In last night’s GOP debate (transcript), Mike Huckabee was asked about his support of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) statement of faith, which explicitly affirms complementarian principles. The following is a video of the exchange, but I have also included a transcript of the same at the bottom of this post.
Huckabee will be facing these kinds of questions for as long as he stays in the raceâ€”especially if he becomes the party’s nominee. I suspect that the Democrat opposition will be able to use his 1998 endorsement against him to great effect.
In his response, I think Huckabee was clear about two things. First, he’s clear that as President he will not try to coerce citizens to adopt his denomination’s views on the family. This answer has been his consistent response to “religious” questions. Second, I think the video makes clear that he’s not backing away from the BF&M 2000. He says, “I’m not the least bit ashamed of my faith or the doctrines of it. . . I certainly am going to practice it unashamedly, whether I’m a president or whether I’m not a president.”
I’m not sure why Huckabee called this question a “doctrinal quirk.” Biblically speaking, male headship in marriage is not a “doctrinal quirk,” but is a clear emphasis beginning in Genesis and continuing on through the New Testament. The apostle Paul says that a husband’s headship is meant to point to Christ’s own headship over his church (Ephesians 5). Thus one’s view of marriage relates directly to gospel realities. This is not a small point of the Christian faith, though it will likely be lost on those watching the debate last night.
[Transcript of the Exchange]
CAMERON: Governor Huckabee, to change the subject a little bit and focus a moment on electability. Back in 1998, you were one of about 100 people who affirmed, in a full-page ad in the “New York Times,” the Southern Baptist Convention’s declaration that, quote, “A wife us to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.” Women voters in both parties harshly criticized that. Is that position politically viable in the general election of 2008, sir?
HUCKABEE: You know, it’s interesting, everybody says religion is off limits, except we always can ask me the religious questions. So let me try to do my best to answer it.
(APPLAUSE) And since — if we’re really going to have a religious service, I’d really feel more comfortable if I could pass the plates, because our campaign could use the money tonight, Carl.
(LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE)
We’ll just go all the way.
First of all, if anybody knows my wife, I don’t think they for one minute think that she’s going to just sit by and let me do whatever I want to. That would be an absolute total misunderstanding of Janet Huckabee. The whole context of that passage — and, by the way, it really was spoken to believers, to Christian believers. I’m not the least bit ashamed of my faith or the doctrines of it. I don’t try to impose that as a governor and I wouldn’t impose it as a president. But I certainly am going to practice it unashamedly, whether I’m a president or whether I’m not a president. But the point…
… the point, and it comes from a passage of scripture in the New Testament Book of Ephesians is that as wives submit themselves to the husbands, the husbands also submit themselves, and it’s not a matter of one being somehow superior over the other. It’s both mutually showing their affection and submission as unto the Lord.
So with all due respect, it has nothing to do with presidency. I just wanted to clear up that little doctrinal quirk there so that there’s nobody who misunderstands that it’s really about doing what a marriage ought to do and that’s marriage is not a 50/50 deal, where each partner gives 50 percent. Biblically, marriage is 100/100 deal. Each partner gives 100 percent of their devotion to the other and that’s why marriage is an important institution, because it teaches us how to love.
(HT: Henry Institute)