Team Huckabee appears to object to my declaration, “I’m going to call horsepuckey on Huckabee’s claim that a New York Times reporter knew more about comparitive religions than guy with a theology degree.”
Joe Carter, the director of research for Mike Huckabee, wrote in:
Governor Huckabee doesn’t have a theology degree. He only spent a year in seminary.
Also, it’s not surprising that he doesn’t know much about the specific beliefs of the LDS church. There aren’t a lot of LDS members in Arkansas; they comprise just .007 percent of the population (about 20,000 out of 2,810,872 people). Most Southern evangelicals don’t have much exposure to that particular religion. Even in seminary you’re not likely to study the LDS faith unless you take a class on apologetics.
I told Carter that I had gotten the crazy idea that Huckabee had a theology degree from his statements like, “I’m the only guy on that stage with a theology degree.” And press accounts like:
I asked Huckabee, who describes himself as the only Republican candidate with a degree in theology, if he considered Mormonism a cult or a religion. ‘‘I think it’s a religion,’’ he said. ‘‘I really don’t know much about it.’’
Carter responded, “Good point. To me, a degree in theology requires a degree from a seminary. What the Governor has is a BA in Biblical Studies. Technically, that can be considered a “theology degree.” But its probably not what most people think of when they hear that term.”
In addition, more than one reader notes that reporter Zev Chafets often writes about religion, and may indeed know more about other religions than Huckabee does.
In light of this, I am persuaded; I am persuaded that Mike Huckabee genuinely didn’t know whether Mormons believed that Jesus and Satan were brothers, and that he believed the right time to take a harder look at these reports of strange beliefs among Mormons was when he was speaking on the record to a New York Times reporter.
UPDATE: And as several readers point out, the percentage of Arkansans who are Mormon is .7 percent, not .007 percent.