Raising Cain: What Will Herman Do?

If you haven’t heard of Herman Cain by now, then you’ve done an excellent job of avoiding the news. Cain is a black (African-American) businessman and is one of eight Republicans vying for nomination as the GOP candidate who will take on President Barack H. Obama in 2012. But first, Cain may have a “church” problem, one that dogged Obama just before he was elected.

Baptist Believer

Unlike Jeremiah A. Wright, the flamboyant and sometimes flame-throwing Chicago pastor whom the Obamas sat under for upwards of 20 years, pastor Cameron M. Alexander may be a bit easier to handle. Alexander pastors Antioch Baptist Church North, a 14,000 member church that is located near the home and college of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the famed civil rights leader. The church is highly active and engaged in the community, frequently hosting black politicians who are running for office reports CNN’s Belief Blog.

Antioch, like many black churches is politically liberal, but theologically conservative. The church is engaged in HIV/AIDS ministries and advocates for government involvement in raising up the lives of the poor. However, when it comes to doctrinal matters, many white and other conservatives may be able to identify with the church’s tenets. Antioch is a National Baptist Convention USA Inc. fellowship which generally does not ordain women. Nor did the NBC fall lockstep in with King’s civil rights activism.

Cain’s church problem won’t come from the mainstream media. Rather, concern could come from a body of conservatives who may not be able to see past the church’s advocacy of issues important to the African-American community. The media, of course, could see any disagreement as “racist tendencies” and attempt to undermine the Republican base in that manner.

Education & Career

Cain, who long served as a deacon at the church, was ordained as a minister in 2002. He was born on December 13, 1945, in Atlanta, and credits God, his family and his church with helping to shape his life. Cain came of age as the civil rights movement gained strength, but he notes that he was more involved with getting an education than in participating with the movement.

Cain graduated from Morehouse College in 1967 with a degree in mathematics and from Purdue University in 1971 with a master’s in computer science. In 1995-1996 he was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He is perhaps best known as the one-time CEO of Godfather’s Pizza.

American Dream

Cain Believes:

  • Reduce Government Spending
  • ObamaCare Should be Repealed & Replaced
  • Borders Control, Then Immigration Reform
  • Tap America’s Energy Sources
  • Government Regulation Is Excessive
  • Modernize Current Social Programs
  • Strengthen Our National Security
  • In God Is Our Trust

Cain is a big believer in pursuing and achieving the American dream, and frequently points to that as his motivation while growing up. He notes that his parents did not instill a victim mindset within him, enabling the young Cain to follow his dreams and succeed.Although he was not successful in his pursuit of a U.S. Senate seat in 2004, Cain has many successes under his belt including heading up the National Restaurant Association, a trade group and lobby association. He has also been on the board of Whirlpool, Nabisco and Aquila, among other businesses. On a personal note, Cain married Gloria Etchison in 1968 whom he met while at college. The Cains have two children: Melanie and Vincent, and are grandparents.

In 2006, Cain was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, the most advanced form of any cancer. He was given a 30 percent chance of survival. Five years later his oncologist has said that he is cancer-free, good news that coincides with his bid for the GOP nomination.

Cain Controversies

In recent days, Cain has come under intense scrutiny for his positions on abortion and taxation. With abortion, Cain told CNN, “I believe that life begins at conception, and abortion is [not right] under no circumstances….” From that point on, Cain’s position quickly came undone as he made allowances for personal choice, a decision he believes that the government should not be involved in. Michael Sean Winter, writing for the National Catholic Reporter, hammered Cain for his abortion comments, asking a pair of questions: “Does this man have even a basic grasp of the issue? Can anyone really believe he is ready for prime time?”

The following day Cain attempted to clarify his stance on abortion, stating that he was pigeon-holed by interviewer Piers Morgan to explain his position from a personal perspective as reported by Time magazine. Still, many pro-life people are questioning his ability to defend the unborn.

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan has come under fire as well. That plan seeks to replace federal taxation with a 9 percent business flat tax, a 9 percent individual flat tax and a 9 percent national sales tax. Following the Western Republican Presidential Debate on Oct. 18, Cain amended his 9-9-9 plan to allow for a 9-0-9 plan for Americans who fall below the poverty line. Though this change has been welcomed by some, Cain has been accused of flip-flopping and for not having the clarity on important issues that a presidential candidate must have.


Yet, Cain still leads or is near the top in some polls, suggesting that the public’s interest in his candidacy is strong. Whether that translates into nomination as the GOP candidate remains to be seen. God may have told Herman to run as Cain asserts, but it doesn’t mean that he’ll become the 44th president of the United States of America. In any case, the 2012 election cycle will be as long as it will be dramatic, with Herman Cain likely helping to shape the political landscape for many months to come.


CNN Belief Blog: The Liberal Church of Herman Cain; Eric Marrapodi and John Blake; October 18, 2011

KWTV.com: Cain: God Told Me To Run; October 10, 2011

National Catholic Reporter: GOP Ignorance & Its Remedy; Michael Sean Winters; October 21, 2011

Time: Cain Clarifies Abortion Stance; October 21, 2011

Herman Cain for President: 9-9-9 Plan

Photo: Gage Skidmore (Wikipedia)

See AlsoWhy Christians Can Vote For Romney

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