Decision asked former pastor and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee for his perspective on this year’s elections. Regardless of the outcome, Huckabee foresees difficult years for churches and Christian ministries as society becomes more secular and unwilling to tolerate Biblical truth. But he says those trials might actually serve to purify and strengthen the church.
The next four years could be a very, very challenging time for churches, Christian groups, Christian schools and campuses, camps and so on. Joe Biden has made it clear that if he becomes president, he will strictly enforce the acceptance of same-sex marriage and transgenderism. He has even supported the idea of 8-year-olds deciding they want to be transgender.
I think we’re in for a protracted legal battle to determine some of these issues. These policies would have a profound effect on whether a Christian camp could offer gender-segregated dormitories and cabins. It would affect college campuses as well. Additionally, many governors believe that they can tell a church when it can meet. And when it does meet, they can dictate how many people can attend and what kinds of activities can take place—whether the people can sing or just sit quietly with masks on.
These are huge issues that go right to the heart of the First Amendment. Christians need to wake up and understand that we’re not talking about slight differences between the parties; we’re talking about a restructuring of our country that would fundamentally change how we view our basic human and fundamental constitutional rights.
Some Christians in November’s elections appear to have based their votes on personalities rather than the policies of the candidates. They may get what they wanted, but they may not want what they get.
For example, if you’re Joe Biden and you win the presidency, now you have an obligation to appease people on the left who voted for you. You have no obligation to appease evangelicals, most of whom did not vote for you.
Similarly, President Trump would not have been elected in 2016 without the support of pro-life, pro-Israel evangelicals. And he became the most pro-life president, and by far the most pro-Israel president, we’ve ever had.
Joe Biden would go back to the pro-Iran and anti-Israel policies of the Obama-Biden administration. We will see a 180-degree turn not only in domestic policy but in foreign policy.
Biden has long been a pro-choice Democrat. But this year, in order to appease the left, he has moved further to the left in his abortion policies. He has articulated support for abortion up to the moment of birth, and he reversed his longstanding commitment to the Hyde Amendment—he now believes that taxpayers should fund abortions. That’s a radical change, even for a Democrat.
Regardless of who holds political office, I see some troubling trends in society as a whole. There is a growing secularism, especially among young people—even on Christian college campuses. Many of these students have been raised and steeped in the indoctrination of the left, so they really don’t understand American history very well. They have not been schooled in the basic tenets of the Constitution. Many of them support at least some form of socialism, with its redistribution of wealth. They might not believe it so much when they reach their 30s and want to buy a home or start raising a family, but for now, in their idealistic youth, they’re embracing this notion that wealth should be redistributed.
It’s fascinating to me that some of the richest people in our country—the Silicon Valley, Wall Street and Hollywood elites—won’t give away all of their income and live modestly, but somehow, they believe everybody else should be forced to. This is always the problem with socialism—there’s a massive push for most people to give up the rewards of their work, but there’s always room for the people who run the game to be able to live differently than those who simply have to play the game.
As I’ve spoken on Christian college campuses, I’ve seen that, increasingly, young people embrace same-sex marriage and transgenderism. They support the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel, which is irrational on its face and even more impractical in its capacity to be carried out.
These are troubling signs for the future of the church, and I blame too many churches that are preaching a feel-good gospel rather than teaching the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture. Scripture, rather than experience and feeling, should be the center point of our Christian faith. When I talk to Christian students on campuses, what I most often hear is, “Here’s what I think.” “Here’s what I feel.” “Here’s what I believe.” I don’t hear “The Bible says.” That’s very dangerous.
It is possible, though, that difficult times will actually strengthen the church. Heat purifies, and when the church goes through persecution and experiences heat, there is a separation of authenticity from artificiality. I think we will see a lot of that because the church will have to make a choice: Will it stand for Biblical truth and be persecuted, or will it accommodate and be absorbed into the culture?
The church in Nazi Germany is a valid example for comparison. Some churches looked the other way in response to Nazi atrocities. They accepted, accommodated and in some cases actually perpetuated what the Nazis were pushing. And for that, they were left alone. But in the long-run, they weren’t left alone. So, the question will come: Which churches will decide to put Biblical truth ahead of social and cultural acceptance? Cultural acceptance is very tempting. Everybody wants to be loved. I do; I don’t want people to hate me. But on the other hand, ultimately my life is not going to be judged by those people. I’ve got to stand before God, and I want to be able to say, “I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve said and done dumb things. But I always believed Your Word to be truth, and I let that be my tuning fork.”
As a musician, I tell young people that you’ve got to tune your life to something. The question is, what will you tune it to? Before you ever play the first note of music, you have to tune your instrument to an objective standard. If everyone in the band plays according to what they feel, you’re going to have chaos and noise. You could be a virtuoso—you could be Yo-Yo Ma. But if you don’t tune the cello, then I might as well play it. It’ll sound the same—a disaster.
And in culture, if you have a standard that you allow to be changed, then you must realize that the ultimate result will be chaos.
I would like to believe that at some point there will be a wake-up call for the church, and I think it may have already started somewhat. I’ve seen some pastors, for example, who in the past have been unwilling to engage at any level of the political process. But they have realized that they can no longer do that because the state has decided that it will determine their activities and completely dictate what they can and can’t do.
We must remember that the Gospel is not limited to a political framework. People are being born again in the most oppressive situations: in China, in Iran, in places where the Gospel is not allowed to be openly proclaimed.
The Gospel is like water; wherever there’s an opening, it finds a way. We may pay a price for being believers. We may find it more difficult. We may find it much more expensive because the tax exemption for churches goes away, and tax deductions for contributions could disappear. The government could challenge us in employment. Churches may have to spend a lot of their tithes and offerings on legal fees to defend themselves. But none of that diminishes the power of the Gospel.
I see two other reasons for hope, regardless of the election results.
First, this election was monumental in terms of the number of people who came out to vote. That’s a healthy sign. A record number of Americans believed that their vote mattered, and a record number took seriously their civic responsibility. We can celebrate that regardless of the outcome.
The other thing is that God is sovereign. He’s bigger than an American election. I never want to say, “We didn’t elect the right people, so now I’m doomed.” No, I’m not doomed at all. A hundred years from now I’ll be in eternity with Him, and there’s nothing the government can do that can stop that. Even if they take my life, all that will do is accelerate my entrance to the Kingdom.
I have an American passport that I treasure and value, but I have another passport—a passport for the Kingdom to which I belong eternally, no matter what happens in the United States of America.
Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas, is an ordained Southern Baptist minister. He hosts “Huckabee” on TBN, is a Fox News contributor, author and bass guitarist. He and his wife, Janet, have three children and six grandchildren.