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!


Child Abuse?

I’m spending the week in California attending a union convention.  Hoping for a couple of hours of pure enjoyment, I went to Angel Stadium in Anaheim to watch the hapless Kansas City Royals lose yet another game.

At the entrance to the stadium, were several folks holding signs like this: 

While I don’t understand why the Angels allow these people to stand in front of their business and visually assault their customers, I do understand something about the people who are willing to spend their time in front of a big league ballpark and imply that without Jesus we are all going straight to hell.

Such people are poisoned with fundamentalism and frequently it is an intellectually fatal condition.

But my biggest problem with such folks is what they do to their children. 

As my friend and I walked toward the entrance, we saw a little girl, probably about ten years old:

That’s child abuse,” my friend said. “It’s one thing for an adult to stand out here and do this, but to force your kid to do it is a form of abuse.”

Well, is it?

As Richard Dawkins wrote:

The threat of eternal hell is an extreme example of mental abuse, just as violent sodomy is an extreme example of physical abuse.

While the comparison between violent sodomy and teaching children that they or their friends or their loved ones may one day be tormented forever and ever is at first a little startling, there is merit in Dawkins’ position.

He quoted part of a letter he received from a Catholic woman who claimed she had been victimized by her priest and her Church in more ways than one:

Being fondled by the priest simply left the impression (from the mind of a 7 year old) as ‘yuchy’ while the memory of my friend going to hell was one of cold, immeasurable fear. I never lost sleep because of the priest, but I spent many a night being terrified that the people I loved would go to Hell. It gave me nightmares.

And in the case of the little girl in front of Angel Stadium, she, no doubt, has been taught that people who don’t believe “Jesus Saves” will spend eternity suffering in hell. 

And whether she was “forced” to stand there holding that sign, or whether she does so out of a genuine fear that if she doesn’t do something, a lot of people will suffer eternally, there is no other description I can think of that fits: mental abuse.

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