Huckabee: believers don’t have time to fight one another

If you’re a long-time Iowa pol, you remember the closing days of the Harkin/Lightfoot race back in 1996 when the core question became:  who’s the better Catholic? Both incumbent Senator Tom Harkin and challenger Jim Lightfoot, a congressman at the time, were Catholics. But Lightfoot, pushing the pro-life issue, aired a campaign ad that featured a Catholic priest lauding Lightfoot and questioning Harkin’s commitment to the faith.

There’s no priest involved in the latest flap involving supporters of Kansas Senator Sam Brownback and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, but Catholicism is at the core of the controversy. The pastor of an evangelical church in the Des Moines suburb of Windsor Heights who is backing Huckabee — and who happens to be a former Catholic — sent an email to the leaders of another church who are backing Brownback. Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic has the email. Note at the bottom of Ambinder’s post there is an apology from Pastor Tim Rude, the author of the email.

Now, at 7:30 p.m. Iowa time, Eric Woolson — Huckabee’s Iowa campaign manager — emails this:

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee Tuesday issued the following statement in response to media inquiries about an e-mail issued by Rev. Tim Rude in Iowa: “We are glad that Rev. Rude issued an apology and clarification for his comments.  They were not authorized by, disseminated by, approved by, or condoned by the campaign.  Our campaign enjoys strong support from Catholics as well as evangelicals, and for that matter, from people whose support is not faith-based at all.  I have spoken in Catholic churches and maintained a strong relationship with Christian brothers and sisters from many denominations. 

“While I’m deeply grateful that many people of faith support me because they know I represent views compatible with theirs, I know that there are many others who support me because of an effective record of achieving results.  Either way, I’m grateful for the support. 

“I consider Sam Brownback a Christian brother and know that he feels likewise toward me.  Like Senator Brownback, several key members of my staff are Roman Catholic. As believers, we don’t have time to fight each other.  We need to focus on having a servant’s spirit and bringing hope to those who have given up.”

At 9:58 p.m., John Rankin of the Brownback campaign sent this in reply to Huckabee’s statement: 

"The lengthy comment from the Huckabee campaign evades a simple
question: Does Governor Huckabee denounce Pastor Rude’s anti-Catholic comments, or not? It’s a simple question and a fair one. What’s holding them back from a straightforward denouncement of the bigoted, anti-Catholic contents of Pastor Rude’s email?

"Second, regarding the "apology and clarification" from Pastor Rude, let’s revisit what the Pastor had to say:

‘… obviously, if I knew this private e-mail would somehow not remain private, I would have taken great care not to convey anything that would be offensive to anyone.’

"So, let me get this straight–if Pastor Rude knew his anti-Catholic comments would become public, he wouldn’t have put them in an email for the world to see?

"Additionally, Pastor Rude also had this to say:

‘But I do apologize for my statements because it could be taken as  anti-Catholic which isn’t the case at all.’

"Is he trying to say that he wasn’t being anti-Catholic when he said that Brownback’s ‘discernment’ should be questioned because of his faith? Is he trying to say that he wasn’t being anti-Catholic when he
suggested that, once Evangelicals learn about Brownback’s Catholicism, they will do as they should and support Huckabee, a fellow Protestant? Is he trying to say that he wasn’t being anti-Catholic when he referred to Catholicism as something that one
‘recovers’ from, like a disease or addiction?

"Pastor Rude’s ‘apology’ might be an admission that he offended people, but it is certainly not an apology or recognition of the bigoted substance of his remarks."

Also today, Brownback went to a firing range near Ames and shot off a few rounds. Photographers who were snapping pix or shooting video reported hearing problems afterwards, since reporters and photographers arrived without ear plugs.  Luckily, a nice person who had her own ear plugs stood behind me and plugged my ears as I held my microphone and recorder in one hand and snapped pictures with the other.  I thanked her profusely, by the way.   

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. Barry Connell says

    It’s amazing that very few people have brought up the fact that Huckabee opened the doors wide for illegal immigration in Arkansas, welcoming the law breakers with open arms, and a promise to support them with tax payer’s money. This is no hidden secret, it’s well documented in the Arkansas news media archives. Even the Arkansas crime statistics overwhelmingly demonstrate the results of Huckabees open door policy for anyone who chooses not to abide by the U.S. immigration laws.
    Furthermore, Huckabee will often justify his actions by reminding you he is a Baptist minister, thus proclaiming he has the divine wisdom to rule.
    The Damage to the State of Arkansas by this Governor will have an effect for years to come.
    But lets not forget, the people are the ones who vote. Unless the people are willing to educate themselves with higher moral values, along with holding everyone (no exceptions) to the laws which govern our society, we will continue to elect officials who will rule with their personal lusts, rather than the desires of “We The People”.
    Betrayal has no political affiliation, it doesn’t matter if you are Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Anyone is capable of betrayal. Those who are willing to circumvent the established laws have already initiated their credentials.
    Huckabee circumvented U.S. immigration laws with his welcome wagon offer to illegal invaders.
    I do not believe Mike Huckabee is a bad person, but I do believe he is a bad politican.

  2. Please go to our website if you honestly want the truth about Huckabee. We should know, we had to endure him for 10 long years.