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We are a pluralistic Judeo-Christian nation

By Bruce Walker
web posted December 17, 2007

Mike HuckabeeMike Huckabee is wrong to challenge Mitt Romney's Mormonism.   Baptists, for very good historical reasons, have been leery about having an "official" version of Christianity in American government or politics.  Baptists, like Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Quakers and other branches of the Judeo-Christian tradition, have held different views of theology.  But there was always a common thread in Judeo-Christian morality and traditions and in recorded in Holy Scripture. 

As a result, Christian America has long been the most sympathetic nation on Earth to Jews, especially in politics.  Jews were elected to public office in colonial America and this continued throughout the 19th Century when Jews in the antebellum South held positions in the United States Senate, state supreme courts and governorships.  Today Jews are represented in the Senate far out of proportion to their percentage of the population, yet no one is troubled by this.   We may well be troubled by the Leftism of Barbara Boxer, but not by her Jewishness.  In fact, we may well wish that Barbara Boxer thought and spoke more like a devout Jew and less like a Leftist nut. 

If Mike Huckabee in the 2000 election had talked about Joe Lieberman's faith the way Huckabee is now talking about Mitt Romney's faith now, everyone – including conservative – would be condemning this  unacceptable bigotry.  And everyone would have been right.  Does anyone doubt that it is Joe Lieberman's serious Orthodox faith that has pushed him into becoming the most honorable and sensible Democrat in the Senate? 

It is that broad Judeo-Christian morality and tradition that has allowed men like Senator Lieberman, Governor Romney and Governor Huckabee to agree on the important points about American government and politics.  And it is this broad tradition that has been the glue which has kept America together.   When some Americans tried to tie Americanism to Protestantism, the majority of Americans rejected them.  When Republicans supporting James Blaine talked about "Rum, Rebellion and Romanism" in 1884, the rest of America sent Blaine down to defeat:  Americans were offended by intolerance of Catholics seventy-six years before John Kennedy became president.

Today no one even thinks about that division of Christendom between Roman Catholics and Protestants.  If Frank Keating, for example, was a presidential candidate, does anyone think that Mike Huckabee would be questioning his faith?  Keating is a Catholic, but he also took on the Catholic Church in America; he is a conservative on nearly every issue that Huckabee is; both were governors of contiguous states during their terms of office; both, doubtless, found vastly more to agree about than to disagree about.  When Governor Huckabee thinks about Mitt Romney's Mormonism, perhaps he should think first about Joe Lieberman and Frank Keating – men whose honorable service to America in difficult times should be unquestioned.

Governor Huckabee might also want to think about a fellow Republican, the rising star in the Republican constellations, Bobby Jindal.  Governor Jindal, like Governor Keating, comes from a state that shares a long border with Arkansas.  Surely Mike Huckabee knows what sort of slime Democrats tried to smear on Bobby Jindal a few months ago.  Jindal, the son of immigrants from India, was portrayed as anti-Protestant, because he defended his Catholicism.   Perhaps Huckabee should say whether he thinks that these attacks on Jindal, whose theology is different from Huckabee's, was sound or was lame.  Americans due west and due south of Arkansas have elected Roman Catholic governors by overwhelming majorities.  The political schism between Catholic and Protestant, even in Huckabee's backyard, seems to have mended:  Jindal and Keating strongly confirm Huckabee's position on abortion, pornography, two parent homes, limited government and countless other issues important to social conservatives.  What does it matter, as far as politics is concerned, if Jindal and Keating have  theological beliefs than differ from Mike Huckabee's Baptist beliefs? 

What we all should want in politics is that Bobby Jindal, Frank Keating, Joe Lieberman and Mitt Romney profess: a belief in a Blessed Creator, seriousness about Holy Scriptures and a repudiation of the secularism that is infesting and destroying Europe today. 

Once, half of the states of the Union had established state churches – a particular version of Christianity was the "official version."  It was not the Supreme Court or the Bill of Rights that changed this.  It was the people of these states themselves who insisted that we have a broadly based Judeo-Christian political foundation, but not a particular version of that tradition.  Mike, that is the way America should be:  Judeo-Christian, but tolerant. ESR

Bruce Walker has been a published author in print and in electronic media since 1990.  He is a contributing editor to Enter Stage Right and a regular contributor to Conservative Truth, American Daily, Intellectual Conservative, Web Commentary, NewsByUs and Men's News Daily. His first book, Sinisterism: Secular Religion of the Lie by Outskirts Press was published in January 2006.

 

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