ST. GEORGE – Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy was a featured speaker at the Independent American Party’s summit Saturday. While he touched on matters of what he saw as government overreach and abuse of power surrounding the standoff between his supporters and federal agents, he also focused on what he called “the spiritual part” of the event.
“There’s a lot of parts to it,” the 67-year-old Bundy said. “There’s a physical part, there’s a spiritual part, there’s a legal part, there’s a political part. And you know, if you don’t understand it, all of these parts, you haven’t received the full story.”
Media and the Internet have expressed some of the “physical part” of the standoff, he said. The spiritual aspect hasn’t been touched on much.
“Most of you know about the standoff. That’s where we the people faced the guns of our United States bureaucracy,” Bundy said.
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Videocast by Samantha Tommer, St. George News
The standoff occurred on April 12 between members of the Bundy family, their supporters and agents of the Bureau of Land Management. That morning, a support rally was being held at the Bundy Ranch in Bunkerville, Nevada, during which Clark County Sheriff Douglas Gillespie arrived to tell Bundy and others that the BLM was ceasing its cattle gather.
Up to that time, the BLM had been overseeing the collection of Bundy’s cattle and any others roaming across the 600,000-acre Gold Butte area that had been closed to grazing. Though the BLM planned to leave, citing safety concerns, it didn’t plan on releasing around 350-400 cattle it had collected and was keeping at a temporary site in a wash running under Interstate 15.
The BLM’s keeping the cattle, which were originally slated to be sold at auction, didn’t sit well with the rancher and his family.
This led to members of Bundy’s family riding on horseback to the wash to demand the release of the cattle while others drove down I-15 to the same location. The Bundys and supporters in the wash ended up having guns pointed at them by federal agents who ordered them to keep their distance.
Though he didn’t go to the wash himself, Bundy said, those who did had no fear because “the Lord was with them.”
Video released by documentary filmmaker Dennis Micheal Lynch, who was in the middle of the standoff, shows members of the Bundy family and others kneeling in prayer and asking for protection before going to the wash.
The standoff ultimately ended without any shots being fired, the cattle eventually being released, and the BLM leaving the area.
Those who went to the standoff had a glow about them when they returned, Bundy said, and those who didn’t go looked gray to him.
“I didn’t have fear for those who stood,” he said. “I had fear for those that didn’t stand.”
While those who went to the wash initially did have weapons pointed at them, some Bundy supporters, among whom were members of out-of-state civilian militia groups, were also armed. However, they evidently positioned themselves away from the group pressing toward the fence that separated them from the cattle.
Before the standoff, while Gillespie was on a platform talking to Bundy at the rally that morning, the rancher uttered the now famous demand for the sheriff to disarm the BLM and other federal agencies. The call expanded to sheriffs across the county during a press conference two days later.
Bundy said God had impressed upon him to demand the disarming of the federal agencies because “if they don’t take away these arms, you – we the people – will have to face these arms in a civil war. (God) said this is your chance to ease this thing up. This is the easy way.”
The Nevada rancher continued, saying he wasn’t a prophet, though he believes strongly that God was with his family and supporters during the standoff and continues to be as they move forward.
“If the standoff with the Bundys was wrong,” he said, “would the Lord have been with us?”
He also believes the Constitution to be authored by the hand of God, and if that be the case, “then isn’t it scripture?” he asked. “Why don’t we live by it? Isn’t our problem only the fact we don’t follow the Constitution?”
As his speech wound down, Bundy posed another question to the audience: “Can we save the country and the Constitution without the Lord?”
- Party summit rallies for Constitution, God; Bundy, Sheriff Mack featured; STGnews Videocast
- Cliven Bundy speaks at Independent American Party summit
- Right or wrong, controversy surrounding Cliven Bundy continues
- Bundy calls on sheriffs to disarm federal agencies; STGnews Videocast
- Range war: BLM withdraws from Clark County, cattle released after standoff; Photo gallery
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