Address to the Christian Coalition

Alan Keyes

September 10, 1995

Washington, D.C.

 

John Calligan: [scans several thousand seated in the conference room] Wow! You guys look great! The tremendous growth of this organization and this movement--do you realize that 6 years ago this organization was a box of paper in a garage in Chesapeake, Virginia? Yeah! How about that?!

We have become, in 5 or 6 years, a mature political movement with the ability to affect the destiny of this country. That's proof that God had been providing our nation with a wake-up call. [applause]

Yes. Our next speaker is part of that awakening. [sound of keys jingling from the audience]

In his nationally syndicated radio program, "America's Wake-Up Call," Dr. Alan Keyes is sounding a powerful alarm for our country, calling not for a retreat, but for a restoration of our culture--based upon self-respect, self-restraint and courtesy for one another, all of those ideas illuminated by respect for the laws of our Creator.

In addition to his work on the radio, Dr. Keyes is an author, educator . . .

[the sound of keys ringing fills the auditorium, Mr. Calligan laughs, those without keys applaud or shout, and the media cameras focus on members of the audience ringing their keys]

. . . and former Ambassador to the United Nations Economic and Social Council under Ronald Reagan.

In his pursuit this year of the Republican nomination for President of the United States, Dr. Keyes' impassioned defense of the unborn--when it was popular, and when it was not--has earned him the respect and admiration of the pro-family community around this country. America is waking up. And it is thanks to the people in this room, and millions of others like you. America is waking up, and it is thanks in no small measure to the courage and the work of our next guest.

It is my great pleasure to introduce to you Dr. Alan Keyes.

[applause, cheering, standing ovation, etc.]




 

Alan Keyes: Thank you . . . Thank you . . . Thank you very much . . . Before I get started, I want to take a second to introduce you to my family here, my mainstays and support. And I often tell people that once I've introduced them, I really could go off and save you all the trouble of listening to my speech, because you know what it's all about then. My wife Jocelyn, my eldest, Francis--now I have to set the record straight here on national TV, this is my daughter Maya. I have heard rumors to the effect that she got cold-cocked by Ross Perot at the United We Stand America convention, and usually the barometer of truth from which this comes is quite accurate, and I have great respect for it. It looked like that on TV, but did it really happen, Maya?

Maya: No.

Keyes: No. So, regardless, we've got to be truthful, right? So she was not cold-cocked by Ross Perot, even though our booth was thrown out of the convention--but that's a different story. And this is my son Andrew. Thank you. Thank you all. I appreciate it. Thanks, Maya.

Now I have to tell you. I actually, I very much, in spite of the fact that the Alan Keyes booth was thrown out of the Ross Perot Convention--you all have heard this story?

[audience: No]

Keyes: You haven't?!

[audience: No]

Keyes: I can't believe that! Well, that must be the national media doing their job again! [thunderous applause, shouts] You know why? We got thrown out of the convention because we were showing two pro-life videos: "I Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb" and "The Heart of Truth," and the Ross Perot people kicked us out. And it turned out, my friends, that I went in the afternoon and I spoke to them, and Mr. Perot and his buddies had been doing their level best to make sure nobody was talking about the pro-life moral issues, and the media was doing their best to create the impression that that's because the people at United We Stand America didn't care about these issues.

Well, I went and I gave a speech in which I talked about them, in which I hit the pro-life issue head on, in which I talked about the relationship between the moral and fiscal issues. And ninety-percent of them were on their feet cheering and applauding, because . . . [wild applause and cheers] . . . don't let the media make you believe that somehow or another the folks who are in this room, committed to God and country in that good order, the folks who are in this room, committed to rebuilding the family and strengthening the character of this country represent some kind of a minority.

We are the majority in America, and we're going to prove it!

[applause, cheering, standing ovation, etc.]

And the reason is very simple. The reason we are is very simple. Now, I know there are those people like Arlen Specter and some others who will tell you . . . [booing] . . . wait! They'll try to tell you that we can't talk about the moral agenda, we can't talk about the pro-life issue, we can't mention the three-letter-word in a public place because that's "divisive." That's one of their favorite words: it's "divisive." I keep getting this from the media, I keep getting it from news people: "How can you be representing this pro-life issue? It's divisive."

Well, I'll tell you something. I look across this country, I look across this audience, I see people of every race and creed and color and background that have gathered here from all parts of the world. We are, indeed, a nation of nations, a people of many peoples, united in this nation.

But what is it? What is it that forms the ground of our unity? What is it that, more than anything else, brings us together as one nation? I think that if we go back to the beginning, it is stated right there in the basic truths that were presented to us in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights."

Now, tell me something. When I quote from that document, when I speak of the laws of nature and nature's God, when I speak of God, the Creator, when I speak of His divine and providential hand upon this nation, I quote from that document which presents the principles on which we stand as a people, on which we unite as a people--and which, if we lose them, we shall lose everything that makes us one.

How can standing for those principles be divisive, when those principles are the one thing that make us a nation?!

[applause, cheering, standing ovation, etc.]

But now I get to the hard part. No, it is the hard part, my friends, because I come before you today and I know that you've heard that we are in the midst of a great struggle. It is indeed a struggle for this nation's soul and future. It challenges us greatly. It challenges us to be sure and to be careful. But most importantly, it challenges us to be bold and unashamed. And we have to ask ourselves, each and every one of us, as Americans, as Christian people, whether we are meeting that challenge.

And you see all kinds of ways you can do this. You can do it by the calculation method and sit back there and try to figure out where the winner is today. "I don't know who's gonna win. Is it that one, is it this one? Is it the other one? We'll throw our support behind whoever looks like a winner today, and that'll be that." I don't know who I'm speaking to. Could be I'm speaking to somebody in this audience, but I've got to tell you one thing. In election after election in this country, people have stood on the sidelines trying to calculate which way they should go to find a winner. And I'll tell you this: in election after election, that kind of approach has meant one thing. It has meant that this country and its principles have lost.

I think it's time we put aside every calculation, put aside everything but this one thought: which way lies the right? Which way lies the Will that lies above all other wills?

Choose that as your direction, and go for it. And we cannot go wrong, we cannot go wrong. We shall prevail, no matter what. [applause]

If you're ready to do that, then I think I'll lay a challenge out in front of you, because it is the challenge of our time right now--because we have a choice before us. I think we, all of us know in our heart of hearts that all of the major problems we face as a country, the fiscal problems, the social problems, they are all of them rooted in the moral disintegration of the nation. We know this. [applause starting]

Yeah! Wait, wait, wait! Now, I want you to all hold on a second! Hold on! I know, because I'm not saying these things. I'm about to get to the part you don't like, so listen to the part you like. OK? I know that we all believe this. It's got to be the priority. We know that that's the problem. We know that it leads to the breakdown of family life, and we know that the breakdown of the marriage-based, two-parent family is at the root of every problem--crime problem, the poverty problem, deteriorating education, even the problem of entitlements where we have backed away from the family system that ought to take care of the children and the elderly and tried to turn that task over to a government that can't get it right.

We are doing it wrong when we back away from the family system. And we have allowed the destruction of the family system, because we are defining our freedom in a corrupt and licentious way that destroys the loyalty and love and sense of obligation that's needed for family life.

Now, we know it's true. And I have a question for you, then. If you know it's true and you think it's right, then why on earth would you sit back this time when it matters more than anything to this nation that we make that our number one priority, and put your seal of approval behind people who put it on the back burner and give it the back seat, and only talk about it when you force them to?

What's the matter with you?

[applause, cheering, standing ovation, etc.]

 


Because I'll tell you. I'll be honest. I think that we have got to make the restoration of the moral and material foundations of the marriage-based family the number one priority of this nation's life. Nothing is more important. Not the budget, not the deficit, not the taxes, not the power of the federal government or the state government.

We will rebuild our families, or we will perish--and you know it!

Now that doesn't mean, and don't get me wrong, that doesn't mean we don't care about these other issues, because when you think it through, if you want to rebuild families then you better start by rebuilding the material resource base of the family, and that means you've got to reclaim control of the money and the income from the government. That means you've got to abolish the income tax, get a retail sales tax in place that puts people back in control of their income. Make the paycheck the pay. Make the income the income. Make our decisions the decisions that count first before the government gets its share, and maybe we'll reclaim our material authority.

It also means that when you look at welfare . . . I'm listening to all these folks, liberals, conservatives, Republicans, Democrats, all saying the same thing about welfare: "Put those welfare people to work." And I'm sitting there thinking to myself, "But most of those welfare people are mothers." Have you realized yet that the only people who should be happy with the wholesale agenda of putting unwed mothers to work are the feminists who believe in the destruction of the family? Before we concentrate on putting them to work, let's put the work in the right context, in the context of marriage-based families where children are supposed to be reared.

Make marriage the number one objective and, in that context, work.

[applause]

And if we're going to achieve that objective, then we'd better not rely on the bureaucrats, because I don't think bureaucrats make good matchmakers. Do you?

[audience: No]

Keyes: And I don't believe either with all those people who go throw up their hands and act as if you can't force people to get married--what's the matter with us as a society? What has gone wrong with this country? Do you know, every civilization's built on some basics--just as adult human beings better not forget things we learned when we were two or three, like potty training, and such! Well, there are two very basic things that are the equivalent, morally, of potty training for a society, and that is getting you younger children to avoid fornication, and getting your older children to marry when they want to have children. Those are two real basic things, and if we've forgotten how to do it, we're in serious trouble.

I think that there are many people right here in this audience, there are many churches, there are many institutions of faith, who know how to do it, who know how to draw people into moralizing relationships, who know how to give them counsel and guidance and prayer and support, so that they can find decent partners and be decent husbands and wives and fathers and mothers.

I think it's time we reclaimed that responsibility from the government. Take back the helping programs, take back the charity programs, put them back in the hands of the non-government faith-based institutions where they belong, so we can get on with the job.

[applause, cheering, standing ovation, etc.]

And finally, how are we going to do it if we continue to allow a government-dominated education system to take us down a brain-washed road, toward a day when our children won't even know what the Declaration of Independence is all about? We've got to reclaim the government's role in education, as well, because it shouldn't be a government-lead endeavor. We shouldn't let them treat our children as if they belonged to government. Our children belong to God, and we as parents are responsible to Him for them--before the government, before anybody else.

[applause, cheering, standing ovation, etc.]

And if we're to find our way back to clear moral health and foundations, I think we're going to have to confront, first and foremost, those issues that epitomize the corrupt and licentious concept of freedom that you and I both know is destroying this country.

At Republican gatherings and other gatherings around the country, I guess I tend to be now the one who shows up, nobody really wants him around, "He's gonna ruin our lunch again. There he goes, messing with dinner." Because I feel that it is absolutely hypocritical to go charging off up the hill against the fictional violence of Hollywood and to go charging out and to say, "Well, you know my record. You know where I stand." No. Because, you see, the number one thing we've got to get done right now is not figuring out where some politician stands on the issue.

Leadership in this country right now involves standing up and forthrightly and persuasively presenting to the American people the case of conscience for those things we know to be right.

That's what we have to do on the abortion issue, not run away with it, not play with it, because if we don't face it forthrightly we will never get back to the principles that have made this country strong and great. How can we put into the hands of women the right to determine whether their children are human or not, for purposes of abortion, when our great founding document says quite clearly that that determination was made by God Almighty long before we got here?

 

And we have a choice. As I put it to Wolf Blitzer the other day, he said, "Well, how can you, a man, come here and pretend to dictate the choice of a woman?" I'm saying, "I'm not dictating anybody's choice. I am not saying this. The Declaration says it. And the Declaration says that it was God's choice that made us human, and God's choice that gave us rights, and between God's choice and the woman's choice, I know where I stand, I know where we must stand as a nation." [applause]

And finally, I know I'm coming in for some criticism, because I . . . Wait! Wait! Really! . . . Because, am I bringing religion into politics, do you think? Am I crossing that wall, so called, of separation between church and state? They tell that me this is terrible. There are people who believe that you can't be a preacher in politics, this is all awful, we've got to concentrate on other things. What country are they living in? This is a nation that was built on certain moral premises. The main premise is very simple: our rights come from God.

Now, will somebody tell me, explain to me, if we deny God's existence and reject His authority, what happens to our claim to be respected in our human rights? I don't believe it can stand because, like everything else in this universe, but mostly like those things attested to by our great Declaration, our rights, our sense of justice, our sense of principle cannot stand except on the solid foundation of God's creative power and God's authority. That's what they said in the beginning. There is no substitute for it. That is our politics. That is our American creed. And I say nothing and do nothing that is not consistent with it in every iota.

So, tell me something. If that's the case, how come we're sitting back shamefaced trying to explain why it is that we bring our deep convictions into political life? As we are good Christians, so we are good Americans, and we bring our Christian principles to a table that is wrought in the image of those Christian principles. Politics is where we belong, because in America, politics is founded on the solid foundation of God Almighty.

[applause, cheering, standing ovation, etc.]

 

 

But you have a choice. I don't want anybody to be able to accuse me, unhappily, of politicking from here, so I won't. But I do want to say this. As I go around the country these days, I am finding all kinds of audiences--very large ones, lots of people turning out applauding this message, because in their heart of hearts, I think the majority of Americans know that we have got to make the restoration of our moral principles and integrity our top priority. And I just ask you to consider one fact as you are facing your choices. There are voices out there now, they've been reading the polls lately, and they're starting to pick up on it and say, "Oh yeah, me too! Me too! Oh yeah, I believe that, too. I'll follow that, too. You want me to be Reagan, I'll be Reagan. You want me to be something else, I'll be something else."

I'll tell you something. It's about time we had some leaders who aren't looking to find out what they want to be or what the people want them to be. I want them to look and ask what it is that this nation requires, what it is that its principles require, what it is that the Creator, God, who is the foundation of all our rights, requires. Be what God wants you to be, and you will be what America needs.

[applause, cheering, standing ovation, etc.]

And so, I'd ask you only one thing, only one thing, look around you, and if you hear the sound of that quite certain trumpet which sounds our call to battle in this day, a call not in a spirit of self-righteousness and anger but in a spirit of healing love, in a spirit of grief over what is happening to what ought to be the decent heart of our land.

If you hear that call somewhere, then I don't care who raises it--could be me, could be somebody else. But I'll say this. Follow that call. Look not for victory. Look not for worldly signs of success, because you'll find them in all the wrong places. Look instead for that heart, and those words that reflect the heart, and words that we know to be the only heart, the only words by which this nation can be saved. And when you find it, regardless of who it is, follow that path, and whether it looks like it leads to defeat or victory, know this, if it is the right path, God will decide whether victory shall be ours. It is in His hands. [applause]

And we don't need to be ashamed of it, either. I'm tired of people who stand forth talking about this nation's great principles like they're things we ought to be ashamed of. Because, you know, I think this nation does indeed have a special purpose and a special destiny. It's not for nothing that we have had in various ways attracted or brought to these shores the seeds of every race and every creed of human kind. We are a people marked out, it seems to me, to shape a special destiny before the eyes of the world.

When human beings ask whether there is hope, when they look into the eyes of hunger and war and grief and ask whether there shall ever be peace, ask whether there shall ever be justice. I think it is our mission in this country to suggest that, yes indeed, there is a common ground on which we can each and all of us stand as human beings. It is the common ground of that principle articulated in our great Declaration that each and every human being has an intrinsic worth, determined not by our choice, but by the choice of God. On that ground we can stand. On that ground we have indeed built the most mighty the most prosperous nation in the history of the world--but it shall surely fail of its great hope if, in this time of seeming success, we abandon the great principle, the great hope on which it stands.

Let this not be the generation that betrays that hope in pursuit of a delusory understanding of freedom that denies the principle of God's authority on which that hope is grounded. Let this be the generation that instead stands up to all those issues as our forbears did in the Revolution and in the Civil War, stands up to those great issues that challenge us to be a people of the Declaration, and through being a people of the Declaration become again a people of God. Let us stand up and show to the world that there is indeed still that certain trumpet of hope, and it sounds in America, as our lamp shines before the world to show them all the better destiny that He in His great mind still has marked out for us if we receive His grace, if we respect His will.

That is our mission. That is our destiny as a nation and as a people. I think sometimes we ought to put aside all the other talk and all the other chatter, and realize that all the material abundance, all the military power, counts for nothing against that mission to vindicate the God-given dignity of humankind.

This is a mission for the sake of which people have died on battlefields at home and abroad. This is a mission that can lift the eyes of our children to a nobler hope and a nobler destiny, to a nobler understanding of what it means to be Americans, to be human, to be Christian. Let us reach out for that nobler hope, and let us not stand back now in the moment of trial, for the great crisis of character is upon us. And it will not be decided by me or other leaders on this platform. It will be decided by you all, in the privacy of your consciences and your hearts. Will you choose thereto to be a people that stand with the Declaration, stand with its noble principles of right and justice, stand with its promise of justice from Almighty God?

In this election year, I'd say let that be the question before you. And if you answer it rightly then let that answer, and not any calculation be your guide.

Because, you know, Lincoln was right. We can nobly save or meanly lose this last best hope. Let's save it in the only way that we know how, by putting our hand in one other's hand and our faith and trust in the will and authority of God, move forward to a future based upon His will, upon the principles that make us one, to go forth into the 21st century, not on the false materialistic hopes of science and technology, but on the true hopes of those moral principles that extend through us a hope to all humankind.

Thank you very much.

 

 

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