Former Arkansas governor and 2012 presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee found himself in hot water this week after he called Islam the "antithesis of the gospel of Christ" and said that churches that share worship space with Muslims are caving to a religion "that says that Jesus Christ and all the people that follow him are a bunch of infidels who should be essentially obliterated."
In an analysis of how Islam may shape campaign politics, Politico's Bryon Tau wrote: "As Republican candidates define their national security stands in the 2012 elections, conservative discomfort with Islam in America will be a feature of the debate."
Should Islam be debated on the campaign trail? Are religious issues in danger of being exploited?
UPDATE, 12:05 p.m. February 25: More critique of Islam on the campaign trail.
"The idea that the Crusades and the fight of Christendom against Islam is somehow an aggression on our part is absolutely anti-historical," Santorum said in Spartanburg [South Carolina] on Tuesday. "And that is what the perception is by the American left who hates Christendom."
Whether we like it or not, politicians will exploit all the "tools" available to them on the campaign trail to grab power, including religion. We, as voters, should be more mature to read between the lines.
Once you understand that evangelical Christianity currently sets the tone of social and religious debate for important political contests, it doesn't seem hard to assume that the ongoing conspiratorial "discomfort" over Islam will dominate the rhetoric, particularly from the Republican Party.
Posted by Jason Pitzl-Waters, on February 24, 2011 5:29 PM
Americans harbor some real fears about religious extremism and its connection to violence. At the same time, Americans are guided by a fundamental sense of fairness, and they want to look broadly at the problem of religious extremism wherever it exists rather than preemptively singling out the Muslim community.
Posted by Robert P. Jones, on February 24, 2011 3:13 PM
Before addressing the question of Islam, maybe the former governor would benefit from revisiting the Gospel of Christ and considering what kind of Jesus he believes in. Maybe then the GOP can have a much needed debate about the nature of Christianity.
Posted by Mathew N. Schmalz, on February 24, 2011 2:59 PM
Mike Huckabee's recent broadside against Muslims is just the latest in a series of generalizations from the wannabe statesman, who believes that alienating an overwhelmingly peaceful, billion-strong religious community somehow strengthens national security.
Posted by Rajdeep Singh, on February 22, 2011 5:06 PM
There is no religious test for office and no official testing of religion. And anyone who is a candidate for office that requires an oath to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" ought to know that.
Posted by Jack Moline, on February 22, 2011 3:27 PM
Mike Huckabee's recent comments are but one example of a politician who speaks with authority and discloses how little he knows about the diversity within Islam. A new popular definition of Muslims is emerging that counters the long-standing stereotype that demonizes all Muslims as extremists.
Posted by Robert Parham, on February 22, 2011 2:23 PM
Islam should not be debated on the campaign trail because our Constitution prohibits a "religious test" for office. But Islamism should be debated because Islamism is a "kingdom of this world" political as well as a religious system.
Posted by Cal Thomas, on February 22, 2011 10:06 AM