Right-wing politician and pundit Mike Huckabee used his appearance on Intercessors for America’s monthly prayer call Friday to claim that religious freedom is at stake in November’s election.
Echoing the religious-right leaders who have resisted COVID-19-related public health restrictions on church gatherings, Huckabee warned that if conservative Christians don’t vote, the government will force churches to shut down:
The issue is policy. Whether or not we as a nation will embrace religious liberty or whether we will believe that the government can tell a church that it can’t sing, can’t pray, can’t worship, can’t meet unless it gets the government’s permission. This is very, very crazy kind of stuff we’re going through right now. And if people don’t recognize it—they may say, ‘Well, yeah, but it’s a pandemic’—but if the government will tell us what we can do during a pandemic, and we all follow along and march in line, then when and how long will it be before the government will tell us that we cannot continue to meet or sing or pray, and a pandemic has nothing to do with it? Please don’t think that this is an alarm that doesn’t have substance; it does.
So, there are many fundamental issues today that really matter more than they’ve ever mattered before because you’ve never had the policies that are directing these two parties, two candidates, that are so divergent. And if Christians sit this one out, and then one day they say, ‘Hey, how come my gifts to the church are not tax-exempt? Hey, how come the church is being taxed and we’re now going to have to pay property tax on the church? And we can’t afford that, so we’re going to go out of business.’ How many things like that start happening? And people will say, ‘Well, this is not right.’ And I’m going to say to them, ‘Yeah, and you didn’t vote. That’s why it happened.’
Intercessors for America is a stridently political pro-Trump network of “prayer warriors” that has prayed that Trump would “rule” in the midst of his enemies and that God would “clean house” and purge Trump’s “deep state” enemies from government. IFA portrayed the 2018 midterm elections as a spiritual battle and its monthly prayer calls often feature conservative political figures as guest speakers.
Friday’s call featured Huckabee and Jason Yates, CEO of My Faith Votes, a conservative Christian get out the vote organization that IFA is partnering with. Huckabee is My Faith Votes’ honorary chair. On the call, Kubal called the Nov. 3 election “the most important election in our lifetimes.”
Making it clear that IFA is not just about prayer, Kubal said, “If you go to any of our sites—VoteYourValues2020.com, IFAPray—boy, it’s hard to not find a link to My Faith Votes, and that’s intentional, because Jason, what you do is such a complementary tool for intercessors.”
Kubal asked Huckabee to pray “that the church would wake up and understand the importance of this day.” In his prayer, Huckabee said that “it’s not that the Gospel is dependent upon America, but America is dependent upon the Gospel.”
Huckabee prayed that pastors would “go to the pulpit and tell people that they must vote and to pray about their vote and to vote their values.”
Kubal highlighted a key Trump campaign theme, asking Huckabee about how important it is “for our governmental authorities to support law and order.” The alternative, Hucakbee said, is to be in a nation “that is driven by mobs rather than by law.”
To that point, Kubal and Huckabee described their experience of leaving the White House after the final night of Republican National Convention speeches to jeers from crowds gathered outside. “It was truly like going to the pits of hell,” Huckabee said. Kubal agreed, saying, “I’ve never experienced that level of evil, that was shouting, spitting, and I’m just amazed that there was not more physical violence.” Neither Kubal nor Huckabee mentioned the physical violence that right-wing author and pundit Eric Metaxas engaged in after the event, punching a protester on a bike.
Yates followed Huckabee on the call. He prayed that the church would “stand up and be bold that what we support and what we value would be propagated in our communities, in our nation.” Kubal similarly asked God “for a spirit of boldness” to “sweep across” the church and that the church would “rise up” and “take their place in this culture.”
Huckabee also used the call to promote his latest book, “The Three Cs That Made America Great: Christianity, Capitalism, and Constitution,” which Huckabee humbly described as “a great book.” It features a foreword from Fox News personality and Trump favorite Sean Hannity.
In addition to its monthly prayer call, IFA has started weekly calls to encourage people to use its Vote Your Values map to identify individual low-propensity churchgoing voters in key states and to pray for them by name that they will be moved to vote for “biblical values.” On Tuesday’s call, a prayer leader declared that “godly government should reflect kingdom values.”
Kubal also promoted IFA’s “Political Personality Test” which it calls “an opportunity for people to think about and to discover their values in comparison to the party platforms’ values, and think about God’s values and vote God’s values.”
IFA has also produced a guide to praying about the presidential election, which identifies the states that are essential to each campaign’s path to an Electoral College victory. Given how strongly IFA supports the relentlessly lying Trump, it might be surprising that one of the suggested prayers in the guide asks “that we would elect leaders who fear God and who are trustworthy and hate every kind of dishonesty.”