He is There

Dr. Alan Keyes appeared on the Inspiration Network’s (INSP) “The Answer” last Thursday. I’ve never seen the show and know nothing about the hosts. However, Dr. Keyes’ words on that particular day were inspiring, encouraging, and uplifting.

Dr. Keyes shared from his own experiences of failure (from the world’s perspective). He didn’t go into a lot of detail about these issues but he has certainly been through his share. Two failed Senate campaigns followed by two failed presidential campaigns followed by another failed Senate campaign. And, sadly, his last campaign was followed by the announcement of his older daughter that she has embraced the homosexual lifestyle.

I remember how, during the 2000 presidential campaign, Senator John McCain belittled Dr. Keyes. During one of the Republican primary debates, Dr. Keyes was passionately stating his position (on abortion, if I remember correctly). Sen. McCain responded by saying, “Next time, try decaf.” That wasn’t the only disrespect shown by the Senator.

I also remember Gary Bauer claiming that Dr. Keyes didn’t have the dignity required to be president. Apparently, Mr. Bauer didn’t appreciate Dr. Keyes’ crowd surfing for college-age attendees at one of his campaign rallies. At that event, I was helping with security for Dr. Keyes; I had been working with the Iowa campaign office in Des Moines. MTV’s Michael Moore arrived near the end of the rally with a flatbed truck on which dozens of college students were jumping, yelling, and playing music. Apparently, Mr. Moore had announced on his TV show that he would endorse whatever candidate jumped into his makeshift mosh pit. So, when Dr. Keyes came out the back door at the conclusion of the rally, Mr. Moore and the college students were waiting. I didn’t see the exact details that resulted in Dr. Keyes climbing on the back of the truck but I did see him fall off the truck onto the crowd of college kids just below. They supported him and he “surfed” across the small crowd. Needless to say, video footage of this was shown on the TV news channels over the next few days. Dr. Keyes clearly explained that his supposed lack of dignity (according to Mr. Bauer) was actually a show of his faith in the American people; that, falling on top of a crowd of people required a bit of trust that they would catch him. But I digress.

Well, after losing so many political campaigns, the press generally considers Dr. Keyes a loser. In my assessment, the press has largely created this idea to begin with. No matter that Dr. Keyes has won virtually every campaign debate he’s been in (according to the actual audience members), the media always portray him more as a rodeo clown than a bullfighter. On the TV show last week, Dr. Keyes acknowledged that it is often difficult to deal with failure; it is a struggle to overcome life’s problems.

However, Dr. Keyes isn’t without hope. He spoke of how, when he seems to doubt his faith and his calling, he is always reminded that he is not alone, that Christ is there. Christ has taken all the shame and loss and doubt and guilt; he has borne it so that we can be freed. This is the testimony of Dr. Keyes.

He concluded his remarks by encouraging the audience to turn to Christ when they are faced with despair, to ask Christ to come into their lives and take control. This Roman Catholic can give a better presentation of the gospel than many Evangelicals that I know.

Dr. Keyes is one of the small handful of public figures for whom I have the most profound respect. In fact, I can only think of a couple of other men who even come close to his stature of Christian witness in the American political and social arena. It is encouraging to hear Dr. Keyes remind us that Christ is there when we are struggling; this is certainly his message in his song “You Are There.”