Baptists, Huckabee and 2008 | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baptists, Huckabee and 2008

Posted By on Wed, Jun 18, 2008 at 10:43 AM

An interesting article in the American Prospect about the Southern Baptist Convention's fight for political impact, its lack of warmth toward John McCain (though hardly any Baptists will vote for Obama) and some surprising antipathy to former Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee.

In my interview with Professor Key, I asked him why Mike Huckabee did not appeal to the SBC insiders during the Republican primary. Huckabee, Key said, has a reputation within the SBC of having served as a moderate president of the Arkansas Baptist Convention, a position he held before running for governor of Arkansas.

The SBC's chief political spokesperson, Richard Land, has a distaste for Huckabee that "is personal," said Key, because Huckabee beat out the SBC's favored candidate for the post and prevented conservatives from dominating the state convention. Even though Huckabee turned right during the 2008 Republican primary, he was hampered by "lingering distrust in the partisan machine."

Huckabee's embrace of the charismatic movement, as evidenced by his self-identification as a "Bapticostal" during guest sermons at charismatic churches, including John Hagee's, during the campaign, could also rankle Southern Baptists, said Key. Independent charismatic churches, many of which are just as conservative on social issues as the SBC but offer a different kind of emotional and worship experience (including female pastors), provide competition to the SBC within the same socioeconomic class.

Huckabee's church in Little Rock these days is the Church at Rock Creek.

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