Mike Huckabee, like other Republicans, has turned supposed threats to the religious liberty of conservative Christians into a major theme of his presidential campaign, claiming that the U.S. is “moving rapidly towards the criminalization of Christianity.”
Huckabee blames this non-existent threat on gay rights and the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate, despite the fact that Huckabee signed an even more sweeping contraception mandate while serving as governor of Arkansas.
So it came as no surprise that Huckabee released this image today on his Facebook page declaring that “an attack on Christians and their religious liberty is a hate crime that must be prosecuted.”
He also vowed to use executive orders to stop “discrimination” against entities that oppose same-sex marriage and pledged to “direct the U.S. Attorney General to prosecute as hate crimes groups or individuals who discriminated or attacked individuals, businesses, religious organizations and others for their religious beliefs about marriage.”
Of course, hate crimes motivated by religion are by federal hate crimes laws, laws which Huckabee has criticized as discriminatory. He justified his opposition to hate crime laws by alleging that they enable the government to “start regulating what people can think.”
More telling is Huckabee’s claim that an “attack” on “religious liberty is a hate crime,” since Huckabee believes that nearly anything he personally finds offensive is an attack on religious liberty, whether it be measures giving LGBT people equal protection under the law or commonsense regulations of insurance plans.
Huckabee even viewed the entire Chick-fil-A saga as an attack on religious liberty, as he described in this bizarre anti-gay film:
He similarly told televangelist Jim Bakker that Christians in America are under attack and on the verge of second-class citizenship:
But pandering to a far-right base and pushing myth about anti-Christian persecution in America seems more important to Huckabee than taking consistent political positions.