Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has touched a raw nerve at the Anti-Defamation League by using the word “holocaust” in reference to abortion.
In an address before the recent Values Voter Summit, hosted in Washington by the conservative Research Council, the former Arkansas governor and longtime Baptist minister said:
“Sometimes we talk about why we’re importing so many people in our work force. It might be for the last 35 years, we have aborted more than a million people who would have been in our work force had we not had the holocaust of liberalized abortion under a flawed Supreme Court ruling in 1973.”
The Anti-Defamation League quickly issued a statement saying the comparison could “only trivialize and diminish the horror” of the actual Holocaust.
But Kristi Hamrick, a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Working Families, headed by evangelical leader Gary Bauer, told the Jewish publication Forward:
“I’m surprised that it’s considered controversial when that is a common reference. Among pro-lifers, both events are seen as tragic, but the death toll now from abortion is between 40 and 50 million in the United States since 1973. Now that’s a huge number of people who are dead and gone.”
Marvin Olasky, a former George Bush adviser credited with coining the phrase “compassionate conservatism,” said he believed the use of the word “holocaust” was “objectively” accurate, and that is was used by Huckabee “honestly and respectfully.”
But Olasky, who was born Jewish and converted to Christianity, told Forward he did feel “subjectively uncomfortable” with the use of the word in reference to abortion.
“Does it take away from the capital ‘H’ Holocaust?” he wondered, adding that it is “probably” a word best reserved for “the killing of 6 million of our people.”
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