He Prayed Outside Abortion Clinics as a Kid, Now He’s About to Become a U.S. Senator

State   Josh Shepherd   Oct 14, 2014   |   4:38PM    Lincoln, NE

At a recent campaign event, U.S. Senate candidate Ben Sasse spoke of his close association with the pro-life cause—and shared strong words on how the movement can be more effective.

“I’m zealously pro-life. I grew up in the movement; my mom had me praying outside abortion clinics when I was a kid,” said Sasse, currently leading his opponent in the statewide Nebraska race by 22 points according to RealClearPolitics.

“Government doesn’t define life,” he continued. “God gives us the gift of life. Government exists to do a very limited number of things, and one of those is to protect the most vulnerable among us. The unborn are at the top of that list.”

Ben Sasse and FamilyBen and Melissa Sasse home-school their three children (Photo: Sasse for Senate)

Sasse has a remarkably varied background: working in Nebraska cornfields as a teen, playing quarterback for the University of Oxford, then earning a Ph.D. in History from Yale University.

After a few years serving in a Washington policy position, Ben Sasse and his wife Melissa are now back in his home state raising their three children. “I believe deeply in the pro-life cause,” he says. “I also think that we need to talk in a more winsome way, instead of a tribal way, about these issues.”

“We should start by being for people before we’re against bad programs,” Sasse exhorts. “I don’t think we’re communicating very well, and part of it is because of the magnitude of the challenges we face.”

“The truth is, we don’t have 51 percent of the people with us, so we’re going to have to bring some people along. There’s a storytelling mission.”

His two decades of experience in moving organizations from chaos to clarity give an indication of how Sasse would lead as Senator… and a relevant lesson for those who engage in a “big cause” like defending pre-born lives.

“I’ve spent the last five years as a college president in my hometown—the school where my parents met, that my grandpa worked at for 33 years,” Sasse said, referring to Midland University in Fremont, Nebraska. “We got to a place where this school, a 130 year-old Lutheran liberal arts college, was going to declare bankruptcy.”

“I’m a turnaround guy. I lived five miles away, and I care deeply about this place. They asked me to take it over; I said, ‘You’ve got to be crazy! I’m used to fixing stuff you can actually fix.’ This university had 38 departments that didn’t have students— totally economically unviable—and all these faculty had tenure.”

Midland University
Ben Sasse has served as a college president for the past five years (Photo: Midland University)

“We persuaded the local community: alumni, local businesses, the faculty and staff. We rebuilt the college from scratch. We’ve been really blessed—we’re now the fastest-growing college in an eight-state region.”

Sasse rushes to applaud others for their part. “I’ve been overvalued by the community as the guy who led that turnaround. I’m good at calling out nonsense on strategies that don’t work, and building teams of big-cause, low-ego people.”

“It wasn’t me: we put together a team, we pulled our oars in the same direction, and told the truth about business plans that didn’t make any sense. We built something special.”

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Returning to the policy issues surrounding life, Sasse noted, “Unlike a lot of ‘culture war’ battles where things appear to be drifting leftward, on the pro-life side there is actually a lot to be hopeful about.” Endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee, Sasse notes on his campaign website what pro-life legislation he aims to introduce or co-sponsor “in his first 100 days in office.”

“There’s a great opportunity here in recognizing the potential of diagnostic technologies to change cultural experience,” he said, referring to recent advances in ultrasound imaging. “The younger generation is, surprisingly, more pro-life because they’ve seen lots of pictures of what are indisputably babies in the womb—a different location, for a time, but they’re babies. “

Ben Sasse, Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz
Ben Sasse speaks at a rally alongside Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Ted Cruz (Photo: Flickr)

A national turnaround may be on the horizon for America, as citizens vote November 4 to retain or replace a significant proportion of Congress—deciding the fate of 36 U.S. Senators (of 100 total) and all 435 U.S. House seats. Mid-term elections will also determine which leaders will serve as governors in 39 states.

With crisis looming on many fronts nationally and internationally, the need for men and women of integrity to serve in public office has never been greater. Join us in praying for candidates on the campaign trail—to speak and act on true conviction, seeking wisdom beyond their own knowledge.

LifeNews Note: Josh M. Shepherd has served in communications/marketing roles for the past 10 years at Focus on the Family and The Heritage Foundation. Reprinted with permission from Bound4LIFE.