Special Bulletin 15-2011

Brain Freeze

by Rick Joyner

        It was a historic brain freeze. It was so dramatic that it eclipsed the sexual harassment allegations being made against Herman Cain and child sex abuse charges that have rocked Penn State University. It was that big.

       There never may have been a brain freeze in history more extraordinary or embarrassing than Gov. Rick Perry’s at the November 9 Republican Presidential Debate when he could not remember the third department of the Federal Government he would eliminate as President. It is very likely that this clip will be played over and over for as long as we have Presidential campaigns. It is already being assumed that it cost Perry any hope of capturing the Republican nomination. Has it?

       Not necessarily, but if he comes back from this, it would probably be the biggest miraculous political comeback in history. Since a miracle is what the whole country is in need of right now, maybe we should not give up on him either.

       Brain freezes have probably happened to everyone at some time. Possibly the second most famous brain freeze was by our beloved President Reagan, when his wife Nancy had to whisper the answer to a simple question to him. It happens to us all, but usually not in front of millions of people watching.

       To Perry’s credit, he went right to the media after the debate, admitted that it was a big one, and faced one of the most embarrassing moments in American political history with candor and humor. To the credit of the media, there was sincere empathy from just about every reporter and pundit, liberal and conservative. Most admitted to it being one of their greatest fears when they’re in the camera lights, and it has probably happened to maybe all of them once or twice. No question that the President has to be held to higher standards, but even the President is human. The media has been unrelenting in showing this over and over, but they’ve also had a lot of grace in the coverage I’ve seen.

       Even so, without question, this made Gov. Perry’s comeback much harder. Every Republican will shudder when they think about how this would be used by the Obama campaign if he were the nominee, not to mention how bad it would be for this to happen again in a debate with Obama. The comeback of Gov. Perry from this will take a miracle, but again, so will the comeback of the country. We need faith for miracles because we need miracles, so let’s not give up on Perry yet.


Herman Cain

       Even though the brain freeze is stealing the headlines, the second biggest story of the debate was the remarkable performance of Herman Cain. He was the one everyone thought would be distracted and have a poor night. Instead he surprised, if not shocked, everyone with possibly his strongest debate performance yet. Even liberal news pundits gushed about Cain’s strong showing and how unprepared they were for it, knowing the pressure he has been under. He was confident, clear, and at times brilliant.

       What about the sexual harassment charges? They’re big; they’re important; and they’re still not resolved. One day it seems like he’s guilty, then the next it seems like he’s the victim. Some of the charges themselves do not make sense, and as more is learned about the accusers, their credibility has gone down, but not enough to make all of the questions go away, at least at this writing.

       One of the accusers, who we now know has a history of filing complaints like this and seeking compensation, did not file a complaint when she supposedly was harassed by Cain. Why? This has to raise even more questions about her credibility.

       Then the attack she claimed happened in a car would have been impressive even for someone with the dexterity of Spiderman. This accuser, who claimed she had nothing to gain from making this accusation, then happily began making the rounds of the morning talk shows.

       Another missing ingredient to these charges against Cain is that no one has come forth admitting to having an affair with him. Another is that when someone is as aggressive as these accusers claim that Cain was with them, there is almost always a pattern of behavior that has grown over time, and there are usually many people who know about it. People who worked with Cain for many years have to date said this was not something they had ever witnessed in him.

       Even so, I personally know how easy it is to be veiled by friendship or respect for other people so that you do not see major issues they have in their life. So that’s not proof either, because there are always exceptional circumstances. However, the evidence that has come forth about Cain so far has not been enough to convict in a court of law, and until that type of evidence comes forth, the allegations should be dismissed. Will they be? Probably not.

       Even if the accusers all prove to be liars and deceivers, this does not prove that something did not happen. Doubts have been raised about Herman Cain’s character that will taint him with many for the rest of his life. I am not asserting innocence or guilt, but the same thing happened to Jesus, who was the Truth. He was not accused of sexual harassment, but of sexual misconduct, and many other terrible things by His enemies. These charges continue to be made about Jesus as the novel, The Da Vinci Code, recently rekindled.

       My point is that you can be the most pure, perfectly righteous person to ever walk the earth, be falsely accused of heinous behavior, and many, if not most, people will believe it. The “father of lies” is called “the accuser of the brethren” for a reason. For thousands of years, he has been doing much of his evil with accusations. He has destroyed the reputations, and sometimes the lives, of many very good people, and some of the world’s best people.

       This is why we have due process in our courts. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church that it was to their shame that they did not have any judges among them, and so even believers had to go before the heathen for justice. Is that not what we do now when we expect the media to sort such things out?

       So how should we take the accusations against Herman Cain? Until there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt, I intend to doubt the allegations. Some hold to the saying that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” but that is not always true, and may be seldom true.

       I may err on the side of being too prone not to believe accusations because I also have been subject to so many false ones. The few times I’ve had the nerve to look up my name on the Internet, it’s hard to believe what people say I’ve taught or believed. Some of the good things people say about me are not true either. What is really scary is the number of people who recount my visits to their church when I know full well I’ve never been their church or even the city it’s in.

       Maybe someone is out there saying they’re me and saying or doing these things, but the result is that I am now far more prone not to believe accusations than to believe them. This does not mean I’ll disregard them, but I will not believe them without proof. This is what I Corinthians 13 and other Scriptures require of us.

       Thankfully, the citizens of the U.S. also seem to be increasingly prone not to believe the media, or sensational accusations, as they would have just a few years ago. We seem to have become cynical about cynicism. There are notable exceptions, but the trend is toward not automatically accepting what the media reports as fact. I think there are also signs that much of the media is becoming more responsible in their reporting with some notable exceptions.

       One thing is sure, Herman Cain’s performance in the November 9th debate was remarkable whether he is guilty of the charges or innocent. What was so impressive to even the media was his ability to perform at such a high level under such obvious distraction and stress. Debates are intended to strip away and reveal what the candidates are really made of. Cain’s performance was no less impressive than it would be for Penn State’s team to win its football game this coming weekend, which leads to our next point.


Penn State

       With the trauma that the Penn State football team is going through right now, if they were to win against Nebraska it would have to be considered one of the greatest victories ever in college football. No one expects them to win, and it is extremely unlikely, but if they do, we would have to admit that they have some of the greatest character ever found in a team.

       Football is physical, and it is also mental, but it is even more about passion and desire. The heart has been cut out of this Penn State team, but if they can find enough to win on Saturday, it will be one of the greatest feats ever in sports. It would lift that devastated campus out of depression like few things could, and I for one will be pulling for them. However, I know it’s extremely unlikely for them to even be competitive, much less win.

       I’ve known a lot of people who played football for Coach Paterno, including a first cousin who was an All American on one of their great teams. I’ve never met anyone who played for him who did not respect him and consider him like a father. To coach for over half a century with hardly even a mention of rule violations is remarkable in today’s sports world. Until a week ago, he was probably considered one of the best of the best of all time, not just as a coach, but as a leader with integrity. It all changed overnight. Is that fair?

       I talked to one star that played at Penn State who admitted that he had been offered so much to sign with other schools that he felt that he might have to take a pay cut when he went to the pros. All the players have said that Joe Paterno never offered them anything but hard work and fair treatment. He wanted his players to be great people, not just great players. All that I know who played for him are great people with an uncommon strength of character.

       Coach Paterno may have been one of the most honest to ever serve in his field, and one who sincerely tried to play by the rules. He tried to teach all who played for him to do the same. Even so, the horrendous news coming out of Penn State this week will soil his name forever. What is the difference between this and the allegations against Herman Cain?

       There is a big difference. The allegations at Penn State have become charges, and though there has not been a trial or convictions yet, it involves something far worse than sexual harassment—it involves the sexual abuse of children. Some of these children are as young as ten years old.

       Coach Paterno is not accused of any such behavior, but of knowing about it. Though he did report it, when nothing was done by his superiors that he had reported it to, he did not do any more either. This was not just overlooking harassment, but the abuse and possible rape of children. Few in this world will be quick to forgive or forget something like that.

       At this time, the Penn State students feel that a great injustice has been done to their coach because he was fired and not even allowed to coach the upcoming home game. However, the rest of the nation would have been appalled to see him standing on the sidelines. His admitted inaction might have enabled more children to have been abused, even in the Penn State locker rooms.



       So is it fair for Coach Paterno to have done so much good for so many and to have his name ruined by one such act of negligence? It could be because of what it involved.

       Having spent most of my adult life studying leadership, these are all fundamental cases that reveal fundamental truths and lessons we should all learn from. I hurt for Gov. Perry when he had his brain freeze. It was obvious that even his opponents hurt for him, too. He handled it with a lot of class, which is to his credit, but it likely ended his ability to capture the nomination.

       This one thing may have ended his chances.

       Sexual harassment is a serious matter too, and I in no way want to belittle the seriousness of the allegations against Herman Cain. For anyone in a position of authority to use that to pressure anyone for sexual favors, or any other kind, is evil and should be the despicable crime that it is. Even so, we must not accept the kind of flimsy evidence against someone that has been presented against him at this writing. It would be a terrible crime against Herman Cain, and possibly America, to be wrongly deprived of the leadership of someone because of false accusations.

       We should be proud of our fellow countrymen for not writing him off yet, but rather rising to his support as many are doing. If it is proven later that he was lying, then he will pay a high price, and should. At this writing, he deserves the benefit of the doubt as we would hope for if we were wrongly accused of something like this.

       Even so, if these allegations prove to be true, this one thing could have cost Herman Cain the Presidency.

       The heartrending issues surfacing at Penn State right now are shaking the school to its foundation, and has no doubt gutted their great heritage in college sports. If they win Saturday, it could be the beginning of a great new heritage, that not only restores their confidence, but their honor. Many Penn State athletes deserve to have their honor maintained because they chose honor over money and many other favors just to go there.

       I hope they win, but even if they don’t, it is right that we give honor to whom honor is due, regardless of what a few have done to destroy it. Think about all the great things that are good about Coach Paterno and his tenure as coach. Think about how one thing may have cost him his legacy for all of that good.

       I just spent a couple of days with Jim Bakker in Branson, Missouri. He had one twenty-minute tryst, which cost him all that he had labored for over twenty years to achieve and build at Heritage USA. He had the courage to write a thick book about it called, I Was Wrong, to try and prevent others from making the same mistake.

       Think before you do that one thing you know is not right. It’s a brain freeze that could cost you more than you ever dreamed.    


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