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Huckabee, Christians, and identity politics

Greg Alterton examines Mike Huckabee’s “vote-for-me-because-I’m-a-Christian” strategy at

Despite what Huckabee has suggested, I don’t think we evangelicals are welcomed in the party as long as we keep our place. I think we’re welcomed in the party as long as we add something of substance to the conservative foundation of the Republican Party, and as long as we approach politics pragmatically, maturely, and are determined to be part of a diverse coalition aimed at winning elections, which is required for political success and the advancement of our principles in the politics and policies of the nation.

A number of years ago, I was asked to speak to a group of students from a number of private Christian high schools who had come to Sacramento for a week-long Model Legislature. I was asked to talk about the role of Christians in politics and government. What I told them is that the role of Christians in government is the same as the role of Christians who are lawyers, teachers, doctors, engineers, or greeters at WalMart – to reflect the fruit of the Spirit and the character of Christ; to treat people with respect and deference; to conduct oneself with civility, honesty, and integrity; to approach one’s profession with the spirit and attitude of a servant; to bless one’s enemies and not curse them. If Christians do that, they will have a far greater impact for good in this country, and for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom, than they will in pushing any particular political agenda.
My observation is that many of my socially conservative brethren, particularly those who love being pandered to by candidates for the presidency, have lost sight of this.

One reason for my frequent criticism of Huckabee’s positions is that I’m a committed evangelical Christian and a serious conservative. If people like me don’t criticize Huckabee, his supporters could very easily misinterpret all criticism from non-evangelicals as nothing more than thinly-veiled bias against evangelicals.