My pastor, Dr. Laurence White, weighs in on the political race and the meaning of Huckabee’s rise:
On November 26th, Robert Novak, a pre-imminent Washington insider, published a most revealing article, ominously entitled “The False Conservative,” expressing the Republican establishment’s misgivings about the surging presidential candidacy of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. Novak’s “angst” laden article was revealing – not so much for what it told us about Huckabee, which was largely a rehash already familiar attacks and accusations – but for it’s stark portrayal of the profound anxiety with which the Republican Party establishment has always viewed Christian conservatives. Novak contends that “the rise of evangelical Christians” as a key component in the Republican coalition has ‘always contained an inherent danger.” From the perspective of a corrupt, self-serving party establishment which is motivated only by the desire to maintain and extend its own political power that danger is very real
The powers that be with the GOP have attempted to manipulate and control Christian conservatives from the moment of their entrance into the political arena. The unique feature of the Novak article is the openness with which the columnist is willing to express the establishment’s cynical agenda. Novak contemptuously dismisses Christian activists as “these new Republican acolytes” who were to be used and then cast aside while the ‘conventional conservatives,” whose infinitely flexible principles always bow to the requirements of political expediency, remained in absolute control. These interlopers could be tolerated as long as they behaved themselves and played by the traditional rules of “conventional conservatives.” That is to say, they could be tolerated as long as they allowed themselves to be manipulated and did not dare to attempt to take control and actually implement the moral convictions which were their primary concern.
But now, in the face of a surging Huckabee campaign, that absolute control seems to be slipping. For the “good old boys” in Washington that is a prospect which “makes real conservatives shudder.” What they are shuddering about is the possibility of a presidential candidate who truly believes the empty words which the establishment has been using all this time as nothing more than a tactic to keep the Evangelicals on board. Imagine what might happen if all those Christians would elect “one of their own” who wouldn’t play the same old game by the same old rules. Imagine what would happen if we chose a president who was genuinely committed to transforming our culture rather than merely getting himself re-elected. It is a frightening prospect if your primary motive has always been to spend the rest of your life gorging from the trough in Washington.
The shudders of the old guard are certainly a most promising sign. What makes “the rise of Evangelical Christians” dangerous is that their primary motive is principle, not politics. We have entered the public square to restore an America where all human life is safe and sacred and where the family is respected and protected as the keystone of a stable society. Political power for us is merely the means to an end, not the end in itself. Perhaps the unexpected success of the Huckabee campaign, confounding all of the professional pollsters and prognosticators, is a sign that our time has finally come.