Mike Huckabee, the conservative former Arkansas governor, this weekend said that he is concerned about Islam’s role in Egypt’s future. As On Faith panelist Reza Aslan this week noted, Huckabee has also called for Americans to “take this nation back for Christ” and, while running for president in 2008, declared that “what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards.”
In America and in Egypt, should a majority religion inspire political life? How will Islam play a role in the struggles for democracy happening now in Egypt and other parts of the Muslim world?
Mike Huckabee, who many see as a front-runner for the Republican presidential ticket in 2012, has been courting and celebrating the kind of Christians who, if ever presented with theocratic opportunities, would be the first to oppress and marginalize religious minorities. Huckabee calls himself a “fan” and “friend” of David Barton, founder and president of WallBuilders, who believes that“paganism and witchcraft were never intended to receive the protections of the Religion Clauses,” and is currently one of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s favored teachers for the freshman class of recently elected Republicans. Huckabee regularly allies himself with Lou Engle, whose rhetoric can “venture into bloodlust”according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Huckabee, like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and several other politicians, have sought to ingratiate themselves with a new kind of Christian right, one that, in the words of Bruce Wilson, has seen a “rapid reconfiguration […] around the rising, highly militant but poorly understood charismatic wing.” This movement celebrates spiritual warfare, and is preparing itself for a renewal of Christian political and cultural dominance. So any “concern” from Huckabee about religion, or Islam, must be seen through this lens.