EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a question-and-answer session with former Arkansas governor and 2008 presidential contender Mike Huckabee about the importance of continued involvement in the pro-life cause.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (BP)–Q. What are the dangers you see if President Obama follows through with his campaign promise to sign into law the Freedom of Choice Act?
Huckabee: I think there are two problems. First, FOCA would override the will of the people as clearly expressed through their state legislatures — the people closest to the issues. That’s a problem. Secondly, I think it would be a violation of the Tenth Amendment. There is nothing in the federal constitution that gives the federal government the power to regulate this issue. One of the reasons I support a constitutional amendment to protect human life is that it would settle it in all states. But in the meantime states still have — and at this point should have — the right to put restrictions on the taking of an innocent unborn human life.
Q. What do the Washington “tea leaves” say Obama will likely do with issues like homosexual marriage and cloning?
Huckabee: I think the “tea leaves” say he’ll push as radical a left-wing agenda as he can get away with. He’s already indicated that. He was so quick to push the same-sex (marriage) rights agenda that he put it on his website within five minutes of being sworn into office. I was shocked by that. Quite frankly, I didn’t believe it. A friend of mine had e-mailed me and said, “Have you looked at the White House website?” and told me that this was, you know, a new agenda for gay-lesbian-transgender issues. I thought, “No, it is just one of those Internet things.” I went to the site and, sure enough, there it was in just as clear language as it could be.
The same thing happened with the reversal of the ban on embryonic stem cell (cloning) research. This issue has been so completely misunderstood. President Bush spent more money on stem cell research than had ever been spent before, billions more. But the one area that was not federally funded was embryonic stem cell research and, unfortunately, Obama has clouded things and made it as if it was a scientific issue. Federally funding embryonic stem cell research is purely a politically driven issue by the president. Science has never been restricted — even on embryonic stem cells. It was simply that the federal government wasn’t going to use taxpayer money to experiment with human embryos — which by the way, scientifically is not proven to be any more effective than adult stem cells that may be obtained in other ways.
Q. With Obama moving so quickly on these moral issues, some pro-life supporters could become discouraged and give up. How would you address those who are feeling discouraged?
Huckabee: Discouragement is a legitimate reaction to seeing hard work being, in essence, pushed aside. But it ought to motivate us. Discouragement that leads to a greater heightened awareness and activity is good. If discouragement makes us roll over and quit, that’s not good. I don’t think any believer could ever justify sort of just resigning oneself to an immoral direction. That to me is the most un-Christian approach we could ever take. Just to say, “Well it looks like it’s just going south on us; we give up.” That shows a lack of faith in God’s ability to work miracles. It denies even our calling to be “salt and light.” So the darker things get and the more decadent they get is really a call for the “salt” to be salt and the “light” to be light. Discouragement says that we need to back off, but our faith demands that we step up.
Q. So you would encourage Southern Baptists to be actively involved in the formulation of public policy?
Huckabee: I’d say, “Get loud. Get loud and do it quick.” And the reason I say that is because, as you see, these changes are being foisted upon us and they are going to have a big impact. For example, consider both Catholic and even Baptist hospitals that don’t provide abortions. Under some proposed legislation, they would either be required to provide abortions or no longer be able to take Medicare or Medicaid or any government funding. What it essentially does is shut them completely out of business.
Q. The archbishop of St. Petersburg, Fla., has said that if FOCA becomes the law of the land, Catholic hospitals in St. Petersburg will defy it and will not do abortions. At what point does civil disobedience become an option that Christians may have to seriously pray about and consider?
Huckabee: I think at the point of when you are saving human life, it is very definitely an option that has to be exercised. There are some things, for example, how much is a speeding ticket? I don’t think we can exercise civil disobedience over that because there is no moral issue in question that can be cut and dried. But when you’re talking about the existence of a human being and all that it represents to those of us who are people of faith, yeah, I think that in the same way that there were people who conscientiously objected to slavery that same mindset is that we have to absolutely object to the idea of human ownership of another human.
Q. Recently a state law enforcement agency, the Missouri Information Analysis Center, issued a report that seemed to target people who are pro-life, linking them to radical elements within the nation’s militia movement. Many Missourians fear an attack on their First Amendment rights. In general, what do you make of such developments?
Huckabee: I’d want to see that (report) to believe that that is actually happening in America — that a person who values, respects and cherishes life is dangerous. I would think the person to be afraid of is the person who thinks if anyone is in their way, economically or socially, then they have a right to terminate them. Because if they think they can do it to the unborn child, there will come a day they’ll think they can do it to anyone.
This article first appeared in The Pathway (mbcpathway.com), newsjournal of the Missouri Baptist Convention.