Mike Huckabee (and I'm sure I'd spend more time talking about him if he had any chance whatever of being elected) recently let loose with the most bizarre statement ever made by any candidate for president of the United States -- No, I am not forgetting everything Donald Trump has said. No Trumpism is any stranger than Mike Huckabee's pronouncement on the weight of U.S. law.
Huckabee, being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week", was responding to a question from Stephanopoulos on the case of Kim Davis, the County Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, who was jailed for defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses, her defiance based on her opposition to same-sex marriages. Asked Stephanopoulos: "Doesn't [Davis] have the duty to obey a legal order from the court?"
Huckabee's answer: "Well, you obey it if it's right."
There you have the opinion of a man running for the chief executive of the United States Government: that a citizen may apply his/her own standards of "right and wrong" to an order given by the judge of a court, and can feel free to ignore the order if the order conflicts with those standards.
I hardly know what to say. I could come up with any number of absurd situations to which people could apply the "Huckabee Rule," and as a result completely undermine the entire American legal system, but why bother? Isn't the craziness already obvious?
Instead I want to address the question of what the source of Huckabee's principle could possibly be, since it certainly isn't the Bible. Huckabee claims the Bible as his guide, but in this case he is running off in his own direction without Jesus or any other Biblical authority telling him he's right. Just the opposite, in fact. Huckabee, in counseling defiance of the government, is defying the Bible while he's at it.
Getting out our Bibles, and taking a look at Romans 13:1-7, we find:
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
There is nothing in the wording of Paul's letter to the Christians of Rome that suggests that he meant this principle of obedience to government to apply only to them: the justification cited, that governing bodies have been "instituted by God" makes it obvious that Paul was saying that any follower of God must respect all governing authorities to which he or she is subject. (It should be noted that Jesus himself is quoted echoing at least part of this concept: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" -- Mark 12:17, and see verses 13-17 for the full context, which was, as in Paul's command above, about paying taxes and which, by a reasonable inference that many Christian authorities have taken, can be extended to mean one should give respect and obedience generally to governing authorities.)
While it is true that Paul's naiveté about government, his stated belief that government power is a threat only to bad people, is almost adorable, that still doesn't give a Christian permission to ignore commands that are specifically written down in the Bible.
There is HYPOCRITE a word for HYPOCRITE people who HYPOCRITE insist that HYPOCRITE everyone around them HYPOCRITE obey the Bible and then HYPOCRITE fail to do so themselves. I just can't HYPOCRITE think what HYPOCRITE the word is. I'm sure it will come back to me.