Growing up in Oklahoma, you get more than your fair share of exposure to the craziness of extremist Christians. Take, for example, the mascot of a Christian school in my hometown, the significance of which I only just realized after I got bored last year and starting googling random stuff. Look at their whole mission as a school, and you get a sense of what pervades Oklahoma culture. I drove past this place every day on the way to high school. Maybe I was hyper-aware because I was (a then practicing) Catholic and a religious “Other,” by comparison. My family and I often defined ourselves against this evangelical Christian backdrop, but of course I now realize now how little we really had to complain about; we are white, middle-class, pretty straight and narrow as they come.
Nonetheless, this over-the-top Christianity that so deeply pervades life in Oklahoma set the foundation for my mistrust of evangelical Christianity because now I can look back and see the environment that grows as a result; hateful, exclusive, backward, and ignorant. My mistrust is strengthened by my personal experiences (personal as in, in my own home) with the mendacity and hypocrisy of the most pious Christians.
Having written more than I intended already, I’ll get to the point: Mike Huckabee, presidential hopeful and media gadfly, represents everything that drives me crazy about fundamentalist Christians: all sugar-sweet and Christian-coated, polite and congenial on the outside, but, more often than not, hateful and ignorant at the core. He’s really stepped in it lately, and I think (I hope!) cracked that candy-coated exterior just enough so that the rest of the country can see what we progressives borne of the Bible Belt have known about this stifling culture. With that, I’ll turn it over to feministing’s take-down of Huck’s screed against Natalie Portman and the always-insightful Ta-Nehisi Coates’ dissection of the Huckster’s erroneous statements regarding the President’s childhood.