I’ve got concerns about all the candidates, but I do not think any of my concerns actually matter (the Alaskan vote means very little, that is, if I was partaking in state liturgy), until I saw this on Mike Huckabee. On this I cannot stay quiet.
Huckabee, who was a minister before he served two and a half terms as governor as Arkansas, took to the stage for about half an hour at two Baptist churches in South Carolina and told the congregations: “I am here today to talk about Jesus and not to talk about me.”
“I always try to remind people that there is a place for politics, but when I come to church, it’s to worship,” he said at Gateway Baptist Church in Irmo, where he was mistakenly introduced as “Governor Hucklebee.”
In Irmo and at First Baptist Church in Fountain Inn, Huckabee weaved jokes and anecdotes from his life in Arkansas into his sermons while also demonstrating a deep familiarity with the New Testament, quoting passages from memory.”God is still looking for good soldiers, good soldiers for Christ,” he told the congregation in Irmo. “Every single person here is a soldier that God needs in his army. He is just waiting on us to say here am I, send me.”
…After the later service ended in Fountain Inn, Huckabee and his wife Janet lingered for an hour shaking hands with dozens of church-goers who had lined up to meet them, many of whom told CNN they were already supporting Huckabee’s presidential bid.
Now, beyond the obvious problem of quoting Isaiah 6 (“Here I am Lord send me”) inside of an explicitly militaristic interpretation, I have a concern. I don’t quite care much that America could once again have a self-professed Christian as President; however, I am concerned that the body of Christ – the church – will have the President of America in it. Huckabee, like many other presidents and presidential candidates, makes a false, categorical distinction: that the person who orders the bombing runs on people for America could walk into worship without the acknowledgement of vicious, un-Christlike action, much less the with holding of communion or confrontation.
The movie Godfather I comes to mind. While Michael is in the church at the baptism of his child, the hits he previously ordered are carried out. The juxtaposition in the movie makes my stomach ill. The insidious nature of what Michael has done is clearly evident, but I also think about the complicity of the church at that very moment. In all likely hood the priest did not know what Michael was doing, but a pastor at a church, if the president were to walk in, would know. I would want to walk out, unless if the president were there for repentance. Still, I’m not sure that would be enough. Repentance of specific actions is a good thing, a necessary thing. Nevertheless, when the president walks into the church, he/she does not sever their ties with their position in the world, in fact, the exact opposite is true. When the president enters the church, he/she brings in violence and if the church does nothing, the church becomes complicit.
This is one reason why I have a hard time seeing a Christian as president, because to do so means one gives up so much of one’s self – relationships within the body of Christ (come on, don’t tell me that bombing a country doesn’t affect Christians there, much less other humans we should love) and one’s relationship with the divine. Relationships – the foundation of our humanity and faith – must be seriously, negatively affected. Machiavelli puts a serious strain on faith.