Friday, November 30, 2007

Huckabee, ministry, and holding office

In a two-man race between Mike Huckabee and any member of the Democratic field, Huckabee is going to be more acceptable from a Catholic perspective because of his strong pro-life stand-indeed, if we believe what the Church teaches about aborticide (and I do) that would make any Catholic duty-bound to vote for any pro-life candidate over any so-called "pro-choice" candidate (regardless of party). I say all of that because I am about to explain why Mike Huckabee is not the best candidate in the Republican field, and while he may excite evangelicals, he is going to have a terrible time rebuilding the Reagan coalition that is vital to win this election.

With every passing day, it becomes increasingly clear that illegal immigration is one of the greatest issues of concern for the American people in this election cycle. For those of us who live in areas where we are seeing the negative impacts of illegal immigration on a daily basis, we don't really need to be told that something needs to be done about it-what needs to be done is that the law simply needs to be enforced.

As Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee supported legislation that gave less-than in-state tuition to the children of illegal aliens. Not those who were born on U.S. soil (they are citizens) but kids who were illegals themselves! His reasoning, he said, was that it was "not Christian" to "punish" these kids for their parents' crimes. As Mitt Romney and other candidates reminded Huckabee, this was not his money to do with as he pleases, it belongs to the taxpayers of Arkansas who (like the rest of the South and most of the country) want our immigration laws enforced. I don't think it is the least bit un-Christian to enforce immigration laws as they exist in the name of the security and sovereignty of the United States. These laws are not inhumane, but they are clear that if you break the law and come here illegally you are not going to receive the benefits of a legal resident or a citizen and neither will your family. These laws are designed to both protect the United States and encourage people to come here legally and become citizens.

I think Mike Huckabee's heart may be in the right place, but his head is certainly not on this issue. Huckabee is, of course, an ordained Baptist minister. I think he wants to do the Christian thing (good for him), but there is a fine line between doing the Christian thing and doing the stupid thing and calling it Christian. Simply put, there is a time to be a preacher and a time to be an elected official, and dealing with immigration law is not the time to be a preacher. Being concerned with the souls of illegal aliens is a good thing. Encouraging them to break the law is not good for their souls.

We need good people who are guided by consciences of faith in public office. If the Tennessee Constitution could be enforced fully, these provisions make incredible sense from the view of a proper conscience and public office.

Article IX Sections 1 and 2:

Whereas Ministers of the Gospel are by their profession, dedicated to God
and the care of souls, and ought not to be diverted from the great duties of
their functions; therefore, no Minister of the Gospel, or priest of any
denomination whatever, shall be eligible to a seat in either House of the

No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards
and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this

These provisions make incredible sense to me. Ministers' primary concern is the care of souls, and for this reason John Paul II insured that priests could not hold public office. (They can be involved in campaigns and be active in civics, but cannot hold office). Both the framers of the Tennessee Constitution and the late Pope of happy memory understood that there will always be a great tension between the care of personal souls and the interest of the State. For this reason an elected office is not compatible with ordained ministry.

Government service and elected office is, however, a ministry in its own right. It is a civic ministry, one that-as the Holy Apostle St. Paul said-is supposed to work for the good of society and act as ministers of God for good. You can't minister for something you don't hold to exist. At least the Romans of Paul's day believed in the existence of the divine (something Paul well understood) even if it was not the Christian divine. I know that if I serve in public office, the voters may hold me accountable or they may not, but God certainly will when I stand before Him in judgement, as I have the temporal care of many souls under my charge. Although I am sure the ACLU and the hard Left have a problem with the second provision, I do not and I am sure the vast majority of Tennesseans don't either. The State may not enforce it today, but I can help enforce it with my vote-and I do.

Thoughts Mike Huckabee and his Primary supporters should think and pray about.

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At Friday, November 30, 2007 8:53:00 AM, Anonymous Pistol Pete said...

Christians may disagree on issues of immigration, but I appreciate that Huckabee follows the convictions of his faith on this issue. His reasoning is more than just a mushy sense of sympathy for children of immigrants, it is rooted in the Biblical tradition, caring for the aliens among us. His might not be the perfect solution, but it is not wrong-headed.

At Friday, November 30, 2007 9:23:00 AM, Blogger A. Renee Daley said...


I was curious to know what you thought about Mr.Limbaugh stating that Fred Thompson was the only conservative on the debate stage 11/28/07?

While it's not an endorsement per se - that still is huge coming from the king of conservative talk radio.

At Friday, November 30, 2007 1:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well well well. Mr. O I have to go against you here and say that being a minister should not automatically ban someone who chooses to serve their country, however I do stand with you on the notion of saying that allowing illegals access to the US is the Christian thing when infact it is not because Jesus told his disciples to not only follow God's law but to also follow the "law of the land" which in the U.S. is the Constitution.

At Saturday, December 01, 2007 1:56:00 AM, Blogger Dave Oatney said...

So you would amend the Tennessee Constitution and allow ministers to serve? I would be afraid to do so, because aside from not agreeing that they should, I would be afraid that any amendment would lift the prohibition on atheists in public office (which I favor wholeheartedly).


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