Mike Huckabee has a long history of making appalling statements, and his presidential campaign has only exacerbated episodes of deep-seated racism and bigotry.
On Wednesday, according to ThinkProgress, he outdid himself on Iowa radio show Mickelson in the Morning by citing the Old Testament as a reason to sell poor criminals into slavery instead of jailing them.
We understand that Iowa brings out the worst in Republican candidates campaigning there, but this is beyond the pale. Listen courtesy of ThinkProgress:
Inaccurately (as usual) citing the Old Testament Book of Exodus, Huckabee stated that “It says, if a person steals, they have to pay it back two-fold, four-fold. If they don’t have anything, we’re supposed to take them down and sell them.”
Huckabee is almost right. Technically, if you actually bother to read the Bible, it states quite clearly (Exodus 22:1) that the penalty is “five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep,” and the thief must have either killed or sold the animal for the penalty to apply. Otherwise, “If the stolen animal is found alive in his possession–whether ox or donkey or sheep–he must pay back double” (Exodus 22:4).
Huckabee is right about the slavery, however:
Exodus 22:3 states, “A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft.” Proverbs 6:31, on the other hand, in what is hardly the only contradiction in the Bible, simply states, “Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold, though it costs him all the wealth of his house” (Let’s make that one apply to Wall Street).
Except we don’t have slavery in the United States. We fought our bloodiest war over the issue, and the Mike Huckabees of the world lost. Sadly, just as before emancipation the Bible was used to endorse the South’s “peculiar institution,” it is still being used today, as Huckabee demonstrates.
And it’s not like we don’t have a Constitutional amendment (the Thirteenth) against slavery or anything, or that the Constitution, and not the Bible, is the law of the land. The Thirteenth Amendment states, quite clearly,
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Even so, the equally appalling Mickelson, who in August asked, “Well, what’s wrong with slavery?” when he proposed enslaving undocumented immigrants if they fail to leave willingly, then said that criminals should “spend their time not sitting on their stump in a jail cell — they’re supposed to be working off debt…Wouldn’t that be a better choice?”
Huckabee was all for that: “Well, it really would be. Sometimes the best way to deal with a nonviolent criminal behavior is what you just suggested.”
It needs to be stressed that Huckabee’s words come in the wake of the announcement by Right Wing Watch that “Ted Cruz and Ben Carson will be in an upcoming documentary centered around Pastor Douglas Wilson, a radically right-wing pastor from Idaho who defends slavery, calls for gays to be exiled and adulterers to be put to death.”
Stay classy, Republican Party. These account for three of your candidates for president, and they defend the idea of enslaving people. Are you proud?
Mike Huckabee must immediately withdraw from the presidential race and end his campaign. He has shown himself blatantly at odds with the United States Constitution on a number of issues, and this latest call to enslave people for crimes, in direct violation of the Thirteenth Amendment, demonstrates his unsuitability for the highest office in the land.