DC RNC Examiner reported last week that Mike Huckabee took great contention with a church allowing its premise to be leased for Muslim prayer:
Speaking on Fox News’ Fox and Friendly morning program, Huckabee expressed dismay and asked in opposition, “Should the church be rented out to show adult movies on the weekend?”
Huckabee prefaced with the caveat of respecting “the autonomy of each local church” to make its own decisions, but added, “you just wonder, what are they thinking? If the purpose of a church is to push forward the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then you have a muslim group that says that Jesus Christ and all the people that follow him are a bunch of infidels who should be essentially obliterated, I have a hard time understanding that.”
He concluded by stating that his Christian duty prohibited the offering of “my home or my place of worship to praise something other than Jesus.”
Needless to say, many Muslims may find the comparison of their act of quite prayer to an pornography exhibition to be a poor analogy, at best, and offensive. To that assertion that he was “likening Islam to pornography,” in the words of one of the Fox News anchors, Huckabee simply responsed that “I’m sure bloggers will say that” without clarifying his remarks.
It is reasonable to argue that prayer to the same one God that Muslims and Christians believe is in keeping with the church’s mandate and not an aberration from Christian worship. Furthermore, contrary to Huckabee’s beliefs Muslims revere Jesus and believe in the Gospels. Islam seconds the Christian story of the Virgin Birth and many of Jesus’ miracles (including attributing its own miracles to Jesus), but the two faiths diverge on the crucifixion and the resurrection; and Muslims reject the tenet that Jesus is the son of God and instead uphold him as a prophet second only to Mohammad. Even with that division, both faiths are unique in the world in their recognition of Jesus’ life and miracles, and the belief that Jesus shall return to earth.
Interfaith prayer space is quite common in the United States, including in government buildings. The Pentagon, for instance, has a shared space for prayer. A rabbi in Israel, for example, recently ruled that it is permissible for Jews to pray in Mosques if no Synagogue is near. Churches have often leased prayer space as a source of revenue to compensate for declining attendance and donations.
A Muslim-American organization has now responded to Huckabee’s words and asked for an apology. “On this Presidents’ Day, we ask Mike Huckabee — a person who may again seek the highest office in the land — to live up to the principles of tolerance and interfaith respect that make our nation great. We urge Mr. Huckabee to do some research and to apologize for his inaccurate and offensive remarks,” said the National Executive Director of CAIR Nihad Awad.
“For Mr. Huckabee to falsely claim that Muslims regard all Christians as ‘infidels,’ a term used only by Hollywood ‘B’ movies directors, serves to divide our nation along religious lines,” Awad added.
Huckabee has not responded to CAIR’s request for an apology nor issued any statement.
Huckabee is an ordained Evangelical Christian Pastor who still occasionally preaches from the pulpit. After failing in his 2008 presidential bid, despite winning the crucial Iowa Caucus, Huckabee is expected to seek another run in 2012. A recent Fox News poll shows Huckabee leading Republican candidates in favorability ratings. He currently hosts a weekend show on Fox News.