- Mike Huckabee Addresses Anti-Catholic Accusations
- Mike Huckabee Renounces John Hagee's Anti-Catholic Rhetoric
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(St. Petersburg Times, published March 1, 2000) - Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday defended his older brother's controversial visit to Bob Jones University and said he also would be willing to speak at the South Carolina school, which bans interracial dating and whose founder once labeled the Catholic Church a "satanic cult."...THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Yes, it's true. Back in 2000, then Governor George W. Bush spoke at the infamously anti-Catholic and racist Fundamentalist college -- Bob Jones University -- as part of his campaign trail for President of the United States. Most of us may not remember then, but some of us do, and I am one of the few. I was a new Catholic, recently converted from Evangelicalism, when I received an automated phone call from the John McCain campaign. The phone call notified me of G.W. Bush's speech at Bob Jones University, that it was an anti-Catholic college, and seemed to insinuate that his presence there implied an anti-Catholic sentiment in G.W. Bush. I was infuriated, not at G.W. Bush, but at John McCain for trying to pit Catholics against Evangelicals in a political campaign. It was then I vowed to never, ever vote for John McCain as long as I lived. It's a vow I take seriously to this day.
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In the wake of Mike Huckabee's upcoming speech at John Hagee's anti-Catholic Cornerstone Church, we're likely to hear volumes of rhetoric coming out of rival political campaigns, and possibly even the mainstream media, as once again political hacks try to pit Evangelicals against Catholics and vice versa.
(CNA, Dec 20, 2007) - The Republican presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee, has been garnering attention in the media with his surge in political polls. However, a campaign stop this Sunday by Huckabee at a mega-church whose pastor sees Hitler as linked to the Catholic Church, could soon steal the spotlight...We need to put this in historical context. Mike Huckabee is not the first Republican candidate to speak at an anti-Catholic organization, and he certainly won't be the last. Likewise, such appearances do not automatically imply an endorsement of the organization's anti-Catholic message. One could fault President G.W. Bush on many things, but anti-Catholicism is certainly not one of them. Since his 2000 campaign appearance at the infamous Bob Jones University, President Bush has visited the Vatican twice, spoken at countless Catholic events, and appointed two practicing Catholics to the United States Supreme Court. One of them he made Chief Justice. These are hardly the acts of an "anti-Catholic presidential candidate." It would appear that Bob Jones University made little to no impact on President Bush. I think it's reasonable to expect the same with Cornerstone Church and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
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Social Conservatives (Evangelicals and Practicing Catholics) must resist the temptation of the media and political hacks to pit us against one another. The Secular Left understands all too well that a strong Social Conservative alliance between Evangelicals and Practicing Catholics would be unstoppable in a presidential election, which is why there has been a concerted effort to drive a wedge between Catholics and Evangelicals, both in elections past, and in the current election today. This episode with Huckabee's speech at John Hagee's Cornerstone Church is just the latest attempt. Republican candidates have always courted large Evangelical Protestant organizations for votes. There is nothing unusual about this. We saw it with G.W. Bush in 2000 at Bob Jones University, and we're seeing it again with Mike Huckabee now at Cornerstone Church. For those who would speculate that this appearance hints toward an anti-Catholic agenda in Mike Huckabee, we need only be reminded of G.W. Bush's pro-Catholic record since his speech at Bob Jones University. These things simply must be put into historical context.
Catholic voters can rest at ease knowing that Mike Huckabee takes them seriously. To date, he is the only presidential candidate willing to take time out of his busy campaign schedule to grant an interview to 'Catholic Online.' The contents of that very revealing interview can be read here.
If Catholics and Evangelicals want to put a positive spin on this whole event, the focus should not be on Mike Huckabee, but rather on John Hagee. Pastor Hagee's anti-Catholic views represent a throwback in Evangelical thinking. They are neither historically accurate, nor do they represent the views of most Evangelicals today. In the wake of the national media attention Bob Jones University received after G.W. Bush's visit in 2000, the college was later forced to abandon it's racist policy on interracial dating. Granted, that doesn't fix all of the problems with Bob Jones University, but it is surely a step in the right direction. Perhaps something similar can happen with John Hagee and Cornerstone Church. Perhaps focused media attention might cause the pastor, and his organization, to back off of some of his most inflammatory anti-Catholic rhetoric. That would certainly be a positive spin on this event, and something worthy of all concerned Catholics and Evangelicals to work toward.