Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee took part in a conference call with hundreds of Missouri Baptist pastors and Christian talk radio hosts Friday in an effort to rally support for embattled Republican senatorial candidate Todd Akin.
Akin came under fire last week for saying that victims of "legitimate rape" are biologically unable to get pregnant.
Although Akin later apologized for the statement, saying he misspoke, the backlash against the House Republican was swift and stinging, with politicians including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Karl Rove calling on conservatives to pull their support, and more importantly, their funding.
On Tuesday, however, a defiant Akin went on Huckabee's radio show to announce he would not be bowing out.
"I haven't done anything morally or ethically wrong," Akin told Huckabee, adding that he felt the harsh criticisms leveled at him "seem like a little bit of an overreaction."
In the midst of this recent political maelstrom, Huckabee has emerged as one of Akin's biggest supporters. On Thursday, Huckabee sent out an email blast calling for donations, according to CNN, which resulted in a "dramatic uptick" in campaign fundraising for the candidate.
The conference call on Friday, however, featured some of the strongest language yet by the colorful Huckabee. CNN, which was provided a dial-in number for the call, quoted the politician as saying Akin was being humiliated in an "unprecedented" display of rhetorical force.
"I’ve never seen an effort like what I’ve seen this week with party leaders coming together expressly for the purpose of taking one of their own wounded soldiers on the battlefield — and instead of coming to get him off the field and to the hospital — basically opening up rounds and rounds of fire on him, and then running over him with the tanks of the trucks, leaving him to be ravaged by the wolves of the other side," Huckabee said, speaking from his Fox News office in New York City, according to Politico.
The call was convened by Don Hinkle, editor of Missouri Baptist Convention's "The Pathway." Also speaking during the hour-long call were David Barton, Texas author and pastor; former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts; Baptist pastor David Baker; and Dick Bott, the founder of a Christian radio network; and John Yeats, the executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention.
According to Politico, Yeats told the group that "One of the things we have to remind ourselves of and remind our people of is that Congressman Akin represents the mainstream of our values. He is the mainstream of our values.”
Speaking on behalf of Missouri Baptists everywhere, Baker, a pastor in Belton, Mo., told the callers "“We have a responsibility as prophets to speak out."
Watts, who spoke before Huckabee dialed into the call, said he had been attempting to contact Akin to personally offer his support. Watts, who was House Republican Conference chairman in the late '90s, said that Akin "has not been the problem. He has been the solution," to various societal ills that threaten America's children.
"Over the last 10, 12 years the homosexual lobby is more powerful than they’ve ever been in Washington. Planned Parenthood is more powerful than they’ve ever been. Our children’s innocence is more threatened," Watts said.
Best-selling, albeit controversial, evangelical author David Barton, who is also the founder of Walbuilders, was asked by the group to provide some historical context for the situation.
Huckabee, for his part, had referenced the holy battle between Elijah and the prophets of Baal in the Book of Kings. "We’ll see whose God answers the prayers and brings fire from heaven," he said.
Barton took the holy metaphor a step further, however, connecting the alleged persecution of Akin to a whole host of well-known biblical figures.
"One of the greatest leaders in Israel’s history was David, who had [committed] adultery, murdered Uriah, etc,” said Barton, a self-professed Christian historian. "But he repented. God gave him forgiveness. Great leader. But that was not a misspeaking of words. And then Noah had trouble with drunkenness. God still used him. Samuel couldn’t control his children. He ran a nation. Moses, guilty of murder. He came back, delivers a nation.”
“There’s a long list of people who were absolutely flawed, but nothing for as small a misdemeanor -- if you will -- as misspeaking,” he concluded.
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