Huckabee Meets With Christian Leader James Dobson

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee met with conservative Christian leader James Dobson Friday as he vied to pick up the Colorado delegates pledged to Mitt Romney, who dropped out of the race.

Huckabee’s visit comes two weeks after Dobson endorsed him for president.

“Personally it was a great encouragement,” Huckabee said of the endorsement. “I think it also was an extraordinary boost for our campaign because Dr. Dobson is seen as such a true national leader when it comes to issues of life, marriage and family.”

Huckabee is an ordained Baptist minister and a former governor of Arkansas. His campaign has been kept alive in part by support from conservative Christians who don’t want to back Arizona Senator John McCain.

Appearing without Dobson at a podium on a lawn outside the campus of Focus on the Family, Huckabee declined to describe what he and his friend of 14 years discussed.

Huckabee, who was in Colorado Springs to speak Friday night to the conservative group, Leadership Program of the Rockies, said the meeting was “personal” in nature and “not a meeting that I was having with him in his capacity as the leader of Focus on the Family.”

Although Huckabee said Dobson’s backing has helped him, he doubts the Focus on the Family founder will be campaigning for him.

“I think it would be very difficult for him to go on the campaign trail,” Huckabee said. “I did not ask for that, and I would not expect that.”

Through a spokesman, Dobson also declined to describe the conversation and cautioned against reading into why he didn’t appear with Huckabee.

“This was a long-planned private conversation between two friends and Dr. Dobson wanted to keep it that way,” said Gary Schneeberger, a Dobson spokesman. “It’s certainly not meant to temper his support of the governor.”

He said Dobson would not comment on a private meeting. Schneeberger also said Dobson was sensitive to IRS rules that restrict tax-exempt groups like Focus on the Family from getting involved in politics. When Dobson endorses political candidates, he emphasizes he is speaking as an individual and not for the group.

Many political observers believe Huckabee, with 254 delegates, doesn’t have a chance of catching McCain, who has 958 delegates of the 1,191 needed to win the nomination. Romney, who dropped out of the race earlier this month after picking up 280 delegates, has endorsed McCain.

That hasn’t discouraged Huckabee.

“There’s 46 delegates at stake in Colorado that could be mine,” Huckabee told dozens of cheering supporters.

Dick Wadhams, Colorado chair of the Republican Party, said that that the Feb. 5 caucus — where Huckabee came in third after Romney and McCain — was a “preference poll” and that delegates are still up for grabs.

Huckabee also commented about a New York Times article Thursday alleging that McCain’s staffers were concerned about a relationship with a female lobbyist during his first presidential run eight years ago. McCain and the lobbyist, Vicki Iseman, have denied they had a romantic relationship.

“My only experience with (McCain) as a fellow candidate the past 14 months is a positive one,” Huckabee said. “I see him as a man of integrity. He’s denied the allegations in the New York Times article. I have no reason to doubt him.”

Mimi Hailes, 50, of Colorado Springs has been working on Huckabee’s campaign in Colorado and it was thrill to meet him and see him person.

“I told him that I’ve been praying for him and that I pray for him every day,” Hailes said. “I’m very hopeful that he’s still going to be our candidate.”

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This goes hand in hand with my other post: “The Born Again Don”

Here’s my original post

Anaheim woman was married to the mob

Cammy Franzese’s the reason the ‘Yuppie Don’ walked away from his life in the Mafia.

The Orange County Register

The next time you’re about to go off on your husband for treating the bedroom floor like a hamper or leaving crumbs all over the kitchen counter or returning home from the grocery store with only half the items on the list you gave him, just take a deep breath and invoke the spirit of Cammy Franzese.

This is a woman who stood by her man to a degree that would make even Tammy Wynette flinch if she were still alive.

But by greeting his shortcomings with – now keep an open mind, ladies – love and prayer, she managed to change him.

Cammy Franzese is the reason her husband Michael Franzese – a.k.a. “The Yuppie Don” – became the first high ranking member of the Mafia to publicly walk away from a life of crime and into a life of Little League coaching and churchgoing.

And if she can do that, there’s still hope that you can help your man walk away from a life of crumbs on the counter.

• • •

Cammy grew up in Anaheim, one of seven children born to Irma Garcia, a devout churchgoer, and Seferino Garcia. She graduated from Anaheim High in 1981. While studying dance at Cal State Fullerton, she got a chance to go to Miami as a back-up dancer on the set of the movie “Knights of the City.”

It was there in 1984 that she met Michael Franzese, the producer of the movie. He was young and handsome – and 11 years older, to her dismay. But he was sweet. He told her he was Catholic and had once been an altar boy. He didn’t tell her that he had already escaped five white-collar crime indictments. Or that he was “heir apparent” in the Colombo family.

Cammy returned to Anaheim when the movie finished shooting, but their relationship continued. One day not long after, Mike’s friend Frankie called: Mike had been arrested, something about tax evasion. At this point she still thought her boyfriend was just your average businessman. While the New York papers were having a field day with the Mob charges, it wasn’t making headlines here.

When Michael made bail he flew out to the West Coast and told Cammy he wanted to spend his life with her. The day after their engagement party, he was acquitted. They married that July in Beverly Hills and bought condos on Long Island and in Brentwood. Cammy gave birth to a baby girl.

But the good times didn’t last long. When their daughter was 7 months old, Michael was indicted for racketeering. This time he went to prison. That same year he was listed as the youngest capo on Fortune magazine’s 1986 chart of “The 50 Biggest Mafia Bosses,” according to a Life Magazine article. He was 33 “It was a blessing that I was young and idealistic and naïve at the time,” Cammy says. She didn’t ask her husband questions, fearing she would hear something she didn’t want to. She didn’t read newspapers. Or watch the news. Instead, over the next four years, she visited him every weekend – and prayed for him.

Cammy’s mother counseled her to forgive him and shared her vision. “He’s going to speak to millions,” she told her. “And she was so right. My mother was just so loving and forgiving and she believed in second chances and transformation and miracles,” Cammy says.

Well, Michael finally came home four years later. Law enforcement wanted him to testify against his “associates.” He wouldn’t do it. They threatened to throw him back in prison for a parole violation. He wouldn’t budge. One morning, after 18 months of freedom, he was back in prison.

By now they had two children. Money was tight so Cammy gave up the house with the elevator and nine bathrooms in Brentwood for a condo in Westwood.

“I just thought ‘Oh, my gosh, I can’t do this again.’ I was angry. Michael was still living for Michael.”

But she still loved him. “I used to get on my knees and pray that God would protect him and change his heart … and make him the husband and the father he needs to be …. And bring him home.”

Back behind bars, the Yuppie Don broke. “My heart hurt so much that night, it was the kinda pain I remember,” Michael says. “That night I had nothing but enemies.”

A prison guard walked up and pushed a Bible through the slot. It fell on the floor. Michael threw it against the wall. Then he reconsidered. “Ya know, I’ve got everyone in the world mad at me, I don’t need God mad at me.”

He opened the Bible. It fell on Proverbs 16.7. “When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord even his enemies are at peace with him.”

He had let down his wife once again. “My life was in direct contradiction to everything that she was about and believed in,” he says. He remembered back when they first met and he couldn’t take his eyes off of her, and how pretty she was, as she talked to him about God. “Honestly, that didn’t really appeal to me at the time,” he says. “She could have been talking about anything. I was being polite. I wasn’t listening.”

Now he was listening.

“I loved her madly,” he says. “I think the main thing is, she knew that I would do anything for her.”

So finally he did. Michael Franzese renounced his life of crime. Behind bars, he granted an interview to Life Magazine. When “Quitting the Mafia” hit newsstands in 1987 the Warden called him into his office. “Franzese, do you have a death wish,” he asked?

“There’s an old saying that the only way to leave the Mafia is in a coffin,” the Life article began.

Michael was willing to take his chances. During his four years in the hole this second time around he read the Bible inside out and upside down. When he got out, the FBI came knocking. “You claimed you turned your life around, prove it,” they told him. They asked him to be in a video to warn young athletes not to be sucked into organized crime’s web of game fixing.

His videos led to speaking engagements. Today he travels the country, visiting colleges and churches, sharing his story. “Had I not met Cammy, I am certain I wouldn’t have taken the path I took and I would probably be dead or in prison,” he tells them.

Complete strangers have heard more about his double dealings than wife has. “To this day, I’ve never sat down and discussed my past life with her,” he said.

And she has never asked for details.

Michael has written two books, “Quitting the Mob” in 1991 and “Blood Covenant” in 2003. She hasn’t read a single page. “There’s probably a lot of things in there I don’t want to know about. I see it when he’s sleeping and tossing and turning. I can imagine it. I don’t need to see it in black and white.”

She remembers in the days after her husband got out of prison. “Every now and again someone would ask, ‘Are you fearful for your life or your children’s life?’ And I’d think, ‘Oh my God. Why should I be fearful?'”

Next Friday (Feb. 29), Cammy will join her husband on stage at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo to speak publicly, for only the third time, to married couples about how they held it together.

“It’s definitely easier to say I didn’t sign up for this and walk away,” she will tell them. “But whatever his old life was, it doesn’t matter, because that’s not the man he is today. I’m married to this man and I’m in love with this man.”

Plus, he’s a super clean freak and would never in a million years leave socks on the floor or crumbs on the counter.

Florida Pastor Bryan Longworth: Huckabee Can Win if Christians Show Up at the Polls

Florida Pastor Bryan Longworth says that Mike Huckabee Can Win the Nomination if Christians Show Up at the Polls and Vote their Values

Contact: Pastor Bryan Longworth, 772-380-2111

 

PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida, Jan. 28 /Christian Newswire/ — Florida Pastor Bryan Longworth says that Mike Huckabee Can Win the Nomination if Christians Show Up at the Polls and Vote their Values. Christians make up the largest voting block in America, and when they show up and vote their values, conservatives win. Longworth says that Mike Huckabee is the only conservative among the frontrunners. If Christians support Huckabee, Huckabee can carry Florida and win the Republican nomination.

 

“Huckabee is the only front runner who showed up at the Value Voters 2008 Presidential Debate and who will champion the Federal Human Life and Marriage Amendments. It is time that Values Voters get serious about defending life and the institution of marriage. We have shed the blood of over 50,000,000 preborn children through abortion, and now face the undermining of traditional marriage that threatens the family, the most basic institution that upholds a society. Enough is enough. Values voters must vote for candidates that will defend life and the family. Mike Huckabee is the only frontrunner who will fight for these issues,” Longworth argues.

 

Longworth laments, “For far too long, Christians stood idly and allowed our nation to slip into moral depravity. We stood by while creationism was replaced with Darwinism. We stood by while the Bible, prayer, and the Ten Commandments were removed from schools. We stood by while men, women, and children engaged in vile sexual perversion. We stood by while over 50,000,000 preborn children have been slaughtered by abortion. We stood by while Gov. Romney allowed homosexual marriage in Massachusetts. We stood by while the Ten Commandments were removed from public places. Edmond Burke said, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’ We will stand by no longer. It is time for the church to stop playing church, and start being the church!”

 

Pastor Bryan Longworth is the associate pastor of Covenant Tabernacle World Outreach Center* in Port St. Lucie, FL. Longworth’s recent sermon entitled “The Importance of Voting” can be heard Sunday, January 27 from 9:30-10:00 on 1590 AM WPSL and on his church’s website. Values Voter Guides are available at FLVotesValues.com.

 

Longworth recently recorded a PSA informing values voters of the debate viewing, a copy of which can be heard at his church’s website.

NEWSWEEK: Why S.C. is Huckabee Country

Welcome to Huckabee Country

TIGERVILLE, S.C.–They’re spread like breadcrumbs on the road from Lyman to North Greenville University.
Churches.
I counted at least 17 on the 18 mile drive; when I turned off the main road, Rt. 29, they passed by the windows of my white Chevy Impala at a rate of one or two per intersection. And nearly all of them were Baptist.
Which is just to say: this here is Mike Huckabee country.
The former Arkansas governor (and former Baptist minister) may trail John McCain by 2.5 percent in the latest South Carolina polling averages, but seeing the two leading Palmetto State contenders back-to-back on the same afternoon, it’s immediately clear that it’s McCain, not Huckabee, who’s fighting the uphill battle this week.
McCain’s goal? Protecting his right flank. Unlike in Michigan, New Hampshire or Iowa, the Arizona senator opened both of his appearances this morning by boasting of his “24-year record supporting the rights of the unborn”; asked to explain his new lead-in, McCain told reporters it’s “because we know phone calls are being made that say I’m not [pro-life], so I have to remind people.” (He laughed when someone asked if an opponent–namely the pro-Huckabee group Common Sense Issues–was making the calls. “No,” he said. “They’re coming from Mount Olympus.”)
Attempting to blunt further speculation about his pro-life cred, McCain trotted out new endorsee Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma), a furious foe of abortion and pork-barrel spending, adding that he would “nominate the closest thing to a clone of Justice Roberts I can find.” He railed against internet pornography and spoke frequently of “family values” and the “breakdown of the family.” He turned a question about drug use into an opportunity to talk tough on illegal immigration, dropping phrases like “go back where they came from” more often than “humane” and “compassionate,” his usual watchwords. And McCain even revived an old ad slamming Hillary Clinton for supporting a Woodstock museum. Let the culture wars begin–again.
Don’t get me wrong. McCain’s rightward drift is all well and good–and probably necessary in a state where Confederate Flag loyalists are swarming each of his events and a group called Vietnam Veterans Against McCain is accusing him of betraying fellow P.O.W.’s to save himself. (South Carolina has a long, colorful history of smears–as McCain knows from him 2000 loss, when he whispering campaigns alleged that he was gay and/or the father of an out-of-wedlock black child.) But it’s largely a defensive crouch, and it detracts from what even McCain says are his main strengths–national security and veterans issues, which play well among South Carolina’s massive military community.
Huckabee, on the other hand, is entirely at ease. Take today’s appearance at the North Greenville University–an evangelical Baptist school whose motto is “Where Christ Makes the Difference.” At the end of Huck’s remarks, a dean asked the candidate two “hard-hitting” questions. “Not to put you on the spot,” he said, “but are you a Christian? And can you tell us about your salvation experience?”
Shockingly, Huckabee was happy to oblige. “I came to Christ on my tenth birthday,” he said. “August the 24th, 1965.”
“It was at the Vacation Bible School at the little church I attended in Hope, Arkansas. I have to tell you the whole story. I didn’t go to Vacation Bible School to be spiritual. I went because my sister said you get all the Kool-Aid you could drink and all the cookies you could eat. That sounded like a good deal to me, so I went that next day. I was a little disappointed because when I got there, they didn’t think I could drink more than one cup of Kool-Aid or eat more than two cookies. They were wrong about that. But they were right about that day telling me what it means to come to Christ… I remember praying their prayer and feeling overwhelmed with the sense that God loved me. In fact, so much so, when everybody went out to play baseball, some of my friends said, ‘Let’s go play, man.’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t want to get dirty.’ Because I’d never felt so clean in my life.”
Hallelujah.
But Huckabee didn’t stop there. After scribbling some autographs and posing for pictures, the former supporter of in-state tuition breaks for young illegal immigrants (who in December became a “Go Home Now” hardliner) walked across the hall and, at an intimate little press conference, signed a tough-talking “No Amnesty Pledge“–a pledge that John McCain, it was noted, had already refused to sign. Meanwhile, an anonymous Huckabee adviser was telling CBN that “the free pass for McCain is over. The next few days in South Carolina will be rough and tumble.”

Game on.

Sunday’s NY Times Metro section…

Welcome. I encourage you to take a few minutes here after reading the article to review my posts and learn about our issues and candidates. Next November we face a critical decision on who will be our Commander in Chief – PLEASE – take inventory on the issues most important to you. I did, and Mike is my man – and is likely to win you over as well. You too just might become a supporter, and if I get to help your decision, well please let me know!

Our Towns

In an Unlikely Part of the Country, a Tiny Huckabee Movement Is Born

Laura Pedrick for The New York Times
Bill Garcia, blogging for Mike Huckabee from his home in Manalapan, N.J.

This is how Bill Garcia became what he calls a Huckabeezer.

Mr. Garcia, who is 42 and works for Bank of New York Mellon in Manhattan, moved from Queens to Manalapan, N.J., in July. He looked around for a church to join with his wife of 19 years and his three children. He settled on West Monmouth Baptist in Freehold. There he picked up a copy of New Man Magazine, a Christian men’s magazine. On the cover was a story about a Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor he had never heard of who was running for president. Mr. Garcia liked his views on faith and family values and was impressed that he seemed to have a real record on education and other issues.

He went to the Mike Huckabee for President Web site and learned more, and soon he learned how to put up his own pro-Huckabee blog, called Bill’s Weblog, at njchristiansforhuckabee.wordpress.com. He stuck a Huckabee bumper sticker to the top of his computer monitor at work and voilà, as this year’s improbable political free-for-alls began to play out, for the first time in his life he felt like a player in the game.

“I liked that he had religious values that matched mine, but also that he had a record of doing something about them,” Mr. Garcia said. “I feel we live in a society where we need to step back and maybe go back in time, and when I started telling people about him, it was like converting someone or sharing the Gospel with them. The way this thing has snowballed is pretty cool.”

It’s probably safe to guess that the New York region is not overrun with triumphant Huckabee supporters, delirious over their man’s rise from the back of the pack to the king (Republican version) of Iowa. But in the eHarmony way that matches get made these days, Mr. Garcia is not alone either.

SO along with those scratching their heads over the Republican results or too engrossed in the Obama-Hillary Battle of the Blue State Titans to care, there is, even here, a small core of the Huckabee faithful, feeling as if they stuck their hand in the Cracker Jack box and pulled out a diamond.

“I just wanted to support someone I could feel proud about supporting,” said David Friedrich, a first-grade teacher in Hopewell Township, N.J. “To say that seeing him do so well is thrilling would be an understatement.”

True, even the relatively few people who make their way to Mr. Garcia’s blog, which has had more than 5,000 hits, aren’t all converts. “This is just a warning from a fellow Christian; Huckabee is that glass-jaw candidate that Democrats have been looking for,” said one of the dozen or so posters on the site.

“Does it bother anyone but me that Mr. Huckabee has been caught in so many lies?” asked another, who added: “It takes more than just saying ‘Jesus’ for my vote. It should for Christians, too. Or do you just blank out anything but the abortion issue?”

But for long-suffering Christian conservatives in the Northeast, who often see themselves as a righteous remnant in a realm dominated by Liberal Mammon, Mr. Huckabee has already attracted a small but committed core with an appeal rooted in religion and conservative values. (“Fighting for Faith, Families and Freedom,” says the home page of the New York Christian Coalition. “Faith. Family. Freedom,” says the Huckabee for President home page.)

The most optimistic also see something more: the vision of “compassionate conservatism” that they feel George W. Bush promised and never delivered, a blend of conservative values and pragmatic politics that transcends the Christian conservative label.

“He has a genuineness and sincerity that really resonates and that we haven’t seen in quite a while,” said Peter Kane, a veteran Republican who is his volunteer New Jersey field coordinator — though it would be a stretch to call Mr. Huckabee’s organization skeletal in any state in the region. “I mean, here’s a guy who talks about increasing funding for music and art education in the schools. When was the last time any politician, let alone a Republican one, talked about increasing funding on music and art in the schools and actually put his money down to do it?”

OF course, some will say it’s more important for a potential president to be knowledgeable about Pakistan and Iraq than about music and art, but at week’s end the scattered Huckabeezers of Greater New York were abuzz, hopeful if not of victories in the states where they live, at least about results from more distant locales.

So the Rev. Al Stewart, pastor of the Franklin Congregational Church in Franklin, Conn., was ready to venture to New Hampshire on Monday to support his man there. “I haven’t been involved in the political process per se for 10 years, and this guy brought me back,” Mr. Stewart said. “He did for me what Obama did for many Democrats, and I see that as a good thing.”

E-mail: peappl@nytimes.com

Social Conservatives are “Mad as Hell”

Paul Edwards writes an real interesting piece in today’s townhall.com

Since about the time the Moral Majority coalesced in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Republican establishment has welcomed social conservatives to help get their candidates elected so long as they let their concern for moral issues take a back seat to fiscal policies. The leaders of the pro-family movement have always been more than willing to comply with the demands of the Wall Street insiders just to keep their place at the table. If the unity of this social-fiscal conservative coalition ever fractured, social conservatives bore the brunt of the blame.

And so it goes in the present race for the Republican presidential nomination. The Republican establishment has once again told social conservatives to suck it up and accept Giuliani as the de facto nominee in spite of their reservations about his record on abortion and the homosexual agenda to redefine marriage. Why? Because Rudy has the fiscal credentials. And, right on cue, a number of leaders of the pro-family movement complied, vis-à-vis Pat Robertson.

But just as their leaders were turning left, the rank and file of family values voters turned right, falling in behind Mike Huckabee, much to the chagrin of fiscal conservatives.

Cue Romney—the fiscal conservatives’ alternative to Giuliani. The idea seemed to be to convince the social conservatives that Romney was one of them, only much more refined than that “country bumpkin” Huckabee. The plan went something like this: have Romney deliver a major speech about his faith under the guise of being persecuted because of his faith (even though 80 percent of potential Republican primary voters polled said Romney’s faith was not an issue for them), and then if anyone questioned his faith, accuse them of being a bigot. Further, have Romney stretch the truth about seeing his father “marching with Martin Luther King,” as an appeal to the African-American values voter, and then when the record indicates George Romney never marched with MLK, explain it all away by saying the candidate was speaking “figuratively.” This strategy was supposed to lure the drifting rank and file back into lock-step.

There was just one problem with this plan. Social conservatives looked at Romney’s record on social issues and discovered he was “effectively pro-choice” throughout his political career just as he told Tim Russert on a recent edition of Meet the Press. Romney, it turns out, looks like a Giuliani in sheep’s clothing.

“But wait! Romney is a changed man,” you say. We’re all for death-bed repentance, but social conservatives rightly question whether a man who has exerted all of his political energies his entire political life for socially liberal causes can be trusted to appoint justices who will be strict constructionists.

Thus, the Huckasurge. Having been told for 30 years to sit quietly, ”take one for the team,” and let the fiscal issues take precedent, social conservatives are mad as hell and aren’t taking it anymore. There is a grassroots revolt taking place among the rank and file of social conservatives that has found its voice in Mike Huckabee, leaving the leadership of the pro-family movement wondering where their influence has gone.

Huckabee is not the fiscal conservative the Republican establishment would like. Horror of horrors, he has actually advocated using tax dollars to help the poor. Huckabee, it seems, actually applied what the Gospels say about our responsibility to the poor and suffering to tax policy in Arkansas. On issues like HIV/AIDS, the plight of the inner city poor, and education, Huckabee’s positions are admittedly more center left than center right. And while he believes in securing the border, Huckabee reminds us that there is lady standing in New York Harbor with a torch raised high beckoning ”your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” to come here, to the land of the free. Can we fault them when they actually do?

The Republican establishment has looked down its nose at social conservatives far too long, tolerating us because they need our votes. But now the tables are turned. The grass roots are looking up at the establishment with the will of a Lech Walesa, demanding that fiscal issues take a back seat to moral issues for a change. It’s long past time for the moral and social issues of our times to be given more than just lip service. It’s now time for our fiscal policies to be informed by our social policies rather than sacrificing our morality to our economic standing in the world.

Don’t expect the Republican establishment to take this lying down. The New Media tanks are already rolling in to suppress the revolt.

Paul Edwards is the host of The Paul Edward Program and a pastor. His program is heard daily on WLQV in Detroit and on godandculture.com

Huckabee Surprises

Is Mike Huckabee too Christian to be president? Is Mitt Romney Christian enough? We’ll find out soon.

The former governor of Arkansas is on the cover of Newsweek, and though the headline, “Holy Huckabee: The Unlikely Rise of a Preacher Politician,” might suggest a mainstream media hatchet job — in which yet another Southern Baptist gets the full Elmer Gantry-Pat Robertson treatment — the article itself comes as a pleasant surprise.

Perhaps Newsweek, too, was surprised to discover that Huckabee’s political views are well within the mainstream of American politics. Elected four times statewide in Arkansas, by the same voters who had earlier elected and re-elected Bill Clinton, Huckabee was governor of the Razorback State for nearly 11 years.

During that time Huckabee proved his centrist effectiveness — including a willingness to spend money for better education, better health care and better roads. One might ask: Do Americans, stuck in traffic, waiting in long lines at airports, think that spending on infrastructure is a bad idea?

On social issues, of course, Huckabee is more clearly on the right, but most Americans, too, are anti-gay marriage and anti-abortion.

Still, the issue with Huckabee is faith: whether he believes what he believes too strongly. Recently, the agenda-setting Drudge Report bannered a headline, “Take This Nation Back For Christ,” referring to a June 8, 1998, article in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in which Huckabee told the Southern Baptist Convention, “The reason we have so much government is because we have so much broken humanity.” He continued: “The reason we have so much broken humanity is because sin reigns in the hearts and lives of human beings instead of the Savior.” Is that too much of a soul-baring for the public square?

Interestingly, Huckabee gave that particular speech in Salt Lake City, home of the Mormon faith. And by coincidence, just last week Romney — a Mormon whose ancestors lived in Utah — delivered a major speech in Texas in which he sought to situate his own faith in the larger context of American political history. Romney quoted the second president, John Adams, as saying, “We have no government armed with power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. … Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people.”

In response, Romney was slapped around by the liberal likes of Salon.com for being too partial to religion. But as blogger Jay Cost put it recently in Realclearpolitics.com, the real issue for most Republican voters is not Romney’s Mormon religion, but rather Romney’s mutating positions on key policies.

Huckabee, meanwhile, has walked the walk, through persuasion and personal example: Here’s how Newsweek described his role as a new pastor in Pine Bluff, Ark., a quarter century ago: “The Immanuel Baptist Church was an all-white congregation when Huckabee took over the pulpit. One day he announced that a young black man, who heard his sermon on the radio, had asked to worship with them. Huckabee welcomed him to their pews. Some church elders were furious and refused to let the man sit with them. Huckabee threatened to quit unless his guest was greeted warmly. A few members quit in protest, but the rest of the congregation went along.”

In decades past, figures as different as Martin Luther King Jr. and Jimmy Carter were widely admired for letting their faith influence their policy positions. Is Huckabee to be held to a different standard?

Indeed, in times when crime and out-of-wedlock births are again on the upsurge, when football players are murdered in their homes, when Christmas shoppers are gunned down in Heartland shopping malls, more Americans might well be thinking: John Adams was right when he said that passions need to be bridled “by morality and religion.”

As a culture, as a people, we need to do something different. And everybody knows it.

James P. Pinkerton is a columnist for Newsday, where this first appeared.