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Huckabee: We Have Lived In "The Age Of The Birth Control Pill, Free Love, Gay Sex..."

"As forces began chipping away at America's public sense of morality, people became increasingly bold about their lifestyles. Gays proudly came out of the closet."

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Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, along with author John Perry, wrote in the 2007 book, Character Makes a Difference: Where I'm From, Where I've Been, and What I Believe, that 1968 marked the shift in our society towards "the age of the birth control pill, free love, gay sex, the drug culture, and reckless disregard for standards."

Huckabee added that "as forces began chipping away at America's public sense of morality, people became increasingly bold about their lifestyles," writing that "gays proudly came out of the closet."

The book was an auto-biographical account of Huckabee's ascendance to the Arkansas governor's office after Gov. Jim Guy Tucker resigned in the aftermath of the Whitewater investigation.

"I became a teenager in 1968, a year I have always considered a watershed date in American history," wrote Huckabee in his book. "That year marked the death of innocence: the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the Chicago riots, and the horror of Vietnam. The world didn't change completely in a single year, but in 1968 the shift in our society became too apparent to miss."

"People were angry," he continues. "Student protests and the hippie movement were at fever pitch. The Black Panthers came into their own. There was a total loss, not just of innocence, but of a sense of community and wholesomeness. It really did mark a turning point. From that year onward, we have lived in the age of the birth control pill, free love, gay sex, the drug culture, and reckless disregard for standards."

Later in the chapter, called "Candidate in the Mirror," Huckabee cites gays proudly coming out of the closet as a sign of decline in America's moral culture.

"As forces began chipping away at America's public sense of morality, people became increasingly bold about their lifestyles," wrote Huckabee.

"Gays proudly came out of the closet. Pushers and users openly discussed drugs and drug addiction. Movie stars all but bragged on television about their affairs and their bouts with alcohol. Divorce lost any kind of stigma as did teen pregnancy."

Huckabee added the media didn't set the culture but only reflected it.

"And what role does the media play in this downward spiral," Huckabee wrote.

"I believe the media only reflects culture; it doesn't create it. That is one place where I differ from many of my evangelical brothers. The media isn 't a light, but a mirror. People buy what they see in themselves."

Here's the full passage:

I became a teenager in 1968, a year I have always considered a watershed date in American history. That year marked the death of innocence: the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the Chicago riots, and the horror of Vietnam. The world didn't change completely in a single year, but in 1968 the shift in our society became too apparent to miss. People were angry. Student protests and the hippie movement were at fever pitch. The Black Panthers came into their own. There was a total loss, not just of innocence, but of a sense of community and wholesomeness. It really did mark a turning point. From that year onward, we have lived in the age of the birth control pill, free love, gay sex, the drug culture, and reckless disregard for standards. The "turn on, tune in, drop out" movement gave personal debauchery a new license. People felt free to do whatever they wanted. Your norm and my norm became the cultural norm. No longer did we live by the standards of God ; it became, "You define your standard, I'll define mine, and everybody will be happy. Nobody can tell me to pray; nobody can tell me to read a Bible; nobody can tell me what is right and wrong. I have to make those decisions for myself. " It was the beginning of the "Me Generation," which mushroomed in the seventies. By the time we got to Watergate, morality had become a joke.

Not long ago, no reporter would consider running an exposé on a president's personal life. Indiscretion was considered horrendous. You just didn't talk about those things in public. Respect for the office and a sense of public decorum prevented it. In the 1920s, President Warren G. Harding had numerous mistresses, one of whom bore him a child —but it never hit the front-page news. We thought then that our presidents were better than that. When Franklin Roosevelt died, he was on vacation with a woman other than his wife —a woman he had promised he would not see again. Yet the scandal mill produced no grist. During the sixties, it would have been unthinkable for anyone to publish news of President Kennedy 's intimate White House escapades or to run a photo of Jackie— a heavy smoker— with a Marlboro hanging from her lip. Both public figures and the media were discreet, even about indiscretions. As forces began chipping away at America's public sense of morality, people became increasingly bold about their lifestyles. Gays proudly came out of the closet. Pushers and users openly discussed drugs and drug addiction. Movie stars all but bragged on television about their affairs and their bouts with alcohol. Divorce lost any kind of stigma as did teen pregnancy. And what role does the media play in this downward spiral? I believe the media only reflects culture; it doesn't create it. That is one place where I differ from many of my evangelical brothers. The media isn 't a light, but a mirror. People buy what they see in themselves. That helps explain why in 1992 we elected Bill Clinton, not George Bush, as president.

Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Andrew Kaczynski at andrew.kaczynski@buzzfeed.com.

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