armchair cultural observation since 1995

Mike Huckabee’s ‘Non-Political’ Event

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I discovered two things checking my email this morning: 1. People still send email forwards and 2. These same people still haven’t figured out how to use the BCC field of an email program. While back in 1999 when I used to get these emails all the time I would have just deleted it, this email forward caught my attention because it was referencing an event being organized by Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor who blamed the Sandy Hook shooting on prayer being taken out of schools.

The event he’s organizing is a prayer day where he is rallying Christians and the church specifically to “ask God to grant our leaders, from the local school houses to the White House, the wisdom they need for the road ahead.” The significance of the date isn’t specified but it does happen to fall on the eve of President Obama’s inauguration of a second term and Martin Luther King Day.

As a Christian who prays daily and attends an evangelical church, I don’t have a problem with the spirit of this or any kind of similar event that encourages people to pray. I was a regular attender at See You At the Pole prayers when I was a teenager and still think it’s a beautiful thing to see young people gathering publicly to pray. Where the rub comes in is when words like “non-political” and “non-partisan” are brought in to describe an event seemingly as evangelical code words for the harsher “our president is a tyrant baby killer” things we’ve grown all too accustomed to seeing on Facebook during the Obama years.

If this really was a “non-political” event as the GOP politician who apparently believes in a God who punished a bunch of kindergartners because their teachers don’t organize morning prayers in their public school why is a Ronald Reagan quote being used in a flier to promote it? And why is the email forwarded to me from something called the Elijah List (I guess it’s the Christian version of Craig or Angie’s list?) promoting it referencing a fast food chicken restaurant whose CEO opposes gay marriage?

From the Elijah List email:

August 1, hundreds of thousands stood in line at Chick-fil-A to affirm a Christian brother’s right to his personal view and the freedom to express it without being the object of economic terrorism. It was a historic moment because it was not a carefully staged PR stunt, but a viral response as people from many organizations and ministries simply urged their own constituents to participate. No one ‘owned’ the day – each participating entity encouraged it from their own platform to their audience.

I want to propose that we join together to do something even more significant. What if on Sunday, January 20, we asked America to simply pray? Pray for our leaders and our country. This would not be a partisan or political event, but a sincere effort to ask millions of Americans to pray for our country on that day. Our leaders don’t seem to be listening to us; maybe they will listen to God!

The email brings to mind some of the drivel MoveOn.org polluted email inboxes with during the Bush II years, only with Bible verses, which to me makes it more offensive. If being a Christian means letting Mike Huckabee speak for God, only voting for the extreme candidates of his party and eating crappy fast food, I’m not sure I understand what it means to be a Christian anymore.

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