Baptist motivational speaker Zig Ziglar and “Left Behind” co-author Jerry Jenkins joined a growing list of faith leaders and celebrities endorsing former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee for president.
Ziglar, an internationally acclaimed motivational speaker who teaches a Sunday school class at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, described Huckabee as “the best representative of the conservative movement on the American political scene.”
“I will be encouraging all voters to look closely and seriously at Mike Huckabee, the man I believe will best represent the values and beliefs of conservative Americans,” Ziglar said.
“This is the first time I have ever publicly endorsed a candidate, that’s how strongly I feel about Mike Huckabee,” said Jenkins, a New York Times bestselling author of more than 170 books. “I resonate with his values and personal character and believe he is the kind of man who can guide the country through difficult times.”
Huckabee also received a boost from Jenkin’s “Left Behind” co-author Tim LaHaye, who, along with his wife, Beverly, reportedly wrote letters to conservative Christians in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, inviting pastors to conferences in each state where Huckabee will be speaking.
A New York Times blog said the letter, distributed through an e-mail list of Beverly LaHaye’s Concerned Women for America organization warned that “America and our Judeo-Christian heritage are under attack by a force that is more destructive than any America has faced” since Hitler. “Defeating the radical jihadists will require renewed resolve and spiritual rearmament by the evangelical pastors in America.”
Huckabee’s first television ad, a tongue-in-cheek commercial rolled out this week co-starring the candidate alongside actor Chuck Norris, was Tuesday’s second-most viewed video on YouTube, with more than 383,000 views.
“Mike Huckabee’s a lifelong hunter, who will protect our Second Amendment rights,” Norris said in the video. “Mike Huckabee wants to put the IRS out of business. Mike’s a principled, authentic conservative.”
“My plan to secure the border, two words: Chuck Norris,” Huckabee deadpanned.
“Chuck Norris doesn’t endorse,” Huckabee said. “He tells America how it’s going to be.”
Norris, an actor known for tough-guy roles including TV’s “Walker, Texas Ranger” and columnist for the conservative Web site WorldNetDaily.com, endorsed Huckabee in October.
Rock guitar legend and hunting advocate Ted Nugent also said recently he was jumping on the Huckabee bandwagon.
“My favorite man or individual running for the presidency of the United States of America right now today is a man who covers all the bases for we the people, the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, decency and that’s Mike Huckabee,” Nugent said Oct. 8 on “The Glenn Beck Program.”
“I’m telling you I’ve spent time with the man,” Nugent said. “I’ve watched how he conducts his personal life, his family life as governor of the State of Arkansas.”
CNN reported that WWE wrestler Ric Flair, also known as The Nature Boy, is also on board with Huckabee and is co-hosting a campaign with the candidate at the South Carolina vs. Clemson football game this weekend in Columbia, S.C.
Other strategic endorsements picked up by Huckabee include Star Parker, founder and president of the Coalition on Urban Renewal and Education and an African-American spokeswoman for conservative causes.
“America is at a crossroads and this country needs a president with the moral clarity to understand what is wrong at its core,” Parker said. “Mike Huckabee has the passion and vision to get America back on track toward a civil, just, and virtuous society.”
Parker was a speaker at an Oct. 19-21 Values Voter Summit in Washington sponsored by the Family Research Council and other conservative groups, where Huckabee was the overwhelming favorite in a straw poll of attendees on site.
“I’ve known Ms. Parker for more than ten years and I have come to admire her character and determination,” Huckabee said. “I’m proud to have her support because we share many of the same views on faith and family.”
Also endorsing Huckabee is Rick Calhoun, a Little Rock investment banker and former chairman of the Eagle Forum of Arkansas.
“I am disappointed by attacks launched against Governor Huckabee by a few members of the evangelical community,” Calhoun said in an open letter.
“Mike Huckabee is our best hope to continue the progress the Christian community has made in recent years,” Calhoun said.
“Politics is a natural extension of society’s values and government will always be a reflection of our beliefs–that is why we need to elect as President a man who shares our commitment to traditional values,” he said. “It’s time for Christian conservatives to unite behind Mike Huckabee–the only candidate shown to be consistent with the values of the Christian community.”
Ziglar, the author of 26 books, has traveled more than five million miles since 1970 delivering life-improvement messages, appearing on platforms beside former presidents Ford and Reagan and other luminaries including Robert Schuller and Norman Vincent Peale.
Ziglar was first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1985-86 and spoke at the convention’s annual meeting in 2003.
Once prominently affiliated with W.A. Criswell and First Baptist Church of Dallas, Ziglar now is active at Prestonwood Baptist Church, where former Southern Baptist Convention president Jack Graham is pastor. Graham has also endorsed Huckabee–along with two other former SBC presidents–and recently welcomed the candidate to his pulpit.
Huckabee welcomed endorsements by both Ziglar and Jenkins. “These two men are giants in their field and I’m proud to have their support,” Huckabee said. “Zig has taught me a great deal about effective leadership and Jerry’s writings have truly inspired me and deepened my faith.”
Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.