Smoky Mountains Sunrise

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Former Pastor Running for President? Which One?

By Gary Glenn

The news media rarely mentions former Gov. Mike Huckabee without first identifying him as a "former pastor."

Literally, in many news articles, Huckabee is identified as a former pastor before his ten years as governor of Arkansas -- more executive branch experience than any other candidate running for president of either party -- is even mentioned. In fact, Huckabee served as governor longer than he served as a pastor.

One California newspaper editorial page editor notes, however, that Huckabee's economic and social views were perhaps influenced by the fact that "as a preacher, he spent many years ministering to average Americans personally, gaining a real sense of the issues that concern them -- health insurance, economic uncertainty, family breakdown."

In that context, the five-minute video interview by Newsweek's Howard Fineman -- linked below -- is particularly striking, in which the Republican candidate for president himself repeatedly refers to his experience as a former pastor and precisely identifies that experience as a primary source of his empathy for average Americans.

There is a twist, however.

The video interview is not with Mike Huckabee.

It's that other former pastor running for president.

Who, curiously, is never referred to by the news media as a "former pastor."

Even though he says he served as a pastor for fifteen years, nearly four times longer than he served as governor.

So why the media double standard?

Why is the candidate who served as governor longer than he served as pastor always identified as a former pastor, while the candidate who served as pastor four times longer than he served as governor never identified as a former pastor?

Gary Glenn is President of the American Family Association of Michigan


Tony Silva said...

I have been harping on this one from the beginning of my awareness that Huckabee was a pastor -- I only knew of him as the governor who cleaned up the Clinton/Tucker mess in Arkansas.

Why isn't Romney called, "a former Mormon Bishop"? Simply put: The reason Huckabee is tagged as a pastor is to inflame Christophobic fears. Neithre the Liberal elites nor the NeoLib elites want anything to do with a person of faith... who takes his faith seriously.

Anonymous said...

The truth of the matter is Romney was providing service as a lay minister at the same time he was running a company. He was not soley a 'pastor' making his living off his congregation. In fact, one thing that seperates the Mormon church from other Christian denominations is that the Mormon church's ministry is an entirely lay ministry and no leader recieves monetary recompense from a congregation, much less the Church, for the service rendered. The leaders serve with the intent to serve, not to get gain. No wonder so many leaders of other 'christian' denominations have it out for the mormon christians. If all christian churches operated the way Christ set up his ancient church--without a lay ministry--many 'pastors' would be without a profession.

Anonymous said...

The last comment has the essence of things, there is no 'Pastor' in the sense of a paid, trained professional position that the individual interviews for and is hired and released by a board. The Mormon church has no such role. The congregations are run for 1 to 5 years by potentially any member of the congregatioin, then the leadership role is given to someone else. Huckabee is a pastor. Romney was a volunteer in his church. The media outlets got it right... even a blind squirrel finds a few acorns.

Taranani said...

four freedoms is a little uppity up you will have to excuse his manners. As people of religion not just christians we should all look out for each other rather than divide the religions. Liberals more often than not devout people of any kind. One thing I have to say about your article though is that it is not researched. Romney from the beginning has tried to downplay his religion whereas Huckabee has tried to beat the other candidates about the head with it among evangelicals. Go to Mitt Romney's campaign site you will find little mention if any about his time as a bishop or stake president.

Anonymous said...

It's not obvious why Huckabee is referred to as a "Former Pastor" and Romney is not. You would have to look beyond the obvious things to discover that "Former Pastor" in Huckabee's case is a Job title. Mike's Profession for which he was paid was actually to be a Pastor. Romney on the other hand was a business executive and all of the service he performed in an ecclesiastical position was Free. Volunteer. True Service. All of that responsibility was done simultaniously with his Business profession. Also, Romney doesn't tout his experience a "pastor" because he isn't trying to win the nomination to become a Pastor In Chief (as Huckabee would), Rather what the founding fathers outlined as a Commander In Chief.

Anonymous said...

If there is no religious test to be president, why does it matter to you?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one has pointed out previously in this campaign that individual American voters are free to impose whatever test they darn well please, up to and including a "religious test."

What the Constitution prohibits is a legally-binding "religious test" such as appeared in some earlier state or colonial charters of governemnt prior to adoption of the Constitution. Some states actually had constitutional provisions that described in detail the Statement of Religious Faith which candidates for public office had to adhere to. In the reverse, some state constitutions unconstitutionally, as late at the late 19th century -- Idaho's for example -- specifically prohibited anyone practicing "celestial marriage" from running for office or even voting. That actually remained in the text of the Idaho Constitution, though not enforced obviously, until the last 20 years or so when it was removed by vote of the people.

Anyway, that's the kind of legal disqualification for office that the Constitution prohibits.

It has nothing whatsoever with individual citizens judging, testing, and voting for or against candidates on any basis they darn well please.

Are you suggesting that if a candidate for president openly professed to share a jihadist vision of radical Islam, we shouldn't submit such candidate to a common sense "religious test" and keep him as far away from the Oval Office as possible, and specifically on that basis? And there'd be nothing even remotely unconstitutional about doing so, either.

Anonymous said...

Taranani, Romney repeatedly refers to himself in the Newsweek video as having been a pastor, using that precise term.

John said...

Romney's position as bishop was a voluntary, unpaid, part-time role. Big big difference between that and someone who is paid full-time to be a pastor. This is a deceptive post.

Anonymous said...

And the abject horror of such deception, Jerms!

Pardon me, I was about to swept up into the world of blind Romney worship, where asking a simple question about media double standard becomes "deceptive."

How so, exactly, Jerms? If you bother to watch the video, you find Romney refers to himself at least three different times as having been, in his words, a "pastor."

Who cares how much or if anything Huckabee or Romney was paid?

Romney by his own words identifies himself as having been a "pastor," so what's deceptive about asking why the news media never characterizes Romney precisely as Romney characterizes himself?