In my debate liveblog, I expressed some admiration for Mike Huckabee’s answer to Wolf Blitzer’s question about why he doesn’t believe in evolution. I see that Jamie Kirchick didn’t care for the reply at all: “Sorry, but if someone believes in fairy tales, I think that’s pretty relevant to their qualifications as president.” But why? The core of Huckabee’s answer is here:
It’s interesting that that question would even be asked of somebody running for president. I’m not planning on writing the curriculum for an eighth-grade science book. I’m asking for the opportunity to be president of the United States.
That’s quite right. Blitzer is just being a pain in the ass. It would be a serious problem if Huckabee were proposing to meddle in eighth-grade science textbooks, but he rightly understands that in the American system this isn’t a federal question. On the fairy tales part, well, I’m unimpressed. My understanding is that Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama all believe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of mankind and then rose from the dead. This strikes me as a hell of a tall tale. But, obviously, it’s not what you’d call a rare view in the United States and if we’re going to start writing off politicians who believe in “fairy tales” of this sort there’s going to be nobody left.
To me, the only truly grating remark about religion in the GOP debate was Rudy Giuliani trying to pretend that his faith is important to him. Giuliani’s like the reverse of someone who takes his Catholicism seriously — the divorces, the affairs, the gay rights, the abortion, the preventive war, the total absence of any Christian Democratic spirit of generosity — and everyone knows it.