Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Mike Huckabee: a conservative with a social gospel

The former Arkansas governor and ordained Baptist minister speaks the language of Christian Evangelicals on social issues, but his concern for the poor means he's willing to spend more than fiscal conservatives would like.

| Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

The first time Mike Huckabee walked into the Church at Rock Creek, then meeting in a storefront, he knew he'd found a church home.

There was no lack of Southern Baptist churches for Arkansas's new governor to attend in Little Rock. But Mr. Huckabee, an ordained minister-turned-politician, liked the people he met at the fledgling church – many coming off addictions or otherwise rebuilding their lives, none wearing a suit and tie.

"This is a church that was created for the people that no one else wants," says Huckabee, in a Monitor interview. Its motto is: Taking Jesus as he is to people as they are.

Now in a race for the GOP presidential nomination, Huckabee is shaping his come-from-behind campaign on the same principle that grew the Church at Rock Creek from a few dozen people in 1996 to more than 5,000 today: Every life has value – and don't count anyone out.

"We care about individuals because of the intrinsic worth and value in every single human life," he says often on the campaign trail.

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