Some readers may find this hard to believe but, outgoing RPI Chairman AJ Spiker and I have something in common. AJ is Catholic and knowing the man (I mean this as a compliment) most likely devout — I was raised Catholic. So, both of us know what it means to speak ex-cathedra.
Ex Cathedra literally means from the chair. In Catholicism, when a pope speaks ex cathedra, he is speaking from the chair, as the successor to Saint Peter, with the authority of the Magisterum, and in keeping with Apostolic succession. It is only when speaking thus, on matters of faith or morals that the pope is infallible. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
We teach and define that it is a dogma Divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra, that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church irreformable.
This Sunday, outgoing RPI Chairman (I love the sound of that!!) AJ Spiker, had an op ed in the Des Moines Register calling for the legalization of medical marijuana. I should probably point out that though I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s — I have never smoked a joint. (I did smoke some dried banana leaves once at the urging of one of my cousins but it’s not the same.) Notice, I did not say that I did not inhale. Growing up around a bunch of hippies I have inhaled more than my share of second hand pot.
On the merits, regular readers of this blog may be surprised to learn that I am not a strong opponent of medical marijuana. I am not a proponent either, I really have not given the issue much thought. I suspect, that in my life I have taken prescription drugs with potential side effects much worse than those of weed. So, while I would not be as strident as outgoing RPI Chairman AJ Spiker, our opinions are not diametrically opposed.
The issue I have with outgoing RPI Chairman AJ Spiker, is that he thinks he is the Supreme Pontiff of the Republican Party of Iowa — not its chairman. One week before his resignation takes effect, Spiker has taken it upon himself to write an op ed piece in the largest circulation newspaper in the state extolling the virtues of medical marijuana. In addition, he has used the party’s social media persona to plug the opinion piece.
I have said before that one of the things outgoing RPI Chairman AJ Spiker has done well is focus more on issues. RPI has been very vocal on life, a gas tax, and the Second Amendment. All of these issues are prominent in our platform and the party has articulated the grassroots position as stated in the platform. The problem is that in this case (and others) he has taken a position not supported by the platform, a position contrary to that held by a majority of Iowa Republicans. It seems that Spiker believes that he is possessed of that Divine infallibility … and therefore such definitions of the RPI Chairman are of themselves … irreformable.
When outgoing RPI Chairman AJ Spiker and his faction took control of the party, they elected a chair and co-chair, they selected a finance chairman and replaced all of the RPI staff with people from their camp. He has been and continues to be absolutely tone deaf to any voices from outside his inner circle. No wonder he thinks himself infallible.
Outgoing RPI Chairman AJ Spiker … [[forgive me dear readers … I just had to say it one more time :)]]