The title of this chapter alone shows that one of Huckabee’s goals is to further convince the Heartlanders and Southerners, especially those of the Christian variety, that they are a persecuted people who are in danger of extinction without Huckabee being elected to save them. For decades, the increasingly Republican South enjoyed having either a Republican in the White House or a Southern Democrat (Carter and Clinton). But when a Northern black Democrat with a Muslim name got elected president, many Southern and Midwestern Americans freaked out and suddenly saw themselves as a persecuted group, because someone who was not from their group was in power for once.
Throughout “God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy,” Huckabee reinforces this hysteria by distinguishing between two types of Americans, those from bubbleville (which he says are LA, NY, and DC) and those from bubbaville (the rest of America that is supposedly in touch with the real world). He tries to convince us that our only choice in lifestyles is between simple-minded extremes (which is the same approach Republicans and Fox News use for economic arguments). Of course, the truth is that most of Americans fall somewhere in between big city dwellers and rural folk in pickup trucks, but that’s a reality that’s a little too complex for the simple-minded audience that Huckabee targets to handle.
This first chapter starts off with an easy win for Huckabee – the Chick-fil-a controversy, where liberal Chicago and Boston mayors threatened to run the business out of town because the owner said he opposed gay marriage. As one of millions of Christian Democrats, I would like to say a sarcastic thanks to Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel for making the Democrats look like the anti-Christian, anti-free speech party by trying to prohibit a business from operating, just because its owner verbally expressed different values than his. Emanuel’s proposal was definitely a violation of the Constitution’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech guarantees, and it was just what Huckabee needed to convince Christians that expressing Christian views will lead to widespread persecution of Christians by the Democrats. However, I hardly think that a couple mayors represents the Democrats as a whole, especially since I’m unaware of any legislation anywhere that attempts to ban businesses whose owners make statements opposing gay marriage.
Republicans, like Huckabee, love to point out to Christians how the Democrats are the party of the Christian-hating Jews, Muslims and atheists, so it’s only right the Christians only vote for the so-called Christian party – the Republicans. Of course, the reason most non-Christians are Democrats is that Republicans labelled them as evil and forced them out of their own party. If the Republicans had stuck to politics instead of taking over the Christian religion, there would probably be just as many, or more, non-Christian Republicans as there are Christian Republicans. Nonetheless, there are millions of Christians Democrats who heed the Bible’s 100+ passages that oppose greed and call us to rescue the poor and defend their rights – a political calling that Republicans say they support, but that their policies oppose. So the all-inclusive Democratic Party is not to be viewed as Satan’s party, just because it hasn’t tried to conquer a religion the way the Republicans have by driving out all non-Christian members.
Huckabee goes on to condemn businesses who fire anti-gay people as denying us freedom of speech. I think that’s ironic, because Republicans are the ones who only believe in protecting people from government, but not from corporations. I’ve lost 4 sales jobs for refusing to forsake my religious beliefs by lying to and scamming customers. Republicans are fine with corporate freedom to discriminate against honest Christians, but now that the tide sometimes turns against anti-gay Christians (although quite rarely), Huckabee is in an uproar about it, because he thinks that a business must be free to punish someone for being anti-gay.
Huckabee then inflames the culture wars by saying, ”Churches will one day have to go underground here to protect themselves from a totalitarian government and a “tolerant” culture that shamelessly censors dissent and acts with open bigotry and hatred toward people of faith…all in the name of “diversity” and “tolerance.”” – This sounds like a quote that could have been used 50 years ago with regard to racism, as some Bible Belt Christians opposed interracial marriage and equal rights for African Americans. But worse is that fact that he has millions of Christians believing that severe tyrannical oppression is coming from the government, even though no one has proposed throwing Christians in jail or fining them for being anti-gay. The only punishments that have been inflicted on anti-gay people are from private entities, not the government (unless you consider attacks upon or discrimination against gays to be a religious right, then yes, that is punished).
Yes, I’ll admit that anti-gay sermons will someday receive as much scorn as a pro-slavery sermon would today. How does the church avoid this? “First remove the log from your own eye (Matthew 7),” as Jesus said. In other words, focus on how the church members can be better Christians. If church members commit the 10 Commandment sin of breaking the Sabbath (which includes work, household chores, and having others work for you – maybe even at restaurants and ballgames), then you have no business attacking the rest of the world’s sins if the church fails to adhere to all biblical teachings. And if you’re going to preach about sexual immorality, focus on the heterosexual immorality in your church, not the legality of people’s relationships outside your church. Remember the Apostle Paul’s approach to punishing sexual immorality was “What do I have to do with judging outsiders? Do we not judge those inside the church? Those outside the church God judges. (1 Cor. 5:12-13)” That’s why there are no examples of Christians in the New Testament trying to pressure or force anyone who is not a Christian or Jew to follow Judeo-Christian morality. If Christians follow the same example, persecution will be unlikely, and even if we don’t follow it, persecution will be unlikely.