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Huck beats Rick

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We now know for sure that screwy right-wing ex-governors of Arkansas make more sense than screwy right-wing incumbent governors of Texas. Political scientists had so theorized for some time; the point was proved over the weekend.

An unusually bold and far-sighted Mike Huckabee, a Baptist preacher himself before he got into politics and commentary, called on churches to give up their tax-exempt status. "Freedom is more important than government financial favors," Huckabee said. The founders of the republic would agree entirely. They wisely labored to build a strong wall between church and state, for the good of both sides: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." But the wall has been weakened by the granting of tax breaks to religious institutions. Huckabee's proposal would end a practice — tax favoritism for churches — that may already be unconstitutional and is certainly unfair. The founders never believed that the religious should enjoy government-granted privileges that were denied nonbelievers.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry believes it though. While Huckabee was speaking out for religious freedom, Perry was speaking out against it, defending a new law intended to protect Christmas celebrations and other religious observances in the public schools from legal challenges by non-Christians. "Religious freedom does not mean freedom from religion," he said. But of course it does. Is the right to bear arms a requirement to bear arms? Perry may think so, but reasonable people don't. Does the right of assembly require that everyone attend all meetings? Is everything nor mandatory prohibited?

Perry was befuddled when he was running for president and his head hasn't cleared. Ordinarily, it takes a village to make Mike Huckabee sound reasonable.

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