Frequently Asked Questions
If a political party is organized upon the principle that only professing Christians can really know and become committed to Biblical principles of government, then how could it persuade non-Christians of our vision for civil government?
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Questions about Christians & Christian Political Parties
If a political party is organized upon the principle that only professing Christians can really know and become committed to Biblical principles of government, then how could it persuade non-Christians of our vision for civil government?
1. WHAT IS A CHRISTIAN POLITICAL PARTY?
A Christian Party is a voluntary association of Bible-believers with a shared faith and worldview, united in the Holy Spirit, and working for the Glory of God and the advancement of His Kingdom in every area of life.
The purpose of a Christian party is to effectively represent Christian principles and the Christian worldview in the public square. A Christian party works to pull down the strongholds of humanism by transforming the political debate from a secular perspective (left vs. right) to a spiritual perspective (belief vs. unbelief). Of primary concern is the task of building and promoting a comprehensive Christian political platform that discerns Biblical solutions and provides a model for rightly ordering the jurisdictions of the family, church and state under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
A Christian party is much more than just a vehicle for electing candidates. It is a venue for leadership, training, exhortation, accountability, and cooperation, as well as prayer, fellowship, and education. It provides an environment for the edification of believers and the raising up of Christian leaders. A Christian party thus serves as a supporting ministry to the church.
A Christian party derives its principles from God's Word and its platform from the application of those principles to the just ordering of society. Party philosophy is not conservative, liberal, or even traditional. It is Christian. It is constitutional, but only to the extent that the Constitution is Biblical.
A Christian party is motivated by a higher purpose and an eternal perspective not found in secular parties. The party concept of victory is not limited to winning election-day majorities. The real victory which we seek is that of a reinvigorated Bible-believing Body of Christ committed to providing independent Christian leadership as part of its calling to be salt and light in this world. There is victory in standing publicly for Christ regardless of the political cost. There is victory in every individual mind or soul won along the way. Whether it's a majority, a plurality or even just a remnant, winning is achieved by God's grace and not through our political efforts alone.
2. WHY DO WE NEED AN EXPLICITLY CHRISTIAN POLITICAL PARTY?
Shaping the culture is a fundamental part of the discipleship mandate. It is the responsibility of the Church to shed the light of Christ in every area of life. The politics of a nation is a fundamental aspect of its culture and therefore must be addressed by believers as part of a comprehensive Christian worldview. When the church forfeits cultural leadership to the influences of secular humanism, it forfeits its cultural relevance. The implication is that if Christ's Lordship has no practical implications for important real-life areas such as civil government, education, foreign policy, etc., why should it be relevant to any other area of life?
Today, secular humanistic religious perspectives dominate the public sector. From childhood on, we are bombarded with the humanists' ideas of law, politics, ethics, education, art, church and state, economics, welfare, social security, world affairs, and so on. The humanist influence is so pervasive and its principles so widely accepted, that the true extent of its influence is rarely comprehended.
The discernment of a Biblically sound political philosophy, platform, and program as well as the raising up of Christian political leadership is a challenging and integral part of discipling the nations for Christ. This is especially true in free nations. Secular parties cannot provide Christ-centered political leadership--without which the worldview of secular humanism will dominate the culture and ultimately even the Church itself. When the Church fails to provide cultural and political leadership, it becomes as salt without savor, thus sacrificing its ability to lead in ANY area of life and ensuring its demise as a culture-shaping force.
Today, the body of Christ expends its political energy on thousands of different political organizations most of which lack a Christ-centered pathway to political reform. A thousand different Christian ministries, founded by a thousand different individuals each with his own agenda and strategy can never replace the potential of the Bible-believing body of Christ, speaking in one accord, boldly addressing the issues of the day from a Biblical perspective. The Body of Christ is God's chosen venue for raising up Christian cultural and political leaders as part of its mission to disciple the nations. It provides the most natural and potentially powerful vehicle for Christian political action.
Christian voters deserve vision and leadership from within the Body of Christ. They deserve a real choice in politics. They should be given the opportunity to support Christian candidates and a comprehensive Christian platform in every election. The Christian worldview deserves faithful representation in the public square. Only an independent Christian party can provide the appropriate forum to recruit, disciple, promote, and support viable Christian candidates and to build a comprehensive Christian political platform as part of a comprehensive Christian vision for America. The Bible-believing Church needs its own vision, voice and vehicle for reforming America for Christ!
3. DOESN'T A "CHRISTIAN" PARTY CONFUSE THE ROLES OF THE CHURCH AND POLITICAL PARTIES?
Many object to the concept of a Christian Political party as confusing the roles of church and state. Many object saying "a political party is not a church." They argue that political parties are for secular purposes while the church is dedicated to "religious" objectives. While these and related objections should be expected from non-believers, they are also frequently heard from believers whose see political parties from a secular perspective.
The error behind these objections stems from a dualistic worldview: an imagined double standard where Christ is Lord over the Church but not political affairs. The Bible teaches plainly that Jesus Christ is the head of all power and authority both in heaven and on earth. Therefore the notion of separating political and spiritual principles in politics or any other area of life is humanistic and unbiblical. Man has the choice of acknowledging Christ's Lordship, or not. His choice is revealed in his political philosophy.
Obviously, a Christian political party is not the church in its organized sense. The party does not offer the sacraments, ordain pastors, perform weddings or send missionaries.
Likewise, a Christian school is not a church, nor is a Christian hospital. But both are founded by believers motivated by Christian goals and operated according to Christian principles. Just as a Christian school or college is an extension of the Body of Christ's mission to provide Christian education, and just as a Christian hospital is an extension of the Church's mission to care for the sick, so a Christian political party is simply an extension of the Church's mission to promote Christian principles and leadership in the civil sphere. In this sense, as a body of Bible-believing citizens a Christian party is an extension of the Body of Christ and thus is properly viewed as a supporting ministry to the Church. This is especially true in free nations where God has entrusted political authority into the hands of the people.
Since all authority and civil government are ordained of God, any political philosophy that fails to honor the Lordship of Christ in the civil sphere is flawed and un-Christian. Those who object to "mixing religion and politics" need to examine the integrity of their political philosophy and worldview in light of the Scriptures.
4. WHY SHOULD CHRISTIANS ABANDON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY?
(1) Secular political organizations are by definition beholden to secular values and cannot effectively represent Christ and Christian principles. Thus they are incompatible with the mission of the church, and for the Bible-believer they are inherently compromising. Since the vehicle must be compatible with the mission (new wine needs to be put into new wineskins else both are corrupted), and since secular political parties and platforms are not dedicated to representing Christ or Christian principles, they must be abandoned by believers as vehicles for Christian political reform.
(2) Secular parties, candidates and political dialog reinforce the continuing secularization of our society. Those who participate in secular politics concede its legitimacy as the appropriate framework for defining political policy, and reaffirm humanism's claims over the institution of human government. Christian participation in secular politics is like hiding one's lamp under a bushel. If believers are afraid to speak openly and politically in Christ's name, who will? Only a Christ-centered political philosophy can be consistent with the believer's calling to be salt and light in our shamefully secularized political arena.
(3) A basic principle of both the Old and New Testaments forbids the yoking together of believers and unbelievers in a variety of personal and political relationships. This principle applies expressly to marriage as well as to economic and military alliances between believing and unbelieving nations. The spirit of the principle clearly extends to political parties. Secular political parties represent the unequal yoking of believers with unbelievers and violate the believer's call to lead separate, distinct and peculiar lives.
The notion that believers can somehow serve Christ more effectively by joining themselves in political alliances with unbelievers is anathema to the Christian mission and purpose. God will not bless secular political alliances today any more than He blessed alliances between the Kingdom of Israel and her pagan neighbors. Christ said faith in Him would render his church incompatible with the secular world. The Bible says fellowship with the world is enmity with God. When Jesus said "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad," he was saying that any philosophy without Himself as its foundation, cannot serve His purposes.
(4) American Christendom needs its own vision for reforming their nation for Christ, through Christ, and in the name of Christ. We need an independent, active Christian political voice: one willing and able to give the Gospel of Christ due representation in public affairs. This voice must be unencumbered by secular political entanglements. Christian involvement in secular parties only deprives Christian alternatives of strength and potential.
Rather than uniting "conservatives" around a secular platform of "traditional American values," believers ought to spend their political energy building a platform of explicitly Christian political ideas, articulating their relevance and benefits to modern society, and identifying alternatives to the humanistic government program. This is part of discipling the nations for Christ.
(5) The Bible says that whatsoever is not of faith is sin. Those who do not follow Biblical God-ordained pathways to national reforms are placing their hope and faith in men, not God. Participation in secular political parties shows a lack of faith in the sovereignty of God and betrays the sufficiency of Christ and the Bible to transform men and nations.
Secular political parties, and the Republican Party in particular, have become the modern day Egypt of the Christian Church. The fear of losing (republican majorities) keeps "Christian conservatives" bound to the secular two-party system even where legitimate Christian alternatives exist. Today, the Christian right covets its place at the Republican table and frowns on any other pathway to political reform. As the goal of their activism becomes the election of republican majorities, they throw their support and prayers to the most "electable" republican candidate. Every election becomes "the most important election in a generation." "Now" is never the right time to consider Bible-believing Christian candidates of other parties, who are systematically ignored or even shunned as "spoilers." Thus the "Christian Right" reaffirms its image before the secular world as just another special interest group beholden to the political influence of the Republican Party.
Will God bless the political labors of those who cling to a fear-based, man-centered pathway to political reform? We do not think so. God can scatter His enemies in a thousand ways. He doesn't need human majorities "…for there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few," 1 Sam. 4.6. All He requires is that His people live by faith and trust Him with the results.
5. IF A POLITICAL PARTY IS ORGANIZED UPON THE PRINCIPLE THAT ONLY PROFESSING CHRISTIANS CAN REALLY KNOW AND BECOME COMMITTED TO BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES OF GOVERNMENT, THEN HOW COULD IT PERSUADE NON-CHRISTIANS OF OUR VISION FOR CIVIL GOVERNMENT?
The Scripture teaches that God has placed the truths of His created order in the heart and mind of every man, as well as in the very created order. This is the law of nature, God's revealed will in men and creation. Mankind was created in the image of God and maintains a measure of that likeness even though fallen and sinful. For this reason unsaved persons will often support Christian principles and candidates in civil government.
Christianity is demonstrably the foundation of political freedom in the western world. It offers the answers to government corruption, racism, poverty, globalism, socialistic philosophy, spending restraint, adherence to oaths and constitutional boundaries. It provides a stable and unchanging framework for justice and liberty that shines against the darkness of unbelieving political systems. Many unsaved men will understand this intuitively and will support the candidates of a Christian party even though they do not hold or even desire membership in that party. Many will do so even if only as an alternative to the burdensome taxation and socialism of the secular alternatives. For this reason, CLP candidates have had among the very highest vote percentages among minor party candidacies.
The purpose of an explicitly Christian party may be likened to that of an ark. During times of comfort and prosperity, the ark and its builders may be scorned by those who do not comprehend its purposes. However as men are increasingly confronted with the futility, oppression and hopelessness of unbelieving political systems, they will become increasingly open to and desperate for fundamental alternatives. The builders of the ark are justified and their leadership position is strengthened as the fruits of unbelief become manifest. We build now to prepare for just such a time.
6. HOW WOULD THE CLP REPRESENT THE INTERESTS AND FREEDOMS OF NON-CHRISTIANS LIVING IN AMERICA?
Since the purpose of the CLP is to represent Christian principles, the real question would be: How would Christ have us represent the interests of non-Christians living in America? While this is certainly a fertile area for debate and further study, and we have much work to do yet in building a comprehensive platform of applied Biblical principles, it is clear that a Christian approach to civil government is best suited to protect mankind.
In the history of western civilization, the greatest political liberty came as a result of Christianity. Where Christian principles were followed, both Christians and non-Christians experienced a greater amount of individual liberty. Throughout history, when paganism, humanism or other religions have exercised the power of civil government, mankind has experienced less freedom, and often the noose of tyranny. This is still true today.
Since a man's faith is a matter of the heart and spirit, it lies outside the civil sphere-outside of the jurisdiction of the civil government. In a nation that elected Christians to govern the nation, non-Christians would not be forced to believe one religion or another, but they would be expected to abide by laws that would or should be based on a Biblical (Christian) worldview. Examples of laws based on the Bible would be the same as they were in the early period of our nation's history, e.g. protection of the unborn, death penalty for murder, and so on. It is safe to say that the most egregious manifestations of paganism and perversion would be outlawed, for example: satanic practices, sodomy, bestiality, pornography, etc.
We know from our own history that the Christian worldview provides for a system of self-and civil government that attracted many immigrants, both believing and non-believing, from around the world. We expect that it would be so again today under a Christian system.
7. SHOULD PROFESSING CHRISTIANS BE PREFERRED AS OUR LEADERS IN CIVIL GOVERNMENT?
Our position is that the cause of Christ is not advanced when believers intentionally and systematically elevate non-Christians to positions of leadership in any area of life. This is true whether in the church, a business, a school, a party, the civil government, or the family.
Since all authority and civil government is ordained of God, and since all power in heaven and on earth has been given to Christ, any political philosophy that fails to honor His Lordship in the civil sphere is flawed and un-Christian. The Bible tells us that civil rulers are "the minister[s] of God to [the people] for good." To elect non-believers to serve in God-ordained positions of political leadership ignores the implications and realities of Christ's Lordship and denigrates the importance of Bible-believing Christianity in God-ordained ministry.
When Jesus said: "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad," He was saying that men will either serve Him or work against Him. There is no position of neutrality before God.
While God can and does use non-Christians as political leaders to accomplish His purposes (He even referred to King Nebuchadnezzar as "my servant"), the basic question at hand for the believer is whether Christ's Lordship has relevance in politics and whether Christian representation in the political process is a desirable thing.
Some argue that just having a general Biblical perspective is a sufficient qualification for political leadership. Yet Christ's Lordship over men, nations and all political powers is a central theme of the Bible and the foundation of a Biblical perspective of law and government.
The Bible tells us that men who do not know Christ (in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge) do not have the Holy Spirit working in their lives, and therefore lack discernment in spiritual things. Unsaved men will have difficulty comprehending the spiritual roots of America's decline into socialism and unbelief. They will not grasp the realities of the spiritual war being waged for the minds and souls of men. Neither will they recognize, much less resist, the pervasive influence of humanism within their own political philosophy, let alone contend with it in public policy.
There will never be a shortage of unbelieving candidates nominated by the unbelieving secular parties. Believers are called to impact the world for Christ and should select and prefer bona-fide Christian political leadership. Now, more than ever, America is in need of discerning spirit-filled leadership in every area of life.
8. CAN A POLITICAL PARTY BE COMPOSED ONLY OF THOSE WHO HAVE PROFESSED THAT THEY HAVE EMBRACED JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR?
The fellowship of believers with believers is a Biblical theme central to realizing the potential of the Body of Christ to change the world around it. Alliances and unions and between believers and unbelievers, in any sphere, are unbiblical, and rarely, if ever, serve God's purposes (note that this does not preclude cooperation between believers and unbelievers on individual issues such as the pro-life stand, immigration etc).
It is irrational to expect the unsaved to promote a political philosophy having Christ as its head and root. It is unbiblical to expect believers to promote a political philosophy without Christ as its head and root. ("For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Col 3.11). Can two walk together, except they be agreed (Amos 3.3)? This is why Christians ought not to support the present two-party duopoly.
This is why the CLP has established membership criteria that include a profession of faith in Christ. Additional requirements for party leaders and candidates include evidence of a redeemed lifestyle as confirmed by the candidate's pastor or church elder and another personal witness from his community.
The CLP stays true to a basic Christian worldview but does not involve itself in the denominational distinctives of various Christian groups. Our goal is to build a venue through which the Bible-believing Christians from diverse denominations can influence political affairs for Christ. This fellowship of believers represents a unique opportunity, fulfills a Biblical admonition, and exercises the fundamental right of freedom of association.
Questions about the Christian Liberty Party
1. HOW DOES THE CLP DIFFER FROM THE CONSTITUTION PARTY?
While the Christian Liberty Party and the CP generally hold similar platform positions, the two parties differ significantly in many areas including party vision, founding principles, strategy, membership, leadership qualifications, party government and uniformity.
The vision of the CLP is uniquely Christian in both in its goals and methods. This distinguishes it not only from the CP, but also from all other political parties. The CLP holds that the Bible should provide the divine blueprint for all of life, including politics. It should define not only the goals of Christian political activity, but also the methods and strategies, right down to party government. CLP Vision calls for the abandonment of relativistic and unbiblical concepts and strategies such as conservative-, traditional- or family-values based platforms, the forging of secular political coalitions as the basis for obtaining influence, as well as the "we the people" principle of popular sovereignty.
The CLP is in agreement with the CP's stated goal of restoring government to its Biblical presuppositions and its constitutional boundaries. However, whereas the CP employs traditional methods, the vision of the CLP centers on providing American Christians with a new vision for reforming their nation through Christ. This means rebuilding a comprehensive Biblical worldview among Christians, providing for the effective representation of that worldview in political affairs, articulating the principles and merits of Christian civilization, and transforming politics as usual into a contest of basic principles. It means pulling down the strongholds of humanism and abandonment theology that have all but neutralized the influence of the Church in politics and culture.
In addition to fundamental differences in party vision, the CLP and CP differ significantly in the following areas:
A. Party Founding Principles
As an explicitly Christian Party, the CLP has laid its foundation in a statement of fundamental theological principles that provide a solid foundation for maintaining unity and orthodoxy in party direction, leadership, platform and membership. The CLP honors Christ unapologetically in all of its party documents as the head of all authority both in Heaven and on Earth, as well as the only hope of men and nations.
The CP lacks an explicitly Christian foundation. Although many CP members are Christians, constitutionalism provides the common foundation of party unity and the focus of party activism. Whereas the CP is primarily constitution-centered, the CLP strives to be Christ-centered.
B. Party Strategy
The CP emphasizes national reform by capturing public office (especially the presidency) and restoring constitutional government through the use of legislation, the executive veto and the impeachment power. The CLP generally supports the legitimacy of these methods, but considers them inadequate and unsustainable without the reestablishment of the Christian-Biblical worldview that formed the basis of American self-and civil-government. No man can secure liberty or restore the Constitution through political means while neglecting its foundations in Christ. Where men refuse to acknowledge the universal Lordship of Christ, and ignore Him as the cornerstone of duly constituted civil government, they condemn themselves to eat the fruits of unbelieving political systems.
Since the hope of nations lies in Christian reformation, and since the Body of Christ is God's chosen vehicle to disciple the nations for Christ, the CLP message and strategy focuses on educating and mobilizing the Body of Christ and on representing Christians and the Christian faith in the political dialog.
Some basic tenets of political strategy unique to the CLP include:
Raising-up new generations of Christian statesmen through discipleship, training and education;
Mobilizing a league of Christian families at the local level as the foundation for national reform;
Redefining the political debate from a secular "liberal vs. conservative" framework to the Christian Biblical perspective of "faith vs. unbelief";
The formation of local Christian voter clubs as centers of local party activism:
Membership of the CP is composed of Christians, constitutionalists and conservatives united primarily by their reverence for the Constitution and their desire to restore limited constitutional government and fiscal responsibility. Theological perspectives vary considerably and there is significant disagreement over the proper place of Christianity in the party vision and leadership.
The CLP is a party for Bible-believing Christians and voting membership is open only to confessing, Bible-believing Christians. CLP leaders and activists are united around a comprehensive Christian vision for reforming the nation for Christ. Unity in vision and purpose (in Christ) provides the Biblical basis for an effective organization.
Unlike all other political parties, the CLP requires its leaders and candidates to meet Biblically-based leadership and character qualifications in addition to scholastic qualifications in government, history, apologetics, etc. The tremendous pressures and public scrutiny endured by public figures means that only individuals of the highest caliber and qualifications should be qualified to represent our cause. The CLP holds its candidates accountable to these standards. The CP does not have well-defined standards for its candidates and party leaders.
E. Party Government
The CP party structure, like other parties, is convention based. The party's platform and direction are determined through democratic consensus among delegates. As a convention based party, the CP is vulnerable to the same political pressures, compromise and drift that have driven the decline of other parties.
The CLP believes that an effective, unified and Biblically based party must be governed differently than secular, consensus based parties. The party does not remake itself in convention each election cycle. The convention (consensus) basis for the party government and platform has been replaced with a more deliberate approach to development of the party's vision, principles, platform as well as the election of party leaders and nomination of candidates. The CLP has instituted, in its governing documents, a series of checks and balances as constitutional safeguards to ensure fidelity to Biblical principles and party founding vision.
F. Uniformity of Party
The CP was formed as a coalition of diverse state affiliates with strong emphasis on state party autonomy ("states rights"). This has led to disparity in party name, vision and platform. These disparities lead to conflict and instability within the party as well as confusion in the electorate. The concept of states rights (federalism) is misapplied here, for while it is an important safeguard to liberty in a civil union, it is a natural deterrent to unity and effectiveness in a voluntary organization.
The CLP formed in June 2000 as a national party with the requirement that each constituent state party share the same name, vision and purpose. The concept of "state's rights" does not allow a member state party to deviate from fundamental party principles since such deviation would be self-defeating. CLP strategy favors the gradual building of a unified organization rather than the merging of diverse preexisting groups for short-term gain.
2. DOES THE CLP ALLOW WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP?
The CLP recognizes the divinely ordained leadership role of men in the family, the church and the state. Article VII of our party constitution, "Qualifications for Leaders and Candidates," lists the Biblical qualifications for character and leadership exclusively in the masculine gender.
The CLP does not currently have any female officers however women have shared in our formative process.
Since our founding convention, we have considered the question of women in leadership and have reflected on the Biblical history of Deborah's leadership as a judge, and on the clear prohibition of women in authority over men within the Church. We recognize that there may be a rare exception, especially in the case of the absence of Biblically qualified male political leaders/candidates. At this time, while there is general agreement that positions of leadership should be held by men, the CLP does not explicitly prohibit consideration of women for party leadership or candidacy.
3. DOES THE CLP HAVE A RELIGIOUS TEST FOR LEADERS AND CANDIDATES?
Yes, as concerns being a Christian; no, as concerns belonging to a particular denomination.
Qualifications for CLP leaders and candidates are based on the Christian character and leadership skills for ecclesiastical and civil leaders defined in the Bible. CLP leaders and candidates must also demonstrate a thorough comprehension of the application of the Biblical principles of Christian self- and civil government.
We want, as leaders, Bible-believing Christians from every denomination who hold the essential tenets of the Christian faith. We are pleased that having spent almost ten years together in this Christian endeavor. Our former state party in the CP (CLP of WA), and the present national committee (CLP) includes members from Baptist, Presbyterian, Evangelical Covenant, Calvary Chapel, United Reformed and Pentecostal churches.
4. CAN I BE A MEMBER OF THE CLP AND ANOTHER PARTY AT THE SAME TIME?
No. Members subscribe to eight statements printed on the application form, the first of which says, "I am eligible to vote in the state in which I reside and am not affiliated with any other political party." An CLP member can campaign and vote for candidates of other parties, but simply cannot be a member of another party. This generally includes voting in their primaries and/or serving as a delegate to their conventions.
The question is one of not serving two masters. Believers must choose between secular political parties (faith in man) or an explicitly Christ-centered vision for national reformation. For believers to cling to failed secular political coalitions, out of fear or habit, is unbiblical and deprives Christian alternatives of their due support.
The CLP was established as a body of Bible-believers desiring to advance an explicitly Christian political philosophy. It is thus incompatible with other political parties. To protect the integrity of the party vision and principles, membership is reserved for Bible believers who are fully committed to the CLP's Christian vision, and who have made a clean break from involvement in secular politics-as-usual.
5. WHY DOESN'T THE CLP MERGE WITH OTHER THIRD PARTIES FOR GREATER INFLUENCE?
America needs a Christian Party.
As the only Christian confessional party, the merging of the CLP with any other party would immediately compromise the independent and explicitly Christian vision of the CLP and therefore its very reason for existence. New wine must be put into new wineskins else both are corrupted. The vehicle must be compatible with the mission.
Effective organizations are built on clarity of vision and purpose. Coalitions are built on compromise. Any imagined coalition of third parties would be inherently flawed, ineffective, and doomed to suffer the same strife and weakness that drove the Reform Party to its demise.
Our independence as a political entity is non-negotiable, however it in no way precludes our ability and willingness to cooperate with other groups wherever our interests and principles may overlap. Likewise CLP members remain free to vote their consciences and to endorse Godly candidates of other political parties.
6. WHY DOESN'T THE PARTY GOVERNMENT OF THE CLP CONFORM TO A TRADITIONAL BOTTOM-UP MODEL?
In light of the ease with which other parties change their platforms every election cycle, the CLP has established safeguards in its national constitution to protect the party, its vision, and principles from internal strife and compromise, and from deviation from original intent. These safeguards include a statement of faith as a prerequisite to voting membership; removal of control over the platform from the convention (democratic) process; the establishment of scholastic and character qualifications for leaders and candidates; and the creation of a guardian committee of senior statesmen to audit amendments to the party constitution, principles, platform, and program for their integrity with Biblical principles (see CLP National Constitution, Articles VII & X).
Objections to this aspect of the CLP commonly stem from the tendency to confuse political parties and civil-government. A political party is not the civil government. It is a voluntary association of like-minded individuals. The two differ in purpose, scope, and composition and therefore cannot be structured and governed in the same way. While all Americans live under a common government, one is free to join or leave a voluntary association at will. Tyranny is simply not possible in a voluntary association.
A bottom-up convention based party structure is a recipe for failure in any organization that bases its existence upon a particular purpose and ideology. A preoccupation with maintaining a purely bottom-up hierarchy (federalism & states rights) has been the root of strife in many political parties, including the Constitution Party. The Reform Party is a disastrous example of an organization with no clearly defined central core of beliefs and lacking a central party structure. Convention-based church denominations ultimately forsake their original purpose. "Where there is no vision the people perish."
The CLP desires to scrutinize, refine and perfect our principles, vision, program and platform through the wisdom of a multitude of counselors. However, change must come through long and careful deliberation rather than the passion and haste of convention or the whim of the majority. New members should join because they believe in the organization and not to try to remake it in their own image.
The CLP does conform to the bottom-up model in the election of its leaders. Also, changes to the platform, principles, constitutions and by-laws often start at the bottom and work their way to the top. In any case, the CLP has put in place protections that we believe do not exist in the major or minor parties in the United States.
The CLP is best described as neither "top-down" nor "bottom-up," but rather "inside-out." That is, it is built cohesively at all levels (national, state and local) around a well-defined statement of vision and non-negotiable principles. The CLP firmly rejects the idea that an effective party can be structured as a coalition of state affiliates. History shows that since free men often choose evil, even the most idealistic bottom up model needs to have a check upon the actions of the majority.