Q & A: Herman Cain on Faith, Calling, and Presidential Aspirations
Jesus also said, "The poor will always be with us." He did not say, "The poor have to always be poor." And if you look at the poor in this country, some people don't remain poor.I think that's what Christ expects of us, is to help people get out of poverty, to help people that cannot help themselves; that is Christ-like. But not make people dependent.
You've said that the Founding Fathers set a high bar for the nation by telling us that all men are created equal, and that America had not yet, at that time, achieved that ideal. Two hundred and thirty five years on, what sort of challenges do you think we still need to face before we reach that goal?
The challenges of intentional divisiveness. People use the race card, they use the class warfare card, to divide us. And the biggest challenge we face is for more and more people to be educated and not fall for those tricks and divide this nation. Do people still discriminate in some small ways against certain people because of their color or their religion? Yes. But it is nowhere near where it was 235 years ago.
Whether we will ever reach that utopian level of all men created equal and all men being treated equal, I don't know. You know, the journey in life is to strive to be better and better every day, to strive to be more Christ-like. Whether or not any of us get to the level of Christ himself, I doubt it, because we are human. You have secret thoughts, and only God and Christ knows those secret thoughts. And they may not be Christ-like.
As an African-American and a conservative Republican, you occupy an often controversial position in the American political scene.
I like to refer to myself as an American Black Conservative. If somebody wants to call me African-American I'm not offended, but since they want to use a label, I call myself an ABC: an American Black Conservative. I'm an American first. Yes, my ancestors probably came from Africa. But my parents and my grandparents were born right here in the United States of America. That makes us Americans.
When speaking about your battle with cancer at the Milner church, at one point, you indicate that you were a little uncomfortable when you found out that your surgeon's name was Abdallah, until you found out he was a Lebanese Christian. So what's your perspective on the role of Muslims in American society?
The role of Muslims in American society is for them to be allowed to practice their religion freely, which is part of our First Amendment. The role of Muslims in America is not to convert the rest of us to the Muslim religion. That I resent. Because we are a Judeo-Christian nation, from the fact that 85 percent of us are self-described Christians, or evangelicals, or practicing the Jewish faith. Eighty-five percent. One percent of the practicing religious believers in this country are Muslim.
And so I push back and reject them trying to convert the rest of us. And based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them. Now, I know that there are some peaceful Muslims who don't go around preaching or practicing that. Well, unfortunately, we can't sit back and tolerate the radical ones simply because we know that there are some of them who don't believe in that aspect of the Muslim religion. So their role is to be allowed to practice their religion freely, just like we should be allowed to practice our religion freely, and not try to convert the rest of us.