"Back in 1998, you were one of about 100 people who affirmed, in a full-page ad in the New York Times, the Southern Baptist Convention's declaration that, quote, 'A wife [i]s to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband.'Of course it's not politically viable, which is why Huckabee changed the subject, and the context, and the meaning, and apparently, his mind.
"Women voters in both parties harshly criticized that. Is that position politically viable in the general election of 2008, sir?"
What is at issue here is very near the heart of the Southern Baptist conservative/liberal split: is the New Testament, and therefore the church and the family, egalitarian or not? Conservatives generally believe (and state) that wives are to be subject to their husbands, as Ephesians 5:22 says. Liberals generally override that with 5:21 and preach a "mutual submission" that makes people feel that God is rather more in line with modern Western political ideology*. Maybe later tonight I'll lay out why the liberals are wrong, but for now it's not important.
What is important is how Huckabee handled the issue. You see, he did sign the 1998 family statement and has supported the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, both of which were written to explicitly deny the liberal, egalitarian interpretation of Ephesians 5.
Then when asked about it, he didn't say, "I was wrong" or "I should not have signed that," he came back with:
The whole context of that passage ... I'm not the least bit ashamed of my faith or the doctrines of it... the point, and it comes from a passage of scripture in the New Testament Book of Ephesians is that as wives submit themselves to the husbands, the husbands also submit themselves, and it's not a matter of one being somehow superior over the other. It's both mutually showing their affection and submission as unto the Lord.In short, he flipped to the Mutual Submission egalitarian position of the religious liberals as soon as it became a political liability to hold his old position**. Even while mouthing that he is not ashamed of his doctrine, he's changed that doctrine to meet the political needs of the moment.
For more than a decade he has stood as a conservative Baptist preacher defending conservative Baptist doctrine, until it was no longer popular. In that light, there seems to be another verse he might wish to take as his own, 1 Cor 9:22: "I have become all things to all men so that by any possible means I might become President."
* And technology: Our Father, who 0wnz heaven, j00 r0ck! May all our base someday belong to you!
** Said liberals are not amused.