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Toy Guns, Property Taxes, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: Should children play with toy guns and weapons? Are property taxes just? Is it possible to do away with property taxes? Tune in to hear the interesting answers to these questions and more – on today’s Foundations of Freedom program!

Air Date: 04/28/2022

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  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

Rick:

This is the intersection of faith and the culture. Thanks for joining us today on WallBuilders Live, we’re taking on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. If you want to know the right position on any issue out there, that’s how you do it. 

You say, hey, what does the Bible have to say about this? I got to be in God’s word every day to know these things. But then what can history teach me about this as well? What works and doesn’t work? History shows us that. And then, of course, our Constitution, if you’re going to apply these things appropriately under our system of government, we have to know the Constitution and get that constitutional perspective as well.

So that’s why we always say WallBuilders Live looking at things from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. We’re doing that with David Barton. This guy is America’s premier historian. I am so honored to get to work with David for the last couple of decades. 

I’ve run into so many people that are serving in the legislatures of states all over the country in in Congress in Washington, DC school boards, City Councils, you name it that say, I ran for office because I saw this from David Barton or I read this from David Barton. David has been a catalyst for restoring biblical values and constitutional principles. And so thankful for that and just thrilled to be here with WallBuilders.

 And of course, the name WallBuilders comes from that scripture in Nehemiah that says arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be a reproach. We’ve got to rebuild the foundations, folks. Right here in America, there’s major cracks in the foundation. We’ve got real problems and rot in the culture. But the good news is it’s been revealed over the last couple of years. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. And now we know what’s there and we’re learning what to do to restore the foundations in America. So we’re here with David.

We’re also here with Tim Barton. He’s a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. You got to book him into your community, to your church, to your business organization to speak. I’m telling you, he’ll light people on fire, he’ll get them excited, give them hope, and give them answers to how to turn this culture around.

My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. And it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. So let’s get started today. You send in your questions to radio@wallbuilders.com. Send your questions to radio@wallbuilders.com.

Should Children Have Toy Guns?

Alright, David and Tim, let’s dive into those questions. First one is coming from Alyssa. She said “What is your view on whether or not children should play with toy guns and weapons?” She said “She was recently asked this question by another Christian homeschooling mom who does not believe that Christians should have guns in their homes or use weapons to kill even in cases of defending self, others or nation. She therefore does not allow her children to play with toy guns.” She says “Thanks for your podcast.”

Alright, guys, great question. I know we’re going to have fun with this one. Well, that’s a fun. I mean, it’s a serious question. And the Founders actually had some things to say about this.

Tim:

Yeah, there’s actually a lot of stuff from the Founding Fathers from early state constitutions that actually get into this notion of self-preservation and self-defense, recognizing this was a law of nature that God put in creatures, God put in creation this notion of self-defense and self-preservation. And really, I mean, before we even get into should kids play with guns and certainly not they should never play with real guns, we can already answer that. But should they have Nerf guns or toy guns?

Let’s back up first to the advice came from someone, there was another homeschool mom who believes it would be ungodly, presumably, to defend yourself or your family. This is where now certainly the Bible talks about that we’re supposed to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, right, that there is a responsibility we have between us and God, that it’s the servant to the master kind of scenario and you don’t judge another master or servant–

I mean, the Bible gives some context that certainly, the Bible even talks about in 1 Corinthians, and I’m saying the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote many of these things, but the Bible tells us that people can have different convictions. And in 1 Corinthians 8, that you don’t wound the conscience of a weaker or the weaker conscience of a brother.

Are Certain “Convictions” Biblical?

And so people can have different convictions. With that understanding, it’s one thing to say that personally, we are convicted in this regard. It’s totally different to say that something is not godly or not Christian or not something else.

With that being said, I would even say if someone has a conviction that contradicts the Word of God, that conviction is not really something from God because God doesn’t contradict himself. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. And the idea that parents should not defend their kids if the kid’s life was threatened, that is not a God idea.

David:

Now you can say, okay, this is what the Quakers did, this is what the Quakers held throughout the American Revolution throughout American history. But on the other side, you’ve got all the Baptist, you’ve got the Presbyterians, you’ve got the Methodist and you got the Catholics and you got the Congregationalists, you got all the others who said hey, Bible’s really clear on this. I mean, if Quakers from their own conscious conviction don’t want to do what the Bible allows you to do, that’s their choice. But it’s not ungodly to do this because here’s the biblical evidence.

Tim:

Well, again, I mean, I would even challenge this thought because we know that the Quakers were pacifist. Okay, fine. They’re pacifist. They’re not going to war. But war and self-defense or self-preservation are different things. Because this is the idea if you’re seeing your child and their life is threatened, you’re saying I’m not going to intervene and save their life. That’s a crazy position. In fact, maybe you shouldn’t be a parent if you don’t want to preserve your child’s life. That’s crazy.

And if the idea is, well, we would never want to harm another human, again, I’m not trying to use a farfetched analogy, this is a very realistic analogy. Let’s say there’s a husband who’s an extreme pacifist, and I’m using this example because I literally had a professor in college who was an extreme pacifist, who said that he would not fight anybody for any reason whatsoever. And so I said, okay, let’s scenario and by the way this is the PG 13 scenario. I’m saying that preference for parents listening.

Self-Defense

And I pose this question in classes, but let’s say that you’re out on a date with your wife and let’s say that you’re in this bad part of downtown and that there’s a gang that comes up and the gang beats you and they take your wife and they start sexually assaulting your wife, are you telling me that you would not try to physically stop them from sexually assaulting your wife?

Because then you’re using self-defense, you’re using things that potentially if you’re punching and beating and kicking somebody that could be lethal on some level, you wouldn’t try to protect and defend your wife? And honestly, when he told me is he said, I would not, I would just pray in that moment.

David:

That’s what the Quaker said the American Revolution is, even if they burn our house down or a church down, if they go after our family we’re not going to do anything and the other Christians did exactly what you’re saying right now.

Tim:

Well, again, I would say it’s a different scenario, if they said house or church. But we’re talking about the value of human life, this is a different scenario. And so I mean, if you’re saying you’re not going to protect your wife if she’s being sexually assaulted or physically assaulted, then you are a terrible husband, you are a terrible spouse. And probably you should have led with that like on your first date. Hey, just so you know, if people ever come and assault you, I’m not going to defend you. Like, I don’t know a single woman who wants to marry that guy.

All that to say, the position of the extreme pacifist, again, we recognize you can have different convictions. And we understand the fact there are so many different denominations it’s because there are that many people that have different views of the same word of God. They’re reading the Bible, but you have like literally hundreds of different Baptist denominations. How were there hundreds of different Baptist denominations?

The Laws of Nature and Nature’s God

There’s one Bible. It’s because there’s there are people that read the Bible and they interpret things differently. So we recognize and understand you can have different convictions, but the notion of self-defense or self-preservation, the Founding Fathers identified not only is it a law of nature, it’s also a law of nature’s God; that self-defense and self-preservation is something that is identified in creation and in the written Word of God.

And so this is something that should be very clear, and we haven’t even gotten to should kids be allowed to have Nerf guns, we’re still just in the idea of the fact that self-defense and self-preservation are defended both in the laws of nature and in the laws of nature’s God.

David:

When you get to the question of should kids be allowed to play with guns? Then you come to a previous question. Are guns inherently evil? Well, is a car inherently evil because it can be used to kill people? It’s a hammer inherently evil? Is electricity inherently evil?

Tim:

And let’s also point out, right, when we’re talking about, I mean, you’re mentioning should kids be allowed to play with guns, let’s be very clear on this, we’re talking about Nerf guns or play guns or cap guns. Of course, we’re not handing a nine millimeter, we’re not handing a 191, we’re not handing a Glock to a child to play with.

We’re talking about should kids be allowed to play with toy guns? Much in the sense of, I mean, dad, you’re mentioning are tools or vehicles, are they inherently evil? Well, no. But also, you don’t hand a fired up, revved up chainsaw to a two-year-old and be like here have fun.

The Most Dangerous Weapon?

Now, you might have some toy version of a chainsaw. But we’re talking about toys. And really we’re talking about is the shape of an object.

Should kids be allowed to play with objects that have shaped certain ways? Which now seems like a crazy conversation to say that there are certain shaped objects, like that, well, if that’s shaped like a hammer it’s okay; but if it’s shaped like a hatchet, it’s that’s wrong. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. If we’re talking about a toy unless again, the idea is that the object is in and of itself inherently evil, which doesn’t make sense either.

David:

Right. And so the object if we say it’s not inherently evil, and it’s not any more dangerous than any other thing because we have the stats. And what do we see, Tim, that there’s more deaths committed by hammers and baseball bats than there are by pistols etc.

Tim:

According to FBI statistics, and specifically this one deals with the AR 15 or assault rifle as it is identified, but more people are murdered every year with blunt objects and blunt instruments like hammers and bat…

David:

And elbows and fists were in as well…

Tim:

And which include hands and knees and feet. But what we saw is that when it comes specifically to assault rifles, which is what people talked about like we need to ban the assault rifle, assault rifles aren’t even close to as deadly as baseball bats and hammers and elbows and knees, and fists and feet. And by the way, like on that list of things that kill more lives every year than assault rifles were also like bicycles and car accidents and drowning in pools.

And you go down the list, assault rifles are not one of the more inherently murderous things or loss of life things that we see every year in America. There are many things, significantly higher numbers that account for a higher loss of life than do assault rifles.

Gun Accidents

David:

So you’ve got all these dangerous things around you. The key is, are you trained in them? Are you trained in the right use of a baseball bat or a chainsaw or anything else? And that’s where the training aspect comes in.

This was what the Founding Fathers were very, very strong on. John Quincy Adams pointed out that all the gun accidents that he knew of in his age where everybody had a gun and that’s what everybody used and carried with them, he said the accidents came from those who did not know how to handle them. They were unfamiliar with guns.

And so if you want to avoid gun accidents, what you do is you get very familiar with safety, you get familiar with what their capabilities are, that they can kill, they can be bad, but they can be good if used them the right way. And so you start the training process. And this can be done for anything.

I’ll even point to my own family. I’ll point to the very good friends I have. Look, we got grandkids that are eight-years-old drive the pickup trucks on the ranch because we started doing that when they were five and six and seven. I’ve got a friend who’s got a standard truck; an eight-year-old drives the standard with all the gears and clutch. So the key is training kids how to use it.

And this is what we do with toy guns. So in the training aspect, we train about toy guns as if they are real guns. No, no, you don’t point that to someone. Oh, this can hurt someone. And then once you understand what it can be done, then you can do airsoft and shoot each other because you don’t the difference when a real bullet, an airsoft bullet or a Nerf gun.

I mean, we were in Colorado Springs this last week and it was so much fun. They have a place called Dart Wars, where that everybody gets Nerf guns and there’s just these big Nerf wars going on.

And everybody’s having a blast. But everybody also knows that that’s not a real gun. Now it represents a real gun. And when you have a real gun, you’ve been trained. You don’t point that at someone else. And you keep it at the ground and you check the chamber and you check everything else about it. But you start training when they’re really young, same with driving a car. The same with handling a steak knife. The same with anything, you start training when you’re really young.

Inherently Evil?

Tim:

And even to that point, also, it’s not about what age, right? It’s about making sure that we have given proper instructions and before you turn somebody loose. Because it doesn’t matter if you’re 35-years-old, if you haven’t had proper training and a handgun or whatever kind of gun, I don’t want to give you a gun to turn it lose to go do something.

We want to make sure you’ve had the proper training. But it does come back to that that Nerf guns are not inherently evil or airsoft guns or paintball guns, they’re not inherently evil. In fact, guns themselves are not inherently evil.

Evil people can use all kinds of objects for perpetrating committing evil acts. It doesn’t make the thing they’re using evil. When you have people using trucks or cars to run other people over, it doesn’t make a truck or car evil. It means the person that was driving that vehicle was doing something evil with that vehicle.

But it does come back to is self-defense is the idea of self-preservation, is that a biblical idea? Is it biblically justified? Is it part of the law of nature? And if that’s something that is actually consistent with the Bible, it’s consistent with wanting to protect and preserve life.

And by the way, it’s hard for me to imagine that you can be prolife and not be pro-self-defense on many levels, because we’re talking about preserving and protecting and defending innocent life in this scenario. But if we recognize those and facts are real realities, then it comes down to the reality of just making sure that kids understand what real guns are and then even training. I certainly am a fan of kids having Nerf guns and airsoft guns being trained, but then having fun with them as they grew up.

Rick:

Alright, guys, great answer. And I think single women everywhere have modified their interview of a potential husband based on Tim’s standards. So now they’re going to ask at dinner the first date, will you defend me and will you defend our children? I think they should. Let’s add it to the list. Alright, quick break, we’ll be right back, folks. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live. it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.

THE AMERICAN STORY

Hey guys, we want to let you know about our new resource we have here at Wallbuilders called The American Story. For years, people have been asking us to do a history book and we finally done it. We start with Christopher Columbus and go roughly through Abraham Lincoln. And one of the things that so often we hear today are about the imperfections of America, or how so many people in America that used to be celebrated or honored really aren’t good or honorable people.

One of the things we acknowledge quickly in the book is that the entire world is full of people who are sinful and need a savior, because the Bible even tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And yet what we see through history and certainly is evident in America is how a perfect God uses imperfect people and does great things through them.

The story of America is not the story of perfect people. But you see time and time again how God got involved in the process and use these imperfect people to do great things and impacted the entire world from America. To find out more, go to wallbuilders.com and check out The American Story.

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of freedom Thursday. We’re taking your questions today. You can send those into radio@wallbuilders.com. Our first segment of the program today we were talking about kids and guns, when do you train them, should you train them, should you let them leave and play with Nerf guns? And should you even defend people, your own family when they’re attacked?

And Tim has set up new dating rules for all single women out there to ask that potential spouse will you defend me him? Okay, Tim, you didn’t actually do it. But you had some great points. And I think it should be added to every laundry list of what you want the man, right. He’s got to be willing to defend the family?

Tim:

I mean, yes, I don’t know that I’ve encouraged people to ask that question in a dating context. However, I think it’s a pretty valid question these days. If he’s wearing really skinny jeans, it’s probably worth asking, hey, do you believe in self-defense? I’m just curious.

Self-Defense

David:

Wait a minute. It probably been himself? Do you believe in defending outside yourself?

Tim:

No, he might not defend himself.

David:

That’s true.

Tim:

I mean, depends on how skinny these jeans are. I’m not sure if he’s a worship leader, what he does. Anyway, I do want to point out that my dad said in the last segment there were some eight-year-olds driving trucks and actually on the break. I fact checked I was like I’m not sure they were eight, I feel like it was a little older. Come to find out both boys actually were eight,  one in Arkansas, one in Texas and they weren’t like driving on the highway.

But they drove to the barn and they pick stuff up, they came back. And so I just am acknowledging right now on national radio that I fact check my dad was once again correct in what he was claiming eight-year-old driving trucks on ranches in Texas and Arkansas. So with that being said, I’ve done the mea culpa, I feel like now we can move on to the next question.

Rick:

Alright, man, eight-years-old, I’m impressed. I’m going to make that a requirement for my currently four-year-old grandson is that at eight, man, he’s got to be driving the truck on ranches…

Training

David:

That means you got to start early, Rick, because it does take training. It took a few years to get him there. We had him sitting in the lap driving when they were five.

Rick:

Yeah. And I was going to ask what other vehicles you had to drive because he’s already kind of driving the Kawasaki mule. He’s almost got that down and he had the lawnmower down park. I hadn’t put him on the truck yet.

David:

If they can drive something like a mule, where they understand steering, then you put them in your lap and let them steer, you know, you hit on the brakes and gas and then you throw one pedal and then you throw a second pedal, so if they get there.

Tim:

A mule has reins and you just, I don’t know, we’re talking about driving the mule, I say sit on the back and then the mule goes. Come on, guys.

Rick:

There’s our visual for the day. Alright, let’s talk taxes. We’ve been talking guns. How about taxes? Nancy has the next question for us. She says “Is it possible to actually do away with property taxes? And if so, how would that happen? Or is this another socialist agenda?” Alright, so guys, can you do away with property taxes? Actually one of two reasons I ran for the legislature 24 years ago. But go ahead, guys, what do you think, can you do away with property taxes?

Property Taxes

David:

Well, philosophical question, can you do away with any tax? I mean, once the tax gets in there, can you get rid of it? Well, theoretically, yes. So let’s handle property taxes. Not every state, not every locale has property taxes. But I’m going to take Texas because here in Texas we do have property taxes. And I don’t like property taxes, let’s say I have property worth 15 million and my property tax every year is 5,000, if I don’t pay my…

Tim:

That’s really low property tax on a 15 million property, let’s put that out.

David:

Well, I’ll just point out if it’s an agricultural property in Texas, it’s probably about what it is, is probably about that.

Tim:

Alright, when you get some cows and horses and…

David:

That’s why people in the city have a goat in the backyard and they raise sheep. Yeah, no question. But agricultural taxes like Oklahoma, Texas, very, very, very low. So let’s say you have a whole bunch of worth and value on property, and you’re paying, I don’t know 5,000 a year tax. If you don’t pay your tax, the government comes in and takes away your $15 million property, that doesn’t seem like a real just thing to do.

Texas

So what happens is property owners in Texas, which property owners in Texas are about 62% of the people. So 62% of the people are paying taxes on their property and they have something to lose that they don’t pay property tax. If you’re renting, if you’re leasing, whatever, you don’t pay property, and now you pay property taxes in rent costs, etc.

But you’ve got nothing to lose. If you don’t pay property taxes, they’re not going to come take your property away. So that’s one reason I really don’t like property taxes is you really don’t have private property where you have property taxes. You can lose your private property to the government.

Tim:

Yeah. Basically, you’re leasing, you’re renting your property from the federal government, if you don’t pay them your yearly rental, they’re going to take it away, even though you had to pay for the mortgage, the house, whatever else. So it really is, one of the things, even to this question, how to get rid of taxes?

First of all, identifying the fact that there are some taxes that are just, that are ethical, that are moral, and there are some taxes that are not just, ethical and moral, and so that there are some people who want to get rid of taxes. But that doesn’t make very much sense on any kind of logical level. Because there are some things that you need funding to pay for and if you live in a certain area, then you are contributing. However, the way to do that is not through an unjust or an immoral tax. And certainly a property tax falls in the in just and immoral category when it comes to taxes.

David:

Yeah, and kind of taxes that you really are more equitable are things like sales taxes, where that if you don’t buy it, you don’t pay the tax on it. I mean, that’s your choice. And so there’s some states that say, well, we’re not going to do grocery taxes because that’s needed by the poor and we don’t want to be taxing the poor at a different rate. So sometimes they will give exemptions on school clothes or school supplies or grocery kind of stuff. But a sales tax is one that everybody pays.

A Foundational Principle

Tim:

Well, and this is something even historically backing up. Also, if you go back to like the Boston Tea Party, what the British came with the tea, it says, look, as soon as the Tea is unloaded on the port, then we’re charging the Americans for the tea that we unloaded. Even if no American had bought the tea yet, they were being taxed for something that was a good a commodity they had not used or consumed and they were being taxed for it.

And this was part of the pushback from the Americans as they were being taxed for something that they weren’t using. On top of the fact that it was a taxation where they didn’t have representation where they were sending representatives and there was unusual and distant meeting houses and they were excluded, and their basic British Bill of Rights was being rejected. There was a litany of things that was going on.

But this is a foundational American principle, going back to the founding fathers was this notion that you should not be taxed on something that you are not participating in or consuming, which also is even interesting with some of the property taxes that go to fund different school districts, which, if you are a homeschooling family–

Or, your family and your kids are no longer in school, and the fact that you are paying to have your kids in school that don’t go to that school or who have aged out of the school level, some of these taxes, when they are applied across the board to people who are not consumers of the product they’re being taxed for, those are also interesting discussions as far as is that a just tax, if I’m taxing you for something that you are not utilizing or cannot utilize, and we’re still going to take your money for it. That’s the kind of a side note.

But it’s, again, part of that principle of if you go back to the founding of America, their idea was the federal government, in this case, the king for the Founding Fathers, the king should not be able to come and take their money away from them for a good or service they were not using or consuming.

Sales Tax

David:

And that’s why consumer tax or sales taxes is more of a just tax, property tax is not. Now, here’s the problem with property tax. It’s right now in Texas, and every state is different. A whole lot of states have property tax. And so this is the same principle, your percentage will be different. But right now in Texas, that 62% of the people who pay a property tax, that’s 41% of the state’s income.

So if you take the property tax away, how are you going to make up that 41% of the state’s income? Are you going to raise the sales tax by that percentage or whatever percentage it would take to make up that? And you have to raise the sales tax probably 28-29% to make up the difference of 62% of the people paying a property tax. But is the state going to put up with say, going maybe from an $0.08 tax on the dollar to a $0.35 tax on the dollar because that’s what it would be, or something like that to make a property tax.

So the property tax you can always get rid of, but you’re going to have the state wanting to keep the same income because they’re paying for their schools and their highways and their police and everything else needed. They say they need that amount of money, they got to get it from somewhere. So the answer is yes, you can get rid of property tax. And I think property taxes should be gotten rid of because again, it is an immoral tax.

In Texas, your property tax is about 1.8% of the value of property. So you can lose your property for not paying 1.8% of the value. You will lose essentially 98.2% of what you have if you don’t pay the 1.8% and that’s just wrong. So you can get rid of property tax, but you have to think through. Are you willing and is the state willing and will others be willing?

And I guarantee you that 38% that does not own property, they’re going to scream to high heaven when their taxes go up to say $0.35 on the dollar, as opposed to $0.08 on the dolla, which what happens when they rely on everybody else’s property to pay for their tax, which they’re not paying. So that’s a much juster way is have a consumer tax, have a consumption tax, have some kind of a service tax and that that’s a better way to do it.

Toy Guns, Property Taxes, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom

Rick:

Yeah. And I think what you guys have hit on are basic principles, right? You’re talking about what is a moral tax versus an immoral tax and when you rent your property from the government, you’re a serf on feudal land and you never actually end up owning. Just like you guys said, and at least when you pay the sales tax, you know what you’re paying, and you can calculate that into your decision.

One of the things that we proposed was getting rid of the property tax, but broadening the sales tax to cover a lot of things that aren’t covered right now. And maybe even on property itself, so then you factor it in, when you buy that property, you pay sales tax, it’s rolled into your mortgage. And when you’re done paying off the mortgage, you’re done. But there’s lots of different ways to look at it. But man, I tell you what, people are getting run out of their homes right now in Texas because the property taxes are so high. So some sort of reform definitely needed there. Great question from Nancy.

We’re out of time for today, folks. We will have more questions for you next week on Thursday. And you can send in your questions radio@wallbuilders.com and we’ll hit them on our Foundations of Freedom Thursday program. Thanks for listening. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.