NASHVILLE (BP) — Former Arkansas governor and Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee resigned Thursday (March 1) from the CMA Foundation board following criticism of his stance against same-sex marriage from multiple members of the country music industry, reported The Tennessean.
Huckabee’s resignation came less than a day after his appointment to the board of the charitable arm of the Country Music Association. The CMA Foundation is devoted to growing and supporting music education programs across the country.
“My sincere thanks to the CMA Foundation for believing I had something to contribute,” wrote Huckabee in his letter of resignation.
“I regret that my presence caused controversy and threats to vital support for deserving kids. Kids wanting to learn music shouldn’t be victims of adults who demand that only certain people can be in the room or be heard.
“I wish you nothing but good will and success at reaching students across America who need music as much as I did. At the end of the day, I’m not worth the fight, but the kids are. Never stop fighting for THEM!”
Following Huckabee’s appointment to the board, the association and foundation began fielding complaints from industry leaders and fans, many saying they would pull their support.
Complaints reportedly included Huckabee’s beliefs about biblical marriage and his involvement with the NRA.
CMA board member Joe Galante told The Tennessean in a statement that Huckabee was elected to the position because they felt the CMA Foundation could benefit from Huckabee’s political knowledge and experience.
“Gov. Huckabee led an impressive administration while serving the state of Arkansas and his policy experience with education reform is something we are fortunate to be able to learn from,” Galante told The Tennessean.
According to The Tennessean, Huckabee wrote, “I genuinely regret that some in the industry were so outraged by my appointment that they bullied the CMA and the Foundation with economic threats and vowed to withhold support for the programs for students if I remained.”
In his resignation letter, Huckabee wrote that music changed his life and helped him build confidence when he was a kid.
He noted that during his time as governor, he personally shepherded legislation mandating music and the arts programs in grades 1-12.
He said he hopes “the music and entertainment industry will become more tolerant and inclusive and recognize that a true love for kids having access to the arts is more important than a dislike for someone or a group of people because of who they are or what they believe.”
Huckabee, a longtime country music fan, records his talk show “Huckabee” at TBN’s studios in the Nashville area. See related Baptist Press story.