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 Chapter 33

Russell’s Report

 

REPORT ON:

Russell Standish’s Candidature For The National Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention to be held in Canberra, February 2–13 1998, is a significant historic event. As one of Australia’s most renowned political commentators, Lauri Oakes, stated, "Those who have dismissed the Constitutional Convention as a time-wasting talkfest, are almost certainly wrong." (Bulletin, Nov. 18 1997)

An editorial in the Melbourne Age, Nov. 20 1997, referred to the Convention as the body which would "discuss proposals for what may be the most far-reaching change in Australia’s system since Federation."

Federal Senator Grant Chapman of South Australia, has written, "The Constitution will be the most significant event in Australia’s Constitution history since Federation in 1901. As a proud Australian, I support the retention of the existing Constitution; however, I strongly urge all South Australians to exercise their democratic right to vote in this voluntary election. If you want to have a say in Australia’s future, please fill in your Ballot form and return it promptly." (Brochure delivered to every householder in South Australia)

Senator Chapman went on to say, "This is an election to decide the future of Australia—not for three years, but for the next century. This election will send delegates to a meeting which could decide on a new system of government for Australia.

"Let’s be clear on the system we now have. The Australian Constitution ensures that no one person can hold absolute power—not a Judge, not a Prime Minister, not a Governor-General and certainly not the Queen. Separating power between people and institutions (the High Court, the Parliament, the Crown) makes sure that the whole system of government must act before laws are enforced on the people. It is a Constitution designed for freedom. The Crown—the State Governors and the Governor-General—is the non-political heart of our democratic system. It is the umpire in a sea of ambition and political intrigue. In a Republic, the umpire is also one of the players. Power is concentrated in the hands of politicians, who want to appoint the President as well as the Judges. Perhaps that is why Republics have so much political unrest. Ask the crucial question, ‘Will I be happy, safe and free in a Republic run by politicians?’" (Ibid., emphasis supplied)

Following the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) Radio 8.00 am News bulletin on Jan. 2 1998, two delegates to the National Constitutional Convention—one a Republican, the other a Monarchist—were interviewed. Both asserted that the scope of the matters that will be discussed at the February Convention has greatly expanded since the Parliament voted the Act to establish a National Constitutional Election. Initially, it was thought that the delegates would confine themselves to the issue of whether Australia should become a Republic or not. Later, the Prime Minister stated that he desired that the Convention would produce a consensus as to the type of Republic which should be placed before Australian voters in a Referendum to decide the issue. Now the scope of the discussion is bound to include details of proposed Constitutional Articles. Each of the delegates interviewed stated that if Australia became a republic, this would require massive alterations to our Constitution. In this, I believe, lies the peril of the wholesale alterations implicit in the design of a Republican constitution. Both interviewees were agreed that if all participants treat it very seriously, the Convention will be a Once-in-a-Century stocktake, and that in another one hundred years, we will know if we have received value for money from the Convention deliberations, which will cost $14 million. A century is a very long time to endure the consequences of a faulty Constitution.

 

 

My decision to stand as a candidate was based upon three matters:

First, that in my third year of History at Sydney University in 1957, I had studied the History of the Federation movement of the late nineteenth century and the various Constitutional Conventions of the 1890s; which led to the six Australian colonies federating as the Commonwealth of Australia on January 1 1901. This had aroused my interest in our Constitution.

Second, I have a deep appreciation of the civil and religious liberties this nation affords its citizens. Having resided overseas for twenty years, and because my speaking appointments take me to every inhabited continent, I have first-hand experience of the restrictions of liberty in the majority of over eighty nations I have visited. I believe that with current trends in our nation, both political and social, there is a decided danger that the liberties we tend to take for granted in this country could be seriously curtailed in the process of the wholesale alteration of our Constitution, which would likely result if we adopted a republican form of government. Further, all Christians should be mindful of the plain words of Scripture which describe the imperiling of religious liberty throughout the world in the days prior to Christ’s Second Coming. It is not the purpose of this report to undertake a detailed exposition of the symbolic terms "image to the beast" and "mark of the beast." Those who requested and received the 2,000 year history of civil and religious liberty from an historical and Scriptural viewpoint in the book, The Great Controversy, will have in their possession an insightful and masterful analysis of these terms. Any who do not possess this book may receive it free upon request from my office (P.O. Box 175, Kalorama 3766). I cite the significant scriptural prophecy which warns of both an economic boycott and death decree upon religious dissenters:

And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six. Revelation 13:14–18 KJV, emphasis supplied

 

It will be observed that the key issue is one of worship (verse 15). In the same chapter, verse 1, the prophecy foretells an era when almost all the world would adopt a common worship—a few, faithful to God, excepted:

And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Revelation 13:8, emphasis added

This prophecy should cause us to pause and consider the thrust of the current ecumenical movement, which is moving beyond the bounds of Christianity to non-Christian faiths. I have no sympathy for wild-eyed alarmists, but I do possess a profound belief in the plain words of Scripture, and I am convicted that it is our duty to delay, as long as possible in God’s providence, the fulfillment of these prophecies, so that our citizens in Australia’s secular society may be acquainted with scriptural truths.

My third reason for standing in this election is that I am a Seventh-day Adventist minister. I was not personally aware of the profound impact of Seventh-day Adventists upon the religious aspects of our Australian Constitution until I purchased the book Unto God and Caesar – Religious Issues in the Emerging Commonwealth 1891–1906 authored by Richard Ely, now Professor of History at the University of Tasmania. Professor Ely is an ordained Presbyterian minister. The book was published by Melbourne University Press in 1976. The author devoted two of his fifteen chapters to the impact of Seventh-day Adventists (chapter 3, "Campaign and Counter Campaign", and chapter 6, "The Adventists Persevere"); and provides mention of their work in respect of the Constitution in five further chapters. I purchased this book in 1993. It had a profound impact upon my thinking. When the Constitutional Convention was called, I was impressed to nominate as a candidate. Ringing in my ears was Professor Ely’s judgment that,

There was about the Adventist campaign a professionalism, an efficient adjustment of small means to large ends, which the recognitionist’s [those who desired some measure of union between church and state] effort mostly lacked. For a church that so rigorously and with such determination believed in the separation of Church and State, the Adventists played politics very well." Richard Ely, op. cit., pp, 44, 45

In the 1890s there were fewer than 1,000 Seventh-day Adventists in the entire nation. I cherish their insistence that religious liberty be granted to all, believer or non-believer, and that there be a marked separation of church and state; in this they demonstrated profound wisdom, for history testifies to the fact that the union of Church and State almost always leads to persecution of dissenters. It was largely due to this small group of Seventh-day Adventists that Article 116 of the Australian Constitution, which has protected our religious liberties so well for the past 97 years, was inserted. It contains two important clauses: an—

Anti-establishment clause, and a—

Free exercise clause;

and is demonstrably patterned upon the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Article 116 states:

The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.

 

Unlike the Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership a century ago, the Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership of today decided: "The church isn’t making recommendations on which way to vote [in the Constitutional Election]." (South Pacific Record, Nov. 29 1997)

This decision reflected the commendable policy of my church in eschewing interference in politics, associated with what I believe to be an underestimation of the significance of the Constitutional Convention. Thus I felt it a personal duty to stand in the tradition of the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers in this nation, not for political motives, but in order to uphold the great religious and civil freedoms essential to our well-being.

 

 

 

1. Brochures - 150,000 distributed by friends and supporters throughout the state.

2. Public Addresses (1997):

Nov. 2 Wodonga, Victoria

Nov. 13 Lilydale (Melbourne), Victoria

Nov. 15 Pinjarra, Western Australia

Nov. 17 Goodwood (Adelaide), South Aust.

Nov. 22 Auckland, New Zealand

Nov. 29 Clayton (Melbourne) Victoria

Dec. 1 Hobart, Tasmania

Dec. 2 Launceston, Tasmania

Dec. 3 Davenport, Tasmania

Dec. 5 Arcadia (Sydney), N.S.W.

Dec. 9 Port Macquarie, N.S.W.

Dec. 13 St. Lucia (Brisbane) Queensland

Dec. 16 Atherton Tableland, Queensland

Dec. 17 Cairns, Queensland

Dec. 20 Morisset, New South Wales

3. Newspaper Advertisements

a. Melbourne Metropolitan Weekly Newspapers – Week Oct. 27–31 & Week Nov. 3–7 - 30 newspapers each week.

b. Victorian Rural Newspapers - Week Nov. 3–7; Week Nov. 10–14 - 21 newspapers each week.

c. Stock & Land (Farmers’ Newspaper) November.

d. The Strategy, October 1997.

4. Newspaper Articles

a. Yarra Valley Post Oct. 14 1997

b. Lilydale Express Oct. 20 1997

c. Melbourne Sunday Age Nov. 9 1997

5. Internet

a. Candidate Bill Liao’s Personal Home Page

b. http://www.the menu com./russell standish

6. Radio Interviews

a. A.B.C. Radio 3LO Oct. 14 1997

b. F.M. Radio South East Nov. 9 1997

c. Commercial Radio 3AK Nov. 19 1997

(interviewed from Adelaide)

d. ABC Radio National Dec. 3 1997

(interviewed from Swansea, Tasmania)

7. Media Release

Sent to newspapers, radio, and television stations.

8. Billboards

200 placed on busy highways around the state.

9. Free Books – Great Controversy and New World Order

- Number requested: 360

 

 

1. Number of Candidates for Victoria . . . . . . . . . 158

2. Number elected as delegates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

3. Number of Primary Votes received by me . . . 10,896

4. My position in Primary Votes . 17th of 158 Candidates

5. A preferential system of election was utilized. As a result, 8 of the 16 elected delegates received fewer Primary Votes than I received. These were:

Mary Delahunty (Aust. Republican Movement) –

Primary Votes received. . . . . . . . . . . . 9,187

Steve Vizard (Aust. Republican Movement) –

Primary Votes received. . . . . . . . . . . . 7,608

Moira Rayner (Real Republic) –

Primary Votes received. . . . . . . . . . . . 4,340

Lindsay Fox (Aust. Republican Movement –

Primary Votes received. . . . . . . . . . . . 2,735

Poppy King (Aust. Republican Movement) –

Primary Votes received. . . . . . . . . . . . 1,833

Jim Ramsey (Australians for Constitutional

Monarchy) – Primary Votes received. . . . . 803

Sophie Pannapoulos (Australians for

Constitutional Monarchy) –

Primary Votes Received. . . . . . . . . . . . 788

Vernon Wilcox (Safeguard the People)

[Monarchist]) – Primary Votes received . . . 595

6. Of the 158 Victorian candidates, 91 received less than 1,000 votes. Of these, 23 received less than 100 votes.

7. Throughout Australia, there were 609 candidates for a total of 76 seats at the Convention: Number of delegates:

N.S.W. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Victoria. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Queensland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Western Australia . . . . . . . . . . 9

South Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Tasmania. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Australian Capital Territory. . . 2

Northern Territory. . . . . . . . . . 2

Of these 609 candidates throughout Australia:

Number receiving less than 10,000 Primary Votes 539

Number receiving less than 1,000 Primary Votes 332

Number receiving less than 100 Primary Votes 114

8. Lowest number of Primary Votes by any candidate 5

9. Lowest number of Primary Votes received by any candidate in each state and territory:

N.S.W. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Vic.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

Qld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

W.A.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

S.A.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14

Tas.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52

A.C.T.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

N.T.. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

10. Since Victoria had 158 candidates and only 16 were elected, 142 candidates had to be eliminated by the tedious process of eliminating first the candidate with the least votes and distributing his/her votes to the candidates who received the second preferences of those voting for this least successful candidate. The new totals were then inspected and the candidate with the least votes of those remaining was then eliminated and his/her votes were distributed to candidates who were placed second on the ballot papers of his/her primary votes. This process was repeated until 142 candidates were excluded.

In this complicated procedure, I was the 132nd candidate to be eliminated.

11. I thank God, and the citizens of Victoria who supported my candidature, that I came so close to success, since I was hardly known in Victoria, having resided in the state only five years since my return from overseas mission service. In that time, I have spent well over half of each year away from the state on overseas and interstate speaking appointments. I conduct a self-supporting ministry—Remnant Ministries. I also stood as an Independent. Yet many candidates of stature in the state of Victoria were eliminated before me. These included:

Sir Richard Hamer, former Premier of Victoria,

eliminated. . . . . . . . . . . . . 131st

John Stone, former Australian Senator and head of the

Federal Treasury, eliminated. . . 126th

Peter Ross-Edwards, former Leader of Victorian

National Party, eliminated. . . . . 109th

Numbers of others with honours from the Queen, city

councillors, city mayors and national organization leaders.

 

 

I placed my candidacy in God’s safe hands. With unsolicited financial assistance from wonderful friends and acquaintances in the five mainland states, I was able to mount a satisfactory campaign in which a percentage of the citizens of the state were able to judge my convictions and vote according to the support or otherwise of those principles.

Percentage of citizens voting for republican candidates in each state were:

N.S.W. 60.4

W.A. 60.2

Qld. 54.8

Vic. 54.4

S.A. 48.4

Tas. 46.3

Thus I rest perfectly content in the results obtained.

In a secular sense, had the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy and the Safeguard the People groups, demonstrated more wisdom in their distribution of preferences, they could possibly have propelled another candidate supporting the present Constitution into the Convention. But both apparently failed to understand adequately the preferential system of voting, and thus squandered many preferences, when many of their candidates were eliminated early in the count and their excess preferences were then discarded. Instead of providing support of our present Constitution, they simply chose to exchange preferences with one another (the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy (ACM) had sixteen candidates and the Safeguard the People (STP), six, and thus provided no preferences after twenty-two. The ACM achieved three candidates elected and the STP, two, but their other candidates were eliminated early, and thus their excess preferences went nowhere. The thirteen ACM candidates who were not elected were eliminated in the following order: 15, 20, 25, 31, 35, 44, 49, 50, 59, 73, 99, 105, 109. The four STP candidates not elected were eliminated at numbers 28, 60, 65, 80. Besides myself, another candidate supporting the present Constitution remained well after these groups were eliminated at 109. We would have greatly benefited from their excess preferences. Altogether over 102,438 votes were lost in this manner by candidates who did not utilize the preferential system wisely.

 

 

The Declaration of the Poll on Dec. 23, 1997, was a highly emotional affair. Although all 158 Candidates had the right to speak, only thirteen did so—eight successful candidates and five unsuccessful ones. The leading republican delegate, who spoke first, set the tone by claiming a mandate for the republic before the deliberations of the Convention had commenced. Further, apparently a couple of people were very quietly speaking during this candidate’s speech and he exclaimed:

"I trust we will be accorded more respect in Canberra [The Australian capital city, where the Constitutional Convention was held] than I am receiving here with people trying to talk over my speech!"

Some of those present interpreted this statement as unwarranted arrogance. One delegate, whose party is as yet uncommitted, sternly took the republican to task for declaring the republic to be a fait accompli. Most of the delegates who spoke gave uninspiring speeches, but it was John Cleary, one of only two independents elected in Australia, (the other was a Tasmanian), who gave easily the best speech among those elected. He was a two-term member of the House of Representatives as an Independent with strong socialist leanings. He succeeded to the seat of Bob Hawke, former Prime Minister, when Mr. Hawke vacated the House of Representatives. Mr. Cleary stood in this election as an Independent Republican. Although I do not share his republican views, nevertheless I felt that Mr. Cleary spoke forcibly, responsibly, and with some substance. This distinguished him from other delegates who spoke on this occasion.

Three of the five unsuccessful candidates who spoke, really brought heat into the Declaration of the Poll. One Monarchist candidate indicated by name that the leading Republican elected delegate, who is a renowned football commentator, was a disgrace, and proceeded to launch into a personal diatribe against him. Another candidate, an independent republican, congratulated the sixteen elected as delegates "in this unjust and unfair election"! Emotionally, he demanded that they remember that they were elected unjustly and thus were duty bound to serve Victoria well. He complained that the candidates representing groups were arbitrarily placed in the ballot paper before the independents, and thus received the "donkey vote" (the votes of those who simply vote for the first name on the ballot paper).

At the time of the draw for position on the ballot paper, one republican with an Irish accent stated:

"It would save a whole lot of trouble if you’d just wipe the monarchists off the ballot!"

He said it, not in humour but in venom. Bruce Ruxton, the President of the Victorian Returned Servicemen’s League, who lead the Monarchist group, "Safeguard the People," shouted in retort:

"You mean to tell me that you [underlined] are a candidate in this election! If the likes of you are standing, then there’s no hope for Australia!"

This same man spoke, unnecessarily emphasizing his Irish genes three or four times, at the Declaration of the Poll. He launched into a vitriolic attack on the Queen, determining to write her a letter advising her to "pack her bags" and stay home in England. He then spitefully attacked the Monarchist candidates, declaring that they did not possess a brain in their heads. It was just as well that Bruce Ruxton was not present, or we might have seen Armageddon.

Officials of the Australian Electoral Commission were bemused by the extent of the emotional outbursts. They said to me privately, "This was much more fun than Senate elections!"

At the Declaration of the Poll, I took the opportunity to speak. I urged the delegates to remember that the citizens of Victoria were counting upon them to promote our religious and civil liberties. I also warned them of the dangers inherent in promoting anti-vilification articles in our Constitution. Last, I courteously suggested that the Australians for Constitutional Monarchy and the Safeguard the People groups could have demonstrated greater wisdom in the cause they espoused, had they distributed their preferences more effectively. I urged them to think more wisely at the Convention, and in the run-up to the almost inevitable Referendum on the Republic. I was surprised that my speech was accorded the largest ovation of all presented. One independent Monarchist candidate later apologized for not getting his preferences in before the deadline, as he had left it to his wife to submit them. He thus wasted 3,259 votes as he was eliminated number 112.

 

 

I was a delegate to the Moreland Council Local Constitutional Convention held November 9 1997, chaired by former Victorian Premier, John Cain. Similar local Constitutional Conventions are being held around Australia and their recommendations will be sent to the National Constitutional Conventional for consideration.

The Centenary Constitutional Foundation constructed the questions posed for these Conventions. Half the twenty-four questions dealt with the type of republic desired, while the other half significantly dealt with citizens’ freedoms. The morning session was devoted to eight sub-groups composed of about fifteen delegates in each. In the afternoon, a plenary session was conducted at which each sub-group rendered its recommendations and the delegates voted their suggestions for the National Convention.

Although I made a number of contributions in the sub-group to which I was assigned, I determined to confine any comments I made in the plenary session, to the matter of liberty. Such an opportunity arose on two occasions.

In discussing the subject of the liberties which should be enshrined in our constitution, concern was expressed that such a list could not be comprehensive, and the absence of some liberty may disadvantage some citizens. Thus there was a growing mood to adopt an article in the Canadian Constitution which provides that rights "are subject on to some reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." Some delegates admired the vagueness of this statement and suggested that a similarly vague statement to cover all liberties would be a greater protection than an article which specifically stated rights.

For a time it seemed that this suggestion would prevail. This trend of thought greatly concerned me and I spoke to the point, emphasizing the need to specify salient freedoms such as conscience and religion, thought, belief and expression, peaceful assembly, association, movement within the country as well as the right to leave Australia and return, and a number of others. I conceded, of course, that such a list could never be exhaustive. Thus I felt it appropriate to complete the list with a "cover-all" article to which those whose liberties were breached in a manner not specified in the rights accorded citizens in the Constitution, could appeal. This suggestions was accepted.

My second and last contribution, was, I believe, even more important. The body had already added a clause akin to that in the South African Constitution which forbids the "advocacy of hatred that is based on race, ethnicity, gender or religion and that constitutes incitement to cause harm."

In the Federal and Victorian parliaments there have been moves during the present decade to enact similar measures, known as anti-vilification laws. Clearly, no true Christian would wish to vilify any individual, but the history of such anti-vilification laws is a poor one.

I lived in a non-Christian country which had an anti-vilification article in its Constitution prohibiting vilification of the state religion and its holy book. A New Zealand Christian simply spoke of his love for Christ and the blessings he obtained from the reading of the Bible to a man professing the state religion. The New Zealander was arrested on the grounds that his words contained an implied denigration of the state religion and its holy book. Had it not been for the diligent efforts of the New Zealand High Commission, he would have faced a long gaol sentence. A New Zealand Consular official attended every day of the court hearing. As a result the individual, although found guilty, was sentenced to one day’s gaol, immediate deportation, and a lifetime ban from entering the country.

I spoke against the antivilification measure, suggesting that such an article could seriously jeopardize the liberties we were agreed to recommend. I mentioned the matter described above. My submission proved effective and the anti-vilification matter was expunged from the recommendations.

We can, each one, make a real difference. I suggest you inquire as to whether your local council is holding a Constitutional Convention and seek to be accepted as a delegate. Further, every citizen has the right to write to Senator Nick Minchin, Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600, with his or her concerns related to our Constitution. These letters will be registered as official Convention documents and you will be given their official document number. When I sent my document, fewer than 500 had been received.

 

 

I desire three major alterations to our Constitution but these can only safely be made in single referendums, not as part of a major reconstruction of our Constitution. We need time to analyze carefully each alteration to ensure its long-term as well as short-term benefits to the nation and each individual citizen. We must be wise to discern any unintentional opportunities for future governments to imperil the liberties we now enjoy.

The three additions to our Constitution which I would recommend are:

1. The exclusion of United Nations Conventions and Foreign Treaties from our Australian law. These breach the sovereignty of our nation.

2. High court Justices should confine their decisions to the interpretation of law, not engage in the making of law. It is unsafe to have non-elected judges making decisions which in effect become laws. In this manner they usurp the prerogatives of parliament.

3. Civil liberties should be guaranteed in our Constitution. Presently, our religious liberty is guaranteed, but very few civil liberties are specifically written into our Constitution.

 

 

It is likely that in 1999 a referendum will be held throughout Australia to determine whether Australia will retain its monarchist Constitution or become a republic. I believe that despite the present omens, there is a real possibility that the people of Australia, if properly informed, will reject the republic. I propose to hold a series of meetings around Australia in 1999 concerning this issue. As a minister, I shall speak both from a Biblical and historical viewpoint, for I believe that Christians need to be alert to the full implications of any measure likely to reduce their religious and/or civil liberties. Already I have two locations tentatively booked. If you desire to arrange such a meeting series in your locality, I would welcome your suggestions, although time constraints will limit my ability to accept all offers. I am convicted that I have a duty to continue the fight for the preservation of our precious, God-ordained liberties.

The defence of our Constitution is not yet completed. I believe that the fact that in the States of Tasmania and South Australia, candidates supporting our present Constitution received more votes than those desiring to alter the Constitution by changing to republican form of government, is a positive sign. For a referendum to succeed, there must be an overall majority of the citizens of Australia in support, and at least four of the six states must provide a majority. Therefore, one further state only needs to be convinced of the dangers of a wholesale reconstruction of our Constitution, for the move to a Republic to be defeated.

Incredibly, I have received two offers of support to stand for parliament, one of which was for the Senate. But I am a minister of the gospel. This is my calling.

 

 

Thank you ever so much for your support for my candidacy. I feel humbled by your confidence in me, a man almost none of you have met. May our dear Lord bless you and your families in 1998 and may each grow in grace.

 


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