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Huckabee: Character makes a difference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Former President Bill Clinton once told an inquiring audience that “character isn’t the issue,” but one presidential hopeful believes “character defines the world we live in, our government, welfare programs, schools and everything else in our lives.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced his run for the White House during a Jan. 28, 2007, airing of NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The 51-year-old Huckabee served 10 years as Arkansas’ governor as only the third Republican to serve in that office since Reconstruction. In a recent interview for an Inside LifeWay podcast (available at www.lifeway.com/insidelifeway), Huckabee said character definitely matters.

“A person’s core is what gives them the center for what they do or how they act,” he said. “Our responses in the real crises of life are the natural flow of who we are. If we aren’t authentic, that’s going to come out in a crisis. If we are authentic, then who we are deep within our soul is also going to come out. That’s why a person’s character is frankly more important than a speech you make or a bill you signed.”

A book by Huckabee on the subject, “Character Makes a Difference,” is scheduled for a May 2007 release.

Huckabee, a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, was pastor of churches in Pine Bluff and Texarkana, Ark., and is a former president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. Huckabee has heard criticisms like, “we are electing a president, not a pastor,” but doesn’t believe such verbal jabs valid.

“When I talk about the role of faith in my life I think it is so very important that those of us who are going to seek public office are honest with the people about who we are and what makes us tick,” he said. “The politician who runs from faith when asked about it is the politician to run from. I frankly would rather have someone who says, ‘I’m a rank unbeliever,’ or ‘I’m a nominal believer,’ than someone who tries to tell me, ‘I’m a person of deep personal faith but I don’t let it affect my political life at all.’”

People ought to be very comforted by a politician who is honest about his or her faith, Huckabee said. He added that being a Christian politician doesn’t mean imposing Christian faith on others, enacting laws that force people to go to church or replacing “the Capitol dome with a steeple.”

“The greatest thing about faith is that if it is not free to be rejected it is not free to be accepted,” he said. “The best way I can encourage people to accept my faith is not to impose it on them but to make my faith a contagious faith that they want to embrace because they see something in my life they find worth emulating.”

In the podcast, Huckabee defines character from a biblical worldview and touches on his spiritual and political influences, his daily spiritual practices, and his view on church and state issues.

The Inside LifeWay podcast is produced by the communications department of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.