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The Collective
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

I am finding the current focus in the GOP race for the nomination rather interesting, as the debate (for the moment, anyway) has become an odd melange of politics, theology and press coverage.

To wit: we have this entry at NRO’s The Corner by Lisa Schiffren which seems to be an attempt to come to Romney’s defense on a theological barb tossed out by Mike Huckabee in a New York Times Magazine profile (which also made the AP).

The barb in question (in context, with the specific issue bolded):

I asked Huckabee, who describes himself as the only Republican candidate with a degree in theology, if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion. ‘‘I think it’s a religion,’’ he said. ‘‘I really don’t know much about it.’’

I was about to jot down this piece of boilerplate when Huckabee surprised me with a question of his own: ‘‘Don’t Mormons,’’ he asked in an innocent voice, ‘‘believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?’’

First off, I think this is an excellent example of Huckabee the Politician answering a question in a way that Huckabee the Pastor would not have done-i.e., I have little doubt that if one could board the TARDIS1 and head, say, to 1990 when he was President of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, one would have gotten a different answer. Still, nothing wrong with demurring on the “cult” reference, especially if one is running for President—it is simply polite in that context to call it “a religion” and move on since, in basic Baptist theology, there is no ultimate difference between a “cult” and another religion in terms of eternal dispositions. Of course, the dig about Jesus and the devil (i.e., Satan, a.k.a., Lucifer) lets on that Huckabee knows more about the topic of Mormon theology than he let’s on initially. Further, by bringing up the issue he is both sending a signal to most Evangelicals that he knows that while Mormonism is “a religion,” it isn’t traditional Christianity, either. Further, he is cleverly inserting yet another attempt to suggest to the general populace that “hey, those Mormons are a bit odd, aren’t they?” Again, it is Huckabee the Politician talking, to be sure.

Now this gets to the defense from Schiffren, who wrote:

Mike Huckabee, graduate of Ouachitha Baptist University in Arkadelphia (degree in speech in a mere 2 years) with one year at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, before dropping out, claims not to know enough about Mormonism to ask nasty, disingenuous questions about Jesus and the Devil.

Now, I find this amusing (or, at least, interesting) as I see no reason for NRO to come to Romney’s defense on this obscure bit of theologica, save for the fact that the magazine endorsed Romney today.

Indeed, a quick perusal of The Corner today reveals several attacks on Huckabee and/or defenses of Romeny:

  • K-Lo: Huckabee Puts His Unholy Cards On the Table?
  • Mark Hemingway: More Huck the Disingenuous
  • Lisa Schiffren:
    Arkansas Values

It should be noted that K-Lo backtracked on some of what she wrote, after it was revealed that Huckabee apologized to Romeny for some of the comments in question.

Regardless, the whole thing is an interesting internecine version of the turning of politics into a spectator sport: NR has chosen it’s team (Romney) so now is in attack mode against Huckabee, unless, of course, he gets the nomination, at which point he will be transformed (nay, transfigured) into the Great GOP Hope.

BTW, in regards to the whole Jesus/the devil business, Sullivan looked it up on an LDS site:

But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. Lucifer, too, was an angel “who was in authority in the presence of God,” a “son of the morning.” (See Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:25–27.) Both Jesus and Lucifer were strong leaders with great knowledge and influence. But as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)

Sphere: Related Content

  1. for the uninitiated, that’s a time machine []
Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign, Religion | |

5 Comments »

  1. Cool, PoliBlog has enabled Word Press Footnotes!!!

    Comment by MSS — Wednesday, December 12, 2007 @ 6:06 pm

  2. OK, so I had to turn to my bible for Isaiah 14:12. I must say that the quotation there from the LDS site is, well, creative.

    Mine says:

    How are you fallen from heaven,
    O Shining One, son of Dawn!
    How are you felled to earth,
    O vanquisher of nations!

    I rather like the footnote that is in this text after “Son of Dawn.” It says, “A character in some lost myth.”

    (JPS, 1985)

    Comment by MSS — Wednesday, December 12, 2007 @ 6:15 pm

  3. “for the uninitiated, that’s a time machine”

    Politics — it’s bigger on the inside than the outside…

    Comment by KipEsquire — Wednesday, December 12, 2007 @ 6:16 pm

  4. As an Arkansan, I’d always thought that Huckabee had graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary…how can he claim to have a degree in theology if he only has a B.A. in Speech from OBU?

    Comment by NoZe — Wednesday, December 12, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

  5. Just for the record, the KJV reads as follows:

    How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

    The Amplified Bible explains the difference as such:

    The Hebrew for this expression-”light-bringer” or “shining one”-is translated “Lucifer” in The Latin Vulgate, and is thus translated in the King James Version. But because of the association of that name with Satan, it is not now used in this and other translations. Some students feel that the application of the name Lucifer to Satan, in spite of the long and confident teaching to that effect, is erroneous. The application of the name to Satan has existed since the third century A.D., and is based on the supposition that Luke 10:18 is an explanation of Isa. 14:12, which many authorities believe is not true. “Lucifer,” the light-bringer, is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word “Phosphoros,” which is used as a title of Christ in II Pet. 1:19 and corresponds to the name “radiant and brilliant Morning Star” in Rev. 22:16, a name Jesus called Himself. This passage here in Isa. 14:13 clearly applies to the king of Babylon.

    For what it’s worth.

    Comment by Jan — Wednesday, December 12, 2007 @ 11:21 pm

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