I received a good number of emails with questions about Herman Cain’s recent statement, or misstatement, on abortion. In an interview he claimed to be prolife, but then took the basic pro-choice position that it is the right of the person and the family who is involved to decide whether to have an abortion, not the government. This implies that there should be no laws made by the government restricting the taking of human life. This is a very wrong position on a most crucial issue, but it did not come as a big surprise to me. Why?
I’m not surprised because I had such a superficial and misguided understanding of abortion myself for a long time. Even after I had been a pastor for more than a decade, I still held the same position and did not see the contradiction in it. I’m not justifying this, but using this to illuminate something that could be the key to turning the whole tide to the prolife cause.
I was a business executive as Cain was, and I averaged probably seventy hours a week on the job. I still read the Bible every day and read about a book a week, but most of this had to do with business, leadership, and management knowledge that I needed to keep my business going and support the hundreds of people who depended on me to do this. I trusted the pastor to teach me what I needed to know about the important issues of the time, as most of the people attending our churches have to do. To this day I have not heard a single sermon preached in a church on this issue.
My point is that even when I was a conservative, Republican, and resolute prolife preacher who had many hours a week to study, it took me this long to address this issue the way it deserved. I have never claimed to be a great pastor, and this may be another example of how I was a bad one, but I know many pastors who are just as superficial in their understanding of this issue now as I was for so long. I knew inherently that abortion was wrong, and I was resolutely devoted to this position, but I had not searched out why, and neither had I heard any teaching on why it was wrong. Like Cain, I did not want any more government intrusion than was absolutely essential. I thought this was mostly a moral issue that should be dealt with personally.
This may sound amazing to those who have benefited from better teaching than I had, or gave, but I think it is the experience of most at this time. I still do not believe this issue will be settled at the ballot box, but that does not mean it is not a crucial issue at the ballot box. Even so, the most important weapon that we have is simple and clear teaching on the issue. If the teaching on it was done in the pulpits, which includes Christian television and other outlets we have, the tide would be turned on this issue fast.
I have never seen a pro-choice person not rattled when the reality of what abortion is and how they are performed was explained to them. Any human being who fully understands partial birth abortion and still approves of it has simply lost their core humanity. It is hard to even comprehend the depravity of those who would perform such a procedure. This is without question murder of the most despicable and cruelest kind—murder of the most innocent and most helpless and with a most diabolical method. The illumination of this has turned many from pro-abortion to prolife and turned many of them into crusaders for the prolife cause.
The most powerful weapon we have against darkness is light—the truth. I know some of the most visible leaders of the prolife movement and have spent many hours talking with them, but it was always about strategy. Then one day I picked up a taped sermon by a little known pastor on why he was against abortion. I thought it might help keep me awake on a long drive I had to make and did not know I would have to stop several times just to contemplate what I was hearing. I was undone. That one message made the evil of abortion so clear that I knew immediately why this is one of the most important issues of our times. After that I could see it in the Scriptures and how this would be one of the ultimate issues we would be judged on as a people and a nation.
I am very thankful for all that the prolife movement has done to fight this very worthy battle. Some of the greatest Christians I know have been on the frontline of this battle for many years and are constantly under fire, taking many wounds for this great cause. They have won many battles that have benefited everyone, even their enemies. Even so, I don’t think we have done a good job using our most powerful weapon—educating the public about just what abortion is and the diabolical ways that it is performed.
I was especially impacted by how powerful the simple truth can be when I was sitting in the airport in Athens, Greece a few years ago. I noticed pamphlets lying all around the terminal. They were so attractive you almost had to pick one up and read it. They were about all of the contributions Greece had made to world civilization. It was very impressive, but the conclusion was downright stunning. It ended with how The Hippocratic Oath had originated in Greece and gave just a few but very powerful reasons why abortion was a basic violation of this oath that every doctor takes.
I could not imagine anyone, much less doctors, reading that pamphlet and not being deeply moved. I looked around the terminal to watch the reaction of others who were reading it. Some seemed to have their breath taken away. Others sat deeply contemplating it. It was done with such class and power, I had no doubt that at the very least it had profoundly challenged them to think about this issue.
This pamphlet had been published by the Greek government. I was told they were chaffing under the mandate that every EU nation had to allow abortions as a condition for membership. At that time not to join the EU would have been economic suicide for Greece, so they felt forced to accept this, but they were fighting back powerfully with the truth. For this I was thankful, but with the present meltdown of the Greek economy it seems they would have been much better off not to compromise their convictions on this in the first place. Being the originators of The Hippocratic Oath they knew better than possibly anyone else what a violation of our basic humanity abortion is. The Greek culture is strong, deep, and noble, but it is now unraveling. The economy is important, but how we value life is far more important.
As Christians, we are supposed to be the light of the world. Therefore, if darkness is increasing it must be that our light is not shinning. Many Christians think that if people would just come to church they would have the light, but not many who are living in darkness will come into such a place that is so foreign and intimidating to them. This is why we are commanded to “go” into all the world with the gospel, which is not just geographical.
Great resources are available on abortion and the prolife cause. However, most Christians don’t even search for these resources or other issues in the depth they deserve, so we have to “go” to the people with them.
Certainly, when you’re running for President you have a responsibility to know the crucial issues with even more depth. I am not trying to justify the kind of shallow understanding of this issue that Herman Cain obviously has, but it does not surprise me. It does not surprise me that he is an associate pastor in his church and does not have a deeper understanding of this issue. I spend my life with pastors and church leaders, and many have hundreds or even thousands of pastors under them, and I don’t think many of them understand this issue with much depth.
It is still surprising to me that every black leader and black Christian is not vehemently prolife, but very few know about the history of Planned Parenthood and its diabolical attempt to use abortion for the genocide of the black race in America. Those who do just a little investigation do wake up, but how the majority remain ignorant of this is remarkable, but it should also be a wakeup call for all who are devoted to truth.
Herman Cain is very refreshingly not political and candid. He comes across as an honest man and seems to not understand the contradiction in the position he stated. Just as Apollos, one of the most important teachers in the first century church, had to have Priscilla and Aquila take him aside and instruct him in the Way more accurately, it would help if someone would help Herman Cain, and maybe more of the candidates on these crucial issues. It seems that even the others who claim to be prolife, with maybe a couple of exceptions, do not have much depth to their convictions, but would if they had just a little education on it.
Even though it is a crucial issue for our times, we must not be hasty in condemning others who don’t see it with the depth it deserves. We need to do a better job educating our fellow Christians, and if possible, all fellow human beings, about why abortion is one of the most dehumanizing sins a people can fall to and is a gateway to a diabolical meltdown of a society.
Even the beasts will almost all sacrifice their own lives to protect their young. When we start sacrificing our young, we have in some very vital ways fallen from our humanity to a position lower than the beasts. Few things release human depravity like abortion. Abortion is just one step away from justifying killing the elderly because they are, as Hitler called them, “useless eaters” who can no longer be productive.
Sounds extreme, but that is exactly where our Healthcare Reform Bill is taking us. You won’t find it in those words because it is written on code called “legalese,” buried in the 2,200 plus pages no one will read. It is there. This bill cannot be implemented without leading to the rationing of healthcare very quickly, if not immediately. Then we will have bureaucrats deciding who gets the limited healthcare available. That is where the “end of life counseling” begins, as well as very likely the end of our way of life that was built on liberty and the esteem for life.
We may think this could never happen in America, but that is what they thought in Germany in the 1930s. That is what they probably thought in every other country where it has been implemented.
It was no accident that the first test of King Solomon’s wisdom was to discern the difference between the mother that cared for the life of her child and the mother who was careless, or cared less
, for the life of her child. True wisdom values life from beginning to the end. True wisdom values children as the incomprehensibly wonderful gifts that they are, providing for them and protecting them as these treasures deserve. True wisdom also honors the fathers and mothers who gave us life and who paid such a price for the freedoms and other good things we enjoy. They deserve their senior years to be their best years, living in the dignity and honor they have earned. Summary
Herman Cain is not the only one who needs this education. For this reason the Oak will do a series of “Root Truths” on the abortion issue with the hope that pastors and ministries responsible for their people being equipped can use them.
This one thing should not disqualify Herman Cain, though it is right to pause to see how he handles it. He is having a number of missteps now, but for someone who has never run for office and to start out on this level with this degree of scrutiny, has to be a marvel that he is doing so well. We should be encouraged by someone who seems to sincerely care more about being correct than politically correct, and if this is true, he should be teachable on this.
I hear most people judging the candidates on how much knowledge they have on the issues. This is important and Herman Cain certainly came out shallow on this issue, but knowledge is not the most important factor in determining the quality of leadership. We do need knowledge, and the more the better to base our judgments and decisions on, but you can get knowledge much easier than you can get character.
In the Book of Proverbs, the wise are those who “love reproof,” or correction. Character sometimes requires us to say we were wrong. As C.S. Lewis remarked, the wrong road will never turn into the right road. To get on the right road, we need to go back to where we missed the turn. This is called “repentance,” a foundational discipline of Christianity.
Even with the missteps and misstatements, it is very understandable why Cain would rise to the top of the field in the way he has. As he will obviously take much more heat now that he is there, he could go up and down for a while in the opinion polls, but he is a very strong candidate and could very well get the nomination.
A recent poll indicated that as many as 80 percent of Republicans still had not firmly made up their mind who to support yet. It should be encouraging that so many are taking their time and studying the candidates with more depth than possibly ever before. I think most Americans learned their lesson after the last election.
Even so, have you noticed that we’ve never had a perfect candidate? We’ve never had a perfect President. I would never advocate settling for one less than the very best that we have to choose from. However, even with the best we may have to overlook some things, just as most people who know us probably have to do as well.