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Friday, October 16, 2015

How Christians Should Not Campaign For Political Office

Being both a Christian and a politician has to provide for many tearing moments. For the qualities that most often makes for good politicians also makes for struggling Christians. Whereas Jesus told us not to 'lord it over others,' most of our politicians claim to be excellent leaders. And we know what leaders do. They lord it over others.

In addition, while the parable of the two men praying warns against being the person who sees faults in others only. Politicians must  sell themselves while discrediting their opponents. 

And while the Scriptures teach us that the 'last shall be first,' politicians, to improve their visibility and public image must always seek the seat of honor and prestige.

Finally, while we are exhorted to be completely honest and to not mislead people, politicians have learned that they must become word artists who excel in the art of being selective.  They must tell us enough information so that we believe what they want us to believe, but not too much information lest the claims they make about themselves are shattered by context and full truth. Please note that the use of 'finally' in this paragraph only means that the above are the only contradictions between being a Christian and a politician which we will introduce here. There are others.

This week, we will give a light review of a speech made by Mike Huckabee (click here and then scroll down to select Huckabee's speech). Former governor Mike Huckabee is pretty well known (click here for a short bio). The speech we will be reviewing was recently given to those attending the Values Voter Summit.

In the middle of Huckabee's speech, he talks about how he and his administration prosecuted corruption. Though he might have done what he said he did, there is a problem. The problem is documented (click here and there and another there) and can be found in the claims made about his fast and loose use of some gifts and campaign funds. He has received five warnings and fined $1,000 for the 14 ethics complaints made about him.

In a short video that preceded his speech, he claimed that he cut taxes and raised family income by 50% over a 10 year period. However, there are some problems with those accounts. First, it depends on which set of statistics one uses. The statistics provided by they Huckabee campaign pointed to a 59% increase in per capita income. But when inflation is factored in, the increase is only around 22% (click here).  When using data from the Census Bureau, the not-adjust increase was  44% while the adjusted rate of increase was around 9% (click here). 

Another problem is found in how Huckabee brags of how he cut taxes. The problem is that he also raised taxes both before he cut them and afterwards (click here).

But more important than that, it is Huckabee's worldview that is most disturbing. For whether he is describing the corruption in Washington and Wall Street, or whether he is talking about groups like ISIS, Huckabee demonstrates a bipolar world of those who are good and those who are evil. Such a view encourages us to externalize evil rather than trying to courageously  confront our own dark side.

In addition, his belief in domination is found in how he wants the US to compete with nations like the Soviet Union with the hopes of wiping out their ability to compete with us in selling oil. The end result is so that others look to us, rather than nations like Russia, for help purchasing oil. It was a message that played well to the audience, but is not realistic and one that shows little concern for the environment.

Except for what he said about abortion, I tend to disagree with what he says. Huckabee seems to view himself as a Mr. Clean in a world full of dirty competitors.  His filtered claims about what he has done while governor are areas of concern because it shows a lack of full honesty. His bipolar view of the world around him is another cause for concern as mentioned earlier when speaking of the parable of the two men praying. In other words, the Scriptures we cited at the beginning as causing at least a hindrance to being both a Christian and a politician and this proves to be true in Huckabee's case. Now if only he would start looking to be more Scriptural than political, a more favorable review of his speech could have been made.



 

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