Alan Keyes' Address
I am wont to begin my speeches these days with a statement that used to be in some dispute in this country. But I guess I can say it now without any fear of contradiction.
In case you have forgotten it, though I doubt you have -- Bill Clinton is a liar.
I have, sadly, begun every major speech I have given in the last several months with that statement. But it is now clear to everyone -- his friends, his foes, the American people, and everyone around the world -- that that statement is far too tragically true.
But I hope we will not suffer from the delusion that Bill Clinton’s crisis is merely the crisis of an individual. I hope we will not suffer from the impression that it is merely the crisis even of one of our great national institutions. What we are going through right now, what we are witnessing in Washington, is the fruit -- the bitter, the terrible fruit -- of a moral crisis that has beset this country not for a few months or a couple of years, but for several decades. We are reaping the fruit of our abandonment of the principles of decency and integrity on which this nation was based.
We have seen, sadly, in the evidence released in the last little while, evidence of an individual occupying the presidency of the United States who has no regard for the meaning and worth of the human person.
But I defy those who try to pretend that we only discovered that when we read Monica Lewinsky’s testimony. We discovered that the day, before this man took office, when he removed protection from the life of the innocent unborn. We discovered that when he wielded his veto pen to veto the partial-birth abortion ban and declared himself the champion of even the most extreme and heinous form of abortion imaginable.
It is wrong for anyone to pretend that we look here at some isolated instances of Bill Clinton‚s individual character, and sexual addiction, and all these other phrases. What we are seeing is the natural consequence of that morality which says that human dignity is a matter of human choice, when we know it to be a matter of the will of Almighty God.
What we are seeing here is the natural consequence of an ideology that will mouth words of respect for the family, and the strength of the family, while promoting the radical homosexual agenda that assaults every idea of family responsibility, fidelity, and integrity.
This is not, therefore, simply evidence of Bill Clinton’s bad character and bad judgment. It is evidence of the consequences for character, and the consequences for moral judgment, of adopting that ideology which places human will above God’s will, and which abandons the basic principles of justice on which this nation was founded and on which its strength depends.
So as we go through this crisis I hope we will remember that the choices we have to make in the days ahead are not confined to the question of Bill Clinton’s removal from office.
I have to say a word about that -- do you mind? Because -- I don’t know, maybe there is something amiss with me. I was on a program the other night with a Congressman Menendez, and he was making an argument that they are making these days. Congressman Menendez is still, apparently, in search of facts to justify the removal of Bill Clinton from office. And I have to tell you, I find this notion that we somehow need to further involve ourselves with the details of Mr. Clinton’s wrongdoing kind of strange.
At the risk of being just a trifle less than becoming, it does seem to me that one can make certain conclusions about flushing the toilet without having to put one’s head inside.
And I think that it is quite clear. There are people who are actually criticizing Kenneth Starr because he brought some of the smelly material out where we could see it, and yet they are insisting that we have to dive in, in order to look at more.
We don’t need any more evidence. What we need is action with integrity from the Congress of the United States. This man must go!
And here, since I know that we, all of us, share a common faith, and that we, all of us, hear the voice of a common Master, Our Lord Jesus Christ, I have to say that one good effect of this whole crisis -- I know, you can hardly believe there is one, but there is -- I haven’t heard so much biblically-based discussion in America in many years. People who haven’t had recourse to a Bible, and who, every time you pointed out one of the commandments would tell you how they disbelieved it, and that was “our book,” and they didn’t have to accept it -- all of a sudden, now, they are going for every passage about forgiveness that they can find in the text!
And I want to be clear about one thing. I deeply believe in the Christian concept of forgiveness. But I think that we ought to remember a couple of things before we follow successful pastors, like Pastor Wogaman, down the road of forgiveness without accountability.
I call him “successful” facetiously, of course. It is not entirely clear to me why we would want to make him pastor of the nation, given the job he has done with Bill Clinton, but let‚s leave that aside.
I believe deeply in the concept of forgiveness, but I think that we ought to remember a couple of things. First of all, it is so true that a price has to be paid for sin that when God Himself wanted to forgive all our sins, He had to send His Son Jesus Christ to suffer the penalty. And if Christ, all innocent, was willing to accept the penalty for all our sins, I think that Bill Clinton ought to be willing to accept accountability for his own.
I believe in the Christian concept of forgiveness, but I think, as one of my callers said today, there has got to be some common sense exercised. After all is said and done, I can indeed forgive your drunkenness -- BUT YOU STILL CAN’T DRIVE ME HOME! And that is what we need to tell Bill Clinton.
We need to remember that he is not the president of some widget company, where the only harm he can do will affect the bottom line. This man is responsible for the most awesome military power ever assembled in the history of the earth. And every time he makes a decision on the use of that military power, he is making one of the most awesome, and critical, and burdensome moral judgments that any human being can face.
Now, you tell me honestly ˆ which one of you would be willing to consign that power and its use to a man of no character, a man of no conscience, a man of no shame, a man of no integrity whom we cannot trust?
But if you would not be willing to give it to such a man -- for one day, or one hour, or one minute -- how can we leave it in the hands of such a man for one day, one hour, longer than we have to?
It is time -- it is more than past time -- that, as a people, we take responsibility for our chief minister.
There are those who like to compare Mr. Clinton’s position to that of David in the Bible. I would like to remind you, though, that God had a forgiving heart for David. He did forgive David.
But David suffered every last ounce of the consequences of his sin. He watched his children die, his throne be lost, and he was cursed down to several generations, even though God had forgiven him.
And we need to remember that forgiveness does not mean that we can turn our backs on accountability, and that at the end of the day it does not relieve us of our responsibility, as that people entrusted by God Almighty with the ultimate sovereign authority in these United States.
Bill Clinton is not David in America -- we are!
Bill Clinton is not Saul in America -- we are!
We are those, by God’s providence, who, assembled as the people of the United States, will have to stand before the tribunal of God to answer for His anointed power in this country. He gave it to us; he didn’t give it to them.
But don’t forget that that is a responsibility. And we will have to answer for it. If we leave someone in office who is unworthy of that position, it’s our “look-out” as well as theirs. And that is the awesome judgment that we will have to take now.
But you know, we’ve had to take it for years. Because, as I said, this didn’t begin with Bill Clinton’s character. The same disregard for law, the same indecency, the same disregard for the God-given worth of the human person that we see in every sordid detail of this episode is clear as well in the decisions of the Supreme Court that have withdrawn the protection of dignity from the unborn.
And as we cannot tolerate Bill Clinton’s hand upon the trigger for one moment longer than we have to, so we should not tolerate any longer that view which puts the shadow of death over innocent unborn life in the womb.
The partial-birth abortion vote today -- the vote of the Senate not to override his veto -- is a sordid scandal as great as the scandal in the White House.
And that scandal is, in fact, the scandal that has assaulted and undermined the decent conscience of this country -- that has hardened the hearts of our children, that has led to the problems of crimes in the school, and crimes in the street, and broken families. We can talk about the money, and the materialism, and the taxes all we want. The great crisis of this country is today what it has been for years -- the moral crisis of this nation’s conscience. We must make it item number one on the agenda. Nothing else will do.
And that being said, I want to say a word to the special responsibility that I believe we have, as those who stand unashamedly beneath the banner of Our Lord.
Sometimes people like to pretend that there is some contradiction between Christian faith and citizen vocation. I wish that we would remember that the one who came before Our Lord, to prepare His way in a world both pagan and unreceptive to His words -- John the Baptist -- was a man who died because he would not bow before unrighteous power.
I believe that, like him, we are called upon to prepare the way for truth in American politics.
And I know we all pray for this, don’t we? We clamor for it, we pray for it -- “Lord, send us a set of leaders who will stand for principle, people who won’t blow in every wind away from those things that You have ordained and that You believe.”
I have one word to say, though, to all of you. And it may be one you don’t want to hear, but it is one that you need to start thinking about, harder than you have. And that is this:
If you want leaders who will stand for principle, you will have to start being people who will WORK for leaders who stand for principle, and VOTE for leaders who stand for principle!
No more excuses!
No more excuses!
No more excuses. No more expediency. No more calculation.
It is about time that we started to understand that if we don’t raise our voices in unequivocal support for the moral truth, and ONLY for those who will speak it boldly, unashamedly, and without compromise, then nobody in this country is going to.
And I have to tell you, straight in the front -- you won’t like it, but I’ll tell it to you anyway:
Up to now I deeply believe that you have FAILED in that vocation.
And next time around I sincerely hope -- I pray to the Lord every day -- that you won’t let this crisis get any worse. It is not going to end until YOU have stood forward to be the leaven, to be the yeast, that makes the truth rise in America, and by making it rise finally puts this country back on the true path of its integrity -- that path which was set out at the beginning, and which, without apology, stands before the world to proclaim that the basis of justice is not the choices of human beings, but rather the will of Almighty God.
Let that be your truth. Carry it into American politics, and we will save this nation’s soul.
God bless you.