In an under-the-radar interview that aired on CNN Friday night (Oct. 19), conservative talk show host Glenn Beck asked Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee about current events in the Middle East.
Then came the payoff question about Armageddon, and Huckabee delivered the ministerial money shot for values voters everywhere:
BECK: You're a biblical guy. You're a preacher. Do you believe we are possibly facing "End Times" scenarios with any of the events that we're seeing?
HUCKABEE: You know, every generation has thought that they were, and we could be, but we don't ever act like, "OK, this is it," so we just sit back and coast and ride it out until the end. We always act as if it could be today, but we also plan as if it could be 100,000 years from now.
This is crazy, like televangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell openly blaming 9/11 on God's wrath toward gays and feminists.
Huckabee claims "every generation" thinks biblical Armageddon is imminent, as if it's normal. Maybe for doom and gloom preachers and their followers. The term also has its metaphorical use, obviously, but people of the Enlightenment -- as a whole -- haven't gone through life expecting or dreading it in a century or more. Certainly not our modern leaders.
FDR led the nation through economic depression and world war by being positive: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Ronald Reagan made clear that the famous riff about a "shining city on a hill" was decidedly not, in his mind, about the heavens, but rather about our future here on earth. Al Gore doesn't falsely pin the rap of global warming on theology's head.
Huckabee, on the other hand, looks at the world today and flatly states that "we could be" facing the biblical grand finale, and so we "act as if it could be today," while we also "plan as if it could be 100,000 years from now."
What's he talking about, planning that far in advance? I'm having trouble pulling together Thanksgiving and it's already late October.
In truth, as a fundamentalist preacher he believes the Bible is inerrant. Armageddon is something that will literally happen at some point. He says it may be starting now, meaning the Book of Revelation would be a sort of mission statement of U.S. foreign policy under a President Huckabee. Since his beliefs are so rigid and absolute, he can't be expected to check them at the door before entering the Oval Office.
Do we really want him in charge of the nuclear button (we don't have the only one) the next time 19 zealots blow up a building, or some potentate rattles a cage? He's already on record as saying we're in World War III, and the mixture of religious extremism and militarism is potent. Maybe he thinks the world isn't aggressive enough, that the British should have attacked, say, Saudi Arabia after the London subway bombing instead of using Scotland Yard to nab the terrorists.
After all, why oversee boring police work when you can overreact and become God's own "Commander Guy?"
In Huck's worldview, if he's right about Armageddon we're all dead, and if he's wrong yet drops the big one we're still all dead. I say let's call the whole thing off!
Military force might not always be avoidable, but using it to expedite America's spiritual journey into the hereafter? That's not what Jefferson and Madison had in mind with that whole separation of church and state thing. The job Huckabee seeks, leading 300 million people in a secular democracy of varying faith(s), is totally the wrong fit for his skill-set as a pulpiteer.
Let us pray.