency to remain.

    If these candidates want to act and do as they are, more power to them. It only tells me who I like and don’t like and again, that’s only my opinion. I think elections are always eye openers for a large percentage of the people in America… it’s just hard for some of us to swallow when more than just a few don’t see eye to eye with us. We should all step out of our “zone” and continue building a nation that will stand together.

    January 14, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. Don Venable

    It is perfectly fine for me for Huckabee to take to the pulpit and preach the Word of God. It is not alright for me for Democrats to take to the pulpit and campaign for votes.

    January 14, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I am sad for the Constitution and the first amendment – there is the exercise clause and the establishment cause. Would a person of another faith be as blantly attacked as Huckabee. Huckabee was a pastor, is a person of faith, and does care about people – people who are hurting. He may not win the nomination but let's stop attacking him because of his faith. You see a lot of Politicians preach at church for example there is a Missouri representative that was a Pastor – oh I forgot he is a democrat and this attacks are saved for Republicans....

    January 15, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. rj

    thats were 'huckatax' belongs....freds the 'real deal'...fred thompson

    January 16, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  7. K. Wilkinson

    This absolutely drives me nuts!!! Does anyone care that this man is riding on the coat tails of Jesus? What ever happened to the separation of church and state?

    Please don't tell me that he is just preaching a sermon! YOU KNOW he is campaigning!

    January 17, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
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