LITTLE ROCK – Former Gov. Mike Huckabee spoke at The Church at Rock Creek, Little Rock, during a special evening service Feb. 8. Instead of discussing his potential presidential campaign,, he preached on the power of Scripture and promoted his new book "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy."
Sunday was the last stop on a book tour that has taken Huckabee to nearly 50 cities in 15 states since Jan. 17. People gathered in at least 60 churches across the country to watch the event, titled "America: From Ordinary to Extraordinary." Huckabee said the program was being webcast to 1,600 locations, including homes.
Huckabee, a former Southern Baptist pastor and president of the Arkansas Baptist State Convention, emphasized that faith in God is more powerful than politics.
"Ultimately, the hope for this country is not in the politicians; it's in the pews of our churches," Huckabee said.
Before preaching, Huckabee assured reporters that his visit was not politically motivated.
"It's not a political rally. It's not a political event. It is really a spiritual night of encouragement and inspiration," he said, adding that viewers would have "a great opportunity to celebrate America and celebrate their faith."
In response to questions regarding his possible presidential bid, Huckabee said: "I've been very candid. I think people know that when I left the Fox News show in early January, I wasn't doing that just to spend Saturdays at home. So clearly things are headed in that direction, but that announcement isn't ready to be made until a little later in the spring."
Repeating themes in his latest book, Huckabee argued that Washington, D.C., New York City and Hollywood are out of touch with Americans in Arkansas and the rest of "flyover country."
He argued that Christians are despised, not only by the Islamic State, but by some Americans, who accuse them of "hate speech" if they speak out for traditional Christian teachings.
"It's a compliment to you when you're hated because of your hope and when you're hated because your faith leads you," Huckabee told hundreds of supporters at The Church at Rock Creek. "It's all right to be who you are, to believe what you believe. ... A hundred years from now, you will be glad you stood for that which is righteous."
The event drew hundreds of supporters, several Huckabee political advisers and a popular country music artist, Larry Gatlin. Gatlin played a number of songs, including "All the Gold in California," "When the Roll is Called up Yonder" and "I'm an American with a Remington." Huckabee played bass on one of the songs.
Several of those in the audience said they're hoping for a Huckabee candidacy. "My heart says he will (run)," said Lester M. Sitzes III, a dentist from Hope who has known Huckabee for decades. "If he runs, I'll be there for him any way he needs. There'll be a lot of people there for him."
Story compiled from Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports.