CNN’s article about how Herman Cain fits into his ultra-liberal, solidly Democratic Antioch Baptist Church North is a fascinating read about a man who has far more depth than the “9-9-9” evangelizing Presidential candidate most of us have seen.
The church, founded by freed slaves 134 years ago, boasts 14,000 members and an operating budget of more than $5 million. For years Antioch has hosted a “who’s who” of civil rights activists as guest speakers, including Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young.
Antioch’s powerful senior pastor, the Rev. C.M. Alexander, doesn’t share Cain’s political philosophy, Atlanta clergy say. But Cain and Alexander are so close that Cain sang “The Impossible Dream” for the pastor’s 50th anniversary celebration. The Atlanta businessman-turned-presidential hopeful is well liked by many members of his church, though some disagree with his politics, Antioch pastors say.
Cain’s piety may be just as fascinating as his politics, interviews suggest.
“He’s a real person who is more complicated than the sound bite you may have heard from him,” says the Rev. Fredrick Robinson, a friend of Cain’s who was an associate minister at Antioch before leaving to form his own church.
All I know of Herman Cain is what I’ve seen of him on debates. He is an obviously intelligent, charismatic, and forceful personality, though prone to making cringeworthy gaffes like his comment yesterday, when he indicated he might be open to negotiating a prisoner swap with terrorists before reversing himself hours later. I want to like him. Considering the deep and obvious flaws in all the other Republican candidates (not to mention the trainwreck of an incumbent we have in Barack “let’s arm the cartels in all 57 states” Obama), I need someone with the kind of character I can believe in, even if I don’t agree with everything they say.
The complexity of relationships Cain has developed in his church, and their obvious fondness for him considering the huge gulf in the politics that hangs between them, says a lot about his faith and his character.
I’m not ready to jump on the “Cain train,” but this article does suggest there is much more to him than meets the eye.