Pastor and former lawmaker Dan Fisher (shown) is running for governor of Oklahoma with a bold mission as the centerpiece of his platform: Making the Sooner State abortion free by protecting life, in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court's unconstitutional Roe v. Wade opinion. If elected, the minister turned statesman also vowed to work with the legislature to audit and rein in government, while getting the feds out of the classroom and working to restore local control of education. His campaign platform is summed up nicely with the slogan ASAP, which stands for “Abolish abortion,” “State sovereignty,” “Audit everything,” and “Proper government.” Already, elements of the Republican establishment in the state and the pro-abortion Left nationally are gearing up for a fight. But in an interview with The New American, Fisher said he was ready.
The reason that abortion is so central to Fisher's campaign is simple. “A government or a culture that will murder the most innocent among us will steal from you, and lie to you, and take your property, and violate your right to privacy, without a second thought,” he explained. “It's no big deal, if you're willing to murder unborn babies. Think of where this leads. It's extremely dangerous. There's no limit to the evil they can commit. If we don't get life issues right, we won't get other issues right. Twenty babies are murdered every business day in Oklahoma. It's like Jesus said: What does it profit a man to gain the whole word if he loses his own soul? Even if Oklahoma has a booming economy and all the rest, if we don't get the life issue right, what is it worth?”
The legal rationale behind Fisher's goal of criminalizing the slaughter of unborn babies is simple and well established. Indeed, as Fisher pointed out, many of America's most influential Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, recognized the duty of state governments to protect citizens and their rights from unconstitutional or immoral federal actions — an idea commonly referred to as “nullification.” And because the God-given right to life is at the top of the list, it is even more important in the case of abortion. “Our founders said the states must interpose between the federal government and citizens,” Fisher explained. “What we're saying is that the federal government does not have the authority to force abortion on states, and so we're going to nullify it, we're going to resist it.”
Of course, Fisher recognized that governors are not “kings” of their states. And so, he will have to work with state lawmakers to re-criminalize the killing of unborn babies. But in Oklahoma, that should not be a problem. Already, lawmakers have passed legislation criminalizing the murder of the pre-born. And the state House of Representatives passed a resolution just last year directing every public official in Oklahoma “to exercise their authority to stop the murder of unborn children by abortion.” The state's “pro-life” governor vetoed a 2016 nullification bill, passed overwhelmingly, that would have made killing babies a crime punishable by up to three years in prison. And the state Supreme Court has also sought to derail efforts to protect life. But the fight is not over.
Fisher recommended starting with the Declaration of Independence, which he described as America's birth certificate. “We need to go back to that,” he said. “The Founders made it clear that authority flows from God to the people, and then the people delegate certain powers to government. If government operates without the consent of the people, then we have the right and even the duty to alter or abolish it. That's what the founders did; they tried to alter it, and, when that failed, they threw it off. So government doesn't have inherent powers, it has power from people, who derive their power from God.” The Declaration also highlighted the “self-evident” truth that rights are inalienable and that they come from God — including, most importantly, the right to life. And the document states that governments are instituted to protect those rights.
Unfortunately, Fisher said, the original Constitution has been illegitimately “amended” beyond recognition by the courts using a scheme they refer to as “judicial review.” “We need to go back to what it says in the text,” Fisher explained. “For me, you have to consider what the Constitution originally meant, because the courts have just made mincemeat out of it.... They act like judicial review has given them the power to do whatever they want — redefine marriage, strike down our state constitutions, mandate the legalization of abortion, and so on. We need to stop this and get back to the original Constitution and its strict limits on federal power.” He pointed to the Founders' writings in the Federalist Papers to argue that federal usurpations beyond the delegated powers can and must be resisted by the states. Christian theologians have for centuries cited the “Doctrine of the Lesser Magistrates” to argue for interposition by lesser magistrates.
“So how do we abolish abortion in Oklahoma? Simple: Show me in the enumerated powers where the federal government has the power to force states to allow babies — unborn, pre-born babies — to be murdered within their borders,” he said. The same rationale applies to other key issues where state laws and constitutions were shredded by rogue federal courts and Washington, D.C., ranging from ObamaCare to marriage. “So what I'm saying in my campaign is that we either have the consent of governed, or we have consent of the courts — it can only be one, and we need to choose,” he said, adding that some of the Founders also recognized the danger of the judicial branch seeking to expand its powers until it became a de facto oligarchy ruling over the people without their consent.
“Now we have courts pretending like they can make laws — it's not true, obviously, but a lot of people mistakenly think it is, and we can't allow this to stand,” Fisher said. “So, as governor, I will simply point out that this is not within their enumerated powers, and they can't do this. Of course, as governor, I can't do it alone — I need support from the legislature, which represents the people. But I'm openly running on abolishing abortion. If I win, I'm going to assume that I have a mandate to work on this. We'll ignore the federal government here, because they don't have the authority on this.” Basically, he would ask the legislature to pass a law criminalizing abortion, which he promised to immediately sign. “Then we'll shut down the abortion clinics and arrest the abortionists killing babies as murderers,” he said, adding that the right to life was worth fighting for. He hopes President Trump, who has argued that abortion should be a state issue, would keep the feds at bay while Oklahoma acts to protect innocent life.
The conservative candidate compared the effort to protect life in defiance of the feds to another famous case in American history. “It's just like the Dred Scott decision,” he said, referring to the infamous 1857 ruling that essentially denied the humanity of black people. “Who in their right mind today would say that was a proper, constitutional decision? Nobody reasonable would say that. And yet, when it was handed down, many people abided by it.” Some states, though, were willing to defy the feds on such key issues. Fisher cited the example of Wisconsin, which refused to obey federal mandates demanding that slaves be returned to their owners. Instead, the state allowed fugitive slaves to remain there and be free.
Fisher explained that Congress could, if it wanted to, rein in the Supreme Court and undo its unconstitutional power grabs. All it would have to do is make clear the fact that abortion and marriage, among other issues, are not in the jurisdiction of the federal courts, and that would be the end of it. “I want to have our legislature remove abortion from the jurisdiction of state courts,” Fisher added, saying Congress ought to do the same thing at the federal level. But since lawmakers in D.C. have been unwilling to act to restore constitutional balance, the states must take action.
While abortion is a key part of Fisher's platform, it is not the only issue he is passionate about. “I'm a Republican who actually believes in shrinking government,” he said, adding that even some Republicans in the state were seeking ways to raise revenue instead of slashing spending. Aside from working to end abortion, Fisher said he would like lawmakers to authorize a one-time appropriation for outside auditors to go through every part of government, top to bottom. “We'll start auditing, and when we find waste, abuse, fraud, we're going to go after it,” he said, calling for shutting down duplicative or useless agencies that should not exist.
The purpose of government, Fisher continued, is to protect unalienable rights, “not oversee our lives from cradle to grave.” “We need to get government's hands out of where government doesn't belong, we have to get it out of every part of our lives,” he continued, saying it was “unconscionable” how far government had gotten out of control. “No more corporate welfare, crony capitalism, and whatever else is not a core function of government.... As somebody who's been in the legislature, I can tell you that if the citizens knew what goes on, they'd come out with pitchforks. It's time to blow the whistle and put a stop to this.”
Decentralizing education is also high on Fisher's agenda. “Centralized government is ineffective, and it is unresponsive to the will of people,” he said, suggesting citizens try to make an appointment with the state school superintendent to see how hard it is, while local officials are easy to reach. In practical terms, the former lawmaker said he would like to get the state education department down to a “skeleton crew,” and return power to local elected boards. “That way, the people can have a voice in education again,” he said, calling to empower parents while praising homeschooling, Christian schools, and private schools. “Homeschoolers are some of the smartest kids I know,” he added.
Fisher also wants to get the federal government out of Oklahoma's education system, saying the feds were “force feeding socialism to our children through government schools.” “I'd like to get us to a place where we don't even take federal money anymore,” he said. “Some states are already looking at this, and they're finding out that ending federal involvement in education would save them money. By not having to comply with all these mandates and strings from Washington, they'd have more money for classrooms. I'd like to see us, in the end, completely weaned from federal money, so Oklahomans at the local level can decide what is taught, what textbooks are used, how much teachers will be paid, and so on. Then citizens can control what's going on.”
Despite having a super-majority, Fisher contends that many Republicans in the state behave and govern as liberal Democrats. “You can see why the Republican establishment doesn't like me much,” he said, chuckling a little. “If I get elected, I will help turn this GOP around and get it back on track.” In addition to hostility from some establishment Republicans, the radical pro-abortion left is also taking swipes at Fisher. For instance, the fringe left-wing website “Right Wing Watch,” widely viewed as an anti-Christian hate site, has written multiple hit pieces demonizing Fisher for his efforts to protect the lives of the unborn. So far, though, pro-abortion forces in Oklahoma have been lying low, fully aware that they do not speak for the majority and that even some Democrats in Oklahoma are pro-life.
Fisher said he did not necessarily want to be in politics. “It was not on my bucket list,” he joked. But while Pastor Fisher's real passion has always been ministry — he started training for it while still in his teens — he has also become convinced that preachers need to be involved in the political process. In fact, the pastors of the so-called “Black Robed Regiment,” a subject Fisher understands well and has spoken about across the country, were crucial in America's fight for independence. That passion led him to successfully run for office in 2012 to serve as a state representative for Oklahoma's District 60. He served for two terms before deciding not to run again, even though he could have easily won re-election to become a career politician. While in office, Fisher fought for the Constitution, traditional values, state sovereignty, and more.
Now, he hopes to take his efforts to the next level by becoming governor. “We have to have this fight, or we're doomed,” he said, noting that states were becoming increasingly irrelevant as the federal government and the courts usurp ever more power. “In the end, what this is about is, do our states matter, does life matter? If we don't assert our authority and restore our founding principles soon, and protect innocent lives, we're going to be in trouble.”
With Republican Governor Mary Fallin term-limited out of office, Fisher is one of about six candidates running in the GOP primary. Whoever wins is considered very likely to be the next governor. Of all the candidates, he is the only one who has vowed to take serious action to end abortion as quickly as possible in the state.
The primary is on June 26 and the general election is on November 6.