GREENSBORO, N.C. – Maintaining his silence about his religious beliefs, Republican and Baptist preacher Mike Huckabee declined Thursday to outline his views on women in the ministry but praised a presidential rival for speaking about his own faith.
Huckabee said he did not see Mitt Romney’s speech Thursday in which the former Massachusetts governor vowed to serve the interests of the nation, not the Mormon church he worships in, if elected president. But he praised Romney for doing it.
“I think it’s a good thing and healthy for all of us for people to discuss faith in the public square,” Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, said outside a private fundraiser. “I have nothing but respect for his coming forth and sharing what he did. I’ve been very clear about my own personal views. I think all of us who seek the office of president should be candid with the American people.”
But asked whether he believes women should serve in a church’s pastoral leadership — an oft-discussed issue among Southern Baptist congregations — Huckabee said the topic shouldn’t be a campaign issue, and he kept quiet about his views.
“It’s so irrelevant to being president that I wouldn’t even get into that,” Huckabee said before meeting with about 350 supporters at the start of a three-day swing through the Carolinas. “Churches have different views on that and my personal views are completely immaterial as it would relate to being president.”
Huckabee has given the same explanation every time he has declined to discuss his views on the creation of the earth. Pressed on why, as an active Baptist preacher, he wouldn’t detail the inner-workings of his faith for Christian voters, Huckabee said Baptists have so many different opinions about the details of Biblical doctrine.
“When you get down into the weeds of the doctrine, frankly, where two or more Baptists are gathered together, there are at least seven different opinions,” he said. “There’s no such thing as what I’d call an ‘absolute Baptist theology.'”
The ordained minister added that he’s happy to discuss his faith generally and the role it plays in his life.
“I think I’ve probably been asked far more questions about my faith than Mitt Romney’s been asked about his,” Huckabee said. “Maybe I ought to be doing the ‘God speech’ out there. I might even include an altar call and an offering with mine.”