Sam Brownback: 'The Poor Will Save Us'
The Republican senator says it just might take a religious revival to save America.
BY: Interview by David Kuo
Do you think that there's any particular faith that could or should disqualify someone from public office or for running for President?
No. You know, and we don't have religious tests in this country. And we swear them off, and that is as it should be.
Do you think that politics has sullied Jesus' name at all, in that, you know, He's now recognized more with a political agenda in some people's eyes than, you know, with the Gospel?
Well, if He's more identified with a political agenda, then it has because, in His own era, He didn't take up a political agenda, and that's what they wanted Him to do to throw the Romans off. And He steadfastly stayed away from that. And if it has happened, then that has not been good. But, I--what I hope people will do is to recognize the beauty of a well developed soul.And people can see them around them. You know, like, when we lost Mother Teresa, people would generally say, whether they were--agree or disagree with her faith, they would say, now, this person was special. Something's very special here.
And what it was, was a well developed soul. It was a soul that had gone through a lot of hardship. It is a soul that had worked with the poor, who saw the beauty in the poor, and even those dying and embraced it, and would speak that truth.
But, I was on a TV show, and the interviewer said, well, we lost the Lou Gehrig when we lost her [Mother Teresa], didn't we? I said, yes, but there are others around you. I mean, you can look and see people that have a special development of their soul. And it's actually possible for all of us. Go and talk with that person. What makes them like this? And I would hope that people would more look at that, rather than a political agenda to see Jesus.
In America today, there are 40 percent of the kids born out of wedlock, 80 percent in the African American community. You've got the lowest level of family formation ever, in terms of marriages. You still have seriously high divorce rates. There are more people in prison per capita than in any other country in the world. Is there a historical precedent for turning this around with anything other than mass revival - in other words, through a religious conversion as opposed to something political?
I've asked that very question of historians, and they haven't been able to cite one to me. I think those two move together.
When you look at--I think one of the more recent examples that is somewhat close to it would be pre-Victorian England in the late 1700's, early 1800's, and you had the Wesley Brothers that came forward with Methodism. And then, you had the political movement that moved on top of it... and the end of the slave trade took place.
But, you had a culture then that was starting to deteriorate, and then was revived. And then, that revived culture then took on big topics like the slave trade.
It also took on the reformation of manners. I mean, that was one of the key movements of the political end of that faith movement at that point in time.
But, I think you're seeing a faith awakening in America. I think the numbers show that, and how people are voting and acting.
And they're also showing that their own religious intensity in the country, which, while the pool has generally narrowed from historical levels, the pool has intensified and gone deeper. I think you're seeing that take place in this country today.
Where do you think God is most pleased with you today? Where do you think God is most disappointed with you today?
I think He's most pleased in my relationship development versus where I was because I was really a power-oriented politician who took the phrase, seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added onto you - the reason I was seeking God was to get all these things, you know.
So, it was--but, my relationships with my wife and my kids and others are far better today than what they were. And I think He would probably be most pleased with that, even though it's still not great.
And what I think He'd most upset is I still have a lot of judgmentalism in me, where I'd see somebody and I just would, you know, I disagree with this person, and you kind of automatically cast them away. And even though you don't do anything physically, you don't say anything, but people get a real sense of your heart. And I think that's probably the place that He'd be most displeased.
What's the one thing that you want people to know about Senator Sam Brownback's run for President that they don't know about either who you are or what you would do? Why they should support you?
Well, it's why I'm running is what I would want them know, and I'm running to rebuild the family and renew the culture.
I will take, and have taken, a position on a broad set of issues, which I think are all very important. But, at my core, why I'm doing this is to rebuild the family and renew the culture. And that's what I'd want them to know.