Did Mike Huckabee Really Say That You Will Go To Hell If You Vote For Obama?

Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, ordained Southern Baptist minister, enthusiastic Romney supporter, and current Inquisitor of the Republican Party, said this in a political ad:

Christians across the nation will have an opportunity to shape the future for our generation and generations to come. Many issues are at stake, but some issues are not negotiable: The right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our cherished principle of religious liberty for the government to force the church to buy the kind of insurance that leads to the taking of innocent human life.

Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? This is Mike Huckabee asking you to join me November the 6th and vote based on values that will stand the test of fire.

Not only does the Huckster say that God is sneaking a peek at the secret ballot of Christians (God is a nosy deity, I guess), he also says that the vote of Christians can trump God’s will, in that their vote “will affect the future.” And, more important, Pastor Huck suggests a non-Romney vote will subject the actions of Christians—those folks purchased by the blood of Jesus—to a “test of fire.”

Most liberal commentators, because they don’t much understand the language of evangelicals, are interpreting Huck’s comments as meaning that Christians are hell-bound if they vote for The Scary Negro Who Hates God. Here’s an example from Slate:

Huckabee Says Christians Will Go to Hell If They Vote Obama

Not so though. It sounds like that, it sounds like the Huckster is sending Christian Obama voters to hell, but that’s not what he means. If you read 1 Corinthians 3, you’ll see the Apostle Paul tells us:

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.

See? “The fire will test the quality of each person’s work,” that is, each Christian’s work. Huck is saying that a “yes” vote for Obama will compel God to make a huge withdrawal from the Christian’s heavenly reward bank account, but won’t necessarily send that Christian to hell. He or she will escape “through the flames.” Slick, eh?

Thus, discerning Christians, and those with rather large heavenly bank accounts, can afford to vote for Obama without fear that God will immediately assign them to an eternity in hell. God will merely slap a big penalty on them, call it a Kenyan Socialist Obama Tax, for disobeying Mike Huckabee, but they will still get to heaven.

They just may have to sit in the cheap seats.

So, all you Christians out there with grace to spare, Barack is your man! Feel free to vote your conscience!

Martin Luther King Day, 2011

Martin Luther King was in many ways a conservative. 

He preached a brand of Christianity that at least in words, if not in deeds, most conservative evangelicals could embrace. 

He had no desire to injure or destroy America, despite its injustices to blacks and to the poor, often one and the same. 

He argued for peaceful change within the rules of society, a highly conservative stance. 

But Martin Luther King was also and obviously a liberal. 

And to honor that liberalism on this MLK day, I offer an excerpt from his, “imaginary letter from the pen of the Apostle Paul,” from November of 1956

I understand that you have an economic system in America known as Capitalism. Through this economic system you have been able to do wonders. You have become the richest nation in the world, and you have built up the greatest system of production that history has ever known. All of this is marvelous. But Americans, there is the danger that you will misuse your Capitalism….

The misuse of Capitalism can…lead to tragic exploitation. This has so often happened in your nation. They tell me that one tenth of one percent of the population controls more than forty percent of the wealth. Oh America, how often have you taken necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. If you are to be a truly Christian nation you must solve this problem. You cannot solve the problem by turning to communism, for communism is based on an ethical relativism and a metaphysical materialism that no Christian can accept.

You can work within the framework of democracy to bring about a better distribution of wealth. You can use your powerful economic resources to wipe poverty from the face of the earth. God never intended for one group of people to live in superfluous inordinate wealth, while others live in abject deadening poverty. God intends for all of his children to have the basic necessities of life, and he has left in this universe “enough and to spare” for that purpose. So I call upon you to bridge the gulf between abject poverty and superfluous wealth.

I have often heard Glenn Beck praise Dr. King on his radio and television shows. Other conservatives, too. But I’ve never heard them embrace the sentiments expressed above, through the voice of Paul the Apostle, which were central to King’s activism.

Why not?

The Glenn Beck Paradox

“One of them, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true.”

—Paul the Apostle, Titus 1:12,13

 

I heard Glenn Beck say yesterday morning that we shouldn’t trust anyone—including him—to tell us the truth.  Do your own homework, he pleaded. 

Now, I have heard Beck make similar statements, as he continues to plow new ground in the fields of folly, which are his radio and television shows. Here is an example from last year:

So do I ask you to trust me? Nope. Instead, I ask you to do something that this whole broken system of government and media has taught you not to do: trust yourself. Empower yourself. Take charge of your own life. Don’t take my or anyone else’s word for anything. Read, question every angle and trust your gut.

But, I wonder.

If you follow Beck’s advice, aren’t you violating his “don’t trust me” suggestion?

And just how can you do your homework, empower yourself, take charge of your own life, if you don’t trust anyone?  At some point don’t you have to believe something someone else says?  And even if you were able to learn something without trusting the testimony of others, how would you persuade anyone to believe that you know what you’re talking about, if everyone followed Beck’s advice not to trust anyone?

In the Abolition of Man, C. S. Lewis said,

You cannot go on seeing through things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it. . . . If you see through everything, then everything is transparent. But a wholly transparent world is an invisible world. To see through all things is the same as not to see.

Glenn Beck telling folks to not take his or “anyone else’s word for anything” may just be an exercise in false humility.  Or it may be that the Beck Paradox is just too deep for me to understand, sort of like the words of the Apostle Paul, who in order to support his claim that all Cretans were liars, cited as truth the word of a Cretan philosopher, Epimenides.

Deep.

No Christmas Cheer Here

In Barbra Streisand’s Yentl, a film based on Isaac Singer’s short story about a defiant Jewish girl who undertook the study of Jewish law and theology by disguising herself as a boy, there is a scene in which a bookseller with his wagon full of books offered, “Picture books for women, story books for men.”

Before his death, Yentl’s father, a Rabbi, had secretly taught her Talmudic law, despite the fact that women were not allowed at the time to receive an education equal to that of men.

Fundamentalists have always, it seemed, been enemies of equal education for women.  

The Apostle Paul, himself a highly educated man, wrote almost two centuries ago in 1 Timothy 2:11:

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.

Today, out of Peshawar, Pakistan, we read:

The Taliban blew up a girls’ school in Pakistan’s Khyber district, where troops are fighting against militants in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan, an official said Wednesday.

The AFP story also reports:

Islamist militants opposed to co-education and subscribers to sharia law have destroyed hundreds of schools, mostly for girls, in northwest Pakistan in recent years.

Fortunately, for the most part, 21st century fundamentalist Christianity has been tamed by modernity, at least when it comes to blowing up houses of education for women, but modernity has not touched millions of Islamic extremists world-wide, who are hell-bent on inflicting centuries-old ideas on the rest of us. 

I have grave and insurmountable doubts that our continued prosecution of the “War on Terror” will succeed in eliminating such thinking from the face of the earth.  Perhaps the only way to do so is for “sensible” Muslims to begin a widespread campaign to condemn the Taliban and other Islamic extremists for such evil acts like the one committed in Pakistan today.

But nothing resembling such a movement appears to be on the horizon, and our century proceeds with a large number of medieval minds menacing civilization, and the only recourse seems to be killing them, one by one.

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