Former Arkansas governor and Baptist minister, Mike Huckabee, flexed his theologian muscle tonight during the GOP presidential debate.
Responding to a pointed question by Joseph Dearing who held up the Bible and asked the candidates, "Do you believe in this book?" Huckabee flashed his minister credentials:
"I believe the Bible is exactly what it is: it's the word of revelation to us from God himself. And the fact is that when people ask, 'do you believe all of it?' you either believe it or you don't believe it but in the greater sense, I think that what the question tried to make us feel like is that 'well, if you believe the part that says 'go and pluck out your eye,' ...well none of us believe we ought to pluck out our eye. That obviously is allegorical. But the Bible has some messages that nobody really can confuse and really not left to interpretation. 'Love your neighbor as your self.' 'In as much as you've done to the least of these brethren, you've done unto me.' Until we get those simple, real easy things right I am not so sure that we should be fighting over those other parts that are a little bit complicated. And as the only person here probably on this stage with a theology degree, there are parts of it I don't fully comprehend and understand but I am not supposed to. Because the Bible is a revelation of an infinite god and no finite person is ever going to fully understand it; if they do, their god is too small."
To recap, Huckabee knows 1.) the difference between allegorical passages and passages "not left to interpretation" and 2.) that things he doesn't understand about the Bible he is not supposed to understand. Fine. Frankly, it was a nonsense question. But since Huckabee writes on his official website: "My faith is my life - it defines me. I don't separate my faith from my personal and professional lives." here is what the American public should be asking Huckabee:
1.) how do these non-negotiable passages like "love your neighbor..." apply to your foreign and domestic policy, Huckabee? Specifically on issues such as immigration and the war on terror. 2.) If we agree that there are passages of the Bible that "are a little bit complicated," can we have your word that you will keep them out of the primary and (if applicable) the presidency?
UPDATE: Answering my last question is Dick Morris, Huckabee's potential adviser as the Republican nominee who told the LA Times on Sunday:
"[Huckabee] puts all of the Bible into play. It's not just 'thou shalt not, thou shalt not, thou shalt not,' but it's the positive aspects of his religion, too -- which is 'love thy neighbor,' and 'when I was naked you clothed me,' and a sense of helping poor people." All the Bible into play? Oh Xenu, help us.