The Constitution Party has attracted a lot of attention lately, especially amongst liberal blogs who have, right or wrongly, connected the party with Rand Paul and Sharron Angle, the GOP nominees for Senate in Kentucky and Nevada respectively.
One of the most popular articles concerning these connections is this one at Alternet by Adele Stan, which was published Tuesday.
It could be the most important political party you’ve barely heard of — the Constitution Party, a far-right party that combines the sort of quasi-libertarian ideology spouted by Ron Paul with a Christian Reconstructionist bent for the biblical law of the Book of Leviticus (you know, the law that mandates death by stoning for practitioners of gay sex and adultery).
But when it comes to Constitution Party street cred, Sharron Angle, the Republican nominee for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat, seems to have Paul, and his son, Rand (the GOP’s nominee for Kentucky’s Senate seat) beat. Angle, reports TPM’s Justin Elliott, spent six years as a member of Nevada’s Independent American Party, the state’s Constitution Party affiliate.
The article is in error when it says:
If the name of the Constitution Party sounds vaguely familiar, perhaps you recall the dust kicked up when, during the presidential campaign Todd Palin was revealed to have belonged, for seven years, to the Alaska Independence Party, that state’s Constitution Party affiliate.
The Alaskan Independence Party is actually not the state affiliate of the Constitution Party in Alaska, though the parties have cooperated at times–including the Alaskan Independence Party placing Constitution Party Presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin on their ballot in 2008.
Another article at Religion Dispatches, by Julie Ingersoll, discusses the same topic.
The Constitution Party is not merely a political party that supports the Constitution, but rather a party that promotes a very specific interpretation of the Constitution: based on founder Howard Phillips’ Christian Reconstruction. No conspiracy theory here; Phillips has explicitly embraced R.J. Rushdoony as a mentor and publicly noted the influence of the “Father” of the movement on his own views and the views of his son Doug Phillips, the founder of Vision Forum, an organization which claims “a zeal for the restoration of Biblical patriarchy.”
In her book, Quiverfull, RD contributor Kathryn Joyce reported that the younger Phillips pressured members of the church in which he is an elder to support the Constitution Party. A significant division resulted when a female member of the congregation questioned him and was disciplined by the church leaders.
The elder Phillips was one of the founders of the new Christian Right in the 1980s and is still chairman of the Conservative Caucus. In 1992 he founded the U.S. Taxpayer’s Party which in 1999 changed its name to the Constitution Party. Phillips ran three times as the party’s candidate for President (with the endorsement of Ron Paul). The Constitution Party’s platform advocates “returning” American law to its “foundations” in “Biblical Law.” The notion that the First Amendment’s religion clauses provide for a separation of church and state is rejected, based on the argument that the founders envisioned an institutional separation of church and state at the federal level in order to protect religion from an overreaching federal government. They contend that the founders always understood the U.S. to be a Christian nation founded on biblical law.
You can finish reading that article here.