Article by: Joe Carter
Editors’ note: This is the second in a series examining the social positions of several minor political parties. A previous series covered the Democratic Party platform and the Republican Party Platform.
Although minor parties—often called “third parties” to distinguish them from the dominant two—have always been a part of American politics, dissatisfaction with the Republican and Democratic parties in the current election season has led some Christians to give them more consideration than usual. To help Christians think about voting in a way that will most benefit the welfare of our nation (Jer. 29:7), this series will provide, without commentary, an outline of various minor party platforms as they relate to several social issues.
Unfortunately, because there are roughly 50 minor political parties in America this series will not be able to cover them all, so we’ll focus only on the Libertarian Party, the American Solidarity Party, the Green Party, and the Constitution Party. (The choice is obviously arbitrary and selective, but other parties will be added if there is sufficient interest/demand.)
In covering these platforms there are two issues to note.
First, unlike with the two major parties, the nominees of the minor parties often have no direct control over their party’s platform. For this reason, the positions held by the particular presidential candidates may differ radically from the positions held by the party. Second, minor parties tend to focus more on broad principles than specific policy prescriptions. This is especially true when it comes to social issues. Wherever possible, I’ll try to highlight the direct policy positions. Otherwise I’ll attempt to summarize their underlying philosophy on a public policy area.
Here are the positions of the Constitution Party as outlined in their 2016 Platform:
• 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.”
• “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 a foundation of Christian principles and values. For this very reason peoples of all faiths have been and are afforded asylum, prosperity, and freedom of worship here.”
• “The Constitution of the United States provides that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” The Constitution Party supports the original intent of this language. Therefore, the Constitution Party calls on all those who love liberty and value their inherent rights to join with us in the pursuit of these goals and in the restoration of these founding principles.”
• “The U.S. Constitution established a Republic rooted in Biblical law, administered by representatives who are constitutionally elected by the citizens. In such a Republic all Life, Liberty and Property are protected because law rules.”
• “We affirm the principles of inherent individual rights upon which these United States of America were founded:”
- That each individual is endowed by his Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness;
- That the freedom to own, use, exchange, control, protect, and freely dispose of property is a natural, necessary and inseparable extension of the individual’s unalienable rights;
- That the legitimate function of government is to secure these rights through the preservation of domestic tranquility, the maintenance of a strong national defense, and the promotion of equal justice for all;
- That history makes clear that left unchecked, it is the nature of government to usurp the liberty of its citizens and eventually become a major violator of the people’s rights; and
- That, therefore, it is essential to bind government with the chains of the Constitution and carefully divide and jealously limit government powers to those assigned by the consent of the governed.
Character and Moral Conduct
• Maintains that members and nominated candidates representing the Constitution Party and its state affiliates “recognize the importance of demonstrating good character in their own lives.”
• Supports the “unimpeded right of parents” to provide for the education of their children in the manner they deem best, including home, private, or religious.
• Opposes all legislation from any level of government that would interfere with a parent’s right to educate their children.
• Opposes compulsory attendance laws.
• Supports the “free market principles which drive improvement of education” through non-traditional options such as internet-based schools, charter schools, Christian and private schools, as well as home schooling options.
• Supports the elimination of the federal Department of Education.
• Supports the repeal of all current federal legislation related to education.
• Opposes new federal laws subsidizing or regulating education.
• Opposes any federal agency, department, board, or other entity having jurisdiction over any aspect of children’s upbringing, education, training, or discipline.
• Opposes all federal government involvement in national teacher certification, educational curricula, textbook selection, learning standards, comprehensive sex education, psychological and psychiatric research testing programs, and personnel.
• Supports repeal of NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT (NCLB Act) and RACE TO THE TOP
• Supports returning to the states and to the people all lands which are held by the federal government without authorization by the Constitution.
• Supports repeal of federal wetlands legislation.
• Supports repeal of the federal Endangered Species Act.
• Opposes U.S. participation in UN programs such as UNESCO, Man and the Biosphere, and the UN Council on Sustainable Development.
• Opposes any attempt to designate private or public property as United Nations World Heritage sites or Biosphere reserves.
• Opposes environmental treaties and conventions such as the Biodiversity Treaty, the Convention on Climate Control, and Agenda 21, which “destroy our sovereignty and right to private property.”
• Supports defining marriage as the union between one man and one woman and opposes any judicial redefinition of the institution.
• Opposes all taxation and economic formulas that discourage marriage, incentivize co-habitation and child bearing outside of marriage or authorize or provide government funding for policies and programs that “further erode the jurisdiction of the family or parental rights.”
• Opposes government funding of “partner” benefits for unmarried individuals.
• Supports parents “fundamental right and responsibility to nurture, educate, and discipline their children.”
• Opposes efforts to legalize adoption of children by homosexual singles or couples.
• Opposed to government sponsorship, involvement in, or promotion of gambling such as lotteries, casinos or subsidization of Native American casinos.
• Supports restoring to the States and to the people control over legislative, judicial, executive, and regulatory functions that are not constitutionally delegated to the federal government.
• Opposes any regionalization of governments, at any level, which results in removal of decision-making powers from the people or those directly elected by the people.
• Supports privatization of the Social Security system.
• Supports eliminating the Civil Service system.
• Opposes states accepting all monies from the federal government for any purpose not specifically and clearly articulated in the Constitution.
• Opposes all federal mandates and regulations that are “unconstitutional.”
• Opposed to public-private partnerships and is for a return to the “true ‘free enterprise’ system that once made our nation great and economically prosperous.”
• Supports the “God-given legal personhood of all human beings from fertilization to natural death, without exception.”
• Opposes legalization abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, and suicide.
• Opposes all taxpayer funding and support of abortion.
• Opposes distribution and use of all abortifacients.
• Opposes the funding and legalization of bio-research involving human embryonic or pre-embryonic cells.
• Supports appointing to the federal judiciary, and to other positions of federal authority, “qualified individuals who publicly acknowledge and commit themselves to the legal personhood of the pre-born child.”
• Supports the protection of the pre-born through legislation, executive action, and judicial enforcement of the law of the land at all levels of government.
• Supports limiting the appellate jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in all cases of abortion.
• Supports the repeal of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act.
• Opposes any form of taxation on churches and other religious organizations
• Supports allowing private organizations to determine their own membership, volunteers, and employment based on their oaths and creeds.
• Supports the rights of states and localities to proscribe offensive sexual behavior.
• Opposes “sexual orientation” statutes that “attempt to legitimize inappropriate sexual behavior or stifle public opposition to its expression.”
• Opposes any legal recognition of homosexual or civil unions.
• Supports enforcing, at all levels of government, all laws against obscenity.
• Calls on “all levels of government to protect and promote that which is truly free speech while vigorously defending and enforcing laws that protect us from the proliferation of the pornography and sexually oriented business industries because they are proven to be toxic to community standards, lower property values and increase crime.”
• “Under no circumstances should the taxpayers of the United States be obligated, under penalty of law through forced taxation, to assume the cost of providing welfare for other citizens. Neither should taxpayers be indentured to subsidize welfare for persons who enter the United States illegally.”
Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition, the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible, and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator. You can follow him on Twitter.