Tuesday afternoon, former Arkansas governor and current Republican candidate for president Mike Huckabee stood on a stage in Kentucky and held hands with Kim Davis, a county clerk who was released from jail yesterday after refusing to issue same-sex marriages by citing her faith. Huckabee, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, has explained that his support for Davis comes from a shared Christian faith — specifically, a version that condemns LGBT relationships.
But while the cross-waving crowds at the rally in Kentucky — organized by Huckabee — cheered for him yesterday, the hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe were far less jubilant when he appeared on their show Wednesday morning. Joe Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski quickly challenged the shaky theological claims of Huckabee and Davis, who is on her fourth marriage.
You can watch a portion the segment below (or if the video has trouble loading, view it here). It’s worth watching in full.
Scarborough, who was raised Southern Baptist and attended Catholic school, led off by posing a hypothetical to Huckabee: If a county clerk such as Kim Davis can deny legal same-sex marriages, what’s to stop another biblical literalist county clerk from denying a marriage license to someone who has had a divorce — especially since Jesus Christ explicitly condemns divorce in the Bible? In other words, how can Mike Huckabee cite the Bible while supporting Kim Davis’ opposition to same-sex marriage, but ignore the fact that she is on her fourth marriage — which, to a traditional biblical literalist, would mean that she is actively living in sin?
“Jesus was much more explicit about divorce,” Scarborough, who is divorced, said. “And you could much more easily make an argument that a judge would refuse to grant divorces because Jesus was much more explicit about divorce equaling adultery. So what would you think if a judge in Arkansas said ‘I’m not going to divorce these people, because Jesus Christ said that divorce is an abomination and that it is adultery’?”
When Huckabee attempted to dodge the question by discussing a case in Tennessee where a judge refused to grant a divorce by citing the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, co-host Mika grew visibly frustrated, triggering a heated exchange.
BRZEZINSKI: Mike Huckabee I asked you a question: Would you support a clerk who would not give Kim Davis a third or a fourth marriage license?
HUCKABEE: There is a difference between a marriage between a man and a woman and a marriage between two men and two women.
BRZEZINSKI: But you said—
HUCKABEE: Let me answer your question.
BRZEZINSKI: I’d love it.
HUCKABEE: Okay. What we’re talking about is whether or not we can redefine marriage. Not whether or not a person can have more than one, because the law clearly says what people can do — they can have a divorce. We have laws for that.
BRZEZINSKI: I think the law says you can get married now, as a gay person.
Huckabee went on to explain that he believes the Supreme Court’s move to legalize same-sex marriage “created” a law, which he argues the Court can’t do. As the conversation wore on, Huckabee slowly began to abandon appeals to his faith — but Scarborough wouldn’t let him off the hook.
“Yesterday I saw a lot of crosses out in the crowd,” Scarborough said. “I heard a lot of people talking about Jesus. We’re talking to you this morning and I think you would agree with me, for Jesus, if you read the New Testament — and believe that the New Testament is a literal word of God— you will agree with me that Jesus Christ looks upon those who divorce, upon those who after women or men, equally is lost as people who engage … let’s say get married or of the same sex. Would you agree with that proposition under Jesus’ teaching?”
Huckabee responded by citing the Christian belief that all people are sinners, and all can be forgiven by God. But when he returned to a discussion of law, Scarborough called the governor out for attempting to play two sides — the religious and the political — at once, invoking Jesus’ instruction to “render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s.”
“Let’s keep our faith out of this,” Scarborough said. “If it’s about the law, if it’s about Caesar, then let’s debate Caesar. But let’s not mix up Caesar and Jesus — it’s two completely different things.”