An odd headline, right? But you know religion has become a central theme of the presidential election when the Republican candidate making a late run for the nomination goes out of his way to tell a reporter that his brand of “Jesus juice” is different than the others. (OK, but what is he going to do about Iraq?)
Mike Huckabee wants you to know that while everyone else is Pepsi and Coke, he is Jones Soda—maybe the Christmas Ham flavor I just received in the Jones Christmas Pack.
He is the Southern preacher who favors droll wit over brimstone sermonizing, a rock ‘n’ roll bass player who believes in creationism, with an Oprah-ready story about a 110-pound weight loss that probably saved his life.
Here in Arkansas, where Huckabee ruled as governor for 10 1/2 years, voters grew accustomed to a different brand of Republican—a governor with an idiosyncratic agenda that was sometimes difficult to categorize, but always driven, Huckabee insists, by his Southern Baptist faith. That faith influenced major policy decisions that could be deemed moderate, if not liberal, including a significant environmental initiative and a vastly expanded healthcare plan for low-income children.
Though Huckabee took strong stands against abortion and same-sex marriage, his record on taxes—a key pillar of Republican orthodoxy—was distinctly heterodox. He supported tax hikes on cigarettes, gasoline, groceries, sales and income. A video circulating on YouTube—and played, in part, on the CNN-YouTube Republican debate Wednesday—shows Huckabee addressing the Arkansas Legislature in 2003 and suggesting that he would be open to raising a broad range of taxes.
Still, Mark Stricherz, the new contributer to GetReligion thinks the LA Times reporter on this story forgot to ask a pretty basic question:
The only real omission in Faussetâs story is the origins of Huckabeeâs worldview. Did Huckabee manufacture it himself after years in office? Or is there a deeper, moral and philosophical grounding for it?
Is it possible that this former Baptist minister embraces the social teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, or has, at the very least, been influenced by it? Talk about another good story.