Former Arkansas governor and potential Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee suggested during a speech last week that abortion is worse than the Holocaust and declared that the U.S. will "pay the consequences" for allowing same-sex marriage.
The comments -- captured by Right Wing Watch -- came during Huckabee's address before a group of pastors on his “Reagan, Thatcher, Pope John Paul II tour" of Europe. Observers considered the trip a prelude to a 2016 GOP presidential bid; the Fox News host performed well among social conservatives during his 2008 White House run, but ultimately lost the nod to Arizona Sen. John McCain.
In his speech, Huckabee, a Southern Baptist preacher, blamed fellow pastors for not doing enough to stop abortion, saying they had "blood on our hands."
"We wonder with some sense of bewilderment, how is it possible that since 1973 alone over 55 million unborn children have died in what should have been the safest place that that baby ever experienced, the womb of its mother?" Huckabee asked.
"Because our pulpits were silent and forgot and failed to teach that every human life has value and worth and there’s no such thing as a disposable, expendable human being, that all of us are created equal," he continued. "Even our Constitution, our founders, acknowledge that, and our Bible affirms it. And our failure to speak it because it was a political issue will cause us one day to stand before a holy God with blood on our hands and explain why we did not cry out against that slaughter of 55 million."
Huckabee then suggested that abortion was an even worse atrocity than the Holocaust.
"If you felt something incredibly powerful at Auschwitz and Birkenau over the 11 million killed worldwide and the 1.5 million killed on those grounds, cannot we feel something extraordinary about 55 million murdered in our own country in the wombs of their mothers?" he said.
Huckabee drew a parallel between the struggle against abortion rights and the right's battle against equality for same-sex couples. Calling straights-only marriage "the foundation of our society and culture," Huckabee warned that by allowing same-sex couples to get married, "we will pay the consequences for having upended the very foundation which is the essence of how a civilization survives."
"So the soul of America is in real trouble," he concluded.
Should he enter the GOP field, Huckabee will easily rank among the most vociferously anti-gay of the party's contenders. As a U.S. Senate candidate in 1992, Huckabee called for the quarantining of all AIDS patients, and he has identified "the ick factor"as a major reason he opposes marriage equality.
Even as he weighs a bid to take up the party's mantle in 2016, however, Huckabee has threatened to leave the party if it becomes insufficiently anti-gay.
"If the Republicans want to lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people, go ahead,” he said last month, after some Republicans were notably mum when the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a series of lower court rulings in favor of marriage equality. “And while you're at it, go ahead and say abortion doesn't matter, either. Because at that point, you lose me. I'm gone. I'll become an independent.”
Watch Huckabee's latest remarks below, via Right Wing Watch: