For gays, keeping Huckabee out of the White House is a must.
by Steve Charing
THIS COUNTRY, AND specifically the LGBT community, does not need an Ayatollah sitting in the White House. And that's exactly what we would get if the current flavor-of-the-week, Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas should, in comeback fashion, meander his way through the primaries to win the GOP nomination and then upset the Democratic candidate in November of 2008.
We have already experienced a devastating seven years with George W. Bush at the helm, who some have dubbed the "minister-in-chief. While the federal government is technically secular, this president has seen to it that administration policies and personnel meet with the approval of the Christian conservatives who, in no small way, helped to elect him twice and embraced him as one of their own.
You can point to the disproportionate number of Department of Justice employees who have graduated from none other than Rev. Pat Robertson's law school as an example of this influence. Then there was the inappropriate White House-backed intervention in a personal family matter in the Terri Schiavo case. Add that to the successful appointments of two very conservative Supreme Court justices as well as other anti-gay administration appointees who were the darlings of the religious right.
Not to be forgotten and just as egregious for gays was the cynical use of faith-based dollars and other incentives to influence church leaders, including African-American ministers, to rail against "gay marriage" during the 2004 campaign, especially in the battleground state of Ohio to help bolster Republican turnout.
After this Bush presidency you would think the electorate would yearn for a return to secular and competent governance. But on the strength of a friendly persona that contrasts with an immigrant-hating, terrorism-obsessed angry field of GOP competitors and a well-timed but not necessarily funny quip during the recent CNN-YouTube Republican debate, Huckabee, an ordained minister, is seeing his stock rapidly rise.
This is scary, particularly for gays.
HUCKABEE ONCE ADVOCATED for the isolation of people with AIDS from the general population. "If the federal government is truly serious about doing something about the AIDS virus," he wrote, "we need to take steps to isolate the carriers of this plague."
Although he recently backtracked somewhat from that earlier stance saying that there was uncertainty with respect to the transmission of the virus, his pronouncement occurred in 1992, not 1982. By that point in time there was a much better understanding of how HIV was transmitted, that is it cannot be spread by casual contact, but that didn't alter his archaic, bigoted stance.
And why would it? "I feel homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle, and we now know it can pose a dangerous public health risk," Huckabee wrote then.
The religious right has yet to coalesce behind a particular candidate for a variety of reasons. But they are taking a second look at Huckabee and are impressed by his virulent anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage positions. They are beginning to view him as one of their own and with good reason.
TO THIS POWERFUL voting bloc that is crucial in the GOP primaries, John McCain cannot be trusted. Flip-flopping Mitt Romney is a Mormon, which many Christian conservatives regard as a cult. Fred Thompson has had a checkered past with respect to the issue of abortion. And Mr. 9/11, Rudy Giuliani, is way too immoral because of his moderate positions on choice and civil unions, not to mention his two divorces.
They're a sullen bunch, but the sunny Huckabee (read: Reaganesque) with his clergy status and his unabashed Christian dogma is catching on with evangelicals in Iowa, and fast.
Here is a man who admitted on national television during one of the earlier debates that he does not believe in evolution and, therefore, by extension, science. That has to be discouraging to those who have witnessed a president since 2001 who has placed little value in science.
And since Huckabee eschews science by believing in Creationism, how is this going to help solve the global warming crisis that is looming? Or energy independence? Is he simply going to pray for these critical problems to be solved?
The next president will have the opportunity to potentially appoint two, perhaps three justices to the Supreme Court. With a possible Huckabee presidency, you can expect such nominees to be anti-choice and anti-gay. For it would be those positions that will have helped to elect Mike Huckabee.
We cannot afford to have an Ayotollah leading our country—again.