Some Jewish leaders are scratching their heads — and Jewish Democrats are gloating — over the latest religious pronouncement from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, the ordained Baptist minister who has skyrocketed to the top tier in the race for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
Speaking Monday at a campaign rally in Warren, Mich., Huckabee said he wants to change the Constitution to be consistent with God’s word.
“I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” he told cheering supporters. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do, to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”
In a statement to The Jewish Week, Huckabee had this to say about the controversy.
“Earlier this week, I was speaking about the human life amendment which I support and has been a part of the Republican platform since 1980 — and traditional marriage. I am not suggesting that we rewrite the Constitution.
“However, I do believe I am the authentic conservative in the race, having pushed for pro-life, pro-family measures my entire public life — in fact, those are the issues that define me and led me to get active in politics.”
Huckabee’s comments were “unreal,” said Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a group that has taken the lead in urging politicians in both parties to stop mixing religion and politics. I’m flabbergasted he doesn’t have the sensitivity to see how this will be offensive to many Americans. Who gets to determine which are ‘Godly’ values? Which Bible?”
Foxman said Huckabee did not take such a sectarian approach when he was governor of Arkansas. “So why is it coming up now?”
Part of the answer: the increasingly complex battle for the GOP presidential nomination.
Huckabee, some analysts said, badly needs a victory in the Jan. 19 South Carolinia primary, where Evangelicals will play a critical role.Over the weekend the candidate gave two sermons from the pulpit of a Spartanburg church.
Foxman said that in a campaign in which Democrats and Republicans alike are raising matters of faith as never before, Huckabee “keeps pushing the envelope further and further. This conviction that he alone possesses the truth is disturbing in someone who