SOMEWHERE BETWEEN DIKE AND WATERLOO, IA – Mike Huckabee spent about 20 minutes with reporters on the "Huck-a-Bus" fielding questions, many of which dealt with religion.
"It's not like [I'm] stepping from the pulpit last Sunday and running for president," said Huckabee when asked if people should be afraid he would impose his religion on the American public if elected president.
Huckabee pointed to his record and said, "They're not going to see me taking down Capitol Hill and putting a steeple in its place." He then recalled how, after September 11, he called together Muslim leaders to talk about how the tragedy was an act of terrorism, not of the Muslim faith.
"I don't think anybody is going to find that I'm some intolerant bigot when it comes to religion; if anything, it's the opposite because in my view of faith, it's only faith if it's voluntary...To try to force faith on somebody would to me violate the heart and soul of it as to what it should be."
Another reporter recalled how Huckabee once denounced calling tornadoes an "act of God," previously announced a "Christian Heritage Week," and displayed the Ten Commandments in his gubernatorial office. Would he do the same as president?
"Don't know why I wouldn't," Huckabee said. He pointed out the Christian Heritage week had been done in something like 37 states, although he felt he was put under more scrutiny than governors in the other states. He also said he "wouldn't hesitate" to put up the Ten Commandments, pointing out that they are in the Supreme Court as well and that they "form the basis for most of our laws."
In 1997 Huckabee objected to language in a bill describing natural disasters as "acts of God." On this matter, Huckabee said, "It was just a semantic issue."
"There were a lot of people who said we should have very secular language in our laws," he said. "I felt it was an inconsistency that if a tornado was deemed an act of God, it was as, if saying, that something really terrible happened, that was an act of God. I saw the act of God in all those volunteers after the tornado going and helping their neighbors dig through the rubble and putting their lives back together. I saw that the tornado was the result of nature unleashed in this world that was very destructive and I didn't want the government to say government does very destructive things and goes out there and indiscriminately kills little kids."
When asked whether he was imposing his religion on people by advocating for a anti-abortion amendment, Huckabee said having a faith and being anti-abortion were "not synonymous." Huckabee said that being anti-abortion was a moral issue, not a religious one.
"All laws impose morality on people," said Huckabee. "That's one of the fallacies when people say you can't impose morality. You can't impose behavior ... What law does, it is codifying what you determine right and wrong to be – the right and wrongness of what age you buy liquor, how fast you can drive, that you can't take property that belongs to your neighbor.