Bible And Civil Justice Part One, 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: 05/18/2017


Guests: Michele Bachmann, Dr. Carol M. 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

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, this is WallBuilders Live! We’re hitting the hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always looking at it from Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

This week we got a special series for you. We’re sharing with you some of the television program Foundations of Freedom. We’ve been at it all week and today we’re going to pick up the conclusion of yesterday’s program which was Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and David Barton on Foundations of Law.

And then we’re going to dive into another program with Dr. Carol Swain on the Bible and civil justice. But first, we’re going to pick up where we left off yesterday with Michele Bachmann and David Barton talking about the Foundations of Law.

The Government’s Jurisdiction

Michele:

Think of what that means, separation of church and state. What did it look like to our early fathers and mothers?

David:

It was keeping God in the middle of everything. But you did not allow the leaders of the civil government to tell you what church to attend, what your conscience beliefs were, what you would be penalized with.

Michele:

Penalty was the key.

David:

It was.  It was coercion.

Michele:

Because now civil government would penalize me because I didn’t believe the way they wanted me to. And guess what, that is not civil government’s jurisdiction, only God.

David:

Only God. And let’s roll it back 300 years. They objected to the government telling you what words you could and couldn’t use when you prayed. They objected to the government telling you what your beliefs of conscience would and wouldn’t be and what you would do in following those. They objected to government saying that you can’t do these religious exercises in public, you have to do them in private. All the things that were happening that day the government’s doing.

And government is now coercing conscience? Those are religious decision-

Michele:

That’s right because what you’ve just done David, is you tied what’s happened here in America in the last few months with what the founders foresaw in the Declaration of Independence. Because the Declaration of Independence made it very very clear that governments were instituted among men. Why? To secure for you and me and all of our posterity my inalienable rights. In other words, the government doesn’t have the jurisdiction to give me the right of my conscience.

Proof That Thomas Jefferson Revered Religious Freedom

David:

Well, let’s go back to Jefferson because Jefferson got the letter, as you said, from the Danbury Baptist. Now, why is it significant that they are the Baptists? Because Jefferson lived in a state of Virginia that had a state established church, the Anglican Church, the same official church in Great Britain.

Michele:

This is before we became America.

David:

Before we became a nation.

Michele:

The different states had their own religion, state-religion.

David:

And in Virginia you had you had the Anglicans jailing, and killing, and imprisoning Baptists and Presbyterians and Methodists and Quakers, because, “You aren’t doing the Anglican thing.”

Michele:

And yet, you were forced to pay for that. Follow and violate your conscience.

David:

That’s right. And Jefferson is the guy who stepped in and said, “No. All denominations are equal in Virginia.”

Michele:

And it’s so huge that Jefferson put it on his tombstone. I mean, think of what you want on your tombstone, what I want on my tombstone. Rather than putting on there that he was president of the United States, he wanted written on his tombstone that he was the one who was involved with religious liberty, to secure religious liberty for every man.

David:

It’s not a secular move.  He wasn’t making things secular. He was saying, “Government, leave them alone.” And so when he becomes president the United States the Danbury Baptists are in a state that still has a state established denomination even at that point. While he’s president they still have it.

Connecticut did not disestablish their denomination till 1818. So we’re talking 1801, the Danbury Baptists wrote Jefferson and said, “We’re really concerned. I mean, we are guaranteed our free exercise of religion but that’s a government guaranteed. It’s not supposed to be.  That guarantee came from God, not from government.”

Michele:

Recently this has been a big issue.

Government Has Strict Jurisdictions

David:

Let’s take that because God establishes jurisdictions, areas of authority. He said, “Here’s what the family does. Here’s what the church does. Here’s what civil government does.” Now, within civil government, these are the areas that the civil government can do. So, in that area, the people become the authority in that area. God’s already established the fences.

Now, how things are going to run inside that fence we determine. So, we come up with the Constitution, we the people. And it says, “Federal government. There’s a lot of governments out here. We’ve got local governments, we’ve got school board governments, city governments, state governments, and federal governments. Here’s the deal, we’re telling you, federal government, there’s 17 things you can do. Out of all the tens of millions of things”-

Michele:

Under the Constitution.

David:

“We’re giving you a constitution, the Constitution says that you can do 17 things and nothing else. Everything else belongs to us.”

Michele:

That’s a really big point. Because now government has arrogated to itself so much more than that limitation. So again I think we’d want to encourage all of your viewers to pick up a copy of the Constitution, pick up a copy of the Declaration.  You’ll be floored when you see the president is only told to faithfully execute the laws on the books.

David:

Who makes the laws?

Michele:

Congress. I am one of the privileged 435 members of the House of Representatives. We make the laws. That’s what our Constitution said.

David:

We the people told you that guys make the laws.

Michele:

Let’s rightfully understand our government. It begins from an understanding of a holy God. Then it begins with that understanding of God and people, the people, of this country wrote down in the Constitution for our protection the limits of what our government can do, it is written in that document.

Why We Have A Written Constitution

David:

Why did we write it down? Because that was not what they did in Great Britain, to this day they still do not have a written constitution there. But you had all these Bible-minded people that came to America.

So as you look at the early sermons, for example, Thomas Hooker one of the founders of Connecticut preached a great sermon on this. Why do we write everything down? By the way, Reverend Nathaniel Ward gave them the first written bill of rights, a hundred rights that are protected from government. Why did they do that?

Michele:

Why not? Otherwise, you don’t know.

David:

See, the reason they did was because that’s the Bible. When God says, “Hey, I’ve got a nation, I’m writing the laws with my own finger. And then Moses wrote down the laws of Moses and then every king of Israel after that when they were anointed were to write down their own hand of every law. And in that way, we’ve got something to go back to.

So we have a written constitution so that every individual citizen can go back to it and say, “Whoa. This is your jurisdiction.  It’s written down right here, Article 1 Section 8 paragraph 8.”

Michele:

And this is why you have lawyers who go in and contend over one word or one comma. That’s because it has meaning. And there’s this whole post-modern idea called, “deconstruction.” That words are meaningless. That’s the whole philosophy of relativism. We aren’t about relativism. We’re about a fixed, strong, moral, absolutes. Because if you want success you need to have a fixed moral absolute.

For instance, if you and I make a contract together it has to be fixed. Or you lose the most important thing you have, your liberty, your ability to construct contracts. Property law, tort law, whatever it is, you lose that benefit of certainty.

So you have a God who is the example of law. Then you have a written constitution. Then under our Constitution, you have an executive who enforces the law. You have the legislative who writes the law. And then the judicial that interprets it. But the judicial can’t be the legislative, the legislative can’t be the judicial, legislative can’t be the executive, executive can’t be the judicial. And we see that problem where just one example we’ve heard recently that our president may decide that he by himself with a pen and maybe a phone is going to change all of America’s immigration law by himself. In other words, he will write the law himself, by his own pronouncement but jurisdiction won’t let him. And that’s a denial of Article 2 which says to the president, “You must faithfully execute the laws on the books.” Well if the law is not on the books you can’t execute it.

And we see that problem where just one example we’ve heard recently that our president may decide that he by himself with a pen and maybe a phone is going to change all of America’s immigration law by himself. In other words, he will write the law himself, by his own pronouncement but jurisdiction won’t let him. And that’s a denial of Article 2 which says to the president, “You must faithfully execute the laws on the books.” Well if the law is not on the books you can’t execute it.

David:

And can’t make it.

Michele:

But if there are laws, for instance,  marriage is between a man and a woman. And the president said, “I’m not going to execute that law. I don’t think it’s constitutional.” Well, he is not the Supreme Court. The court is the court. They’re the ones who need to decide if a marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s what people wrote it as. You see, it impacts every person watching this show. Every person’s life is impacted by jurisdiction, “What’s your area of authority?” Because when somebody oversteps they’re bound you lose your liberties, your freedoms. And that’s why the founders said, “This is everything.”

You see, it impacts every person watching this show. Every person’s life is impacted by jurisdiction, “What’s your area of authority?” Because when somebody oversteps they’re bounds you lose your liberties, your freedoms. And that’s why the founders said, “This is everything.”

David:

I want to go into the chamber where you serve-

Michele:

House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., in the U.S Capitol.

David:

Twenty-three lawgivers are honored because that is the place where the law comes, out of the House. So, you have 23lawgiverss and they’re all side profile views except for one, and that’s?

Michele:

Moses. And can I just say?  I have literally had tears come to my eyes. I’ve given speeches on this on the House floor. I stand in that chamber surrounded by the greatest law givers in history. Like you said, in their side profile. But above the main double doors, the doors that the president of the United States enters when he’s going to give the State of the Union address, that door is the door above that has a full on full face view of only one lawgiver, and that is of Moses.

Constitution Alive

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.

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.

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.

Stone v. Graham

Michele:

As we know, a holy God gave to Moses the moral law, the Ten Commandments. The law upon which every other law has descended. And upon which no other law if it violates that moral law could stand. Because that is the ultimate law.

How interesting, the face of Moses looks down upon the speaker of the house. The speaker stands at the dais and looks up at Moses. So too, the president of the United States when he delivers his address to the nation and to the members of Congress and the Supreme Court and the ambassadors and all the heads of state. This is a very important moment in the United States when our president does that. He looks to directly at the face of Moses because we understand in this country that we are a nation of laws, not men.

David:

But when you become secular you ignore jurisdictions. Those jurisdictions given by the lawgiver of the Bible, given by Moses through God.

Michele:

And it’s so sad because it degrades us as a nation.  It degrades our liberties and it degrades the greatness of a nation. And that’s what God understood from Old Testament times. The greatness of a nation is built up by his law.

David:

This is the Ten Commandments, this is why we say Moses is the great lawgiver. He gave lots of laws, 613 but also the Ten Commandments. God gave it to him.

This particular copy is the copy that went to the U.S. Supreme Court case in 1980 called Stone v. Graham. This is the case in which the Supreme Court said, “Oh, you can’t let kids see this”-

Michele:

This is the one?

David:

This is the one. “You can’t let kids see this. They might obey things like, ‘don’t kill,’ ‘don’t steal,’ and ‘don’t perjure yourself.’” And the court said, “If kids were to see this they might obey it.” Now, what’s interesting is Moses gave this 1440 B.C. There’s one other lawgiver in the chamber that precedes Moses and that is Hammurabi.  He’s 1772 BC.

Michele:

Babylonian.

War Against The Ten Commandments

David:

This case that went through Stone v. Graham. We were involved in a lot of the Ten Commandments cases.  That was a really popular thing 20-25 years ago. As these were hanging in the court houses-

Michele:

Because the effort was to remove them, remember? ACLU and other organizations their goal was to strip out of the United States a sense from all Americans, especially children, to not understand the moral law, the basis of American Law.

David:

That’s right.  It’s interesting in America it was always an issue to find the Ten Commandments hanging in a courthouse or in a church house. Because this is the basis of civil law. Inside the U.S. Supreme Court, there are more than fifty-nine depictions of the Ten Commandments inside the Supreme Court.

So, with all this, we are going through these cases,  the court said, “You know, we could let you leave the Ten Commandments up if you surrounded it with other documents that influenced American law. For example, if you were to put up the Ten Commandments and the Code of Hammurabi, and Justinian’s Code, then we could leave it.”

First off, that told me they knew nothing about history. Because they think this is too religious? Justinian is one of the lawgivers in the house. The Code of Justinian begins with the phrase, “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” You have trouble with this and you’re telling me to hang up Justinian’s code?

And then they say, “Oh, it’s got to be documents that influenced American history like Hammurabi’s Code because he’s 350 years before Moses.” Timeout, they didn’t discover Hammurabi’s Code until 19o1, it was not translated until 1904. I don’t think it had much influence.

Hammurabi’s Code

What’s interesting is why did the Code of Hammurabi not survive and the code of Moses did survive.  Why?

Michele:

Tell us.

David:

It’s real easy. Let me read to you two laws from Hammurabi.  There are 282 laws in his code. It says Law Number two, “If anyone brings an accusation against the man and the accused go to the river and leap in the river. If he sinks in the river his accusers will take possession of his house. But if the river proves that the accused is not guilty and he escaped unhurt then he who had brought the accusation shall be put to death while he who leaped into the river shall take possession of the house that belonged to the accuser.”See, that’s why the Code of Hammurabi did not survive.

Michele:

And where in the world, ever, in United States law do we ever see any of this replicated? It’s nonsense.

David:

This is what we use, and we say, “Oh, we can’t acknowledge.” See, this establishes jurisdictions. This is part of God’s law. I don’t care what age you live in, and I don’t care how far you think you’ve evolved, this applies 6,000 years ago and it applies now.

Michele:

And tell me which parent wants their child to steal? Who wants them to kill? Or wants them to go and lie about people? Or desire something that belongs to somebody else so much you go and steal it?

David:

“But that is religious. Separation of church and state.”

The Importance Of Reading The Constitution

Michele:

But what’s amazing is this is our key for happiness. It has been for all time and it is today. And again it comes down to jurisdiction, areas of authority, there isn’t one person that’s watching this interaction between us that doesn’t have an area of jurisdiction.

Because of God, in His love for each individual, again, it goes back to how God doesn’t see us in groups. Think of how amazing a God is that he loves each one of us so much that we have dignity and worth and a voice in a system of government like the United States.  He has given the maximum amount of voice to the individual and yet allowed us to be able to live together in peace among all men. What a beautiful thing and why we must contend for this.We can’t let it go.

David:

That’s our action items because if you are going to understand jurisdiction you have to understand God’s the one who established them. Then if you understand how they work, read the Constitution. It lays out so many of those jurisdictions and it tells us what the jurisdictions are. That’s a starting point.

Michele:

It’s black and white.  It’s as clear as it could possibly be, Article 1,2, and 3.  How long would it take someone to read it?

David:

Twenty minutes maybe.

Michele:

Twenty minutes. Everybody could do that. Absolutely everybody has time to do that. But before you do that take, what, 10 minutes?  And read the Declaration of Independence. That’s kind of the whole philosophy behind the Constitution, you’ve got to read that first.

David:

If you don’t get the Declaration, you don’t get the foundation.

Michele:

Because it puts meat on the bones of jurisdiction, area of authority. But there’s something that even backs up before the Declaration, before the Constitution, and that is?

David:

Well, it’s actually the Bible because in that jurisdiction there in the Constitution you have the three branches of government, that you mentioned.  It comes directly out of the Bible.

Michele:

What’s the scripture?

David:

It’s Isaiah 33:22.

Michele:

Everybody has to read Isaiah 33:22.

David:

It says, “The Lord our God, is our lawgiver, our judge, and our king.” That sounds like judiciary, legislative, and executive.  And interestingly enough, John Adams himself said, “Well, not only that, but the reason that we separated the powers, why we have checks and balances, is Jeremiah 17:9.” What? Most folks never read that. The Founders Bible has got all these explanations from Founders and the Bible verses they use.

So, you read the Constitution, read the Declaration, read the Bible, which includes the Ten Commandments. Learn these things. Get to where you know these.

Michele:

Something tells me we’re going to be talking a little more about separation of powers? I think that will be very important.

David:

That’s key.

Michele:

This is so great. This has been a really great time. Thank you so much.

David:

Well, these are the documents that are part of our Foundation to Freedom.

Michele:

We’ve got our work to do and we’re going to do it.

David:

That’s right.

Biographical Sketches

Hi, friends! This is Tim Barton of WallBuilders.This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. I know, often times as parents were trying to find good content for our kids to read.

If you remember back in the Bible, the Book of Hebrews it has the Faith Hall of Fame, where they outlined the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity and our faith as well.

I wanted to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called, “The Courageous Leaders Collection” and this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers.

There’s a second collection called, “Heroes of History” in this collection you read about people like Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, the list goes on and on.

This is a great collection for your young person to have and read. And it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at WallBuilders.com.

The Bible And Civil Justice, Part One

Intro Speaker:

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 influence their distinct ideas on civil justice? Where do they fit in the world today?

Join historian David Barton with special guests Glenn Beck, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, and more as they explore the America our Founding Fathers envisioned. What if America’s story is bolder, more colorful, and more compelling than you ever imagined? This is Foundations of Freedom.

David:

Welcome to the Foundations of Freedom. When we look back at important aspects of our common heritage about which most folks today have been told absolutely nothing. Joining me today is Dr. Carol Swain.

Doctor Swain has a remarkable story having come from poverty and a high school dropout to now being at Vanderbilt University a professor of political science and law. She previously taught at Princeton University.  She has a number of best-selling books.

She also has been cited numerous times by the U.S. Supreme Court. I love this book, Be the People. Like “we the people” it’s Be the People. Dr. Swain, thank you for being with us today.  We appreciate it.

Dr. Carol Swain:

It’s a pleasure to be here. I’m so excited about the opportunity today to discuss the Bible and civil justice. A lot of people probably don’t know that the Bible has a lot to say about civil justice. So today we’re going to unpack that some.

David:

You’re right, most folks have no clue. They think that the Bible is just a spiritual book. They have no clue that it is built most of the institutions that we enjoy and experience in America today.

Carol:

It speaks to every aspect of our lives. And it looks like we have a question from a viewer here.

Why We Have The Best Court System

Guest:

“From what I see on the news it just seems like the United States has such a greater court system than any other country. But since our system was built by European settlers and customs how did we end up with a better model?

Carol:

Great question.

David:

Taxation Without Representation

Great question. And it’s because we saw the abuses of those European courts that we didn’t want to copy them in America. They had so many bad types of courts and bad experiences that when they came to America they didn’t want that. And it’s significant that even though we are descendants of the British colonies, in the Declaration of Independence, were often taught in the schools that the reason we separated was taxation without representation.

The problem is there are 27 grievances. Of the 27 four of the grievances deal with judicial abuses, four times more often than taxation without representation. They said, “We don’t like the courts being out of control and doing the wrong thing.” And in Europe, they weren’t after protecting the rights of individuals. Both church courts and state courts protected the government. And there were government agenda arms, political arms.

In America, we said, “No, we want justice, we want the rights of the individual.  And so therefore in our Bill of Rights, we said, “We’re going to do our judiciary right.” So, in the due process clause from the f4th to the 8th Amendment, we gave all sorts of things to make it really hard for government to knock off an individual.

You can’t use self-incrimination.  And you have the right to an attorney, and you have the right to compel witnesses to come in your way.  I mean, all these things to make it hard for government and make sure we protected individual rights.

Carol:

You know, one of the things that I notice about Americans, being a political science professor, and talking with various people, is that too many of us don’t know the Bill of Rights.

David:

You’re right and that is our protection. You know the Founding Fathers when they gave us the Bill of Rights they said that that was our safeguard, “That is the palladium.” That is what they called it. “That is the palladium to which every citizen can resort for protection.”

Carol:

In fact, the anti-federalists they fought to have the Bill of Rights included.  And so it’s necessary to amend the Constitution early on to get those individual protections.

David:

The mentality of those antifederalists is, “Government is ok, but government can become too big and do the wrong things.”

Carol:

You mean like now?

David:

Exactly right. That’s exactly where I was headed. Because the Bill of Rights is to limit the government. And the courts have taken it and said, “Oh, under the Bill of Rights, kid you can’t say, ‘God’ at graduation.” No, the Bill of Rights was to keep the government from telling you that couldn’t say “God” at graduation, it was to protect individual rights. So, the Bill of Rights has now become a limitation on the people rather than a limitation on government. And that’s a reverse of what was designed and intended to be.

Carol:

So, David, how can we the people turn that around?

David:

You know part of it is we have to go back to knowing our history and where these sources and ideas came from. Psalms 11:3 says, “The foundations be destroyed.” What did the righteous do?

Rick:

We’re out of time for today. Folks, you’ve been listening to Foundations of Freedom with David Barton.  That guest that you were just listening to is Dr. Carol Swain. Earlier in the program today, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

All of it available right now at WallBuildersLive.com. We’ll pick up tomorrow with the conclusion with Dr. Carol Swain and David Barton on the Bible and Civil Justice. You’re listening to the Foundations of Freedom here on WallBuilders Live