51 thoughts on “Chuck Baldwin on Religious Liberty

  1. G.E.

    Chuck Baldwin is the only presidential candidate I know of who has openly courted atheists.

  2. Deran

    “Chuck Baldwin is the only presidential candidate I know of who has openly courted atheists.”


    Nader doesn’t have to court non-theocrats, it’s understood that he is not a religious fanatic.

    Same with McKinney.

    And I’ll take a wild guess, and suggest that the SPUSA and PSL also are understood to be secularist, and not in need of courting non-fundamentalists.

  3. Trent Hill Post author


    More importantly–they are exclusively secularist. Let them come out and welcome people they disagree with. Let them welcome christian fundamentalists.

  4. Mike Gillis

    Yeah, it isn’t that he’s courted Atheists. He’s just the only candidate I know of that’s mentioned them.

    It’s that he’s the only “major” candidate I know of that gives off the ambient vibe that he could be HOSTILE to them.

    Most other candidates – even McCain – give off enough of a secular vibe that non-fundamentalists won’t immediately be turned off by them. Because railing against religious minorities and non-believers tends to turn off many religious folks as well.

    But Baldwin, with the CP platform’s evocation of Jesus, their stance on banning pornography, hostility to church/state separation and their hardline religious social conservatism, has to take extra steps to avoid the obvious implication that he has theocratic tendencies.

    In Baldwin’s past statements about about Atheists, he used phrases like “unbelievers”, which to a non-fundamentalist sounds little different from “infidel” and so on. I don’t think Baldwin did this intentionally, but it’s clear that Baldwin has never gone too far outside of his usual evangelical Christian comfort zone. And I think this statement is aimed less at Atheists and Agnostics than it was at non-fundamentalist theists who he wants to court.

    I feel the only reason that Baldwin is even making this effort is because he and the CP are reaching out to the Ron Paul supporters and by doing so, I think he’s realized that many of them are indeed rather secular, rather than the usual Religious Right constituency that they reach out to.

    And given how Barr doesn’t have a record as sterling as Paul’s on a number of issues, so Baldwin sees an opening to make a grab for these people. So he’s stepping outside of his comfort zone to do it.

    That in itself is a good thing. But we shouldn’t confuse trying to dissuade people from thinking he’s a theocrat (the jury is still out on that one), with him courting Atheists and Agnostics.

    I’ll give him credit for trying, but he quite honestly sounded awkward when doing it. It sounded several times like he wanted to say “separation of church and state”, but knew that those words would piss off his less secular supporters.

    And those are precisely the words he has to say to win over and court most Atheists and Agnostics.

  5. Trent Hill Post author


    I’d like to see Cynthia McKinney give a similar shpiel about white people, men, or religious folk voting for her. It wont happen,because she doesnt have the courage–but it’d be a similar step.

  6. Mike Gillis

    I can’t speak for Cynthia McKinney. She lost any chance at my support when she started on about the “911 Truth Movement”.

    But that’s a different subject. And something you’d have to take up with the McKinney people.

    I’m not trying to fight with you, Trent. But I’m saying as an Atheist and as someone who knows other Atheists from a variety of political schools of thought, these are the sorts of things we want to hear.

    I’d also like to mention that “secularism” is not synonymous with Atheism. Nor is it mutually exclusive with any form of religious fundamentalism.

    Separating church and state is protection not only for minority beliefs or non-beliefs, but it protects the majority as well.

    Because the intermingling of state and church power inevitably leads to the state being a tool of the church, and the church being a tool of the state.

    As I’m sure you’ve seen with GOP activist and GOP front PAC groups, they clearly want to turn conservative churches into religious activist wings of their party. Not ideological in nature, but blatantly partisan.

    What most Atheists I know want to hear from any candidate is that they support church/state separation. Total neutrality on religious matters and matters of beliefs and non-belief on the part of the government. No encouragement or discouragement of belief. No use of the state to promote or denounce any religious matter.

    I think that the fact that such a large majority of Americans call themselves some sort of Christian or Theist makes it hard for them to see, but I imagine any minority religious person in America – or any non-Muslim in an Islamic country can see the value in secularism.

    Again, I’m not trying to start a fight with you. Just say that if Baldwin really DOES want to court our vote, that this is the sort of thing he’d have to do.

    Most Atheists I know are either leftists or libertarians. I’m sure there have to be SOME Atheist social conservatives out there, but I’ve never met one.

    The only shot I see Baldwin having with Atheists, are those Atheist libertarians I mentioned. And with them, it’s best to mention state neutrality in matter of religion, or failing that, just focus on economic issues he has in common with them.

    But name dropping isn’t the same as courting.

  7. Trent Hill Post author

    Apparently some people disagree. I’v ALREADY recieved 2 emails about this video from athiests in Louisiana who want to join the party. Funny,because the video has only been available for about 12 hours.

    And we were the first website to put it up.

  8. G.E.

    Mike – You’re off the mark. The two major parties would never, EVER say a positive thing about atheists. I challenge McCain/Obama to even say that atheists have a right to not worship God.

    I am a proud “unbeliever.” What term do you want Baldwin to use? “Faith challenged?” “Differently-spiritual?”

    Baldwin avoids using “church/state separation” as a phrase because it has been misappropriated by centralist liberals much like “states’ rights” was appropriated by racist Southerners. Your man, Ron Paul has said in no uncertain terms: There is no such thing as separation of church and state, as understood by centralist liberals.

  9. Trent Hill Post author

    No kidding. Even I agree with criticisms on our platform–which as a whole: Sucks.

    I am glad GE appreciates the outreach to non-Christians though.

  10. G.E.

    Yes, now I just wish he would extend that outreach to people who hate Teddy Roosevelt and love free trade.

  11. G.E.

    Mike Gillis – Sorry for saying Ron Paul was “your man” — I thought you were the Other Mike.

  12. Trent Hill Post author


    The people who love free-trade have already recieved SOME sort of olive branch. Baldwin has said he ISNT a protectionist. This is factually correct, as protectionism generally refers to Tarriffs over 25-30% (I got that definition from Dilorenzo). Baldwin said 10%. *shrug* its not free trade,but its DEFINETLY an olive branch.

    As for Roosevelt–he said he disagreed with his policies but liked his personality. I mean,its definetly not perfect–but its still better than most.

  13. G.E.

    In a recent interview on the Lew Rockwell Show, DiLorenzo said that tariffs 10% or greater were protectionist, while 10% or lower were not. 10% would be both protectionist and not, by that definition. (Maybe it wasn’t DiLorenzo who said this, but it was on the LR Show and 10% was the magic number).

    Regardless, my own definition of protectionism are tariffs designed to discourage trade rather than generate revenue. Any variance between tariffs would be protectionist, no matter how low. If tariffs were excluded on some items, then even a 1% tariff on other items would be a protectionist tariff. And if tariffs were high enough to generally discourage trade, that’d be protectionist too.

    That all said, I’m for NO tariffs, not low ones.

  14. Trent Hill Post author

    Im pretty positive it wasnt DiLorenzo. I asked him a VERY specific question about what qualified as protectionist and what would simply qualify as a revenue-tarriff, and the number was 25-30,depending on the item.

    GE–once again, it isnt a perfect Free Trade position. In fact, it isnt even a GOOD free-trade position. But its an olive-branch.

  15. VTV

    It is sad that I am less worried about a Constitution Party candidate stepping on my religious freedom then I am of the LP’s candidate. Barr’s crusade against Wicca was disgusting.

  16. G.E.

    Im pretty positive it wasnt DiLorenzo.

    I went back and listened to both DiLorenzo shows, and if it was from the LR Show, it wasn’t DiLorenzo.

  17. Mike Gillis


    What I meant by “unbeliever” is that it’s such an awkward term. “Non-believer” is much better…

    And not because it’s more PC. But because it’s less silly and less slanted. And less silly.

    “Unbeliever” sounds like a fundamentalist word or a dramatic phrase that a Scooby Doo villain cult leader would call the heroes before calling out “Seize them, you fools!”

    Or better yet, just say “Atheist”. I mean, it’s what you mean.

    But yeah, I getcha. Paul’s not my guy. I’m a Nader supporter. Until recently, I didn’t even know what Nader’s religious beliefs were, and then only because they’re listed on wikipedia. He doesn’t talk about them and I like it that way. Just as a personal taste issue, I don’t feel they’re relevant in a political campaign unless the candidate wants to force them down peoples’ throats.

    But my main point is that if Baldwin really IS serious about reaching out to Atheist types, that there’s a better and more effective way of doing it.

    But I still maintain that this is less about Atheist outreach as it is towards religious moderate outreach, as the CP platform has things in it that turn off all but the most hardline fundamentalists. And given that “the Ron Paul supporters” are the attractive constituency these days in third party circles, Baldwin is clearly trying to make himself more attractive to that crowd.

    But GE is totally correct in his assessment of the attitudes of Obama/McCain towards Atheists. I would bet good money that neither of them will even acknowledge they exist in this campaign.

    But my point wasn’t they were great on the issue of church/state or that they will embrace us as a constituency. I fully expect to be a bit of a perceived political third rail.

    My point was that neither Obama or McCain give off a vibe that implies overt hostility to Atheists or religious minorities. The CP, with its platform and reputation, rightly or wrongly, DOES give off that vibe.

    And because of that, Baldwin will put out an effort to correct what he sees as a misunderstanding.

    Much the way that Barr frequently tries to do the same to prove to people that he’s really libertarian, even if he does it in an inconsistent and spotty way.

  18. darolew

    “I’m sure there have to be SOME Atheist social conservatives out there, but I’ve never met one.”

    I know some. My father is one, and so is my grandfather. Neither of them believe in God, yet you’d never guess it from the way they talk about homosexuals, gay marriage, abortion, drugs, and black people.

    I used to be the same, back before I matured politically, so I probably understand the atheist-social-conservatism viewpoint better than most. Atheists are quite capable of clinging to tradition and irrational hatred.

    “He’s [Baldwin’s] just the only candidate I know of that’s mentioned them.”

    That’s not actually too bad for a social conservative. It’s not uncommon for Christian Fundamentalists to deny that atheists even exist, it’s certainly progress to be recognized not merely as “sinners” or as punks in denial.

  19. G.E.

    My grandfather was also an atheist and a moderate social conservative. My uncle is an atheist and a less moderate social conservative (and horrible big-government liberal on economics).

  20. Mike Theodore

    Although I respect his appeal, his platform drives me away from his rhetoric. Mainly how his religion tends to slip into his politics. Such as defending traditional marriage as “common sense”.

  21. G.E.

    I agree with you, M.T., and there are even more bad aspects of Baldwin (opposition to immigration, support for a 10% tariff, desire to ban abortion on national scale, support for federal dictatorship over D.C., etc.). But who’s a better candidate?

  22. Mike Theodore

    G.E., I’d rather fight for my rights on a local level than fighting against a nationally mandated “traditional marriage” the rest of my life. I wouldn’t feel right letting that slip just for the best of god knows how many evils.

  23. G.E.

    That’s his personal view. He has made it clear he does not believe in federal imposition of that. Although he does support DOMA (so do Barr and Paul).

    Read this:

    When asked if the federal government should pass laws restricting homosexual activity, Baldwin addressed his opposition to the Federal Marriage Amendment: “I have always opposed the constitutional amendment process for the purpose of defining marriage. I know this puts me at odds with some of my evangelical brethren.”

  24. Mike Theodore

    So would he be in support of the more Libertarian position of government having no business in marriage at all?

    G.E., would it be Libertarian for the government to simply be a record keeper that your married? As evidence that you are, for any benefits the private sector would offer to married couples.

  25. G.E.

    Put it this way: Abolishing the office of the Register of Deeds and County Clerk would be very very low on the anarchist agenda.

  26. G.E.

    Baldwin quite unfortunately supports DOMA. I think he thinks gay marriage should not be legal in given states. But he, as president, would not seek to ban gay marriage in California, for instance.

    My opinion is that marriage should be a contract between two (or more) individuals who can call it whatever they want. I think government recognition of something called “marriage” is divisive.

  27. Mike Theodore

    I’ve always just seen marriage as two people attempting to try to make a relationship reach the stage of success. Now that doesn’t work all the time, hence divorce. But then you see gay couples who are with each other for 50 years, without being allowed to be married. I hate to think of it theoretically as a “contract”.
    Dragging legal authority and jargon into love is what set this all up in the first place.

  28. G.E.

    Well you don’t have enough respect for contracts. I think contracts are more sanctified than marriage. The right to contract is a fundamental human right and the basis for libertarian society. It isn’t something “dirty.” You said you wanted the government (yuck) to keep a “record” of marriages — those “records” are rightfully contracts. And of course, it is not necessary for the government to do this. Private firms could easily keep these records.

  29. Mike Theodore

    No, but when was the last time I applied for a marriage license?

    Now many people who marry don’t get married through a priest. Some do it through a Judge, Mayor, etc. Would a representative of the firm then perform that task?

  30. Mike Theodore

    Well, basically just a way of recording your married to prove that you are. Some things in the private sector give benefits to married couple above single. It would make it, as GE said, a contract of mutual love and agreement. Better than paying homeless people to act like your wife.

  31. Trent Hill Post author

    Better? Have you ever BEEN married?

    Haha, I kid I kid.

    No seriously,wheres my hobo?

  32. langa

    If marriage were privatized, I have no doubt that there would be companies lining up to fill the demand for ceremony-officiating, record-keeping, etc.

  33. langa

    “No kidding. Even I agree with criticisms on our platform–which as a whole: Sucks.”

    Trent – Just out of curiosity, was the platform written by a small minority in the party, or do most of the members support it? If so, why would they nominate Baldwin, who seems to disagree with much of it? Or is he just downplaying his agreement with it, in order to avoid alienating libertarians and Paul voters?

  34. Trent Hill Post author


    The platform, for the most part, was written in 1992 amongst the most religious Pat Buchanan-types in the party,as well as the founders. In 1996, it was strengthened by the same Pat Buchanan types, plus some major religious-right types. It has not been touched since then because of the seriousness with which the “Old Gaurd” wants to protect it. This platform was forged by many hours of argueing between the various factions of the Old Gaurd (which I can go into more, if needed)–and they don’t want to open that book up again. In 2000, there was a HUGE fight over the Preamble. The religious-right, Moral Majority types wanted “Jesus” specifically inserted. The Originalists (as I call them) wanted to call it “The Creator”. The Moral Majority types won this battle, narrowly. It was a VERY bitter fight. You could compare it to the “Portland Massacre” for the LP.
    In 2008, though, a small contingent of us brought forth a very controversial platform proposal that basically consisted of scrapping the existing document and replacing it with The Constitution. Any planks which were added (and we expected many would be) would need to cite specific Constitutional authority (this, we called the “Constitutional bridge”). This did not neccesarily have to come from the text of the Constitution itself,but could come from Founding Father’s quotes–to interpret original intent.

    The first proposal, of replacing the platform entirely, was shot down immediately. We did not have the strength to pull it off.
    But we mananaged to place the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Indepence as the the basis for our platform BEFORE the preamble, as can be seen here.

    We also managed to insert the “Constitutional bridges”. We made it mandatory for one of these to exist. This will make it easy the next time to eliminate unconstitutional planks in the platform,because it will be obvious that the constitutional justification sucks.

    The Ron Paul Revolution has done alot to help the Originalists. It converted some of the Moral Majority types, and MANY of the Buchananesque types into Ron Paul Constitutionalists.

    Baldwin is one of the Moral Majority types turned Ron Paul Constitutionalists.

    So answer your question though: Yes, the platform was written by a minority. As recently as 2004, though, it was protected by a majority. The Ron Paul Revolution, however, has ensured that the Platform would be reworked in 2008 (and indeed it was), and made MUCH better in 2012.

    As for why the nominated Baldwin–Baldwin tended to play up his areas of agreement with the CP and his supporters did the same. Besides…the only other choice was Keyes, and Baldwin is WAY closer.

  35. langa

    I like the idea of using the Constitution as the basis for the platform, since it is the *Constitution Party*. I think the current platform will probably keep a lot of people from voting for Baldwin, who would vote for him if he were running as an Independent, or with a different platform.

    For example, if Baldwin were on the ballot in Georgia, I would have a tough decision between him and Barr, but I would probably lean toward Barr, just because I find the LP platform so much more attractive than the CP platform. And I say this as a Christian who strongly believes in separation of church and state.

  36. Trent Hill Post author

    Im a Christian who doesnt like his church and his politics mixing—but I’d vote for Baldwin WAY before Barr. Baldwin has come out consistently and said that he wants to work with Athiests, agnostics, mormons, catholics, etc. He said he would leave intact-at all levels–the seperation of church and state. Barr, on the other hand, banned Wicca from the military.

  37. langa

    Barr certainly has his share of warts, and I’m not at all comfortable with the idea of voting for him. However, I’m also not comfortable with the idea of voting for a party that devotes entire planks of their platform to denouncing things like pornography and gambling, neither of which are EVER mentioned in the Constitution.

    Like I said, if Baldwin was on the ballot here, I’d have a tough decision. As it is, Barr’s my only real choice, other than not voting at all, which could be an option if Barr issues any more crazy press releases praising the likes of Jesse Helms and Al Gore. But as long as he avoids acting like a complete moron, he’ll probably get my vote.

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