Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fundamentalism with a Kind Face

From the New Yorker profile of Mike Huckabee:

Huckabee’s formulation is considerably more politic. “If somebody asked me, How do I get to Heaven, I would tell them that the only way I personally am aware of is faith in Christ, because I believe the New Testament,” he said. “That’s the only map I got. Somebody says, Well, I got a different map. O.K.! You know what? If it works, I’m not going to argue with you.
“Consider homosexuality,” he writes. “Until recently, who would have dared to suggest that the practice should be accepted on equal footing with heterosexuality, to be thought of as a personal decision and nothing more?” Abortion is another example; he has said that his horror at “the holocaust of liberalized abortion” helped motivate him to leave the ministry and pursue a career in politics. When he was governor of Arkansas, Huckabee blocked Medicaid funding for an abortion that a retarded teen-ager wanted to have after she was raped by her stepfather.
“Evangelical essentially means people who have a belief in the authority and veracity of the Bible,” Huckabee said, “but who also believe that the Bible is about good news.” This was in contrast to fundamentalism, which “tends to put a focus on God’s judgment,” he said. “Evangelicalism is a grace-centered approach. It’s more about we’re all sinners, we’ve all screwed up, we all need help, that’s why we keep Jesus.”

Cognitive dissonance alert! Huckabee tries to come off as a less militant conservative, and his personality is such that you instinctively like him. But his actions and even his words paint a picture of total faith in his own convictions. Those are clearly drawn from his Evangelical roots. You can choose your own path to heaven, but his path to heaven will dictate that a woman cannot terminate a pregnancy that originated in rape. Later in the article, he conflates homosexuality with incest. To be honest, the entire section on gay rights is nauseating. That fits my definition of fundamentalism, even if it doesn't fit Huckabee's.

Later in the article, much is said of Huckabee's seemingly caring more about the poor than his fellow conservatives. His primary economic policy idea, the Fair Tax, however, is a horribly regressive tax that would do far more to help the rich and hurt the poor than even the continual fight for regressive taxes by other conservatives. Huckabee's plan would abolish the (maybe, kinda, sorta, not really) progressive income tax completely, and replace it with a national sales tax. It makes an attempt at progressivity by exempting poor families by way of a rebate. But overall, it will still amount to a massive tax cut for the wealthy. Sounds like an orthodox conservative policy to me.

Being likable is not the same as having empathy for any sort of heterodox views.

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