It looks as if Mike Huckabee is heading to Texas to raise a bit of money with the help of a few of his right-wing supporters:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who has been gaining ground in the Republican presidential primaries, is scheduled to meet campaign donors in Houston today at the Tanglewood home of physician Steve Hotze, a longtime Christian conservative activist. Like other major presidential candidates, Huckabee is making a last dash for Texas cash before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary next month. His trip includes a fundraising event in Dallas after his Houston event.
Co-hosts for the $500-per-person Houston event include state Rep.Debbie Riddle of Tomball and Texan Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America, which works to mobilize pastors and church congregations for political action.
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you are undoubtedly familiar with Rick Scarborough, the self-described “Christocrat” who heads Vision America and has a penchant for suggesting that evangelical leaders are dying off because the nation has turned its back on God, suggesting that Christians will have “the blood of martyrs on [their] hands“if they don’t oppose hate crimes legislation, blaming “the church” for just standing by and allowing the election of “unrighteous leaders” in 2006, and saying that opponents of the War in Iraq are committing treason, among other things.
Then there is Debbie Riddle, who is perhaps best known for this comment:
“Where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education, free medical care, free whatever? It comes from Moscow, from Russia. It comes straight out of the pit of hell. And it’s cleverly disguised as having a tender heart. It’s not a tender heart. It’s ripping the heart out of this country.”
And what about Steve Hotze? Well, the Texas Freedom Network discribes him thusly:
Hotze is a prominent leader of anti-abortion, anti-gay and politically active religious political extremism in Houston. Hotze gained prominence while promoting a ‘Straight Slate’ of political candidates in response to Houston Mayor Kathy Whitmire’s support from the gay community. Using Christian Coalition tactics of organizing through churches and organizing on the precinct level, Hotze led the religious right’s campaign to take over the Harris County Republican Party from moderate Republicans.
The Houston Press provides a bit more background:
Thin and long-faced, 46-year-old Steven Forrest Hotze has carved out a niche in local politics over the past decade as an unyielding and occasionally strident opponent of abortion and public acceptance of homosexuality. He may not be a household name outside Republican circles, but within the party he is admired by a devout coterie of followers, catered to by secular conservatives and feared by moderates, who find themselves in a position of needing his approval to win nominations in GOP primaries. Those summoned to kiss his ring encounter a tough, uncompromising zealot who is used to getting his own way.
It’s a considerable amount of clout for someone whose stated beliefs place him to the right of the religious right. “If we are to survive as a free nation, and if justice and liberty are to be restored in our land, then biblical Christianity, with its absolutes, must once again be embraced by our citizens,” he wrote several years back in a Chronicle op-ed piece. “Only then can we expect to see Christianity’s influence once again to be reflected in the laws of our civil government.”
According to a separate Houston Press article that suggests that Hotze’s medical credentials and views are a bit suspect, he also signed something called the Coalition on Revival’s Manifesto for the Christian Church in 1986 that dictated:
• A wife may work outside the home only with her husband’s consent
• “Biblical spanking” that results in “temporary or superficial bruises or welts” should not be considered a crime
• No doctor shall provide medical service on the Sabbath
• All disease and disability is caused by the sin of Adam and Eve
• Medical problems are frequently caused by personal sin
• “Increased longevity generally results from obedience to specific Biblical commands”
• Treatment of the “physical body” is not a doctor’s highest priority
• Doctors have a priestly calling
• People receiving medical treatment are not immune from divine intervention or demonic forces
• Physicians should preach to their patients because salvation is the key to their health
Give that the vast majority of Huckabee’s Religious Right backers are borderline theocrats, it remains to be seen just when, if ever, Huckabee is going to called to account for the types of people with which he is surrounding himself.