|I have defended Mike Huckabee on this blog, though he is not my first choice for the nomination. He has been the victim of unfair attacks from the regular Republican Party, who are aging, or have failed to keep up with changing situations, and are out of touch with the concerns of younger voters.||I do not support Huckabee at all. He's a
"big-government liberal" compared to Ron Paul. Huckabee is not even on
my radar as an acceptable candidate.
I agree with JMR that "the regular Republican Party" -- the leadership; the elders who undercut the move to impeach Bill Clinton -- are dinosaurs.
|In Michigan, however, Mr. Huckabee may have expressed a confusion between general and specific revelation that would disqualify him from serious consideration for Christian voters in the republic. Perhaps the reports I have read are in error or in the heat of a campaign he simply misspoke.||For readers who are not familiar with the concept of General versus Special Revelation, see here. Interesting that someone who was confused on this issue would be "disqualified" from public office. Up till now, I have been the only one defending such a stringent litmus test.|
|What I read and heard, however, was serious.||I don't follow the campaign too closely. A link here would have been a propos.|
|If Mike Huckabee thinks the Constitution should be changed to conform to Biblical law, then he is in grave error.||Everything -- including Constitutions -- should
conform to Biblical Law. The alternative -- everything violating Biblical
Law -- is chaos and tyranny.
The "grave error" might be the idea that everything should conform to Huckabee's understanding of Biblical Law, again, a prescription for chaos and tyranny. I don't believe the Bible endorses big-government liberalism, but I'm willing to grant the point that Huckabee "sincerely" thinks it does.
|Mike Huckabee must get the distinction between Biblical law and general revelation right to govern under the Constitution of 1789.||
|What is this distinction? Christians realized that there were some truths that almost all people of good will understood. They could be gained through human reason, itself a common grace of God to all humankind.|
|One did not need to be a Christian to make progress in math||
|and Christians did not take long to discover that they had much to learn from Jewish, Islamic, and even deist thinkers. That sounds obvious, but it is hard to admit that what you think is true may be true, but not have all the truths.||No human being is perfectly consistent with his ultimate presuppositions, or "worldview." Someone who believes "all is illusion" may still look both ways before crossing the street. America's Founding Fathers learned a few particulars from non-Christian cultures, including the Greeks and Romans -- and many of these ideas were lessons in what not to do. The architects of a Christian culture or discipline can learn from individuals of other religions, who make progress in science despite their non-Christian, anti-science presuppositions, but we must not adopt the non-Christian philosophy.|
|Christianity is true so far as it goes.||What does this statement even mean? Where does Christianity not go? What area of human life and thought does Christ not govern? Where does the Bible abruptly stop and say, "Oops, I better not say anything about that." Where is there a "neutral zone" of though or behavior outside the jurisdiction of Christianity?|
|It may also contain truths that are not obvious to other people of good will. This is not “secularism” in the modern sense, but a recognition that there are areas of Christian thought where accepting divine revelation is necessary to gain access to certain ideas.||As I'm reading JMR's column, I don't understand
this paragraph. Maybe it will be explained momentarily.
|This revelation is the gift of Biblical faith, itself a divine mercy from God. Christians cannot, and when they are sensible do not, expect pagans and non-Christians to submit to Biblical law in those areas where one must be a Christian to “buy” the arguments.||God expects all human beings to submit to
Non-Christian prostitutes, shoplifters, abortionists, embezzlers, and rapists are expected to submit to Biblical Law even if their own personal philosophy or worldview says the things they do are acceptable. If my son all of the sudden says he no longer believes he's obligated to obey my rules regarding my tools in the workshop, too bad. If my employee all of the sudden says he no longer believes he's obligated to obey my rules regarding office supplies, too bad. God has given me dominion and I'm obligated to make my world a Theocracy, not a Democracy. I'm not authorized to use violence, but I expect people under my authority to "submit" to Biblical Law, and I'm going to tell them that, even if they tell me to stop nagging them. This is a nag-ocracy.
Notice these verses from Young’s Literal Translation, with King David reflecting on his influence over unbelievers:
This was in the Old Testament, before the Advent of the Messiah, who is the "Savior" of the unsaved.
Social order and prosperity is the product of a Christian social consensus, and the material and cultural fruit of this consensus can be even enjoyed by those whose religion says it's all illusion.
|Christians discovered through history that freedom of conscience was one of God’s great gifts to mankind.||No human being is given a gift from God of being
a "conscientious atheist." No human being has the freedom in God's eyes
to be a non-Christian (Romans
On the other hand, no Christian has the right to initiate force against non-Christians.
No human being has the right to be wrong. No human being has the right to initiate force [different link] against those who are wrong.
Christianity is socially and politically libertarian, but mentally, spiritually, and philosophically totalitarian. You can be absolutely confident that your neighbor is "dead wrong" in what he believes, but you do not have the right to kill him.
|It was a hard won lesson, one of the great gifts of Christendom to the West. It is also a lesson that was achieved in dialog with secularists or near secularists who were allowed to live relatively unmolested academic lives. This is a tolerance that it is easy to chuckle at today, but letting Hume live fat and happy was a major achievement for a culture that thought some of his views quite wicked.||I guess this paragraph is "true," but what does it have to do with Huckabee? Huckabee would deny this paragraph? What does this have to do with the idea attributed to Huckabee, that "the Constitution should be changed to conform to Biblical law? Is JMR saying that the Constitution should be changed to conform to Hindu law? Atheistic communist law? Is JMR criticizing America's Founding Fathers for basing the American Legal System on the Ten Commandments of the Christian Bible?|
|Most of the world still would not give such a man the right to live, let alone be an honored member of a culture. Christians should celebrate this tolerance and not fall back fearfully on winning arguments through imposing laws on people that cannot accept them.||Is Huckabee really this anti-libertarian?|
|Even today people on the right and left struggle to sustain the principle that the right to dissent is nearly absolute.||What is mean by the phrase, "the right to dissent?" In what sense is it not "absolute?"|
|Of course the right to dissent from law (in behavior) is not absolute.||Of course. Not in a Christian nation, anyway.|
|It is not absolute exactly where the Framers said it was. Christians cannot allow the right to life, liberty, and private property to be taken away from men and women, because these are rights that reasonable people should be able to grasp without being Christian.||"Rights" rhetoric is always quicksand. People today speak of a "right to a living wage," and other nonsense. No human being has a "right" to life. Every human being has a duty not to take another's life.|
|Traditional marriage and procreation is of interest to the state.||Everything in heaven and on earth is of "interest" to the modern state. It is totalitarian in its lusts.|
|Most people in most places at most times have believed this was a “self-evident” truth just as the right to life is self-evident.||In other words, the state has a right to define marriage and punish adultery. This was certainly true back when America was a more Christian nation. Is JMR suggesting that adulterers be punished by the State? Does Huckabee deny this?|
|Every culture develops thoughtful minorities who may dissent from these truths, but they must submit to the rule of law.||The rule of Whose law?|
|It is important, however, that freedom of conscience, soul liberty, be maintained as far as possible. Laws do as little as possible to force people to do what they believe to be wrong or prevent them from doing what they believe to be right.||Is the goal only to be minimalist ("as little as possible") or is the goal to be Biblical? Who has the right to define the reach of State coercion? Shouldn't this reach be defined by Biblical Law? Isn't that what Huckabee is saying (our disagreements with his interpretation of that Law notwithstanding)?|
|Religion contains knowledge of this sort, philosophical arguments that it can add to the public square. When these arguments prevail religious voters must do so with a consensus that the widest possible group of people can accept. Fifty-one percent law is usually bad law.||Have we moved from minimalism to utilitarianism ("greatest good for greatest number")?|
|Any idea that requires a belief in Christian doctrine or specific Christian revelation cannot be imposed or should not imposed by force on non-believers.||Charles Manson or some Satanist believes he must kill a famous actress. Should the State impose on Mr. Manson the Christian idea that it's immoral to murder, even if that idea is contrary to Mr. Manson's deepest conscientious beliefs, beliefs which vitally animate and comprehensively define his entire life's purpose and the meaning of his existence?|
|Mike Huckabee appears to have said that the Constitution should match the Word of God. If by the Word of God, Huckabee means the Bible (it is possible he did not), then he is wrong to say the Constitution should conform to it.||The Constitution should contradict the
Word of God?
There's a possibility in JMR's mind that Huckabee believes something other than the Bible is "the Word of God??"
The Constitution should NOT conform to the Bible?
|A Constitution may agree with Sacred Scripture, but it should not impose that specific revelation on the commonwealth.||What is a Constitution and a legal system if not the imposition of ideas or morality? A Constitution cannot impose "Thou shalt not kill" on the commonwealth? Not a single person who signed the Constitution of 1787 would agree with that proposition.|
|This takes matters of personal faith and the Church into the public square where they do not belong. These issues may be knowledge of a sort, the doctrine of the trinity is true, but it is not knowledge based on argument to which non-Christians have access.||Like virtually all the state
constitutions, the Delaware
constitution of 1776 established a Christian State by requiring:
Why is this an unChristian thing to do?
|Huckabee should press for the Constitution to conform to the law of Nature and of Nature’s God, but he should not press for the Constitution to enshrine any law that requires acceptance of any religious claim more specific than that.||The "[L]aw[s] of Nature and of Nature’s
God" was just an eloquent
shorthand for the Bible.
Should the Constitution enshrine a law that imposes behaviors on people (atheists) who do not believe in the "[L]aw[s] of Nature and of Nature’s God?" Which god? Which laws?
|I hope and assume that I have misunderstood Huckabee’s position or he has disagrees with one of the most glorious accomplishments of American Baptist tradition.|
|It was, more than any other group, American Baptists who pressed in civil matters for maximum soul liberty. It would be sad for a great Southern Baptist leader to fail to understand this issue.||Three cheers for Baptists. Boo for|
January 16, 2008
|This post at Stand to Reason (left-hand column) was actually posted before the one above. Our response is below.|
Presidents and PastorsPastors and presidents have very different jobs and rationales for what they do and candidates should respect that distinction.
|Where does the Bible say that
Presidents and Pastors have "very different jobs?" The word
"Pastor" is Biblically and etymologically a "Shepherd." In the
Bible, it is the President (the "king") who is to
"shepherd" the people:
See also 2 Samuel 7:7; 1 Kings 22:17; 1 Chronicles 11:2; 1 Chronicles 17:6; Psalm 78:71-72; Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 56:11; Jeremiah 23:1-4; Jeremiah 25:34-38; Ezekiel 34; Ezekiel 37:24-28, etc., etc. English synonyms explained in alphabetical order. With copious illus. and examples drawn from the best writers (1902)
|Our rights are endowed by our Creator and that's why the government needs to respect them.||Our government needs to respect our rights because they come from God? This means our government is essentially religious, because its most fundamental duty is toward God, and this is the essence of "religion" (James 1:27; religion :: 1828 Noah Webster's Dictionary of the English Language).|
|But our government is a secular one. The rationale for government actions should be appealed to on grounds that are accessible and persuasive to everyone regardless of their religious convictions, not on Biblical grounds.||
|That's why I think Gov. Huckabee's comments were very unwise now that he's a presidential candidate.||So the truth can be spoken by "ecclesiastical" pastors, but not by "political" pastors? Who made this rule?|
|The Constitution should never be changed to conform to God's standards - at least that's not the reason we should change it. What's right and good is certain God's standard, and the rationale for Constitutional amendments should be made because it's right and good, not because it's God's standard. We should amend the Constitution for appropriate and good reasons for societal welfare.||We should not do something because
God commands it, but only because we feel like it? Atheistic Autonomy is to be
preferred over Christian Theonomy?
What standard is there besides God's standard for determining right and good? Is "right and good" just out there somewhere? Was it there before God was there?
|And very good and persuasive secular reasons can be given for traditional marriage and against same-sex marriage.||
|Further, the basis of our Constitution, and I believe one of the wise things about it, is that the Federal government is limited to certain functions. It isn't meant to do everything smaller governments and individual citizens are meant to do. Thus, the Constitution could never and should never encompass God's standards because His standards are a lot more encompassing and demanding than our government can and should demand.||This is a logical fallacy. Every one
of the federal government's enumerated powers should
be carried out in accord with Scripture.
Just because the federal government shouldn't do everything God wants done in the world doesn't mean it shouldn't do anything God wants done, and precisely because the God of the Bible commands it.
|Gov. Huckabee has seemed to mix these categories before when he talked about the role the government has to fill with social programs because we as individuals and Christians have failed to do what God has asked us to. Even if we fail to live up to God's expectations, the government should not step in to do what the Church and individual citizens should be doing.||Huckabee is wrong to say the federal government should enact "social programs." No branch of government -- state, local, or federal -- should enact "social programs." It is immoral for Smith to steal from Jones to give aid to the impoverished Wilson.|
|There's a role for government and there's a role for the church, and they function best and provide the greatest freedom and good when the roles don't cross over.||"There is a role." Where? Where is this "role" defined? Does the Constitution say that charity is for "the church" and not the role of "the state?" No, STR is applying a BIBLICAL principle to the State, just like Huckabee. I thought this was verboten?|
|As a pastoral exhortation, I think Pastor Huckabee's comments were appropriate. But as a presidential candidate, Gov. Huckabee doesn't seem to recognize the distinct roles pastors and presidents play and that makes me very uncomfortable.||"Very uncomfortable." Boo-hoo.
The author would have been very uncomfortable on the
day the Constitution was completed for this Christian nation.
I'm going to keep my eye peeled for a statement that says George Washington was not only "the father of his country," but also "the shepherd."
No, I'm thinking of something 200 years old, speaking more Biblically.
No, I'd still like to find something more contemporaneous, from an author who was consciously thinking about the verses cited above.