Huckabee speaks to more than 1,000 in Ocala

Mike Huckabee speaks to a large crowd at the First Baptist Church on Southeast Maricamp Road in Ocala on Monday. Huckabee is a former GOP presidential candidate and a current TV and radio host.

Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Star-Banner
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012 at 10:55 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, October 8, 2012 at 11:16 p.m.

OCALA - More than 1,000 people gathered Monday night at First Baptist Church of Ocala to hear former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee deliver a message tailored to Christian voters.

Huckabee, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2008, never mentioned Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney or President Barack Obama, a Democrat, by name.

The gathering, however, was billed as a Romney/Paul Ryan sanctioned campaign event.

He never even mentioned the two major political parties, but rather focused on how Christian voters should vote in line with their core moral values and how Christians who feel they should not focus on political ideology need to get involved in the process.

"I still find that there are people who believe if we are Christian believers we should keep our focus on heaven and not worry about elections. Let me tell you why I think you are wrong ... If we choose to sit it out then we really can't say anything about the kind of government that we get," said Huckabee, who is a former Baptist pastor.

Huckabee went on to say Christian voters should vote their beliefs.

"Again I am not here to take a position for one party or another, and I am not here to advocate for the election or defeat of a candidate, but I'll tell you one thing, I will not extend my vote and support for someone who does not believe that at the moment of conception a human life has been created," Huckabee said to loud applause.

Romney has called himself "pro-life," Obama has identified himself more with the "pro-choice" position.

Huckabee also reiterated his stance that marriage should be between a man and a woman. Romney shares a similar belief, while Obama recently came out in support of gay marriage. The former governor argued that when Christians turn away from politics or the entertainment industry or from other "corrupt" areas of society, things only get worse. Instead, they should pray that moral people enter those institutions to make them better.

"We should be running to it. We should be like firemen with a hose," he said.

Afterwards, the reviews were positive for Huckabee's message.

"I like how he mixed it with humor. It goes a long way to make people listen and for them to really understand what he says," said Susan Galvagnie.

Betty Edwards said she liked that Huckabee did not mention either candidate by name.

"I was pleasantly surprised that he did that. He wanted each of us to realize that as citizens we have a responsibility to vote and as Christians we have a moral conscience to do what is right. I think that was very impressive," she said.

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