Moral Courage . . . & the Lack Thereof

At first, I was grateful that more states were taking a stand for religious liberty. No one expected the firestorm that has resulted. It has become a “gay-rights” agenda item. Whoever would have thought that our First Amendment guarantee of “free exercise of religion” would attempt to be undermined in this manner? Aided and abetted, of course, by a media sympathetic to the homosexual New Totalitarians. Suddenly, this is more important to the media than real threats:

Threat

Disappointing as this may be, I expect it from the activists and their media allies. What is more disappointing is the lack of moral courage being exhibited by Republican governors on this issue. Mike Pence, in Indiana, and Asa Hutchinson, in Arkansas, both have histories of moral courage.

Asa HutchinsonI’ve never met Governor Pence, but I have met Governor Hutchinson, back in 2000, when he was a congressman. He was one of the House Managers who argued for Bill Clinton’s removal from office during the impeachment trial. I interviewed him for my book Mission: Impeachable. I know he is a committed Christian, and I honor him for his stand for Christ. I just wish he would now extend the kind of courage he displayed back in the Clinton impeachment trial to the current controversy.

This has become a witch hunt. Have you been following the account of a small pizza shop in Walkerton, Indiana? Most people don’t know where Walkerton is, but I do. It’s just a few miles from my hometown. I have relatives—a grandmother and an uncle—who are buried in the Walkerton cemetery. It’s a very small town, just above 2000 people, but is now embroiled in this controversy without ever intending to be.

A reporter, seeking out some business somewhere that might “discriminate” against homosexuals, entered Memories Pizza in Walkerton and asked the owner if she would serve homosexuals. She is a dedicated Christian—there are even Scripture verses on the walls of the business—and she said she would serve pizza to anyone. Her only reason not to do so would be—hypothetically, of course, since this has never happened—if a homosexual couple wanted her to cater pizzas for their wedding.

Memories PizzaWhat happened? News stories popped up everywhere about this “hateful, bigoted” business. One headline blurted outright that the business would not serve homosexuals, which was a complete distortion of what the owner said. Notice the misleading statement in the photo on the left: “Restaurant Denies Some Service to Same-Sex Couples.”

Death threats followed on Twitter immediately. One person even asked who would go with her to burn down the shop. The latest is that the pizza business may have to close down.

The only redeeming feature of the story thus far is that more than $50,000 has been raised to help the owner who has been unwittingly caught in this homosexual agenda/media hype trap.

Moral courage. She is showing it, and I honor her. When will the politicians do the same? The latest rumor is that there is a movement afoot within Republican circles to remove opposition to same-sex marriage from the party’s platform. My ties to the party are becoming more tenuous over time because of this tendency to go with the cultural flow and the loss of principle.

Moral courage. May those of us who say we stand on our Christian faith be the examples that others may follow, despite the threats and intimidation. God wants to work through us, but we have to give Him something to work with, don’t we?

The Huckabee Appeal

He came out of nowhere to end up in second place in the 2008 Republican primaries. No one thought he was a serious candidate; after all, how could anyone with a name like Huckabee be taken seriously? Yet, if not for a close loss in South Carolina, he might have been the nominee.

Mike Huckabee certainly has executive experience, having served as governor of Arkansas for a decade. Of all the candidates running for president in 2008, Republican or Democrat, he was the one with the greatest track record for running a government.

There were some who attacked his record as governor. Specifically, the Club for Growth, a strong free market organization, slammed him for deviations from free enterprise, citing compromises he made with Democrats. Huckabee’s response was that he was a Republican governor with a Democrat legislature, and that he was proud of his record of holding them in check. He also referred to that particular critic as the Club for Greed.

I commented in previous posts that I believe the accusations against him on that score were over the top. The Club practically had him as a close buddy with Karl Marx. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Huckabee exhibited a flair for words during the campaign, coupled with a refreshing sense of humor. He used his endorsement from Chuck Norris effectively, combining it with a touch of humor. Norris was on the campaign trail with him continuously.

After losing the nomination, Huckabee was a good soldier for McCain and other Republicans. Although he wanted to win, he didn’t descend into bitterness or manifest any hint of being a sore loser.

Shortly after the 2008 election was over, he received an offer from Fox News for a weekend television program. Huckabee has been a mainstay on the network ever since. His guests have run the gamut politically—from the expected conservatives all the way to Bill Maher. He seems comfortable dealing with everyone, no matter where they are coming from philosophically. And if anyone really doubts his fidelity to economic conservatism, a few doses of his commentary on his show should wipe out those doubts. He has come out strongly against the bailouts, the stimulus, and Obamacare.

Of course, another key component of Huckabee’s appeal for me is the fact that he is an outspoken evangelical. He even came to Lakeland, Florida, where I live, to speak on behalf of our local Woman’s Choice center, which offers the Gospel and material help for those undergoing a crisis pregnancy.

Huckabee hasn’t indicated that he is up for another run, yet the polls consistently show him as one of the top three contenders among Republicans. If he does decide to go for it again, evangelical voters may have a difficult choice to make between him and Palin. It would be far better if that vote remained undivided. Huckabee has a certain appeal, but can it overcome the vibrancy that seems to follow Palin wherever she goes? That question will be answered if he chooses to mount a challenge.