I’m a shoo-in now. Although my mind may have just blown up.
In what may come as a surprise for some, Huckabee agreed that an atheist could be fit to serve as president. “I’d rather have an honest atheist than a dishonest religious person,” he said.
Don’t worry. He didn’t mean it. He’s actually just doing some sneaky sniping at Mitt Romney. He continues with a clarification of what he really meant.
It’s better to have a person who says, ‘Look, I just don’t believe, and that’s where my honest position happens to be. I’m frankly more OK with that than a person who says, ‘Oh, I am very much a Christian. I very much love God.’ And then they live as if they are atheists, as if they have no moral groundings at all. That’s more troubling.”
I think it’s nice if a person believes in God. I’d hate to think somebody was making decisions who thought that he couldn’t be higher than himself.
See? He still equates atheism with a complete lack of moral grounding. He’s still a slimebag.
Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou says
God =/= moral. ‘nough said.
“He’s still a slimebag.”
Next up on the bleeding obvious, water is wet!
Huckabee Makes an Arse of Himself Day?
Hmmm … actually that’s pretty much business as usual.
Funny, really. Recently I had to say over at Coyne’s place, that I prefer to have an honest Christian in the White House over a lying atheist.
Huckabee isn’t listening to himself. See he started off by postulating that the atheist was the honest one while the religious person was the dishonest one….and then he turns it around to say, “See the atheist has no moral groundings.” What the fuck did he think honesty was?
Glen Davidson says
Yes, apparently there’s something worse than being an atheist, which is an atheist who pretends to be “better” by claiming to be Xian.
The snake you can see and avoid is better than the snake you step on without seeing.
Gee, Mike, you’re too kind. I’m bowled over with your openness to unbiased discussion.
Glenn G says
I had to read that twice before I caught the comparison. What an asshole.
“I’d rather have an honest evangelical Christian than a dishonest atheist,” he said.
It’s better to have a person who says, ‘Look, I believe in invisible omnipotent beings who love you personally but leave no detectable trace, and that’s where my honest position happens to be. I’m frankly more OK with that than a person who says, ‘Oh, I am very much an atheist.’ And then they live as if they are evangelicals, as if they are completely loony tunes. That’s more troubling.”
I think it’s nice if a person doesn’t believe in God. I’d hate to think somebody was making decisions who thought that imaginary violent beings needed to be appeased and adored at the threat of horrible eternal suffering.
You know, this viewpoint does prompt the question of why in the world an atheist would be honest in the first place, if they lack all moral grounding. Why tell the truth, if there is no right or wrong, no true or false? After all, Huckabee seems to recognize that claiming to be religious has a lot of benefits. The honesty of atheists, then, becomes a real puzzle. You’d think they’d all lie, and there would be no “self-proclaimed” atheists.
“Thought that he couldn’t be higher than himself?” I wonder if this is a misquote, or a rather revealing slip of the tongue. When you start to tell people what God wants, you’re not accountable to anyone anymore, because invoking God does indeed allow you to be “higher” than your humanity normally merits. Nice catch, Huckabee.
Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom says
He must be illiterate, seeing as YHWH is basically Stalin without the cool national anthem backing him up.
How can you get higher than yourself? That would have to be some really good weed.
Huckabee’s a dangerous man. He has the ability to sound reasonable if you don’t listen closely to what he says.
Ewan R says
Hackabee comes out for legalizing Marijauna. Awesome.
natural cynic says
Hmmmm. I don’t think that the Huckster is clear on this. Higher than Huckabee? More stoned than usual? …
Romney?? So Mormons are atheists?
Chris Hegarty says
Welp, this goes in the “hm, this is really stupid” folder, right between Mormonism and Icecapades.
And he’s not much of a bass player, either…
Caine, Fleur du mal says
Ugh. I’m getting to loathe this stupid assertion. Otherwise, standard Huckabee.
Huckabee also compared homosexuality and drug use to incest:
Now, excuse me if I come across as ignorant, but aren’t politicians in a democratic system supposed to think the people is above (or “higher” in Huchabeese) themselves? Is Mikey saying that he’s accountable for his policymaking only to God, not to the people?
(And about that old “atheists think there’s nothing higher than themselves” canard… Well, someone commented on that short ago. Ahem…)
Ewan R says
Huckabee must be mistaken in comparing homosexuality and drug use with incest. If memory serves his favorite book is firmly grounded in a fine tradition of incest (its somewhat difficult to see how Adam & Eve —-> Everyone alive without this being so)
” I’d hate to think somebody was making decisions who thought that he couldn’t be higher than himself.”
Is it possible to be higher than one’s self?
Jesus must roll some fat herb.
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher
Come on baby light my fire
Come on baby light my fire
Try to set the night on, FIRE
Maybe this is one of those “Can God make a rock so big that He Himself can’t lift it?” questions. But without the upper-case “H”.
I thought PZ was already president of this blog.
I think Huckabee is thinking in the Jack Sparrow school. An open atheist is like a dishonest person that you can always trust to be dishonest, whereas an outwardly religious person is someone who really can’t be trusted, because you can’t tell whether they’re truly honest.
(Except for Mike Huckabee. Of course he wants us to assume he’ll always be honest.)
Sorry, Mike, but you’re no Jack.
Mike Huckabee: high on life, high on himself.
I guess he meant this thinking that God is the only one “higher” than the POTUS.
What he means is that when the POTUS is a God believer like him, he answers ultimately to God. Not the American people.
So when someone believes he’ll get judged by God, he won’t try to fuck things up too much for the American people. We all know how well that went with Bush.
But if he’s an atheist, he answers only to the American people, so of course there’s a higher risk that he might want to fuck things up for them.
That’s religious-think. If one can call it that.
James F says
Want to be frightened? I give you Huck’s Army.
Only in his little mind. Everyone else knows he’s just the mascot.
;-) ;-) ;-)
Blake Stacey says
“Higher than himself no man can think.”
— Protagoras (attributed)
“[‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’] touches an extraordinarily small group of people,” Huckabee continued.
By this logic, we could agree to discharge all Native American Women in the armed forces since its such a small group of people.
Speaking of the Huckabees, kids and dogs:
Sven DiMilo says
I wanna take you higher than yourself
So you need religion for moral grounding? *cough* Catholic Church *cough*
PZ Myers says
I thought I was the janitor.
Natural Cynic @12:
It’s the excluded middle. Since they think they have the one real god, you’re either (their kind of) Christian, or you’re an atheist. They don’t see any difference between an atheist, an Orthodox Jew, a Hindu, and a Mormon.
There’s not a lot of difference between “heathen” and “atheist” in their world. Me, I can tell the difference between my atheism, my partner’s Judaism, and a friend’s polytheism. And none of us want anything to do with the Mormon church.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
But he’s so friendly!
Caine, Fleur du mal says
llewelly @ 16:
Mike Huckabee, living proud and self-righteous atop the slippery slope.
James Sweet says
As an atheist who suffered through a Mormon upbringing, I find it deeply offensive that Huckabee has equated Romney’s morals with my own.
So here’s the question now.
Was Huck acting like a Christian or an Atheist when his son killed a puppy and he tried to cover it up? Is Huck by his own logic an atheist claiming to be a christian or a christian acting like an atheist? Or is he a dick acting like an ass?
Die Anyway says
Huckabee’s comment: “I’d rather have an honest atheist than a dishonest religious person,”
reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by Herman Melville in Moby Dick where Ishmael says:
“Better sleep with a sober cannibal than a drunken Christian.”
You missed a prime opportunity to use a tag!
WTF does this even mean? He couldn’t be higher than himself? So Huckabee thinks he can become God? And that we atheists think we’re the shit already so we’ll pass on becoming God?
Let’s not forget all the homophobic stuff he said in the same interview!
Naked Bunny with a Whip says
@PZ Myers #31:
o/ I’m a janitor! A janitor!
I clean up the puke at your school.
A large fistful of sawdust
Is my essential tool. /o.
Yeah, I can see it.
The only way to make any sense of what Huckleberry said is to assume that right before he spoke he attempted to get higher than himself.
Huckabee may be trying to poison the well regarding Romney. Is Mike planning on running in 2012?
Two words: Clemmons Commutation.
So according to him it’s better to get your morality from an invisible deity who not only can’t be bothered to follow them himself, but also changes them on a whim than deriving your own morality based on logic and reason.
Yeah, that makes a LOT of sense.
Regarding Mike Huckabee and puppies, I present my new favorite Facebook page:
Puppies Against Mike Huckabee
Steven Mading says
Perhaps the way to drill home the point with Huckabee is to point out the other problem: By sheer numbers and probabilities, there already are a lot more atheist politicians than we realize. Therefore a climate of “no atheists for public office” would not stop atheists from getting into public office. It would just ensure that only dishonest ones get in.
So it’s really more of a question of: You’re going to have atheists anyway. So would you rather have both honest and dishonest atheists equally eligible, or limit it to only the dishonest ones?
Or not. But it is more frightening seeing someone running for office who believes in talking snakes, an incompetent, misogynist, sadist, blood-thirsty, narcissist, etc. deity.
Mike in Ontario, NY says
Huck is a disgrace to bass players everywhere.
Why are all those Utah Mormons all rebubbalican anyway? Don’t they know the GOP secretly or not so secretly hates them? It just seems pathetic.
And must agree: (shoooahhh) dude, I’ve had so much weed I’m like totally able to see myself from the outside now…I’m like totally higher than myself and I can see how it is all connected…
The don’t ask don’t tell only effects a few people is the same logic used by Kennedy to outlaw some types of abortion…check it out: only a few women’s rights would be effected so it is ok. That guy sux.
And Huckabee…Fox News? Nuff said
What bothers me here is not the equation between homosexuality, drug use, incest and polygamy. It’s the idea that there is some sort of objective “ideal behavioural pattern” – presumably identified with the heteronormative “traditional” nuclear family – and that people who diverge from this norm should be stigmatised or punished. It’s the idea that government has a right to dictate how people must behave in their private lives, and can refuse to “accommodate” those who are different. It’s so profoundly wrong on every possible level.
Let’s break it down. Drug use? Yes, pretty much all recreational drugs should be legalised. The money currently wasted on arresting and imprisoning drug “offenders” could be much better spent on providing treatment for those who have real substance abuse problems. Polygamy? Yes, if consenting adults want to enter into a polygamous marriage, there’s no reason to stop them. Incest? If they’re consenting adults, and they use contraception or have had a vasectomy or hysterectomy so that they can’t conceive children, I don’t really see the problem. It might be a bit icky, but it’s none of the government’s business.
There are only a few current “crimes” that should actually be crimes: primarily, those which involve inflicting physical violence against others, or damaging or stealing others’ property. And even with those, we should stop pretending that the current punitive system of criminal justice actually fixes things. Imprisonment should be a last resort for the most violent, dangerous offenders; and where we can, we should strive to keep things out of the criminal justice system as far as possible, and deal with them through other means. The state should not be exacting “punishment” or “vengeance” against those who offend against its idea of a “moral” way to behave. Rather, it should be identifying rational, practical means of addressing social problems through the least coercive methods available.
On second thoughts, this should read “…not just the equation between…” Obviously, Huckabee’s remark was homophobic and intended to be understood as homophobic, and his bigotry towards gay and lesbian people is beneath contempt. But even aside from his irrational prejudice, he’s also profoundly wrong on a really basic philosophical level about the proper relationship between government, society and the individual, IMO.
Obviously Mitt Romney should stop worshiping his graven idols and magic underwear; Huckabum just doesn’t approve. Is it just me or do both Romney and Huckabum belong in Huckabum’s category of “acting as if there were no god”? Then claim there is a god, they claim to be good god-worshippers, but just look at how the assholes behave. Better a true godless person with no Holier Than Thou excuses.
Pierce R. Butler says
The “someone commented” link from a.f.diplotti @ # 17 is quite apropos, but the visual pun here is my favorite so far of the Diplotti ouevre.
Weird that no one has said it before, but here goes: PZ for PreZ!
(Would he be a PZOTUS?)
Who would be your running mate?
It should also go without saying, incidentally, that religion and moral behaviour have precisely nothing to do with one another.
Even if you presuppose that “God” exists and is the ultimate foundation of morality, there’s no empirical means of determining how “God” wants us to behave. The world’s religious texts are mostly sufficiently vague or self-contradictory that they can be made to say almost anything you want them to say; and there’s no evidence allowing us to distinguish between a “real” and a “false” religious text, in any case. Religion is a non-evidence-based enterprise, and it therefore doesn’t have a coherent epistemology that would allow us to distinguish accurate from inaccurate conceptions of “God”.
As such, “God” tends to be whatever the individual believer wants him to be. Those Christians who are, by nature, nice, caring people tend to believe in a nice, caring, fluffy God who loves everyone. Conversely, those Christians who are, by nature, misanthropic, bigoted assholes tend to believe in a misanthropic, bigoted God who despises gay people, non-believers and adherents of the wrong sect. In both cases, they can find support for their claims in the Bible; but in both cases, “God” is simply an ex post facto justification for what the believer in question wants to do anyway. Therefore, religion is completely and utterly useless as a guide to morality, and is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for being a moral person.
This is not to say that atheists or secularists are “better people” than religious people, any more than religious people are “better people” than atheists or secularists. It depends on the individual. But the difference is that atheists and secularists are intellectually honest enough to admit that our personal moral views and preferences don’t emanate from a “God”; rather they come from our own intellects, our own philosophical worldviews and our own emotions. And that makes for a much more useful system of morality, because it means that moral norms are opened to rational discussion. If the purported foundation of your morality is “Because God said so”, then there isn’t much of a debate to be had; but if you accept that your morality is a product of human reason and the needs of human society, then it’s actually possible to have a meaningful discussion about what is and isn’t moral.
I thought the “dishonest religious person” swipe was actually aimed at Obama, and I suspect it’s accurate, too. I agree with Huckabee to an extent here (a very small extent – I’m a gay atheist). It would be refreshing if Obama told everyone what he really thought about Christianity. It would likely be a lethal distraction to his presidency, but I’d enjoy the fireworks.