The revelations of his previous statements about gay people and people with AIDS are immensely depressing but should hardly be surprising. The views Huckabee held were much more common in 1992 than now - although even then, Huckabee's callous sentiments were irrational, outside any scientific consensus, ignorant for 1992, and clearly based on animus. I don't doubt he will distance himself from those early statements about HIV, just as even Jesse Helms did in his later years. But I wonder if Huckabee will be able to distance himself from the statements about gay people as such. Watching every Republican debate this year, you can see how no one ever dares take a position that could be deemed in any way supportive of gay people, understanding of the challenges many gay people face in a sometimes hostile world, let alone supportive of those of us constructing stable relationships.

So this is perhaps a real opportunity for Huckabee, to express what a Christian really should express about the dignity and value of gay people, and about the moral necessity not to demonize or stigmatize those living with HIV or any illness. This culture and society has grown a lot on the issues of homosexuality and HIV in this past decade and a half. This is a chance for Huckabee to show that he has as well.

It is a crisis for his campaign. But I hope he also sees that it is an opportunity for a statement of inclusion, compassion, and regret.

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