Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told Newsmax TV
Tuesday that he refuses to accept that America is entering a post-Christian era.
"I don't," the former Arkansas governor told "Newsmax Prime" host J.D. Hayworth. "We have entered a time when Christianity is held in contempt by the forces that control the media and government — but it doesn't mean that it's irreparable.
"We are certainly in a time when to hold a traditional, ordinary, orthodox, Biblical world view is essentially to invite scorn and ridicule," he added. "That's very unusual. It's even a bit disturbing when one considers how rapidly this has happened."
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Perhaps the environment in which religious liberty is being tested most fiercely is the United States military, Huckabee said.
One of his first acts as president, he said, would be to have the Secretary of Defense "fully defend the right of chaplains and every military member, whatever branch of service, to fully exercise their religious liberty — whether it's by the display of a Bible or the expression or their faith openly in conversation or in any other way.
"They could pray in the name of Jesus or in the name of Allah or whoever they want to pray," Huckabee added. "That's their personal right — and as long as they didn't try to impose their faith on someone in some intrusive way, religious liberty would live again in the military.
"It has been virtually thwarted by this administration under pressure from radical leftist organizations who have told chaplains: 'Put your Bibles away. Don't council people with sexual-identity issues according to your biblical faith.'
"These are crazy things to ask of military chaplains or military members."
Huckabee told Hayworth that he disagreed with another 2016 contender, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, that transgender people should be allowed to serve in the Armed Forces.
"It's naïve to think that it doesn't affect morale. Men are men, women are women. There's a distinction, there's a difference. The military should understand that and should respond to that.
"The military is not a social organization," he added. "The military is not a place where we try out experiments. The military is designed to kill people and break things.
"The purpose of the military is to train a fighting force to defend this country and to fight our battles. It's not to fight the battles of sexual identity or orientation. It's to fight the battles that threaten American sovereignty and American freedom.
"I'd be very clear about the nature of the military and the fact that we're going to expect there to be a clear understanding of the purpose of our military," he said.
Taxpayers also should not be financing sex-change operations, as in the case of Chelsea Manning, who is serving a 35-year prison term for leaking government files.
Manning, formerly named Army PFC Bradley Manning, was approved
in February to receive hormone therapy for transition to a woman at the Fort Leavenworth prison. The move was the first for the Army.
"If they want to go through a gender reassignment surgically, that's not a taxpayer responsibility," Huckabee told Hayworth.
"This gets absurd — and we're using the dollars of taxpayers and we're using the atmosphere of the military, which is not designed to be a social club or some type of organization where we help people to feel better about themselves.
"You sign up to defend this country, and that's what you do," he added. "If there's something that makes it difficult for you to defend this country, then maybe the military is not the right place for you."
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