Mike Huckabee is a smooth-talking bigot but he said something to the annual convention of his Southern Baptist church that I totally agree with, and that is that they should give up their tax-exempt status. He wants to do this so that his church can go into full throttle battle mode against the right to abortions and homosexuality.
I agree with him and think that all the religions should do this. Then not only will the rest of us have the comfort of knowing that we are not subsidizing institutions that spread false beliefs, bigoted views, and magical thinking, there is an added bonus because the more religious groups engage in politics, the more likely they are to turn off the faithful. It will not make the situation worse on those issues because I think that religious opposition to them has already been turned up to 11 and is maxed out.
Another Southern Baptist Jonathan Merritt argues that their church is already in decline precisely because it is so heavily engaged in politics and what they should do is back off.
In recent years, I’ve watched my denomination fight vicious battles over issues of little importance. I’ve seen them dive head first into divisive partisan politics. And I’ve witnessed how anyone who doesn’t bow down to the institutional machine or even dares to question the status quo is not-so-kindly shown the door. No wonder the denomination is shrinking.
A new day is dawning in American religious life in which Christians of many stripes seem to be running fast and hard from denominations, particularly those whose behavior mirrors the descriptions listed above.
So go for it, Huckabee.