The American Commission: Our Constitution is still alive and applicable today! As citizens, we all have a duty to study the Constitution, to understand where our rights and our freedoms are laid out in that document, and how our government structure should work. The reason our government continues to overstep its boundaries is that “we the people” don”t know what those boundaries are! Tune in now for the first part of our two-part series from Constitution Alive!Â
Air Date: 09/16/2019
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith And The Culture
You find your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live. Thanks for joining us here. You can check out our website at Wallbuilderslive.com and also WallBuilders.com.Â
Our program is dedicated to looking at things from both a biblical, historical perspective and applying that perspective to the issues of our day so that we really know how to live out our faith.Â
It’s not something we just keep to ourselves or only keep it at church over the weekend, but we actually apply it to the way we work throughout the week.Â
Our relationships with our family, our friends, and our co-workers. How we treat our employer, our employees, how we vote when it’s time for an election, how we let our voice be heard in our culture, and our values counted. That’s what it’s all about here at WallBuilders Live. Thanks so much for listening to us today.Â
Section Eleven Of Constitution Alive
We’ve got a special program we’re gonna share with you today and tomorrow. It’s coming from Constitution Alive. If you’re a longtime listener to the program, then you’ve heard a few of our segments out of Constitution Alive.Â
We encourage everyone to study the entire Constitution. Around here, we kind of practice what John Jay said. He was the first chief justice of our United States Supreme Court. He said that every member of the state, every citizen ought to diligently read and study the Constitution. He had a good reason for that.Â
He said that if we do that, we’ll know our rights. Then we’ll better perceive when they’ve been violated, and we’ll know how to defend them, and how to assert them. It requires a study of the Constitution.Â
Programs On WallBuilders
A couple of things we do here on WallBuilders Live every Thursday. We have Foundations of Freedom Thursday where we dive into a lot of those principles.Â
We also share with you pieces of Constitution Alive. It’s the full 12-hour program that David and I did a little bit at Independence Hall. We’re in the room there at Independence Hall. About half of the program’s done there as we walk through the Constitution in the room where it was framed.Â
The other half of the program is done in the WallBuilders’ library where David pulls all these documents off the shelf and shares that original history with you.
The Duty Of The Citizen
Â Today and tomorrow, we’re going to share segment eleven. Section eleven out of Constitution Alive is all about the duty of the citizen. We wanted to talk about the duty of the citizen out of Constitution Alive.Â
We’re gonna share that with you today and tomorrow. Let’s start with Constitution Alive, section eleven here on WallBuilders Live.
Welcome back to Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. This is our final chapter our final time together; which means we’re going to talk about what to do with all this knowledge.
We’re going in to study the Constitution where we talk about what the Founding Fathers intended, then what do we do about it.Â
What is our job as citizens, and what do we see in the Constitution as our role?Â
In our first time in Philadelphia, I talked about going through the Constitution and asked where do we see ourselves? We always complain about the public servants, but what about us, the people, doing our duty?
There’s A Lot We Can Do
There’s a lot we can do, and there’s a lot of low hanging fruit out there.Â
You’re going to cover some of those things we need to do. Let’s just throw some other things out.Â
Federal Law For September 17th
If you go back to the notion of what we had the beginning; that you’re supposed to teach the rising generation. Federal law stipulates that every September the 17th, which is the day they signed the Constitution, every September 17th, every public school in America is to set aside on that day time to study, read the Constitution, and go over it.Â
According to the Department of Education and federal agencies, 90 percent of public schools now follow that law.Â
Don’t follow the law.Â
So even though that’s federal law to teach the Constitution, 90% of public schools –
What Can I Do About That?
So, what can I do about that in my community?
Here’s what you do.Â
You say, can I come into fifth-grade class and give a 30-minute presentation of the Constitution? I’ve just learned ten lessons here. I want to go through, and I want to show you what Article 1 is Article 2 is. I want to show you the success of American compared to the Empire of the nation.Â
I want to show you why we’ve been successful. I want to show you our freedom. Sir, I will show you the declaration and the six –
Are you suggesting that we could actually produce ambassadors for the Constitution all over the country; in the local schools?
I’ll bet you; you can go to the local businesses around, go to the auto supply shop, go to the restaurants, go to folks and say will you guys contribute?Â
We want to leave a copy of the Constitution with every fifth grader in every school around us. You can get those things for cheap. They’re relatively cheap. Get that and go give a 30-minute presentation on how great the Constitution is.
There Are So Many Things We Can Do
Get some posters of the Constitution or the Declaration and put them in your local schools in the district.Â
Give this to your history teacher to put this up. There are so many things we can do; this low hanging fruit. But you know what? You’re teaching the rising generation.
We want to go for some of these big wins. But you don’t just focus on that one big hail Mary pass. There’s a bunch of this blocking and tackling if, you will, that we can go out there and do it and make a big difference.
The Founding Fathers Believed In Incrementalism
That’s exactly right. That’s what the Founding Fathers believed in incrementalism. That’s also a biblical principle that comes out of Deuteronomy 7, Exodus 23.
God says I’m going to give it to you, but only a little by little.Â
As you said, any football team that goes for a Hail Mary pass every play will lose the game. They’ll connect about one out of 50.Â
But if you go for three yards here, and four yards here and a lost two yards here but gain several in the next; if you go for the short game that’s where you start winning.Â
That’s the way we need to approach this thing with the Constitution.Â
I don’t know; maybe it’s only 25 kids and their fifth-grade class.Â
That’s twenty-five kids who didn’t know anything until you got there.
One of those kids may someday be the mayor of your town.
We Need To Think Outside The Box
Maybe the President Of The United States. There are so many things we can do.Â
We need to think outside the box. I got to find a way to share this. I’ve just got its great course, Constitution Alive. Who can I tell?
You got to get that kind of mentality.Â
In this lesson, as you go through responsibilities as citizens, start thinking about how do I apply it?Â
Where can I put this into practice? What can I do? I got to find three people to talk to. Whatever it is. Just start by setting low goals, and start doing that, and it will make a difference.
There’s Something Everybody Can Do
No doubt about it. There’s something everybody can do. I mean nobody could possibly say I have nothing I could do to make a difference in this.Â
I love what you just said about thinking outside the box. It’s almost like a free-market competition thing.Â
Get out there and find ways to make a difference in your community.Â
We’re gonna go back to Philadelphia to Independence Hall one more time and talk about the duty of citizens.Â
What we can do to save the Constitution.
Welcome back to Constitution Alive. Our final section on doing our duty.Â
Now that we’ve gone through the Constitution. We have a better idea of the quick start guide of where to plug everything into.Â
What Not To Do
The question is: what do we do as citizens?Â
How do we turn this thing on? How do we actually participate in our government in the right way?Â
I want to start with what not to do before I get into what to do.
First of all, we don’t give up. We don’t check out of the process. We don’t say; I tried representative government; I got involved, I voted, and nothing changed, so I’m going home.Â
My Own Dad Calls Me
My own daddy called me a few years ago. He didn’t like one of the appointees to the Supreme Court that our former Texas governor had appointed.Â
His appointee did not make it to the Supreme Court, but when he first appointed this lady, my dad calls me and says that’s it I’m done. I’m tired of working on getting these people elected and then get stabbed in the back, and they put this kind of people on the court blah blah blah.Â
I turned around, and I gave my dad some of his own medicine from all those years where he had ingrained in me a sense of duty a sense of responsibility. You go do your duty no matter what you see; you keep doing your duty. I gave him a good tongue lashing.Â
Now, he’s chairman of a political party and involved in all kinds of stuff and very involved in making a difference, so he learned his lesson.Â
But the point is: you may not see what you want to see in terms of our nation for years to come, but we don’t check out. We don’t give up.Â
We don’t say well just because we didn’t win everything we wanted in one election cycle we’re gonna give up. Don’t ever allow that to happen to yourself.Â
We Don’t Need To Use Violence
The second thing we’re not going to do is obviously use violence or intimidation. We don’t need to do that.
We have a wonderful peaceable means right here in this document to be able to go out save our country and preserve it for future generations.Â
The last thing I want to list on what not to do; is to answer this question of whether to nullify. That is state nullification.Â
Did the Founding Fathers give states the right of nullification? The Constitutional power to nullify a federal law?
Â It is a big question a lot of people are asking. It has not quite as big of a question today, as it was last year. A lot more people were asking about this.Â
History On Nullification
Let me give you a quick history of nullification. What a lot of people are saying we do have the right to nullification. The reason they say that is because of these Alien and Sedition Acts.
What happened back when Adams was President, we had the quasi-war with France, and what they called the XYZ affair you might remember that from government class.Â
In 1798, they passed these Alien and Sedition Acts because there were some French citizens in the U.S. that were subverting our government, and there were citizens in the U.S. that were helping the French.
The idea behind these laws was to keep that from happening. But they went too far. They actually said that even as a citizen the United States, if you just speak out against the President’s policies you’re violating the Alien and Sedition Act, and you could be arrested for that.Â
Every one of us the room, we just talked about the First Amendment: the importance of our freedom of speech to be able to say what we think even when it’s not popular at the time. We would all agree that’s an unconstitutional law.Â
Well, the law gets passed.Â
Some people actually get arrested. Twenty-five people arrested, 10 of them actually imprisoned just for speaking out against the President. Now, John Adams is President, and Thomas Jefferson is Vice-President.Â
The law didn’t stop you from speaking out against the Vice-President. These guys are running against each other again for President. That’s a pretty convenient law to pass. You can’t talk about me, but you talk about that other guy.Â
It’s A Terrible Law
It’s a terrible law. A bad idea. So a lot of people got upset. James Madison was helping to get this Virginia resolution passed. Thomas Jefferson had a friend that he was helping to make the Kentucky resolution.Â
And so, the people for nullification use this as their example because these resolutions actually said that these bad laws were altogether void and of no force. The Acts aforesaid are unconstitutional – that is strong language.Â
But here’s the distinction: these resolutions did not seek to act alone.
Let’s Overturn These Laws
The purpose of the resolutions was to send them to the other states and say we want all the states to join together and let’s overturn these laws. Let’s reverse what’s happened. The other states all rejected. They gave some reasons for rejecting. They said first of all proper authority for determining the constitutionality of federal laws is at the federal level, not the state legislature.Â
This is a federal question, not a state question. They said if you use nullification at the state level to overturn a federal law; it undermines the federal election process.Â
You’re actually saying that these duly elected representatives that we all send to Washington from all over the country passed a law and because I was on the losing side of that law, I want my state to overturn that law.Â
They’re saying that undermines the whole idea of majority rules and the election process.Â
Third, they said it’s a dangerous tendency because it creates anarchy. Because now you’re saying you can overturn any law and people aren’t going to know what the federal government passed or what the state nullification.Â
What is the law?Â
There’s going to be chaos “ a lot of attempts at nullification over the years.Â
There’s a whole list of them for you. They’re the Alien Sedition Acts. Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions. The 1790 Pennsylvania and Virginia whiskey revolt which Washington self-help to put down. Hartford Connecticut convention, Mr. Madison’s War, Georgian Indian tribes example. South Carolina and Calhoun.Â
Calhoun was the great evangelist for nullification. He really wanted to be able to use nullification.Â
Nullification A Deadly Poison To The Constitution
The people that say that James Madison was for nullification, please listen to Madison in his own words. He said there is not a fatal inlet to anarchy that could be imagined. A fatal inlet to anarchy that is strong language. He called nullification a deadly poison to the Constitution.
John Quincy Adams said it was a monstrous and horrible object, portentous and fatal to the prospect and welfare of this union.Â
Nullification Is A Bad Idea
This is normally about a one-hour presentation. There’s a lot of evidence I can give you from the Founding Fathers saying that nullification is a bad idea.Â
I urge you to go to our website at WallBuilders.com, look up the article there. There’s a whole white paper there, quote after quote from the Founding Fathers.Â
It explains all the examples where nullification has been attempted.Â
The bottom line is: this the Founding Fathers definitely did not give states the power to nullify federal law.Â
Think About The Logical Outcomes
Think about it; nullification would place minority power over majority power. Just think about the logical outcomes.Â
Any law if you can nullify one federal law, you can turn over any federal law. So any law the feds pass is open for nullification.Â
So if you pass a strong immigration law at the federal level, then you’re going to have California nullified it. If you pass a gun control law at the federal level, you’re going to have Texas nullify it.Â
Marriage, abortion there’s always going to be a losing side.Â
I wish there was a silver bullet when there was a bad law passed in Washington that I don’t like. But, friends, representative government can be difficult.Â
I’m Going To Obey The Law While That’s The Law
It takes work to be successful in a representative government.Â
We have to recognize that if we’re on the losing side, then we would obey the law and work hard to change it if we want to.Â
In fact, that’s the way Sam Adams put it. He said as it becomes a citizen, I will acquiesce in the choice of the majority of the people.Â
That’s saying that that doesn’t mean I’m rolling over and I’m saying I’m done, I’m not gonna fight anymore. It means I’m going to obey the law while that’s the law and then I’m going to work hard to change it.Â
If You Have A Bad Law, Convince The Nation To Reverse Course
You don’t fix the Constitution by breaking the Constitution.Â
When you have a bad law come out of Washington D.C., you’ve got two options: number one you do exactly what happened to the Alien and Sedition Acts. You convince the majority of the nation to reverse course.Â
Think about the 1800 election. You got the Federalist Party is the one that did the Alien Sedition Act, that’s Adams. You’ve got the Anti-Federalist Party, Thomas Jefferson speaking out against it talking about how bad it is. The Anti-Federalist mopped the floor with the Federalist in that election.Â
Jefferson beats Adams for the Presidency, a Federalist takeover Congress wiped them out, and they reverse some of those laws.Â
Jefferson actually pardoned the guys that were in prison. So, they convinced the nation to reverse course because it was such a bad act and so unpopular. That can happen again if you have a bad law.Â
In my opinion, the health care law is a bad law.Â
I think you already see the people saying we’re going to reverse course and I think you’ll see that over time, those things will take care of themselves. If the people let their voices be heard.Â
The Second: The Courts Rule The Law Unconstitutional
There is a second option: the courts rule the law unconstitutional. That’s an appropriate function of the courts. If it’s obviously on its face an unconstitutional law.Â
We talked about it earlier, what if the courts overruled? Take Health care (it) has passed.Â
If the courts had ruled that it was unconstitutional instead of saying that it was constitutional, I said earlier how the Congress could then re-pass a law.Â
Well, that would not happen because you already have a House of Representatives that has voted to repeal the law.Â
So, people have let their voice be heard. So that the system has a way of working itself out, but it takes work. There is no silver bullet.Â
You don’t get just to say well since the other side won in Washington D.C., I’m taking my ball and going home we’re not going to participate in Texas.Â
You just can’t do that. You have to obey the law while it’s the law and then work hard to change.
The End Does Not Justify The Means
The best quote on this is George Washington. He reminded Americans that changes must be made only by using the way which the Constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation. For though this in one instance may be the instrument of good. It is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed.Â
It’s what we talked about earlier; the end does not justify the means. You can’t cheat the system or work around the process because you don’t like the results that we’ve got.
Work The Process However Long It Takes
I could tell you stories that will horrify you, where you have people that ignore the process. A bill gets passed by a committee with amendments on the bill, and because the amendments came from the other party, the chairman instructs his clerk to not put the amendments on the bill when it goes to the floor – completely ignoring the process. That’s the concept of, the end justifies the means. I’m going to get my way regardless. Ignoring what these guys respected; they respected the idea of the rule of law. So we have to do the same thing: work that process however long it takes.Â
So those are the things not to do.Â
What Do We Do?
What do we do? Right off the bat, we talked about in the Constitution we’re looking for the things we’re supposed to do.
Let’s flip back real quick to the very first part. Article 1, Section 1. The first place that we see responsibility for us, the People is in Section 2.Â
What is the first word in the Constitution, not including the preamble, we’re into the part that has the force of law, the first word in the Constitution where – we the people have a responsibility -Â
Our First Responsibility Is To Vote
Chosen. Who said that? You go girl. That’s it – chosen. That is the word. So the House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second year by the people. So that’s the first place we see our job. So even in Article 1, Section 2 right there voting.
That’s our job. That’s the first place. We have a responsibility.Â
Now I know some people say, my vote doesn’t count. It’s not gonna make any difference. Do you think your vote doesn’t count?Â
Living proof of standing before you right now. When I ran for the legislature in 1998 back in Texas, thirty thousand people voted in my race. Thirty thousand. I lost by 20 votes.Â
I don’t know about in your state, where I live 20 votes, that’s an average size homeschool family right there. That’s just one average home school vote. Twenty votes back that. You probably heard, nineteen kids and counting you know, the Duggars? I called Jim Bob that night, I said as a man if you just lived in my district, I would have won.Â
I mean one family could have taken care of it.Â
Look, everybody can make a difference. In fact, the guy standing next to me when they told me I lost by 20 votes, he said Rick I could’ve got you 20 more votes. I wanted to lay hands on him without prayer; that was not a good time to tell me. 20 votes.
Â Anyway, we had a recount in my particular election, and I ended up winning by 36 votes. I lost by 20. We recount. The vote switches and I win by 36. We found some hanging chads. I ended up winning by 36.
Now, this was 1998. 2000 hadn’t happened yet. Remember the Florida election and all the chaos?Â
So, 1998 I went on a recount. Nobody knows what a recount is or a hanging chad. It was new. I get this call the day after the election, now who is governor of Texas in 1998?
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring, or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago, or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But, it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.Â
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive! with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall, and to the WallBuilders’ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.Â
We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos, you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution. You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And, it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.
George Bush. I get this phone. We have Governor Bush on the phone, can you take the call? What would you say? Take that call.Â
He gets on the phone; he says Rick, boy that was close. I’m officially dubbing you Landslide Green. He laughed. He thought that was funny, that was in 1998.
It wasn’t so funny in 2000, was it? (He) Kind of had his own little recount to deal with, you know what I mean? He has a recount.
Every Vote Counts
Â Think about it, Presidential election 2000. President of the United States by 537 votes. Five hundred and thirty-seven votes determined President.Â
Don’t ever tell me your vote doesn’t count. Every chance you get, let your voice be heard, and your values counted. Every vote counts – no question about it.
Here we have in Article 1, our choice. That’s what’s going to determine what our Congress looks like.Â
How many quotes did we already talk about last night?Â
James Garfield talking about it’s up to us it’s up to the people. John Francis Mercer from the Constitutional Convention says it’s not the document that’s going to governor us, it’s the men we put into to the government that will govern us; so it’s our choice.Â
We’ve got to choose wisely.Â
It’s not just showing up, and whatever name sounds good or are they in the right party and all those things that sometimes influence us too much.Â
We Got To Know Who The Person Is
We got to know who the person is, what they stand for, what their voting record, is what they’re going to do.Â
So, here’s some advice for you: this comes from Noah Webster, one of our Founding Fathers. (He was a) Great guy, and a great educator. He said when you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands for you to choose for your rulers just men who will rule in fear of God. The preservation of our government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty. If the citizens neglect their duty in place unprincipled men in office, now listen, this is like a prophecy of where we are today.Â
He said if we place if we neglect our duty what we’re supposed to do under Article 1, when we place unprincipled men in office: the government will soon be corrupted. Laws will be made not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes. Anybody say bridge to nowhere.
Corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws, and the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy me. The right of the citizens will be violated or disregarded. If our government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands and elect bad men to make it administer the laws.
It’s Up to Us
What’s he saying to us? It’s up to us.
Article One right there says it’s our job to choose those leaders. The good book says when the righteous rule the people rejoice; when the wicked rule the people groan. In our nation, we get to choose.Â
That is a right that most people who ever lived on the planet did not have. We get to choose our leaders. We forget how special this system is. Most people that ever lived on the planet; they only knew tyranny and oppression.Â
We Get To Choose Our LeadersÂ
We get to choose our leaders, folks. Let’s make sure we’re choosing wisely.Â
You know what happens is if we’re not involved, we see these bad results in our economy, in our nation or in our culture. Those bad results didn’t just happen.Â
Those bad results were the result of bad policy. That bad policy comes from a certain group of people. I used to call them foolish politicians. My wife said that wasn’t nice. So now I say, ill-advised officials.Â Â
These ill-advised officials, where do we get them?
From us, right? Choice of the people.Â
Show Up Early And Get Into The Mixing Bowl
So here’s what I want to challenge you to do: instead of just showing up in November and complaining about the options, how often do we do that, right?Â
I mean it’s easy to show up at the party, and look at all the desserts out there on the table and say well I don’t like any of those. Where’s my gooey chewy chocolate chip or whatever? We complain about what’s there.Â
Takes a little work to show up a little early and get in the kitchen, right?Â
We need to show up early, get in the kitchen, and be part of mixing up the ingredients that will provide for the options when everybody else shows up. So that’s what I’m asking you to do. Get inside the mixing bowl of our process that these guys created. Don’t just show up in November. Get involved. Long before that.Â
The Three Ingredients
Here are the three ingredients in our mixing bowl that you and I can impact as citizens. Number one: is the knowledge of the people.Â
We’ve got to start there.Â
We’ve got to start with the education of the people so that we know what the principles are, what these guys put in place. Then we can take those principles, and we can measure the candidates by the principles.Â
But if we don’t know the plumb line, we don’t know what to look for. If we get educated about the principles, then we can go to the next step.Â
The Pool Of Candidates
And that’s the pool of candidates. So we get the knowledge of the people. That’s what we’re doing with our class. It’s what we do back home. That’s why I want you to take this class and open up your home and have people come over, watch the DVD during your Sunday school classes in your schools, or wherever you want to do it.Â
Educate the people about what happened here in this room with the Founding Fathers and then influence the pool of candidates.Â
Get People To Run For School Boards or Legislature or Congress
Maybe you in this room running maybe asking some people that you know that have been good leaders in business or education or are in church. If they’ve shown leadership skills, ask him to run for school boards or the legislature or Congress. So we improve the pool of candidates.
The Actions Of The Citizens
Â Thirdly, the actions of the citizens. That means we are impacting the political process. We’re knocking on the doors, making phone calls, contributing to candidates, giving of our time.Â
If we’ll do these three things: the knowledge that people pool the candidates, and actions of the citizens you get in that mixing bowl that will create a better choice for the people.Â
So, now the options when you show up are gonna be better- if we’re involved back in the primaries.Â
If We Get Involved
We’re involved in helping to recruit people to run educate people about that not just voting in November but voting in the primary. Your influence in your primary back home in your state is going to be about ten times your influence in the general because so few people show up in the primary.Â
You’re gonna have much greater influence your one vote or your efforts in influencing that vote out there.Â
You do that. We’ll get a better choice in November.Â
Then you’ll have statesmen and patriots at all levels of government instead of politicians.Â
The Difference between A Patriot And Politician
You know the difference between a patriot and politician, right?
A politician is only thinking about the next election. A patriot like these guys is thinking about the next generation.
Out of time for today, folks. We’re going to pick up right where we left off.
So join us tomorrow, and we’ll pick up with Constitution Alive with David Barton, and Rick Green. Thanks so much for listening to WallBuilders Live.