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Saturday, December 8, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the Politico: Huckabee called homosexuality ’sinful’

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, surging in Iowa polls in the Republican presidential race, wrote on a questionnaire while running for U.S. Senate in 1992 that homosexuality is “aberrant” and “sinful.”

I guess this is shocking and/or newsworthy to many, as it is currently headlining Memeorandum, but surely finding out that a conservative Southern Baptist preacher called homosexuality “sinful” is like finding out that an orthodox Rabbi won’t eat pork.

One can debate the overall issue, but to act like this is some sort of revelation about Huckabee, given his history, strikes me as bizarre.

The fact that he wanted to isolate AIDS patients doesn’t surprise me either, as there were those in conservative circles in the 1980s and 1990s who thought that was an appropriate step. Still, of the two issues, the quarantine suggestion probably will do more damage, given that the “sinful” position can be seen as one of religious belief, while the other seems insensitive to human suffering.

Of course, all of this is part of the fine-tooth combing one gets when one moves from the realm of the likely losers to that of possible front-runner.

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Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | |

11 Comments

  1. Actually, there is a big difference between an Orthodox Jew and a Baptist minister. The Jew will eat pork when he has to. Such as when he is starving and the pork is the only available food. Seems that suicide—and starving to death when there’s food available is considered suicide—is worse than eating pork. So, as you can see, Orthodox Jews are more flexible than Baptist ministers. :)

    Comment by Alan Kellogg — Sunday, December 9, 2007 @ 2:37 am

  2. […] As Dr. Taylor wrote, ‘One can debate the overall issue,’ and I think everyone is entitled to their opinions. God will ultimately judge whether homosexuals are being sinful, in the meantime I think they deserve human decency like anyone else. […]

    Pingback by The Florida Masochist » Blog Archive » Just sinful — Sunday, December 9, 2007 @ 8:18 am

  3. The fact that he wanted to isolate AIDS patients doesn’t surprise me either, as there were those in conservative circles in the 1980s and 1990s who thought that was an appropriate step.

    It may not be surprising–given that irrationality and a misunderstanding of public health seem to guide dominant Republican positions on health policy.

    However, the fact remains that it is incredibly stupid and shows that the Huckster does not have the grasp on domestic policy needed to be an effective implementer of public policy.

    It is important to note that he reasserted his views on quaranteeing AIDS patients today on Russert’s show–so we can’t really chalk this up to what was dominant in “conservative circles” 15 years ago. He still believes in this stuff.

    Furthermore, by 1992 prominent conservative medical advocates like C. Everett Koop had already been quite vocal about the irrationality of positions like Huckabee’s.

    Comment by Ratoe — Sunday, December 9, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

  4. Interesting in re: today. I haven’t seen today’s MTP yet.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, December 9, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

  5. Sorry, correction: It wasn’t MTP–it was Fox News Sunday.

    Think Progress has the video: http://thinkprogress.org/2007/12/09/huckabee-deny-quarantine/

    Comment by Ratoe — Sunday, December 9, 2007 @ 4:00 pm

  6. Thanks. I haven’t watched that yet, either :)

    TiVo holds both, however.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, December 9, 2007 @ 4:19 pm

  7. I was going to make a point more or less the same as the first comment. There is, in fact, almost nothing similar between the view of Huckabee with respect to what two consenting adults do with one another and the hypothetical Orthodox Jew (rabbi or otherwise) with respect to dietary laws.

    Eating pork is not a sin for a Jew. In fact, some would say that we Jews do not even have a concept of “sin.” Others would say we do, but no one would conflate the dietary laws with “sin.”

    I know it was probably just a throwaway line–X is as unremarkable as Y. Still, I think the implicit conflation in the statement is rather misleading. And not only because of the potential misconception about dietary laws, but because of the political implications. Huckabee is openly stating that he would be a President who would essentially consider a nontrivial segment of the population to be something less than honorable members of society, whereas a (very hypothetical) President Lieberman’s eating habits presumably have no political or citizenship implications.

    Anyway, happy 6th night of Chanukah!

    Comment by MSS — Sunday, December 9, 2007 @ 7:14 pm

  8. Perhaps my flippancy is unclear: I was not arguing that they were equivalents within there respective religions, but that in terms of their newsworthiness, they were about the same on the “duh” scale.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, December 9, 2007 @ 7:25 pm

  9. And a Happy Chanukah to you as well!

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, December 9, 2007 @ 7:32 pm

  10. Steven, yes, I figured you were commenting on the “duh” factor more than anything else. Still, I though the apparent conflation was misleading, so I chimed in, for the record. (If the comment thread of a blog post can be “the record.” And why not?)

    But I do want to re-emphasize one other point I was making: The issue is not only how the actions referred to are viewed within their own religio-cultural context, but the implications for politics, where the stated views potentially become something imposed on those outside that context. No Jew expects non-Jews to avoid pork. Huckabee’s statement is rather obviously aimed at an external audience, especially now that he is a presidential candidate who is highly unlikely to repudiate the statement, or, if elected, embark on actual policies that would atone for it.

    I understand Huckabee’s lead in Iowa has grown a great deal in a new poll. It would be really, really fun to see Huckabee get the nomination. He would get, what, 32%? Or is even that too high? Not much beyond whatever the Christianist base is, plus the GOP’s equivalent of the Yellow Dog voter.

    And, again, Happy Chanukah (just two more nights!).

    Comment by MSS — Monday, December 10, 2007 @ 11:43 am

  11. I don’t disagree with your basic analysis. Indeed, I don’t think that Huckabee is electable and once that starts to sink into the minds of GOP primary voters, I expect him to start to sink.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Monday, December 10, 2007 @ 11:47 am

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