Bible And Civil Justice Part Two, Foundations Of Freedom Series: America’s Founders designed a justice system unlike any the world had ever seen. They valued and protected the rights of the individual, even over government agenda. Where did these principles come from? What influenced their distinct ideas on civil justice? Where do they fit in the world today? Tune in now to get these answers and more, right here on Wallbuilders Live!
Air Date: 05/19/2017
Guests: Dr. Carol Swain, David Barton, and Rick Green.
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. 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 because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, this is WallBuilders Live! Special week! We’ve been sharing some of Foundations of Freedom from the television series. We’ve had some special guests on this week, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Dr. Carol Swain. We are actually going to pick up right where we left off yesterday with the episode with Dr. Swain on the Bible and Civil Justice. We’re diving right back into the Foundations of Freedom, right here, on WallBuilders Live.
Understanding America’s Foundation
The problem is, you can’t preserve a foundation if you don’t know what it is. And that’s where we are in America today. We don’t know our foundations, we don’t know why these clauses exist, we don’t know the protections that were given us, we don’t know the history that caused those protection’s to be given to us, therefore, we don’t know what we’re supposed to protect.
We don’t even know the policies are there. And how do we get people to read the Constitution and to study the Bill of Rights?
When you start telling stories out of history and you see how things worked you can understand judicial abuses in the Declaration once you see what they were. Once you look back and see what they were doing.
Here’s a great example, let’s take the 4th through the 8th Amendments’ due process. The 6th Amendment and the 4th Amendment both have protections on this, but the government’s not allowed to search your papers, belongings, your house, and your possessions, without a specific conditional warrant.
And that goes back to what’s called a, “writ of assistance.” A writ of assistance is what the British used. They would have a judicial writ. But it didn’t say what they were searching for. They’d knock on your door and come and say, “I need to check your house to see if you’ve got anything illegal.” They will go through the house once and once they found something they’d fill in the writ and say, “Oh, you know, I found this. It’s illegal.”
But David, we don’t have those protections today. Because we have a government that’s intruding in every area of our lives.
Using Our Fourth Amendment
Every area. A great example is that writ of assistance. What happens when we have an IRS audit? The 4th Amendment says that they cannot search your papers, property, houses, without a specifically issued judicial warrant, specifically describing the items and things to be searched.
You mean they can’t go on a fishing expedition?
They can’t go on a fishing expedition. And that’s what an IRS audit is. They come and say, “Open all of your accounts to us. We’re going to dig around until we’ve found something.” That’s a writ of assistance.
Once you see, “Wait a minute, writ of assistance is what the Founding Fathers didn’t want. And that’s what the IRS is doing now.” If the IRS wants to audit me you come back and tell me what check stubs you’re looking for and you come back and tell me what accounts you’re looking for and you get a judge to write off on that. And if you don’t do that, don’t show up at my door.
Well, you know, the sad thing about it is that many people that are working for the government as bureaucrats they don’t have a clue. And so they’re you know doing things that they shouldn’t be doing, that maybe they wouldn’t be doing if they actually knew the Constitution.
Be The People
That’s the problem we have today. In the last election, 70 percent of voters had no idea the Constitution was the supreme law of the land.
How can we change that?
You’re not going to get it through the education system. Just learn right now that schools don’t teach the Constitution. We have a federal law that requires every September 17th, which is constitutional day, that every public school in America is to set aside time to read and study the Constitution. We’ve gotten to this mentality that is too hard to understand. It’s not.
We have done everything.
We’ve done everything. And if you’re waiting on schools to teach the Constitution it ain’t going to happen. You go out, you get it, you read it yourself. If you want to get a good commentary on it you get a book called, Original Argument which is the Federalist Papers and modern language. They’ve been taken all the arguments the same. There are so many easy ways to do that now.
There’s a DVD series we have called Constitution Alive, that breaks down the Constitution section by section. There are just so many easy ways to learn it now. And if we don’t get back to knowing that document then the government will continue to be in charge rather than people being charged and is supposed to be “we the people.” And as you say, “Be the people.” It’s not we the government. And that’s a mentality aspect that has to change.
I know, it wasn’t meant to be that way.
No, it wasn’t meant to be that way, not at all.
The Bill Of Rights Came From The Bible
We have a question from one of our viewers.
There are so many different aspects in the American system that are different from others in the world. Where did America get these ideas from?
Another great question.
You know, the answer is going to be very expected and the source of the answer is going to be very expected. In a Supreme Court case in 1999, Justice Stephen Breyer- and no one would accuse him of being part of the religious right or anything else. No one’s going to accuse Justice Breyer of being even religious. He made a comment in that case that really stood out to me.
He said, “You know, the Bill of Right came out of the Bible.”
I’m surprised he knew that.
I’m surprised. And so I looked at his footnote and he cited this book right here. This is Federal Practice and Procedure, this book is what federal attorneys used to practice. And there are volumes and volumes. This is volume 30 and in here you open up to about page 200. And you find dozens, and dozens, and dozens, of pages going through showing how the Bible built all of these clauses in the Bill of Rights.
That is great material.
I thought, “This is wonderful.” It’s out of Federal Practice and Procedure. Even Justice Breyer said, “Oh, of course, we all know it’s out of the Bible.”
And I go, “This is amazing.” I didn’t know that he knew that, and I certainly didn’t know it was in the Federal Practice and Procedure. And so it’s really fascinating to see.
The Biblical Version Of Trials
We’re going to get into some specifics that these guys talked about. And part of it is the difference between us and Europe. Because in Europe they had the high admiralty courts, they had the high commission of courts, they had the Star Chambers, they had all these things. And what they did in trials in there was not good. Because we mentioned earlier that the courts were political enforcement arms for the government. They weren’t about justice and they weren’t about individual rights.
“Here’s what the government said. And here’s what you’re going to do, and the court’s going to make sure you do it.” And so that was a real problem. And as we got into the Reformation, as people got back into the Bible, in the Bible they found all these trials in the Bible. You had the trial of Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, you had the trial of Stephen, John and Peter had trials, Jesus certainly had trials, you had Paul with multiple trials, you have Achan who had a trial, you had all these trials in the Bible.
And so that was a real problem. And as we got into the reformation, as people got back into the Bible, in the Bible they found all these trials in the Bible. You had the trial of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. You had the trial of Stephen, John, and Peter had trials. Jesus certainly had trials. You had Paul with multiple trials, you have Achan who had a trial, you had all these trials in the Bible.
And you’ve got to understand that they had come through a thousand years of the Bible being off limits to anybody. Now they’re back in and it’s like a brand new book and they’re just reading it. And they see all this stuff about civil justice. Look what happened in these trials.
These are the good trials, these are the bad trials. And so it resulted in this book right here. This is called the Geneva Bible, this is the Bible of the Reformation. It was first printed in 1560 in Geneva. And that’s why it’s called Geneva Bible. And from 1560 to 1644 it went through 140 reprints. This is the Bible that came to America. If you go in the Rotunda in the U.S. Capitol and you look at the painting of the Pilgrims coming to America it is the Geneva Bible. And we are who painted that painting and it is there in 1841.
This is the Bible that came to America. If you go in the Rotunda in the U.S. Capitol and you look at the painting of the Pilgrims coming to America it is the Geneva Bible. And we are who painted that painting and it is there in 1841.
How does it differ from the King James Version?
You know, it’s interesting because the Geneva Bible preceded the King James Version by almost 50 years. And what they did was they took the Bible, and you can see here, these commentaries down the sides. And so over a period of about 250 years, there are about 25 different reformers in seven different countries. And these are their notes, they said, “Guys, here’s the way we’ve been doing government. We’ve been doing it this way for a thousand years. But it’s wrong. Look what the Bible says about government. Guys, here’s what we’re doing with education, but it’s wrong. Look at what the Bible says. Here’s what we’re doing economics.” And so these commentaries are pointing out all the things in the culture that are wrong.
Hey, guys, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. I know you hear my dad and Rick talk a lot about our Founding Fathers about the original intent of our nation, a constitutional heritage that we have. And really we’ve seen how far we slipped away from that. And I know a lot of us as we hear my dad and Rick talk think, “I wish there was a place that I could go where I could see these documents and I could read and learn about the Founding Fathers firsthand. See the things they did.”
I want to give you some websites today that can help you accomplish that very thing. If you get online you can go to places like Library of Congress and you can look under their century of lawmaking or historical documents. You can go to the Avalon Project, to the Founders Constitution, Google Books, or even the internet archives.
Or you can just go to WallBuilders.com. We have a section for our WallBuilders Library. And under that section we have different subgroups for historical documents, historical writings, even a place where you can get helpful links to find out more information about other websites. Where you can do research for yourself and find the truth for yourself. Friends, this is the time that we need to know who we are and where we came from. WallBuilders.com is a great place to go.
Basing Our Governmental Systems Off Of The Bible
And so what happens is as you go to this Bible and he goes to the trials, it points out the stuff from the trials that are really wrong. For example, Jesus in John 8 in the trial there, he said, “Woman, where are your accusers?” And it’s like you’re supposed to be able to confront your accusers. They’re all gone.
And so they point out, “Hey, in European courts we’re not allowed to confront our accusers. Jesus himself said that you get to confront them.” And so all the commentaries are here now. The problem was, the Kings back then read it and they didn’t like being criticized. They liked what they were doing with their Star Chamber Courts and their high commission.
And that’s where King James Bible comes out. Essentially it’s a censored version of all the commentaries. And by the way, The Founders’ Bible is like a modern day Geneva Bible. The Founders’ Bible says, “Here’s the way the Bible applies to every aspect of life.”
That is so interesting because I know a lot of Christians and the King James Version is the only version they will read. They see it as the sacred holy version of the Bible. But you’re saying that the Geneva Bible was first.
That’s what did the Reformation, that’s what changed church, and state, and education and economic systems. It’s what changed everything.
What You Haven’t Heard About Foxe’s Book Of Martyrs
And see, this book here, goes with these books right here.
What are those books?
They came out just shortly after this. Because the Bible goes through and says, “Look at all these trials that are going on look at the wrong things in them and here’s what is supposed to be.” And they criticized. This is called Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.
I’ve heard of that but I didn’t know that it started out looking that.
Oh, it’s massive. And the way I was taught this in school and elsewhere was, “These are all the martyrs for the Christian faith.” And number one martyr in there is Jesus Christ. He’s the number one person they list because he’s killed for- and so it goes all the way through. And that’s what I was taught, but that’s not what it was.
I mean the version that I have seen in the bookstores, and I own one, is just a little tiny one. So, what I have would not contain all of these.
It won’t contain all of this. And it won’t contain all the commentaries. Because this went with this. This said, “Bad judicial process.” This says, “These are the martyrs killed by bad judicial process.” But I never get taught that. These are the people who died in the history of the church through the wrong use of course.
I am astonished.
Courts put them to death. When they came to America these are the books they brought. And this is why we have a different judicial system in America from anywhere else.
Applying The Bible To Every Area Of Our Lives
David, are any churches teaching this kind of content today, like the Geneva Bible?
The Founders’ Bible
You know, we’re at a point where America needs a Geneva Bible. Because what’s happened is the Geneva Bible back then said, “Guys, the church is doing what the culture is doing. Here’s what the Bible says.” And that really is part of the reason for The Founders’ Bible. Because in The Founders’ Bible, we have so many things going on today that the Bible addresses and it’s how America came to be shaped. Just like all these books that built American justice system, nobody knows that today, and they need to.
Reading the Geneva and its commentaries that will shake you up in the same way The Founders’ Bible does. It’s more modern language, but it’ll do that.
We find that so much of what we have came out of it. Still looking at judiciary and judicial system. What you’ve got is back in the founding, when we started our judicial system, all of the Supreme Court justices themselves got on a horse and rode to all these different places themselves. Instead of everybody coming to D.C. and meeting in front of the court.
You mean, they went to the people?
They went to the people. They actually went out.
What a novel idea.
What a novel idea. And so now today we still say we have circuit courts and we still have judges over circuits but everything goes to them. But the reason we had these circuit riding courts, these Supreme Court justices who would go out and ride, that was out of the Bible.
Interestingly, a guy named James Kent who’s called The Father of American jurisprudence. He took Blackstone’s Commentaries and Americanized them and for our courts. He was over all the judicial system in New York but he Americanized all this European law for Americans and this is his quote, “The Jewish judges rode the circuits and Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life and he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Misbah, judging Israel in all those places.” That’s first Samuel 7:15 and 16.
And he said, “That’s why we do circuit judges. Because that’s the Bible way.” Israel had a judge, it was Samuel and he rode from all these places. And that’s why our judges went from city, to city, to city, went to the people just like Samuel did. So that’s another characteristic of our American judicial system that comes directly out of the Bible.
What Corruption Of Blood And Attainder Means
We’ve also got direct clauses out of the Constitution that came from the Bible. And let me just read two constitutional clauses here. In Article 1 Section 9 clause 3 it says, “No Bill of Attainder or ex-post-facto law shall be passed.”
Then Article 3 dealing with judiciary, “The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.”
And people say, “Huh?”
“What do they mean by corruption of blood?”
“Corruption of blood? What do you mean by attainder?” I’ve actually asked a number of legislators before, “What’s a bill of attainder?”
“I don’t know, I’ve seen it in there. I don’t have a clue what it means.” “Well, take the time and look it up.”
Bill of Attainder and corruption of blood was very simple. Let’s say I’m a British citizen several hundred years ago. And I’m part of wanting to get rid of the king because they’re very oppressive and killed thousands of people, I want a representative government. And so, I’m part of the revolution to get rid of the King and I lose and the king wins.
I am guilty of treason. So what happens is I have been attainted, my blood has been corrupted. And the king says, “You know what? Barton over there was guilty of treason. No Barton in the history of England is ever going to own property again. No Barton in the history of England can ever vote again. No Barton in the history of England can ever be part of the civil process.” In other words-
You mean they stripped the descendants?
The entire family for generations to come. That was corruption of blood. The Barton blood line has now been corrupted for generations to come. And that’s the way it was when the Founding Fathers and others came to America. Under British law, if you are guilty of treason then your entire family has just been wiped out for the rest of eternity.
That doesn’t seem so fair.
It doesn’t seem so fair. And it’s not Biblical. Here’s what the Founders used, Ezekiel 18:20, “The soul who sins shall die. The Son shall not bear the guilt of the father nor the father the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself and the wickedness of the wicked should be upon himself.”
That sounds fair.
That’s individuals. That’s why we put that clause in the Constitution because the Bible says that you don’t hold family lines accountable. You hold the individual accountable. And so that’s a really important clause of the Constitution and it’s in there twice.
What About The Death Penalty Biblically
Another one that is really significant is death penalty in the Constitution. Now, two locations in the Constitution authorizes the death penalty. I want to give a modern example, I’m going to back up a few years. Scott Peterson trial in California.
You remember that trial?
Scott was accused of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn child, Conner. And at that time he was charged with one murder but people said, “Well, wait a minute. That unborn child was very close to being born, that’s two murders.”
And so they introduced in federal Congress what they called, “The Laci and Conner Law” which says if you kill a pregnant woman and her unborn child you’ve killed two people, not one.
That law took off across the states. We now called it, “The unborn victims of violence act.” And it went across the country. That’s a result of that trial. We said, “Hey, that’s two murders, not one.
Well, Scott goes to the rest of the trial and I watched much of that trial. He was convicted and sentenced to death. And I said, “There’s a problem with that.” And the Bible does not authorize the death penalty for that.
And here’s the Bible verse, this is Deuteronomy 17:6, “On the testimony of two or three witnesses a person is to be put to death. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.”
But we have modern forensics. There was a lot of circumstantial evidence. He seemed pretty guilty to me.
And he was found guilty but he was given the death penalty. Probably under that verse, we would have said, “You’re guilty, you get life in prison.” Because there were no eyewitnesses to the crime.
Even if as go back into the book of Genesis where God was talking to Cain, he said, “Cain, Abel’s blood cried out to me.” Well, that would be DNA. And so DNA is a witness. That was a witness for God. There was no not even any DNA in the Scott case.
It was all circumstantial. There was not any forensic DNA crying out and there were was no eyewitnesses. And so I have to say, “You know what, I think Peterson is guilty. He should have been convicted, but he should have gotten life in prison because there were not two eye witnesses.”
Bring A Speaker To Your Area
Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. And as you’ve had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live, you’ve probably heard a wealth of information about our nation, about our spiritual heritage, about the religious liberties, and about all the things that make America exceptional. And you might be thinking, “As incredible as this information is, I wish there was a way that I could get one of the WallBuilders guys to come to my area and share with my group.”
Whether it be a church, whether it be a Christian school, or public school, or some political event, or activity, if you’re interested in having a WallBuilders speaker come to your area, you can get on our website at www.WallBuilders.com and there’s a tab for scheduling. If you’ll click on that tab, you’ll notice there’s a list of information from speakers bio’s, to events that are already going on. And there’s a section where you can request an event, to bring this information about who we are, where we came from, our religious liberties, and freedoms. Go to the WallBuilders website and Bring a speaker to your area.
What About The Death Penalty Constitutionally
Now, you go into the Constitution. The Constitution in two locations authorizes the death penalty. And in one location it gives you a specific death penalty crime. Because back then treason was a death penalty crime in every country in the world.
And so, here’s what the Constitution says about treason. This comes directly out the Constitution. It says, “No person shall be convicted of treason.” Which is the death penalty crime. “Unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or open confession in court.”
So even the Constitution says, “You can’t put somebody to death unless you’ve got two eyewitnesses to it.” The Bible says you can’t put someone to death with one eye witness you have to have two or three.
So there again, we put into the Constitution this protection for death. You can find somebody guilty and sentence them to life in prison. But to put them to death for treason or for any other high crime you’ve got to have the eyewitnesses. And that was another protection of the individual. We’re trying to protect the individual. That’s what the Bible does is justice.
Having Altar Calls In The Courtroom
Probably one other indication of how Christ centered we were in our justice system is if you look even at court documents. I’ve got a lot of court documents here. And let me just pull one out.
This happens to be a court document from one of the Founding Fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence. This is John Hart who was from New Jersey. He talks about judicial process here, he’s got a witness, and it says that this witness being duly sworn on the holy evangelists of Almighty God.
He said that a person came to court and we swore him not just on the Bible but on the New Testament which has the story of Jesus Christ in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Very Christ conscious. Try doing that in the court today and see what happens.
But that was the way we were. These are court reports of some death penalty trials. This is a trial from 1805 were these two guys were found guilty of murdering someone. And these are all where juries found someone guilty of murder eye witness or open confession in court.
What’s really interesting is the last part here. For example, this last part here, “The judge has now pronounced sentence. The jury has come in with the verdict.”
Where is that found?
This is Massachusetts. This is the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. This is in 1805, it’s a trial of Dominic Daley and James Halligan for the murder of Marcus Lyon. And so they have been found guilty.
Here’s what the judge says, he’s got the defendant’s right there in front of him. He says, “For a crime so horrid and so abhorred by every pure and virtuous mind you have demonstrated that you’re unworthy the society of men. That your minds are regardless of social duty. That you possess dispositions wicked, perverse, and incorrigible, and that your continuance in this life is hostile to the preservation of morality and security of society.”
In other words, you deserve to go out of this life. “You cannot, therefore, expect that your term of existence here will be prolonged.” So, don’t expect to be living here much longer.
“It becomes me then to recommend to you to look beyond this life and to direct your views to another and to an eternal state of existence. You will very soon appear before a tribunal infinitely more awful than that which now investigated your guilt.”
And he goes on to tell them basically, “Guys, you’re going to be before God. You got to get rid of your sin right now. His son is the way you do that.” Altar calls in the courtroom? That’s what we did.
Studying It For Yourself
These are people that took their faith very seriously.
They took their faith seriously and they created the best judicial system in the world designed to protect the rights of every individual. They did it based on the Bible, based on books like Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. And now we’re trying to secularize it.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every law school actually taught the truth?
If they gave this historical background.
These documents, they’re real, they’re not fake, they’re not made up, we didn’t make these this morning before we came, and they’re out there. Libraries all across America have these. We just don’t study these anymore.
What can viewers do to take this information to the next level?
They have to know it themselves. This may be new for everybody. And that’s one of the reasons the Founders’ Bible exists, is so that folks can get in and find out. First of all, the Bible is a very practical book. It’s not just a spiritual devotional book.
This shows you how to run a court system, how to run a political system, how to run an education system, shows you how to do business, shows you how to raise your family, shows you everything.
So The Founders’ Bible is one that is really really key. It would be really fun to for people to go back and read some history. They can get an old 1599 Geneva Bible in a bookstore and read that. They need to see that this is what built the nation, this is what built America.
So, if we can get people back into knowing their history, back into reading the Bible as a practical book and then taking it everywhere they go. Kids are going into law school, they need to have this background, they need to read federal practice and procedure before they get to law school because most law professors will not have a clue about this.
One of the things that I’ve seen a lot of professors say, not you, it’s so good to have good professors.
I have common sense.
Thank you very much. And one of the things that professors say is, “Oh, you know, America is just a happy accident. All the stuff that made America, we were just lucky.”
No. We weren’t lucky. It was very specific ideas very specific applications that made us different from other nations. And if we can relearn the stuff and ingest it ourselves we can preserve the foundations of freedom.
Well, folks that’s the conclusion of Foundations of Freedom. We got four episodes in for you this week. You can get all of those right now at WallBuildersLive.com. Our special guest this week, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Dr. Carol Swain. It’s a television program called Foundations of Freedom. Again, you can get it right now. And WallBuildersLive.com. Thanks so much for listening this week to WallBuilders Live!