This morning, Republican Presidential candidate John Kasich was on ABC This Week. He was on shortly after Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who was defending Kim Davis. Here is the interaction between George Stephanopoulos and Kasich on Kim Davis (see the transcript for the show here):
STEPHANOPOULOS: Finally, we saw Governor Huckabee earlier in the program say that he stands by Kim Davis, her decision not to issue those marriage licenses. Do you agree with that?
KASICH: No, I don’t agree with him. I think, you know, the court has spoken, the court has ruled as everyone know. I — or most people know, I believe in traditional marriage, but the court has ruled.
But George, there’s one other big issue here, we have a lot of young people who sit on the fence on an issue like this. And they also think about their, you know, their belief in god. And you know for me I think we need to talk a lot about the dos, about humility, about helping our neighbor, about the need to live a life bigger than ourselves. And when we see these kind of battles going on I get a little bit afraid that it turns people off to the idea of faith in god, what it means to be a Christian.
For me, it’s giving me a solid foundation to deal with the strong winds in life, to be a better person, a better guy.
Now, I respect the fact that this lady doesn’t agree, but she’s also a government employee. She’s not running a church. I wouldn’t force this on a church, but in terms of her responsibility I think she has to comply. I don’t think — I don’t like the fact that she’s sitting in a jail, that’s just absurd as well. But I think she should follow the law.
Kasich reminds me of what I liked about Mike Huckabee in 2008, before Huckabee became a Foxified cultural warrior. Believe it or not, I was actually thinking of voting for Huckabee in 2008! Huckabee in 2008 talked about faith, but it went beyond the usual culture war issues. It entailed the type of people we are and the kind of country we should be. Huckabee in 2008 struck me as a humble Christian man who served others, and whose Christianity led him to care about the vulnerable and to have a holistic and compassionate view of how faith could relate to public life. That is my impression of John Kasich.
Huckabee in 2008 defended his decision as Governor of Arkansas to help expand health insurance for children, when conservative groups like the Club for Growth were questioning whether he was fiscally conservative for so doing. Similarly, John Kasich supported Medicaid expansion and has been quoted as saying: “Now, when you die and get to the, get to the, uh, to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not gonna ask you much about what you did about keeping government small, but he’s going to ask you what you did for the poor. Better have a good answer” (see here). Mike Huckabee in 2008 pointed to the large number of African-Americans who voted for him when he was running in Arkansas gubernatorial races. Kasich also has sensitivity towards racial issues. In this video, Kasich talks with George about race and police brutality, and the need to make the excluded feel included, to give them a chance, and to make them feel that their grievances are heard. Kasich then says that he believes that it was what the Lord wants us to do. Amen to that!
I disagreed, somewhat, with Kasich’s statement that Kim Davis should be required to provide same-sex marriage licenses. I do believe that her office should provide them, in compliance with the Supreme Court’s ruling. If she has a problem personally providing them because that violates her own conscience, then someone else where she works should do so. That is how a number of states handle this. The thing is, I think that, for Kim Davis, this is about more than her own personal conscience: I suspect that, in her mind, she is performing an act of civil disobedience against a policy that she believes is wrong. She believes that America was founded on godly, biblical principles, that America is a Christian nation, and that the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage violates America’s Christian heritage. She is right that religion has played a significant part in America’s heritage, but so has the separation of church and state and pluralism.
My comments on Kim Davis aside, will I vote for John Kasich? I may in the primaries. I was talking with my Mom, explaining Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid. She asked me, “So he supports Obamacare?” I responded that he most likely does not, and I doubt that he does: he is, after all, a Republican. He is a better Republican, but a Republican nonetheless.
See this article for more on Kasich’s faith. The article, interestingly, is entitled, “Does John Kasich’s religiosity turn off religious conservatives?”