We hear over and over the meme of "Huckabee is just a nice, folksy guy" and that he's fairly tolerable as evangelicals go.
How true is that impression?
In a remarkably candid interview (I suppose to placate the goober readership of CNS news, which has a real low tooth to tattoo ratio), he identifies one of his bestest friends.
So the public schools should teach children there is a God, and our rights come from God? They should teach them that?And who is David Barton?
If they teach our history, they have to teach that. But they don't have to teach them how they are going to specifically believe in that God. That's where the line comes. But the thing is, we shouldn't be afraid of giving kids the truth about our American history and heritage. We ought to make sure they know what it is. David Barton, who is one of my dear friends, and probably, I think, maybe the greatest living historian on the spiritual nature of America's early days, is a person who I wish was writing the curriculum. But unfortunately, we have a time where people just don't even acknowledge what our curriculum is.
This resolution, which purports to promote "education on America's history of religious faith," is packed with the same American history lies found on the Christian nationalist websites, and in the books of pseudo-historians like David Barton. It lists a total of seventy-five "Whereas's," leading up to four resolves, the third of which is particularly disturbing -- that the U.S. House of Representatives "rejects, in the strongest possible terms, any effort to remove, obscure, or purposely omit such history from our Nation's public buildings and educational resources," a travesty of the highest magnitude, considering that most of the "history" this resolve aims to promote in our public buildings and schools IS NOT REAL!But who is he, really?
Through his organization, Wallbuilders, Barton peddles a wide array of videos, books and other resources designed to “introduce the current generation of Americans to an uncensored view of America’s religious and political history.”Who all is Barton tied in with?
Despite Barton’s lack of academic credentials and his shoddy scholarship, he has managed to create an important niche by traveling around the country and all over the world telling audiences that the Founding Fathers were evangelical Christians just like them, and intended to create a nation of, by, and for Christians.
Academic historians, according to the New York Times, give Barton’s work at best a “B minus,” noting that while the historical facts he cites are more or less accurate, his biased interpretation of them is not. The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty said that Barton’s work is “laced with exaggerations, half-truths and misstatements of fact” and the Texas Freedom Network calls him “a pseudo-intellectual fraud whose twisted interpretations of history are little more than propaganda.”
Barton also has ties to extremist elements. In his literature, Christian Reconstructionist authors and organizations are sometimes recommended. Reconstructionist activist Gary DeMar's book God And Government is suggested reading, and Reconstructionist-oriented groups such as the Plymouth Rock Foundation and the Providence Foundation are touted as resources.There are several sources that show his attendance of a Peters event
Perhaps most alarming, Barton also has had a relationship with the racist and anti-Semitic fringes of the far right. According to Skipp Porteous of the Massachusetts-based Institute for First Amendment Studies, Barton was listed in promotional literature as a "new and special speaker" at a 1991 summer retreat in Colorado sponsored by Scriptures for America, a far-right ministry headed by Pastor Pete Peters. Peters' organization, which is virulently anti-Semitic and racist, spreads hysteria about Jews and homosexuals and has been linked to neo-Nazi groups. (The organization distributes a booklet called Death Penalty For Homosexuals.)
Peters' church is part of the racist "Christian Identity" movement. and three members of The Order, a violent neo-Nazi organization, formerly attended Peters' small congregation in LaPorte, Cole. After members of The Order murdered Denver radio talk show host Alan Berg in the mid 1980s, critics of Peters' ministry in Colorado charged that his hate-filled sermons had spurred the assassination.
Beyond that, details about Barton's background are hard to find. His books and videos list no academic credentials and give no basic biographical information. A call by Church & State to Wallbuilders, Inc., the group Barton runs in Aledo, Texas, was unproductive. A staff member said Barton was traveling. Barton did not respond to Church & State's request for an interview. and his staff refused to answer questions.
Wallbuilders' bio of Barton is very brief and does not name the school he attended, saying only, "Although he entered college in Oklahoma on a science scholarship, he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Religious Education." The bio asserts that Barton taught math and science before forming Wallbuilders, though it does not say where. (Wallbuilders takes its ironic name from a passage in Nehemiah 2, which reads, "Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach." Like the Old Testament prophet Nehemiah, Barton apparently sees himself as chosen by God to rebuild his nation's moral foundations.)
In 1991 Barton addressed the Rocky Mountain Bible Retreat of Pastor Pete Peters' Scriptures for America, a group that espouses the racist "Christian Identity" theology. Advocates of this bizarre dogma insist that white Anglo-Saxons are the "true" chosen people of the Bible and charge that today's Jews are usurpers. Aside from being a virulent anti-Semite, Peters has advocated the death penalty for homosexuals. According to the Anti-Defamation League, other speakers at the event included white supremacist leader and 1992 presidential candidate James "Bo" Gritz, a leader of the radical and increasingly violent militia movement, and Malcolm Ross, a Holocaust denier from Canada. In November of that same year, Barton spoke at Kingdom Covenant College in Grants Pass, Oregon, another "Christian Identity" front group with ties to Peters.As of 2006, it was reported that Barton served as the Vice Chair of the Texas Republican Party since 1997
Asked to explain these actions, Barton's reply amounted to a not very creative "I didn't know they were Nazis" dodge. In a July 1993 letter, Barton assistant Kit Marshall wrote, "At the time we were contacted by Pete Peters, we had absolutely no idea that he was 'part of the Nazi movement.' He contacted us for David to speak for Scriptures for America. The title is quite innocuous. In all the conversations that I personally had with Pete Peters, never once was there a hint that they were part of a Nazi movement. I would also like to point out that simply because David Barton gives a presentation to a group of people does not mean that he endorses all their beliefs."
The link above also gives a roadmap of the strategy, which seems to be working.
But enough on Barton. Lets talk for a minute about "nice guy Mike" and his ties to Dominionists.
I read in Robert Novak’s column this morning that Mike Huckabee held a fundraiser earlier this week at the Houston home of Dr. Steven Hotze. As Novak notes, Hotze is “a leader in the highly conservative Christian Reconstruction movement.”Huckabee connects to Rick Scarborough at Vision America
Christian Reconstructionists, for those unfamiliar with the term, are Religious Right radicals who believe that America, and the rest of the world besides, should be governed in accordance with strict Biblical law. And yes, that includes stoning adulterers. Here’s a snippet from “A Manifesto for the Christian Church,” a 1986 document from an outfit called the Coalition on Revival that was signed by, among others, Steven Hotze:
"We affirm that the Bible is not only God’s statements to us regarding religion, salvation, eternity, and righteousness, but also the final measurement and depository of certain fundamental facts of reality and basic principles that God wants all mankind to know in the sphere of law, government, economics, business, education, arts and communication, medicine, psychology, and science. All theories and practices of these spheres of life are only true, right, and realistic to the degree that they agree with the Bible."
For more, check out this audio clip of Hotze from back in 1990. Over the years, Hotze has achieved some prominence for his anti-abortion and anti-gay activism. Also, the good doctor appears to be a total quack.
Meanwhile, Novak reports that among the members of the fundraiser’s host committee was Baptist minister Rick Scarborough. The founder of Vision America and a self-described “Christocrat,” Scarborough made news earlier this year when he argued that the HPV vaccine improperly interferes with God’s punishment of sexual license.
Word of mouth in churches and among Christian groups can be a powerful force in Iowa politics. Christian believers make up the core of Huckabee's support in the state, said Rick Scarborough, a well-known Texas preacher who has endorsed the former Arkansas governor, though he adds that "it's not his only constituency."Is Huckabee giving hints as to what he really is by politicking in churches out on the campaign trail?
Scarborough heads Vision America, one of several groups trying to help Huckabee. The groups — some overtly religious, some not — are using a variety of tactics, all independent of Huckabee's campaign:
_ Automated phone calls to recruit volunteers.
_ Voter registration drives.
_ Informal e-mails and chats in church foyers and pews.
For any churchgoers who have missed this outreach, Huckabee is making a new appeal with a TV ad telling people that what truly matters this holiday season is not politics but the birth of Christ. "And on behalf of all of us, God bless and Merry Christmas," Huckabee says.
Some of the outreach is haphazard — Scarborough tried to put together a barnstorming tour earlier this month to register thousands of Christian voters in Iowa, but the tour fell through because of weather and trouble getting a bus. He said another group, Redeem the Vote, still plans the tour.
But instead this small evangelical congregation heard from a different special guest: Baptist minister and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who delivered a sermon of more than 20 minutes on how to be part of "God's Army" in the middle school cafeteria where the congregation meets.To date, about the only thing which separated him from the other whackjobs that seem to be trying to turn the GOP into the party attempting to gain control of Theocratia was his apparent softer stance on immigration. As of now, he's made his change and sucked up to the Minutemen:
"When we become believers, it's as if we have signed up to be part of God's Army, to be soldiers for Christ," Huckabee told the enthusiastic audience.
Huckabee mixed homespun jokes into his sermon and added a more religious tone than in his political speeches, not just quoting from the Bible but citing specific verses and talking about the serious side of faith.
"When you give yourself to Christ, some relationships have to go," he said. "It's no longer your life; you've signed it over."
Likening service to God to service in the military, Huckabee said "there is suffering in the conditioning for battle" and "you obey the orders."
.....So does Huckabee look so folksy now, or does he look dangerous?
Mr. Huckabee, who won last week's Republican Iowa caucuses, promised Minuteman Project founder James Gilchrist that he would force a test case to the Supreme Court to challenge birthright citizenship, and would push Congress to pass a 28th Amendment to the Constitution to remove any doubt.
The former Arkansas governor thinks the case against U.S. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean was railroaded, Mr. Gilchrist said.
"I would make it my first act as president to pardon agents Ramos and Compean," Mr. Gilchrist said Mr. Huckabee told him. "I regret that they have spent yet another Christmas locked up in a windowless cell like animals and unable to be free and with their families."
Mr. Huckabee now has adopted one of the strictest immigration platforms of any campaign. He has proposed a policy requiring all illegal aliens to return home and apply for immigration through legal channels.