More than ten years ago, Mark Noll wrote one of the most important Christian books of modern times–The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind. He argues, “[T]he evangelical ethos is activistic, populist, pragmatic, and utilitarian. It allows little space for broader or deeper intellectual effort because it is dominated by the urgencies of the moment.”
He goes on to quote Canadian scholar N.K. Clifford: “The Evangelical Protestant mind has never relished complexity. Indeed its crusading genius, whether in religion or politics, has always tended toward an over-simplification of issues and the substitution of inspiration and zeal for critical analysis and serious reflection.”
Remind you of anyone?
Time and time again, Mike Huckabee demonstrates this scandal of the evangelical mind. His policy prescriptions and the glib justifications he repeats over and over again demonstrate no careful thought, no critical analysis, simply a superficial application of certain Christian tenets.
Defending his support for giving in-state tuition breaks to the children of illegal aliens, he insists: “You don’t punish the child for the crime of the parents.” Every time he repeats this talking point, he reveals his ignorance of the basic distinction between being punished and not receiving plundered aid.
Asked about the Iranian nuclear threat, he touts the idea that America must become “energy-independent” because Iran “wouldn’t have enough money to build a reactor just by selling rugs“. The naivete of this position is perhaps illuminated by Gov. Huckabee’s ignorance of the recent NIE report.
Slurring the Club for Growth as the “Club for Greed”, this William Jennings Bryan wanna-be shows no appreciation for the role of economic freedom in lifting people out of poverty and into prosperity.
Attempting to justify his pardons and pushed-for parole, Gov. Huckabee claims “concept of Christian forgiveness requires that we keep open the process of parole” even for violent felons. He shows no understanding that forgiveness doesn’t mean overturning public justice.
In all these glib, oft-oft-oft-repeated comments, Gov. Huckabee demonstrates a nimble tongue controlled by a flabby mind. He shows no understanding that the most simplistic application of Christian tenets isn’t necessarily the best, or even a valid, one; he demonstrates no evidence that he understands or has even thought about the concept of proper sphere, that the responsibilities of the individual and of the state are different; he leaves open no hope that he has even a glimmer of appreciation for the tremendous difficulty of actually thinking through public problems and pursuing appropriate and effective policy solutions.