TAMPA II: Constitution Party Refused To Uphold Its Own Constitution/Platform On Abortion
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” — Amos 3:3.
“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” — Psalm 127.
“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” — John 15:5.
“The National Committee shall have the power to grant and revoke state affiliation status.” — Constitution Of The Constitution Party, Article 3.
“We understand that upon indication of a failure to build and direct the state party in accordance with the platform and objectives of the party, the Constitution Party National Committee, after investigation and determination, may vote to revoke this charter and the recognition of this state party as the official affiliate of the Constitution Party.” — State Party Pledge.
I have covered national politics for more than 40 years, since Barry Goldwater in 1964. I have — by God’s grace alone — been a Christian since 1980. In virtually every controversy I have covered during these four-decades-plus both sides contested some facts in these cases; there was some truth on both sides of these conflicts.
But, in Tampa, Florida, this was not true. What was being alleged regarding the Nevada Party — that it was not in compliance with the no-exceptions abortion part of the Constitution Party Platform — was not contested. In fact, as you read on, you will see that some of those who defended the Nevada Party admitted, proudly, that this Party’s views on abortion do not comply with the Constitution Party Platform.
Thus, as I said repeatedly when I spoke, the issue before the body was not whether the Nevada Party was in compliance with the CP’s Platform on abortion. It was not. Therefore, I said, the question this body would be answering when it voted was: Do you care if the Nevada Party, on abortion, is out of compliance with the CP Platform and what will you do about this?
The answer, as we all know, was, clearly, no we do notcare so we will do nothing. Not enough people present voted to disaffiliate the Nevada Party.
Finally, a personal note. Pastor Mike Chastain did a superb job leading our team in Tampa as we spoke on behalf of disaffiliating Nevada or, to put it more accurately, as we spoke pointing out that Nevada had disaffiliated itself by being out of compliance with the CP Platform on abortion. Excellent, well-documented presentations were also made by Michael Anthony Peroutka and Scott Whiteman. We stayed on-message. Our remarks — unlike the opposition — were relevant to the Resolution being debated.
Resolution Debated Re: Nevada Party/Abortion
The Resolution being debated re: the Nevada Party was as follows:”First, Whereas the Independent American Party of Nevada is the Nevada affiliate of the Constitution Party National, and, Whereas a requirement for affiliation with the Constitution Party National is full compliance by the State Parties with the platform of the Constitution Party, and, Whereas the Independent American Party of Nevada has expressed a position that differs in principle and practical observance, and, Whereas the Independent American Party of Nevada has knowingly elected and retained officers (at least one, the chairman) who do not object to the killing of preborn children (abortion) in cases of rape, incest, life of the mother, and fetal deformity, Therefore, be it resolved that the Independent American Party of Nevada is hereby expelled from membership from the Constitution Party National Committee.
“And 2nd, Be it further resolved that the National Committee of the Constitution Party officially encourage the Independent American Party of Nevada to take whatever actions necessary within the scope of its Constitution and by-laws to bring itself and its officers into true, full, free, willing, and practical agreement with all parts of the Constitution Party National Platform and then to reapply for membership at which time, upon certification of these conditions, Nevada will gladly and warmly be readmitted.”
Now, on to the Tampa debate and some of what was said that is worth commenting on:
In the movie “Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade” —- at the end, when the bad guy drinks to “eternal life” from the wrong holy grail chalice, his life proves to be something less than eternal. Tinkling chimes tell us things have gone awry. The bad man gulps. His gray hair lengthens quickly, his eyes bulge, his skull begins to crater. Yellow teeth clenched, his head tilts backwards, his eyeballs falling into his skull, his skin peeling off. His entire skeleton lurches backwards into a wall, shatters into dust and blows away. An old crusader knight watching all this says —- slowly —-
“He ——- chose —— poorly.”
In Tampa, Howard Phillips chose poorly by defending the Nevada Party. Here’s what he said in its entirety: “Ladies and gentleman, let me begin by expressing my profound respect of everyone in this room and for all of us who share the same premises, principles and purposes.I’m honored to be among you, and even though we have our disagreements, I pray that we shall all come to the right purposes.
“I have with with me two documents. One is the constitution of the state of Nevada [Party].The other is the constitution and the by laws of the Constitution Party. We have rightly faulted Democrats and Republicans in Congress, Presidents, Justices and other Federal judges for their disregard of the Constitution of the United States. We are the defenders of the Constitution of the United States, and if we are to be faithful to the Constitution by analogy, we should also be faithful to the Constitution of the Constitution Party.
“And to me, that is the core issue and let me just read [from our] Constitution: ‘Nothing in the by laws of the Constitution Party puts upon the national party any authority to govern in the affairs of any state affiliate.The bylaws of the Constitution Party which amplify the Constitution say: ‘State affiliation with the national party is limited to one political party or organization from each state and the District of Columbia hereafter referred to as the state affiliate, of the power to grant state affiliate status and revoke by no less than two-thirds of the committee vote of those registered at the meeting.
“Application for state affiliate status shall be submitted to the credentials committee chairman who will approve the application and within 60 days of receipt shall make a determination based on preliminary application. Upon finding that the party or affiliation has a.) pledged adherence to the constitution party platform and b.) adopted official party documents with provide democratic procedures selected its officers, including national committee members in accordance with the state committee bylaws. d.) demonstrated evidence of a depository bank account.’
“The Independent American Party of Nevada was accepted in accord with our Constitution and by laws, and complied with a, b, c, and d.They are still in accordance with a,b, c and d. Therefore if we are to be in accordance with our party, as we insist that our country be faithful to the Constitution of our United States, you must reject disaffiliation because the Independent American Party of Nevada has been, since its inception into the Constitution Party, has been in compliance to the constitution of its party.
“This, my friends, is the issue upon which this matter must be resolved.Accordingly, if we are to be faithful to our Constitution and Bylaws, even as we insist that President Bush and members of Congress remain faithful to the Constitution of the United States, a vote to disaffiliate Nevada is inappropriate.”
Comment: “All” in that room when Howard spoke did not “share the same premises, principles and purposes” as the vote to come would demonstrate.
Secondly, Howard made a brilliant speech if what was being debated was whether or not the Nevada Party had complied with everything needed to be properly affiliated. But this was not what was being debated. What was being debated was whether the Nevada Party should be disaffiliated— indeed had disaffiliated itself — because, on abortion, its exceptions position meant this Party was not in compliance with the CP Platform.
Third, why did Howard not care about the issue of exceptions on abortion? His apparent indifference on this premier moral issue facing our country is particularly puzzling in light of the many strong pro-life statements he has made in the past.
In the November 15, 2002, edition of Howard’s “Issues & Strategy Bulletin,” he criticized “establishment” Christians and conservatives for giving their assent to such Bush policy stances as “abortions permissible in cases of rape and incest” — just some of the many exceptions believed in by the Nevada Party. What Howard was alluding to was a statement in which Vice President Cheney told CNN’s Larry King: “I don’t have any problem supporting the pro-life proposition as Governor Bush has supported it, that is that it would allow for exceptions for rape, incest or the life of [the] mother….”
Howard ran this Cheney quote under a headline reading: “CHENEY NOW APPROVES SLAUGHTER OF RAPE-INCEST BABIES.”
A July 11, 2005, article by CNS.com Senior Staff Writer Marc Morano about the David Souter nomination to the Supreme Court, reported this, in part:
“Phillips, who left the Republican Party shortly after Souter’s confirmation and formed his own Constitution Party, warned that conservatives should not ‘deceive themselves’ over Bush’s pro-life intentions. ‘It is self-deception on the part of conservatives and Christians, who are unwilling to say the Republican Party is leading us over the cliff,’ he added.”
In a September 1, 2000, article titled “Let’s Take America Back,” Howard detailed what steps he would take as President to stop abortion. His piece began with these words, all in capital letters: “WE WILL SHUT DOWN THE ABORTIONISTS.” In conclusion, he declared:
“I will encourage not only Senators and Representatives in Congress, but Governors, State legislators and local magistrates to follow suit in using their official authority to implement the principle that the first duty of the law is to prevent the shedding of innocent blood” (emphasis mine).
On the WorldNetDaily.com Web site on October 29, 1998, in an interview of Howard headlined: “The Last Honorable Politician?,” interviewer Mark Dankof said this before reporting the interview: “Columnist’s note: This is a long interview, but it is so refreshing in its candor that I could not cut any of it. In what has become a sea of media-induced, spin-doctor lies, you will be rewarded with no polls, no trial balloons, no word-parsing or back-pedaling; just honest, straightforward answers to a variety of thoughtful questions. Read it, and reflect on what has been stolen from us in political debate today. It says more than I could hope to say in any column today.”
On the abortion issue, Howard told Dankof that he regarded the part the National Right to Life Committee had been playing in the political process “as contemptible” because they endorsed a number of candidates that were pro-abortion. Because, among other things, the NRTLC had endorsed New York Senator Al D’Amato “over a 100 percent pro-life candidate,” Howard said of the NRTLC: “I think its behavior is disgraceful, reprehensible — they should be ostracized, repudiated, condemned, and exposed by every person who considers himself, or herself, to be pro-life.”
So, where was this kind of unyielding, no-compromise, pro-life talk by Howard in Tampa? Why was it unacceptable to Howard that Dick Cheney favored — in the words of Howard’s headline — the “SLAUGHTER OF RAPE-INCEST BABIES,” but the fact that Nevada also favors this wasn’t even worth mentioning by Howard? Why did he say nothing in defense of the 100 percent pro-life position of the Constitution Party?
The night before the Tampa debate, at dinner, I told Howard
I had been told that at one point he was prepared to let the Nevada Party leave the CP because of their abortion-exceptions position. He said yes, this was true. I asked: Then it is OK to assume that you think the no-exceptions abortion position in our Platform is so important that you will not try to stop any Party from leaving if they cannot adhere to this no-exceptions position? He said, yes, this was a valid assumption.
I said: So, why are you now supporting the Nevada Party which advocates exceptions to abortion? Why are you trying to keep them in the Party when once you were prepared to let them go and not talk them out of leaving? Smiling, he said only: “You’ll have to listen to my statement tomorrow.” When I said: Will your statement address your change of mind?, he repeated: “You’ll have to listen to my statement tomorrow.” I told him: If your statement does not address why you have changed your mind on the Nevada Party, it will be intellectually dishonest. Again he said: “You’ll have to listen to my statement tomorrow.” His statement the next day said nothing about his change of mind on this crucial issue.
I do not know Janine Hansen and have spoken to her only once in Nashville at a CP meeting. And though this chat was brief, I will go out on a limb and say that I am sure that everything she has ever done about anything in her entire life has — by God’s grace — not been totally evil. I say this because when she spoke in Tampa, and some of her supporters, they cited, at length, all the good works done by the Nevada Party — something that was not being debated and was, of course, a rather obvious attempt to muddy the water and/or change the subject.
In any event, in Nashville, months before the Tampa debate, I approached Mrs. Hansen and asked about her brother Chris, abortion, the Nevada Party. With no argument, she said that many of his remarks were indeed over the top and she disagreed with them. She added that his position on abortion was even out of line with the Mormon church. Her comments, tone of voice and facial expressions showed that she considered her brother Chris to be a problem. But, she did not seem to know what to do about this problem. All of us with brothers may have some degree of sympathy here. Some who know me may, however, sympathize with my brother because he has me as a brother.
I said that if what she said was true, and if she did not want this issue of Nevada and abortion to get bigger and be dealt with by people outside of Nevada, then she and the state party people must deal with it. She agreed. And I said something like: “But the something you do to deal with this problem must actually be something, something of substance, and it must be made known.”
Well, Mrs. Hansen did not deal with the Nevada/abortion problem — which in Nashville she let me believe by her silence was only a Chris Hansen thing, a rogue brother out-of-control. Then,post-Nashville, I find out that she shares, basically, the same abortion exception views as her brother since they are both Mormons and accept abortion-exceptions teachings of the Mormonism. And I learn about her putting out a voter guide with abortion exceptions.
The point here: In Nashville, Janine Hansen lied to me — a word I do not use loosely. By lied, I mean she said things she knew were not true. When we spoke she, obviously, knew what Mormon teachings on abortion were/are and that she and her brother Chris hold these same views. She also, obviously, knew that she had put out that abortion-exceptions voter guide. So, of course, she took no action regarding her supposedly renegade brother Chris— though she led me to believe she would — because they both have the same Mormon view regarding abortion exceptions.
With all this as a backstory, here’s some of what Janine Hansen said in Tampa that deserves comment:
Hansen: “Brothers and sisters, I come today with a heavy heart about this resolution, why? Because it will not end with the destruction of the Independent American Party. We will continue to flourish in Nevada whatever the decision is here. But it is the beginning of the destruction of the Constitution Party, which I’ve spent many, many years and much sacrifice and money to participate in.”
Comment: To the contrary, the failure to acknowledge that the Nevada Party disaffiliated itself by being out of compliance with the CP Platform on abortion “is the beginning of the destruction of the Constitution Party.”
Hansen: “My brother was one of the original members — he founded the Independent Party in 1967 and we were on the ballot then for ten years and we have spent our lives in the effort to provide an alternative to our people. This is a critical juncture and I would ask you to apply the Biblical test — by their fruits you shall know them.My mother said that actions speak louder than words.”
Comment: Amen to the Bible and your Mom! Your lips and the lips of others said you were in compliance with the CP Platform on abortion. But, your “fruits,” your “actions,” demonstrated that you were not in compliance.
Hansen:“The Independent American Party since its inception, was pro-life. In 1971 when I was nineteen, I spoke before the Nevada legislature for the every first time, against abortion, and my life has been spent in that action.In 1973 I became the chairman of stop the ERA under Phyllis Schlafly’s direction I have been the state chairman of Eagle Forum groups opposing abortion….I have dedicated my life to this cause of the unborn.In fact I was 8 months pregnant as that wonderful victory came in….I have spent 20 years preparing a full page pro-life ad with 400 sponsors to run in the Nevada Gazette Journal….I have had a lifetime of, as has the Independent Party of Nevada — standing up for life….
Comment: More calculatedly ambiguous assertions on abortion and thus dishonest statements. I have read the copy for the newspaper ad alluded to here and it says, in part: “It’s time to end the barbaric legacy of Roe v. Wade and restore laws that protect unborn children…” If you read only this ad, and heard only the above remarks, you would — would you not? — think that Mrs. Hansen was — well — against all abortions, right? I mean, she mentions no exceptions, does she? So, there must be none for her, correct?
Wrong. Following Mormon teaching, she believes there are certain circumstances under which an innocent, unborn baby can be murdered by abortion: rape, incest, fetal deformity, life/health of the mother.
And “pro-life” means pro-ALL innocent, unborn human life — period!
Hansen: “I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. We believe our president to be a prophet like Moses. The Constitution Party — but I want you to understand where I’m coming from — this is a political party and not a church. We believe our prophet is like Moses. So when people off -handedly say they have it on good authority [that we are able to oppose] our prophet, I say what was the good authority the children of Israel had for opposing Moses? That would be our position on opposing our prophet. Four times I raised my hand to sustain him, and commit myself in covenant that I will be an honorable member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and this is a matter of personal commitment.”
Comment: Alas, as things turned out, the Constitution Party was all too much like your typical “church” in that it was revealed to be mush on the abortion issue. But, I digress. What is being alluded to here is Michael Peroutka having said he was told by certain Mormons that it would be OK for Mormons to have a no-exceptions position on abortion even if this meant being at odds with Mormonism. But, what Mrs. Hansen was saying is: No way! When their “president/prophet” (who, with all due respect, which in this case means none, is not like Moses!) speaks, that’s it — which would, of course, be true — if he were a true prophet which, again, he is not.
Hansen:“My personal relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in my life. So, therefore as I read you the position of my prophet I want you to know that I have a covenant first with God, and then with he whom I have considered to be a prophet of God.”
Comment: Interesting phraseology — “he whom I have considered to be a prophet of God.” And what/which God/god is she alluding to here? Key questions which cannot be gone into here.
Hansen: “He (her prophet) says how wonderful a thing is a child.How beautiful is a newborn babe.There is no greater miracle than the creation of human life. Abortion is an ugly thing, a thing which inevitably brings remorse and regret. We denounce it. Allowances for it are including cases of incest and rape, where as judged by competent medical authority or where the fetus is known by civil authority to have such serious defects as which won’t allow the baby to survive from birth.”
Comment: Ah, the wonderful, beautiful, miraculous, newborn child! Abortion? Ugly! You denounce it! — except when you are for it! Are not rape-babies, incest-babies, fetally-deformed babies a “miracle… creation of human life?” Yes! But, evil, Satanic Mormon doctrine says it is “allowable” for them to be murdered in the womb. Those preaching this murderous doctrine may indeed be some kind of “prophet.” But, they are not prophets of the God of the Bible — the only true God there is.
Hansen: “But, now listen to this part, so that you can understandour position. Such instances are rare as are the probability of them occurring. In other words, the chances of them happening is almost zero.
Comment: “Almost zero” but not zero. This is not acceptable. Again, pro-life means pro-ALL innocent, unborn human life.
Hansen:“In these circumstances the person is asked to consult their local ecclesiastical authority and to pray in earnestness, receiving a confirmation before proceeding.I believe if people in the church actually sought the counsel of the church there would not be any abortions….
Comment: It doesn’t matter who you “consult.” Murder is murder. It is not allowed.
Hansen: “I will stand with my prophet and fear God only.It has been misunderstood and misrepresented.Let me say this to you about the Word of God.The understanding of exceptions in the LDS church is very different from the movement at large. Why? Because of this statement. We don’t consider that it is wide open, and concerning circumstances with a confirmation through prayer.So it is a very narrow, possibly a never occurring circumstance if the procedures are followed. So, when it is said that we have exceptions, it is with this caveat.”
Comment: If you truly feared God — the God of the Bible, the only God there is — you would not allow the murder of anybody.
Hansen: “So where you read the voter guide…I was on the horns of dilemma. Do I answer in the way that my LDS community will understand? Or do I answer in the way that the pro-life community in Maryland and Ohio and New York will understand.
Comment: You and your party are out of compliance with the Constitution Party Platform not just “the pro-life community in Maryland and Ohio and New York.”
Hansen:“My position is the position of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and these things have been misunderstood….”
Comment: Not true. The Mormon position on abortion exceptions is perfectly understood. The problem is these teachings are out of compliance with the Platform of the Constitution Party.
Hansen: Accused Michael Peroutka of wanting to disaffiliate Nevada “because our chairman is not in compliance with what they think we should do…”
Comment: Well, yes, Michael and our side of the debate thought you should be in compliance with the Constitution Party Platform.
Hansen: “This [issue] is not about the pro-life party in Nevada. It’s been used —for we have always been faithful.Actions speak louder than words. Thirty-five years of dedication makes the difference — when the Protestants didn’t know there was a pro-life issue, we were marching in the streets with the Catholics.It is not an issue of who’s been there first, because we were there first. I was there in ‘71 at 19 on this issue. So what do we have?A decision to destroy this party because we are not pure?….”
Comment: The issue is about pro-life, specifically whether you and your Party are in compliance with the Constitution Party Platform. You and your Party were/are not.
Hansen: “I beseech you, I beseech you to save the party. Because if we begin to cut each other’s throats — in fact, when Mr. Peroutka visited our state twice, including our state convention and my home, my mother’s home, he never had a clue there was an issue ofthis. Why? Because we don’t make a public issue of it.”
Comment: Party over principle — the principle of being 100-percent, no exceptions, pro-life? No! And of course you didn’t make “a public issue” of your position on abortion because it is obviously not in compliance with the Constitution Party Platform.
Hansen: “It’s a personal issue with the members of the church who must reconcile lives and I as mentioned, about the voter’s guide, I was on the horns of a dilemma because of the definition of things and the way they get interpreted on a national level. The definition on that would have to be more in line with my personal view, rather than deemed to be the position of the prophet.I ask you to search inside of your hearts and see if we will tear ourselves asunder.”
Comment: The exceptions position on abortion of you and your Party requires no “interpretation.” It is clear and it is out of compliance with the Constitution Party Platform.
Hansen: “This blood letting cannot continue or we will not survive, but Nevada will survive and we will continue to work….whatever happens, Nevada will continue to lead in the fight for liberty and for life. And the state of Nevada, as we have done nationally, and we extend our thanks to all of you who have encouraged and supported us. And we want you to know [that] from the bottom of our heart and we have not spent our time on a document like this (holding up a critique of the Nevada Party) on how to get you out of the party. But we have spent our time building a party that you might succeed and that we might succeed and this is my testimony and I say this with a full heart in the name of my savior and redeemer amen.”
Comment: “Blood-letting” is what happens when you allow and approve of the abortion of rape-babies, incest-babies, “fetally-deformed” babies, and for the life/health of the mother — a loophole big enough to allow any female to get an abortion. As long as you believe in these exceptions you are not for liberty or life.
By comparison and in contrast, Chris Hansen makes Bill Shearer seem like a gentle soul, an irenic, conciliatory peacemaker.
In Tampa, speaking about her brother Chris, Janine Hansen said, interestingly: “Now my brother Christopher is the youngest member of my family.He is great in debate and hyperbole, and has served as the devil’s advocate on this [abortion] issue.” The devil’s advocate indeed. Well stated — from the horse’s mouth.
If ever there was a man whose tongue is deceitful and who has the poison of asps under his lips (Romans 3:13), it is Bill Shearer. His tongue is, indeed, an “unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).
In an article by Shearer titled “Setting the Record Straight on Reed R. Heustis, Jr.,” he referred to Heustis as a “creature” who is “despicable,” one who has engaged in “rantings” that were “frantic and strident.” He says Heustis is a “miscreant” and that “everything he sees is viewed through the warped tunnel vision of religious fanaticism and crude bigotry.”
Shearer says “dealing with Heustis is like holding an intimate handshaking session with a Gila monster.” He accuses Heustis of “pharisaical religious exclusivism.” He says “Heustis knows only one means of resolving disputes: raw and volatile confrontation.”
In his Feb 2006 newsletter, Shearer denounced those in the Constitution Party who want to “dictatorially silence all expression” with whom these “extremists” disagree. He attacked the “vituperative tripe” of these “fanatics.” Referring to those who accused him of a big tent philosophy, he asked: “Who ever built a viable political party in a pup-tent? Or by limiting freedom of expression only to a few shrill voices howling in the little tent?” His column was titled “Strictly Personal” and it was most definitely personal.
The point here is not to, necessarily, defend those against whom Shearer has railed. They have, undoubtedly, said things they should not have said. But, for Shearer, of all people, to take these individuals to task — using the language he has — is a classic example of a man with a beam in his own eye picking at a speck in the eye of another person.
Speaking of Reed Huestis, at a dinner during our Tampa meeting I asked Shearer if he was a Christian. He said yes he was. I then said that if Heustis has trespassed against him, he must go to Heustis, privately, under Matthew 18:15ff in an attempt to resolve this matter and achieve reconciliation. Looking at me as if I had lost my mind and shaking his head negatively, Shearer said he had no intention of engaging in such a “religious procedure” with Heustis. I told him: “But, you must. This is what our Lord commands.” He said nothing, holding his head in his hands, looking down at the table.
Shearer doesn’t understand and has repeatedly down-played and trivialized the importance of a wrong position on the abortion issue as grounds for disaffiliating a state party. In Tampa he said about this debate that he didn’t want to have “all this going on” so “we can spend our time on constructive projects and party building and not devouring one another.”
But, what is more “constructive” than insisting that all state parties are truly in compliance with the no-exceptions-on-abortion position of the Constitution Party Platform? I mean, this is, literally, a life-and-death issue for innocent, unborn babies. To Shearer, however, this abortion issue is just “all this going on.” It is just a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.
Now, let’s examine some of the things Shearer said during the debate in Tampa which deserve comment:
Shearer: “The subject of the proposed disaffiliation [of the Nevada] party is something which is not new…. [It is] something to which we have devoted substantial if not overwhelming devotion to over the past three years, and I think that the motion was resolved long ago in Nevada’s favor.”
Comment: This statement is simply not true. It is false. The Nevada disaffiliation issue was, before Tampa, never “resolved” — not at all.
Shearer: “Now there isn’t really any question as to Nevada’s party.[They have] voted to uphold the National platform [and] went beyond what California did, and Nevada actually put the National platform in its state platform, a move that we didn’t make.”
Comment: There were, and are, many questions about the Nevada party. We raised them in our debate in Tampa as Shearer sat there listening to us.
Shearer: “And there isn’t any question that the Chairman in the party of Nevada had made some statement that I don’t agree with and many of you don’t agree with. Whether he had a right to make that statement that’s another question….”
Comment:The issue in Tampa was not whether anyone in the Nevada party said things with which Shearer disagrees. The issue was whether the Nevada party’s abortion exceptions position made it out-of-compliance with the Constitution Party Platform.
Shearer: “The California Party has been a valid participating party in things since 1968, and its predecessor was formed in 1992, and in that constitution of that former party we wrote these words, ‘nothing in the constitution or the by-laws of the Constitution Party confer upon the National Party, any authority to govern in the affairs of any state affiliate.’Now I ask you, what could be more intrusive, in the affairs of a state party, than the election of state officer’s choice?
Comment: Debate notabout “governing” state affiliate “affairs.” Debate about disaffiliation which is allowed.
Shearer: “I believe that it is far more dangerous to give a national authority over all the states, than to have one state go and make some statements that the rest of us don’t agree with….there [is] never so much to be feared from [such a] deviation as there is to be feared in placing autocratic authority in the hand of a central organization or central government….if you give the national party of this party the autocratic power to expel a state party from membership because of something a state leader has said or done, you are giving the national party authority all totality.They may use it on an issue like abortion today, but they will use it on another issue tomorrow….what we need to guard against is granting ourselves too much central authority to override the state parties.”
Comment: Article 3 of the Constitution Party’s Constitution says: “The National Committee shall have the power to grant and revoke state affiliation status.”
Shearer: “Now I tell you this [that] I believe this from the bottom of my heart.If you do this to Nevada today, we’ll come to another state party that will be out of compliance in some respect.It won’t be abortion, it’ll be something else that they will be out of compliance and it will be an effort to get rid of them.The problem is once this cannibalism starts it will not end until the people that are in this room are finished — who alone will survive a purity test.”
Comment: It is not “cannibalism” to enforce the CP’s no exceptions position on abortion. And “purity” is not a bad word.
Shearer:“No matter whoever you have in the house today, the Nevada party helped you build and contributed money and they have consistently been on the ballot.They have for many years run more candidates than any other state with this organization. [They have] thelargest registration memberships in the country.”
Comment: Totally irrelevant to what was being debated.
Shearer: “I also want to point out one more thing.It is with a sense of sadness [that I] express the belief that those who wish to expel Nevada are those who are in their very nature destructive. They tell you, including Maryland and Virginia at least, that if Nevada is not expelled they will leave the party.They don’t destroy us by leaving us and frankly, these are terror and intimidation tactics.”
Comment: Well, as Ronald Reagan said famously in that debate with Jimmy Carter: “There he goes again” — more un-Christian rhetorical recklessness here. Typically, Shearer imputes to his adversaries in this debate the worst possible motives, that they are “in their very nature destructive,” that we are terrorists and, as he said earlier, cannibals. As for disaffiliating state parties out of compliance with the Constitution Party Platform, this would strengthen the Party, not destroy it.
Shearer: “We are a political party. We are not a theocracy.”
Comment: The word “theocracy” means simply Godly-rule. Why “theocracy” is, obviously, to Shearer, who says he’s a Christian, a dirty word is a mystery and particularly puzzling in view of the fact that the Preamble to the Constitution Party Platform reads: “The Constitution Party gratefully acknowledges the blessing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as Creator, Preserver and Ruler of the Universe and of these United States. We hereby appeal to Him for mercy, aid, comfort, guidance and the protection of His Providence as we work to restore and preserve these United States. This great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For this very reason peoples of other faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here. The goal of the Constitution Party is to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical foundations and to limit the federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.”
Shearer:“When we petition to get on the ballot we get signatures of voters.We don’t ask whether those signers were Mormon or Catholic or Protestant or of some particular denomination.”
Comment: A totally irrelevant observation. The resolution being debated had nothing to do with excluding anyone from signing such petitions because of their religion.
Shearer: “If you are fortunate enough at some particular time, and we will be, to send people to the legislature, you will find all manner of people, some whom you are proud to be with and some whom you wish you could hide from. But their vote counts every bit as much as yours, and when the bill is being counted as a bill to let’s say do away with abortion every vote counts, whether its Mormon or its Jewish or its Catholic or he’s an absolute heathen. His vote is counted. That’s what separates politics from any other type of activity.”
Comment: Another irrelevant observation. More tilting at windmills, more thrashing of a straw-man. The resolution being debated was limited to the disaffiliation of the Nevada party.
Shearer: “I have long resisted the attempt to confuse the operative body and act like a church because we are not a church. We were not formed to spread a denomination function. We were formed to preserve the Constitution, in the political sphere of reference.”
Comment: There is, of course, a sense in which it is true that the Constitution Party is not a church. For example, it’s elders are not authorized to, among other things, administer the sacraments. But, it is clear that Shearer here, and in other similar remarks he has made, means something much more ominous than that our Party does not meet the Biblical definition of a church. Clearly, he sees our Party as being formed to operate only in “the political sphere of reference” which means — it must mean — apart from Christ. But, this is not true. The Constitution Party, the church, all of creation, is under the Lordship, the governance of Christ because He is the King of kings, the Lord of Lords and has all power in Heaven and on earth — including “the political sphere of reference.”
Shearer: “Unfortunately, what we, in the debate of what we’ve heard today, is an argument which is of a religious nature….”
Comment: The Preamble of the Constitution Party’s
Constitution is of a “religious nature.” Has he denounced it? And it is interesting that when some members of his side invoked explicitly a ringing defense of Mormonism — arguments of a “religious nature” — Shearer sat there and did not object. He said nothing. In fact, here’s what Ed Noonan, a Mormon running for Governor in California, said about Shearer allowing him to speak: “I passed Bill a note asking for a chance to present the LDS (Mormon) view. He graciously allowed me some time.” To my knowledge, the only people Shearer has denounced for making arguments of a “religious nature” have been Christians.
Shearer: “I’ve lived a very long time and…I’ve seen beauty in the Mormon Church, of which I’m not a member.I’ve seen beauty in the Protestant church, of which I have been affiliated with over my life time. I have also seen beauty in the Jewish community, and in their worship and when I have been in this party I want to reach out to all those people — the Catholics, the Jews, the good people in the party.”
Comment: This reminded me of the Ray Stevens song in which he sings:
“Everything is beautiful in its own way.
Like the starry summer night, or a snow-covered winter’s day.
And everybody’s beautiful in their own way.
Under God’s heaven, the world’s gonna find the way.”
If, of course, “everything” is “beautiful in its own way,” then the word “beauty” has no meaning, none at all.
Shearer: “I don’t want a denominational test for people coming in and I hate that friends on the other side lean very much in that direction.”
Comment: Really? Which person on our side of the debate advocated such a “denominational test?” Not one person. And if we are “friends,” then stop bearing such false witness against us.
Shearer: “I think that what we are doing here is setting in motion the unleashing of ravening wolves who will assault us in all future times because we are not in strict compliance with this or that or the other thing. The time to stop it is now. And you will do so by voting against the motion to disaffiliate.”
Comment: More billingsgate, more name-calling. But, the real danger to the Constitution Party does involve wolves — wolves in sheep’s-clothing.
Bill Shearer often pulls rank invoking the fact that he is a founder of the Constitution Party as if this, necessarily, clenches any argument he is making, which it does not.But, what, exactly, did he help found? Upon what foundation would the party rest if it is, as he says, to operate only in “the political sphere of reference” shunning arguments of a “religious nature?”
Well, such a Party would be built on sand.
And our Lord tells us about the dangers of a sand foundation as contrasted with Him as a foundation. He says in Matthew 7:24ff: “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.”
In Tampa, figuratively speaking, the rain and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon the Constitution Party. It fell. And great was the fall of it, as our Lord predicted.