Mike Huckabee keynote speaker at Faith Christian School banquet
April 26, 2011 | 10:19 PMBy Chris Schultz
Fontana — Former Arkansas governor, author and Fox News commentator Mike Huckabee was the keynote speaker at this year's Faith Christian School Banquet fundraiser at the Abbey on Tuesday.
Huckabee was also a Republican candidate for President in 2008, and there are rumors that he will run again in 2012. Huckabee made no mention of politics during his hour-long talk to the parents, students and alumni of Faith Christian School.
The former governor and pastor stuck to a theme of the need for moral leadership and that Christian schools are the major source of those leaders.
Huckabee's most recent book, "A Simple Government" says that the most important government is a father, mother and children. A key component to that government is obedience to a higher authority.
More than 600 people crowded the Abbey to hear the former Arkansas governor speak. The banquet is the 31-year-old Christian K-12 school's biggest fundraiser. Fairth Christian School is at W5525 Highway 67, Williams Bay.
Agree or disagree with Huckabee, he projects a warm, friendly personality with a perceptive sense of humor that he regularly turns on himself.
Huckabee knew his audience, and they warmed to him almost immediately.
His first words of praise for all things Wisconsin were "cheese curds."
Huckabee said Wisconsin is sitting on an export bonanza, as the world's main source of cheese curds.
"You can't get them anywhere except from Wisconsin, a few places in Minnesota and north Iowa," said Huckabee. "And I know. I have tried."
He also complimented U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, for having the courage to present a budget proposal "with dignity and grace."
Pray for the Congressman, Huckabee urged his audience, because Ryan and his proposal will face constant attacks.
Huckabee also showed the political savvy to smoothly handle the very touchy Bears-Packers question which faces every politician and celebrity who ventures into southern Wisconsin.
"I asked, are the people here Bears fans or Packer fans, because you're so close to Chicago," he said. "And I was told, both. Isn't that wonderful?"
But he was just teasing. Huckabee knew his audience and went straight for the heart. He congratulated the Packers on their February 2011 Super Bowl victory, and earned himself a hearty cheer from the mostly Packer faithful in the audience.
He went on to rank Lambeau Field with other great sports venues, naming Fenway Park in Boston, Wrigley Field in Chicago, Nortre Dame Stadium in East LaFayette, Ind., and then told how he sang the National Anthem on the 50 yard line at Lambeau Field.
Although he is a guitarist and musician, Huckabee is not known as a singer.
Yet, in 2004, Huckabee said, he was with two other Republican governors who toured the country campaigning for the re-election of President George W. Bush.
Their last stop was in Green Bay. He said he urged his friends to join him for dinner at Curley's Restaurant, which is inside Lambeau Field.
When they finished dining, the Lambeau Field security invited the VIPs to take the complete tour of the recently-renovated stadium.
When the tour finished, Huckabee asked the head of security to invite the three governors to sing the National Anthem on the field.
The security chief did so, and the three governors, two of whom, Huckabee said, thought he was crazy, went out to the field.
There, at midnight, with just four security guards as audience, Huckabee and his two gubernatorial companions sang "The Star Spangled Banner" as an a capella trio.
They were awful, Huckabee admitted. But now they had a story they could tell their grandchildren for years to come, he said, to the applause of the crowd.
"What does that have to do with Christian education?" he asked rhetorically. "Nothing. But where else can I tell this story and get such a great reaction?
"You think they'll care that much about that story in Alabama, where I'm going next?"
At that point, which was early, Huckabee could have wrapped up his speech and gone home, knowing that he did his part to fill the pledge cards for Faith Christian School.
But he gave the audience a rousing one-hour oration on what he believes are the benefits of Christian education.
Huckabee is firm advocate of religious instruction being a part of education, and says the United States doesn't have a money problem, it has a moral problem.
He said the Wall Street crash of October 2008 was caused by financial institutions and experts gambling on financial derivatives and speculation on the future outcomes of investments, rather than investing in the goods and services that are the foundations of the economy.
He said government programs that provided financial support to troubled banks and corporations was a reward for reckless irresponsibility and a punishment for productivity, because it came out of general fund taxes.
He called the TARP (Troubled Asset Recovery Program) a reward for reckless responsibility and a punishment for productivity.
According to Huckabee, the cure for the moral malaise in America is moral leadership that is close to God.
A key to that moral leadership is proper education, Huckabee added. And he believes that moral training is an essential component of that education. And the best place for that, he said, is a Christian school.
"Christian school is not a place where kids can hide from the world, but it's a place they can be trained and equipped to lead the world," Huckabee said.
On wrapping up his talk, Huckabee collected his fee, at least in part, a container of Wisconsin cheese curds, packed to keep fresh for his next stop in Alabama.