Commission hopeful Lambert worries about ‘federal overreach,’ road closures
“Conservative fiscally and socially” reads the slogan on a campaign brochure for Pleasant View farmer James Lambert, Republican candidate for Montezuma County commissioner in District 1. “For God, family, country, community.”
Lambert, 77, is not afraid to display his beliefs. He is opposed to “the federal overreach” on public lands, he does not like conservation easements or the transferable development rights that have caused controversy in the Dolores River Valley, and he can quote Bible verses as easily as a hippie could recite the lyrics to Beatles anthems of peace and joy.
But, while his views seem clear, there is one thing he says some people misunderstand about him. Contrary to concerns in some emails circulating around the county, he said he does not believe in the supremacy of Aryan peoples.
“There are some people that are trying to tie me to white-race supremacist people and there could be nothing further from the truth than for me to be associated with those people,” he said in a phone interview. “I need to make it clear somehow or other that I don’t subscribe to the belief of the white-race supremacists at all.”
The issue has arisen because of Lambert’s extensive writings about religion on a website, kingdomseekersministry.org. For more than three decades, Lambert and his wife have had a non-denominational Bible study ministry that includes mail outreach and a local Bible study group; his Bible interpretations are expressed on the site, and some of those statements have prompted questions.
For instance, the “We Believe” page of the site states that God chose a people to become his “servants and witnesses to the world,” and further states, “These people in modern times are represented by the Anglo- Saxon, Celtic, Germanic, Scandinavian, and kindred peoples of the world. However, genealogy is not the ultimate criteria. . .” (For more of the quote, see below.)
Another comment in one of his lessons states, “I presume that it is Scripture like this chapter that has led today’s Jews to believe that they are superior to other peoples. Even if they were who they claim to be, which they are not, this should not give anyone a superiority complex.” (See below.)
Lambert said he is simply explaining what’s in the Bible. He said emphatically that he wants nothing to do with white supremacists.
“On our mailing list we have a number of prisoners and this white-race supremacist thing, it’s a problem in the prisons, especially where they have a large Negro population, and so we get requests quite often from prisoners who want to be put on our mailing list,” he said. When they receive such a request, “I write them back telling them I’m glad to put them on our mailing list but I have to know for sure that they’re not having any part to do with the white-race supremacists. If they are, they’re not welcome on our mailing lists. Usually they never write back.”
Lambert said he feels the need to make this clear “because I realized people aren’t saying it but they’re inferring it in their emails and their conversation. … this is what they’re thinking and I’m a little bit hesitant to talk much about what I believe because people who aren’t informed can certainly draw the wrong conclusions.
“I don’t mind telling anybody what I believe, but I need to have the time to explain it to them so they don’t draw the wrong conclusions,” he said. “I just felt like I needed to make it real clear to you that I had no part of that.”
Regarding the comment about Jews, Lambert provided a lengthy explanation of Biblical history. Following the death of Solomon, he said, the Kingdom of Israel split into two kingdoms. Each was eventually taken into captivity by different peoples. One tribe was allowed to return, but the other, called Israel, was not. Instead, its members moved north and west from where they were captive into Asia Minor, Europe, and the British Isles, from where they spread into North America, Australia, South Africa, and other places.
“I believe that we are descended from those people,” Lambert said. “God gave them a particular job to do. They were to be witnesses of him for the whole world and basically this is what they’ve done.”
“Keep in mind what I’m saying is Judah and Israel are two different entities,” he added. “They never came back together. The people you are calling Jews today are not part of the Israel Kingdom. They were part of it to start with, but when they split they became their own kingdom.” Asked whether he believes any human beings are superior to any other people as far as race, creed or religion, Lambert said no.
“I do think that the Israel people, and this would include some from Judah as well, they already have been and will be blessed more than some of the other people because of the job that God gave them to do,” Lambert said.
“They went into captivity because of their sins, but God used that to scatter them throughout the world. The fact that he’s using them for his purpose, I think that he blesses them and that’s the reason I think the United States is blessed, Great Britain is blessed, because of this, but that doesn’t mean that they’re superior. In fact sometimes I wonder if they’re a little inferior.” Asked if he would treat all constituents equally, he said yes. “I think we have that obligation as people no matter what.”
Lambert, a county resident since the age of 1 and a Pleasant View resident for 44 years, has a variety of business and board experience that he says has prepared him well to serve on the county commission. He owned an industrial-equipment business and later a roofing and siding business, both for more than 20 years. He was a founding member of the board that created the Montezuma Water Company and is currently vice president of the boards of Farmers Telephone Co. and Farmers Telecommunications, Inc. He served on the Pleasant View Fire Department (including 12 years as fire chief) and on the fire district’s board.
He said he is running without any specific mission in mind. “I don’t have an agenda, I don’t have an ax to grind or a special project that I want to promote or personality that I want to do something about.”
Lambert, who has been attending commission meetings since February, said he has mixed feelings about the Dolores River Valley controversy. After a public hearing before a packed crowd, the commission ers voted to end the decade-old system of transferable development rights in the valley, a decision that triggered a lawsuit that is still in the court system.
At a meeting before the local 9-12 Project, Lambert said he would have voted to keep the TDRs even though he doesn’t like them.
“I am basically opposed to the principle of the TDRs and conservation easements and this type of thing,” Lambert told the Free Press, but the reason I would have voted for it was that as I saw it, a majority of the people who own land in the Dolores River Valley appeared to be in favor of this.”
However, he added, “I basically am opposed to the principle. . . A TDR and a conservation easement are the same thing in my mind and I’m opposed to that. A person has every right to do whatever he wants to do with the land that he owns as long as it doesn’t interfere with or damage somebody else, but I don’t feel like he has the right to determine two or three generations down what they can do.
“The present landowner doesn’t have the right to put conditions that future generations are going to have to live by.”
He said he does believe the county should keep the current 10-acre minimum lot size in the valley rather than revert to the three-acre minimum required in the rest of the county.
“I don’t think there’s any question but what growth has to be limited in the valley and I don’t know how else to do it at this point. The whole area depends on that water so it has to be protected one way or the other.”
Another controversial issue with which the county has to deal is its relations with the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. Lambert said the two agencies are not following their own rules and regulations and that if a road on federal public lands is proposed for closure, the county has to consent to it first.
“By state and federal law, the county has a responsibility for the roads. Once a road’s established the county has a responsibility for it unless it’s on private land. They’re supposed to coordinate with the county. They say they do so by coming in and telling everybody what they’re going to do but they’re not working with the county at all.”
For example, he said, he believes the Colorado Constitution requires prior approval from the county and state for the federal government to buy private land, but managers of Canyons of the Ancients National Monument did not seek it when proposing to purchase land from a willing seller, Bud Poe.
“I’m opposed to the federal overreach,” he said.
He believes federal law trumps state law “not in every case but most cases, yes.” He supports the concept of nullification, the theory that states can nullify federal laws if they deem them unconstitutional.
“We already have nullification in Colorado,” he said. “The people nullified the pot law, the marijuana law, by voting to allow recreational marijuana. In effect they nullified the federal law in doing this.”
This isn’t an action Lambert supported, however. He said while he is receptive to the idea of growing industrial hemp in the county, if it proves viable in the area, he opposes growing hemp’s psychoactive cousin, marijuana, and to allowing its sale for recreational use – something that is coming to the municipalities of Cortez and Mancos.
He is skeptical as well of the need for medical marijuana.
“To be honest with you, what I think I’m seeing in the medical marijuana is a major abuse of it,” he said. “If it was regulated properly like all other drugs I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but at this point I think it’s being abused too bad.”
From the “We Believe” page:
To implement His plan, God chose a people through unconditional promises to one man, Abraham, to become His servants and witnesses to the world. These people have the primary responsibility to be God’s witnesses to the nations of the world, and to ultimately rule the world with Christ Jesus, the King of Kings. The story of these people, this kingdom, both from a historic standpoint and a prophetic standpoint, is the story recorded in the Holy Bible. These people in modern times are represented by the Anglo- Saxon, Celtic, Germanic, Scandinavian, and kindred peoples of the world. However, genealogy is not the ultimate criteria—as the apostle Paul says in Galatians 3:29, “And if ye be Christ’s then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
From one of the newsletters:
Rev. 21:25-26, “And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.” The apostle John tells us in Rev. 21:2 that he is speaking of the new Jerusalem which is really the governmental structure of God’s kingdom. It is not a literal city as was the old Jerusalem. I presume that it is Scripture like this chapter that has led today’s Jews to believe that they are superior to other peoples. Even if they were who they claim to be, which they are not, this should not give anyone a superiority complex. Again, if we look at the big picture, Israel has been richly blessed by God, but they have also been severely punished for their sins. In fact had it not been for the promises to Abraham, they would have been completely destroyed many centuries ago because of their sin. When we understand the heart condition of the people who are part of this kingdom, i.e. their thinking and feeling in tune with God’s thinking and feeling, even if they are a part of this kingdom, they will not have a feeling of superiority. This can be difficult for us to understand, but I believe the closer we come to God, the greater our understanding of these people will be.