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Nashville Boots Mike Huckabee from the CMA Foundation and You Won't Believe Why

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Within a 24-hour period, Nashville's music industry honored former Republican presidential candidate and TV host Mike Huckabee and then quickly bumped him from the board of the Country Music Association Foundation

Just hours after the Wednesday announcement of Huckabee's election to the board of the foundation, several Nashville heavyweights protested the move, citing his political opinions and associations.

Prominent artist manager Jason Owen published a letter calling his election "grossly offensive." Owen represents artists like Faith Hill, Little Big Town and Kacey Musgraves. He's also gay, married and the father of one child.

Owen wrote: "Huckabee speaks of the sort of things that would suggest my family is morally beneath his and uses language that has a profoundly negative impact upon young people all across this country. Not to mention how harmful and damaging his deep involvement with the NRA is. What a shameful choice. I will not participate in any organization that elevates people like this to positions that amplify their sick voices."

An industry website, Hits Daily Double, reported that another industry leader was calling for an emergency meeting of the board to address the Huckabee election, the website saying "there's great concern and protest over the appointment and rightfully so. Many in Nashville are sharing feelings of embarrassment for our country and industry."

By Thursday, Huckabee had resigned, saying he hoped to end "the unnecessary distraction and deterrent to the core mission of the foundation."

He also called on the country music industry to be clear about whether or not it wants support from the faith community.  

"If the industry doesn't want people of faith or who hold conservative and traditional political views to buy tickets and music, they should be forthcoming and say it," he wrote. "Surely neither the artists or the business people of the industry want that."

Huckabee also lamented that such divisiveness has come to the music industry. 

"Until recently, the arts was the one place America could set aside political, geographical, racial, religious, and economic barriers and come together. If the arts community becomes part of the polarization instead of bridging communities and people over the power of civil norms as reflected in the arts, then we as a civilization may not be long for this earth," he wrote.

The board accepted Huckabee's resignation while defending the very "mission-centric" credentials it used to consider him in the first place. 

CMA Foundation CEO Sarah Trahern said, "He's provided relevant insights from his time of service having led statewide music education mandates and grant structuring. He is also a musician. As you all know, CMA does not work with any of its Board members based on their personal or political affiliations."

The CMA Foundation exists to provide resources for music programs across the country.


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About The Author


Heather Sells covers wide-ranging stories for CBN News that include religious liberty, ministry trends, immigration, and education. She’s known for telling personal stories that capture the issues of the day, from the border sheriff who rescues migrants in the desert to the parents struggling with a child that identifies as transgender. In the last year, she has reported on immigration at the Texas border, from Washington, D.C., in advance of the Dobbs abortion case, at crisis pregnancy centers in Massachusetts, and on sexual abuse reform at the annual Southern Baptist meeting in Anaheim