Potential Republican presidential contender Herman Cain is known for his straight-talking style and willingness to discuss issues other politicians dare not touch. In his latest interview with Christianity Today, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO opened up about his faith, his calling in life and his aspirations for political office.
In blunt terms, Cain, a Christian, made no bones about his thoughts on the role of Muslims in modern American society and called on moderate Muslims to take up peaceful leadership roles:
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.
Also, linking faith to civil society, Cain decried what he calls a "moral crisis" facing America today. "The moral crisis is going to have to be solved in our families, our communities and in our various religious institutions," he said. "Christians, evangelicals, Jews, believers of all types when it comes to biblically-based religions, are going to have to step up more, and push back more, and not allow our Christian beliefs to be intimidated. If we do, we are going to go the way of some other countries [that] lost their Judeo-Christian identity. I do not want us, as a nation, to lose our Judeo-Christian identity, even though we will tolerate any legitimate religion to basically exist in this country. That is how the founders intended it, and that's how I believe that we ought to keep it."
The former businessman is expected to decide within the next six weeks whether the next stage of his life will involve a bid for the White House. God will be the deciding factor in that decision, Cain, a licensed reverend, admitted.
"God didn't keep me here to go play golf, and relax, and take life easy," he said, referring to his against-the-odds battle back against stage-4 cancer. "I believe that my life was spared because God had something really big that he wanted me to do. And that's unfolding."
Cain also admitted that the though of running for president is something he's only considered recently. "It was only about nine or ten months ago that, as I watched the first year of the Obama administration, as I watched failing policies, as I watched broken promises, as I watched and read about 15 million people staying unemployed, I couldn't sit back when I had collected some common sense ideas."
In the end, it might be Cain's drive and determination to better America that pushes him into the political arena.
"I cannot sit still and watch the direction of this country towards radical socialism and not do what I can do," he said. "Is there somebody else who might be better at being President of the United States than Herman Cain? There might be. But the people are going to determine that. But I couldn't sit back and hope that a great leader emerges, or hope that someone becomes President that would tackle the issues the way I would tackle them."