Huckabee doesn’t know what he’s talking about

HUCKABEE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT HE’S TALKING ABOUT…. You’ve got to be kidding me.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee warned supporters Tuesday that the $828 billion stimulus package is “anti-religious.”

In an e-mail that was also posted on his blog ahead of the Senate’s passage, Huckabee wrote: “The dust is settling on the ‘bipartisan’ stimulus bill and one thing is clear: It is anti-religious.”

The former Republican presidential candidate pointed to a provision in both the House and Senate versions banning higher education funds in the bill from being used on a “school or department of divinity.”

“You would think the ACLU drafted this bill,” Huckabee said. “For all of the talk about bipartisanship, this Congress is blatantly liberal.”

Look, if Mike Huckabee doesn’t like the stimulus bill, fine. But to tell people the legislation is “anti-religious” is just insane. Or, to put it another way, Huckabee is bearing false witness, which as he may have heard, is generally frowned upon.

Regular readers know the story by now, but if you’re just joining us, this myth has been making the rounds in right-wing circles for about a week. Originally, the American Center for Law and Justice, a right-wing legal group formed by TV preacher Pat Robertson, said the stimulus bill includes a provision that would prohibit “religious groups and organizations from using” buildings on college campuses. Soon after, religious right groups and right-wing blogs were up in arms, demanding that lawmakers fix the “anti-Christian” language of the bill. Fox News and the Christian Broadcasting Network helped get the word out to the far-right base about the nefarious measure. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) actually tried to have the provision removed from the bill.

There was, however, one small problem: there was no such measure. The ACLJ doesn’t know how to read legislation, and didn’t realize that the standard language in the bill simply blocks spending for on-campus buildings that are used primarily for religion (like a chapel, for example). This same language has been part of education spending bills for 46 years. It’s just the law, and it’s never been controversial.

Huckabee is either deliberately deceiving people, or he’s making reckless accusations without knowing the facts. Either way, this is ridiculous.

Post Script: I’d add that the Politico piece isn’t helpful. It notes Huckabee’s concerns — the Politico homepage currently has a headline that reads: “Huckabee: Stimulus is ‘anti-religious'” near the top — without any explanation that Huckabee’s attack is patently false.