A.J. Jacobs has a interesting profile of Mike Huckabee in Esquire on how this funny and seemingly nice former presidential candidate is, at heart, a militantly anti-gay culture warrior.
Jacobs reports that Huckabee is utterly charming and the "most likable politician I've ever met" ... until he joins Huckabee for a book-signing and fundraiser for the right-wing New Jersey Family Policy Council where the theme is "no compromise on gay marriage" and Huckabee proclaims that gays getting married will lead to polygamy and bestiality and likens homosexuality to alcoholism:
We say the Pledge of Allegiance. We eat our chicken and baby carrots. We listen to a series of speeches with phrases like "swamp of moral decay" and "assault on the sacred institution of marriage." One man says that given the choice between winning the White House and winning the three anti-gay-marriage propositions, he'd choose to lose the White House ...
Later, I tell Huckabee that I once reported on a group of gay evangelical Christians — admittedly, a tiny group. They argue that homosexuality is not a biblical sin. Yes, Leviticus bans men lying down with other men, but that ban refers to pagan sex rituals. Jesus would not have a problem with committed, loving same-sex relationships.
Huckabee is not impressed. "How convenient. How very convenient to just put the Bible into a chronological time zone," he answers. Huckabee says gay people can do what they want in their private lives. But gay marriage?
"The problem with changing the definition of marriage is that once you cross that line, then there's no stopping," he explains. He tells me that when he spoke recently in Japan, there was an American student there who objected to his views on gay marriage. "This was right in the middle of what was going on in west Texas, and I thought, Okay, how can we say that what those polygamists in west Texas are doing is wrong if we allow same-sex marriage? Who are you to tell them that that man can't have fifteen wives? [The student said] 'Well, it's not the same!' And I said, 'Okay, well, here's another one: bestiality. Now I know you're going to have a problem,' and he just went berserk on that. But there was recently an actual news story where a man wanted to marry his animal. . . . I think it was a sheep."
Huckabee says he doesn't know if homosexuality is inborn, but he believes you can control the behavior. He compares homosexuality to obesity or alcoholism: "Some people have a predisposition to alcoholism. Does that mean they're not responsible for getting drunk? No."
I give him the liberal line: Being gay is so integral to a person's identity that it's not a choice, that it's like being African-American.
"I'm especially offended by that," he answers immediately. "Because blackness is an inescapable quality. Black is not a behavior. There's no behavior to black. What you can say is that whatever disposition, it's a choice. A lot of people are celibate. When people enter the priesthood, they make a choice to subjugate certain behaviors and/or feelings. It's not that they don't have them; it's that they choose not to act on them."
He talks about how he saw a news clip from a Palm Springs rally of a woman holding a cross, being accosted by gay-rights protesters who grabbed the cross out of her hands. "I watch these guys, and they're all about love and tolerance until they lose."
In Huckabee's world, gay people are the oppressors and conservative Christians are the victims.
The piece is full of interesting tidbits, like the fact that Huckabee was apparently unaware that this country has never had a Jewish president and makes a point of noting that Sarah Palin's disastrous interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric were in no way "unfair," saying "Katie Couric was extraordinarily gentle, even helpful. [Palin] just . . . I don't know what happened. I can't explain it. It was not a good interview. I'm being charitable."
As they say, read the whole thing.
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