Foundations Of Freedom – The Bible Is A Foundational Document – Part One – Did you know that the Bible is a foundational document of America? Should we study the Bible today? In this series, will be discussing The Founders Bible, what kind of influence the Bible had on America, and the foundations of law! Tune in now for part one of this five part series.

Air Date: 05/02/2022

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.

 

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and culture. This is WallBuilders Live. Thanks for joining us today. We’re going to be talking about some of the hottest topics on policy and faith and the culture, all of that from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective.

David Barton, Tim Barton and myself Rick Green, normally your host here on WallBuilders Live, but we got something special coming up this week. All this week, you’re going to get to hear some of Foundations of Freedom. It’s the latest television program from WallBuilders. You can see it across the country on television. Or you can listen to it right here on WallBuilders Live. And you can visit our website at wallbuilders.com if you’d like to pick up the full DVD set. Lots of great guest stars in there, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Glenn Beck, and others.

And this week, we’re going to share with you four of those programs. So we’re just going to play them straight through this week, some fantastic topics you’re going to enjoy. We’re going to be talking about the Founders’ Bible. We’re going to talk about what the founders said about the Bible and the influence of the Bible in America. And then we’re going to move into the foundations of law with Michelle Bachman. So, some great material coming up over the next few days. We’re going to dive in right now with that first episode. This is the Founders’ Bible. It’s part of Foundations of Freedom with David Barton.

FOUNDATIONS OF FREEDOM

Modern day historians tell us our nation’s Founding Fathers were a diverse group of atheists, deists and political revolutionaries. So where did they find the common ground and inspiration for the ideas that birthed America? Did their faith play a role? Or do we have as many claim a godless Constitution? 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 Foundations of Freedom, where we’ll look at important aspects of our common heritage that very few folks today hear anything about. Joining me today is Rick Green. Rick is an attorney. He’s a former legislator. He’s an author of numerous books. And he’s also the head of Patriot Academy, which is a wonderful youth program that teaches young people how to be our future civil leaders. And Rick, you and I also cohost a daily radio program heard nationally and it’s an honor to have you with us.

Rick:

It’s my privilege to be with you. I’m looking forward to talking about Foundations of Freedom, because it seems like we’re losing some of those freedoms and people are hungry. They want to know, what are the foundations, how did we become so successful as a nation and why are we losing it? But I think most of the time we think about foundational documents as the Constitution and Declaration. Our topic today, we’re going to talk about the Bible. And maybe most people don’t recognize that as a foundational document of America.

David:

It is. And one of the interesting things that political scientists have found and looking back at our founding era, which runs from 1760-1805, they said, where did these guys get all these remarkable ideas? And when they look to see what the Founding Fathers and others in that era quoted, the Bible was the number one source. Far and away more than any other source, the Bible was the most frequently quoted source. So it is a founding document of America, no question.

Rick:

Well, we get some questions from our audience about the role of the Bible in our culture today. So let’s go to some of those.

Guest 1:

I often hear Christians quoting Bible verses when they’re talking about history and culture. Why do they have to inject the Bible into everything?

Rick:

Well, here we’re talking about the Bible as a founding document, but some people don’t want to hear it at all in the culture. Or maybe they feel like you’re preaching at them even when you just quote a Bible.

David:

Well, that’s one of the things that most folks today don’t know. But to say, I don’t want to hear the Bible injected, too late, already there. Just a good example. We have over 250 idioms that we use on a daily basis that are direct quotations out of the Bible. You hear this all the time, a great book, this book began, professors gone through and just documented what we say to each other, there’s a Bible, but I just took some of them out. “By the skin of your teeth”, that’s out of Job. “I’ll give you my two cents worth”, that’s out of Mark.

Rick:

I use that one all the time. Some people are using these.

David:

They use them all the time. A leopard can’t change his spots. There’s nothing new under the sun. The Bible is so much a part of what we do, people don’t recognize it. Now what’s happening is once we start identifying, they say, whoa, don’t talk to me about the Bible. Too late, you already use the Bible so much yourself…

Rick:

I was about to say they’re using, the ones that are complaining about you’re using, they’re actually quoting it, they don’t even realize it.

David:

They just don’t have a clue. So to say that we shouldn’t be injecting the Bible in things today, we wouldn’t be America, we wouldn’t even have our language, we wouldn’t have our fine arts and entertainment. We wouldn’t have what we enjoy today if the Bible hadn’t been injected into it.

Rick:

It’s been there from the beginning.

David:

And it’s been there from the beginning.

Rick:

Alright, let’s grab another question.

Guest 2:

Hi, I’m really involved with the youth activities at my church. And so I was wondering when you thought was the right time for youth to start reading and really studying the Bible?

Rick:

That’s a great question. I’m curious myself, I got four kids. So what is the right time to start training them or giving them the opportunity to study the Bible?

David:

Well, you’ve got examples from both Bible and from American history. And when you look at American history, the right time to start training them is when they start learning to read. For example, when Washington DC became the national capital, now, we had first been back in New York City for a year and then in Philadelphia for 10 years, and then in 1800s we moved into Washington, DC. The president at that point is Thomas Jefferson. And President Thomas Jefferson is made a region on the school board for Washington, DC public schools. They actually wanted him to be the president of school board. He said, no, I’m doing a different president. I’m a little busy, but I’ll help you.

And so Thomas Jefferson is credited with outlining and forming the plan of education for Washington DC public schools. And when you look at the very first report of Washington DC public schools, it’s interesting that they say students learn to read from two books. Now this is one. This is a Bible from when Thomas Jefferson was president. And that’s one thing they learned to read from and the other is this right here. It’s called Watts hymnal. Let me read to you…

Rick:

Hang on, I’m stuck on the fact that you said this is they were learning to read from the Bible. This is a public school, but they were learning to read from the Bible.

David:

And Thomas Jefferson, who is credited as being the guy who oh, no, he wanted a secular society, he’s the guy who came up with this plan of education. So let me just read you from the first report of Washington DC public schools. Again, this is the school system where Jefferson is credited with creating the plan of education. Here’s what it says. First report it says “55 have learned to read in the Old and New Testaments, and all are able to spell words three, four and five syllables. 26 are now learning to read Dr. Watts hymns and spell words of two syllables. 10 are learning words of four and five letters. 59 out of the whole number admitted that did not know a single letter, 20 can now read the Bible and spell words of three, four and five syllables. 29 read Dr. Watts hymns and spell words of two syllables and 10 words of four and five letters.

Rick:

I’m amazed by two things. First of all, that they read the Bible, but also five syllables, I don’t even know if I know any five syllable words. They’re reading five syllable words…

David:

And this is where they [crosstalk 07:48] spelling. This is where they started. So when did they begin? Well, you take, for example, Harriet Beecher Stowe who did Uncle Tom’s Cabin, when she was seven-years-old, she’d already memorized 27 hymns. And she knew several chapters out of the Bible. Now, let’s not stop with Harriet Beecher Stowe. Let’s go to John Witherspoon, signer of the Declaration of Independence, president of Princeton. When he was four-years-old, he’d already read the King James Bible through from cover to cover. So four-years-old, he’s already read this cover to cover…

Rick:

A four-year-old reading at all is amazing. Four-year-old reading cover to cover…

David:

Nobody told him he couldn’t read it. But his parents, well, you can’t read that. He doesn’t know that. If you say, you know, you can learn to read this…

Rick:

But is it expectations?

David:

It’s expectations. And we expect the kids to learn. And so when he’s four-years-old, and by the way when he was still a child, he had memorized nearly the entire New Testament, signer of the Declaration. You’ve got folks like John Trumbull. Now, he’s one of our literary figures. He did these work right here.

John Trumbull, on the Supreme Court of Connecticut, at the age of six, he had already mastered Greek. He knew Greek better than his ministry at six. You have George Wythe who’s a signer of the Declaration of Independence, when he was three-years-old, he was already studying and reading the classics. Daniel Webster, when he was six-years-old in a public school memorization contest memorized scores of Bible verses in one day at public school. And so this is typical.

And I guess the final proof of that is this little book right here. This is the first textbook ever printed in America. It’s called the New England Primer. And for 240 years, students learn to read out of this book. This is when they’re at words of three syllables. And here’s your memory work. The letter A, A: why Son makes a glad father; but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. That’s a Bible verse. B: better as a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. That’s the Bible verse. C: come unto Christ, all you that labor and are heavy laden, he will give you rest. That’s a Bible verse. This is where we learn to read.

So how early is too early? Well, just start your kid. They have no basis to say well, mom, you can’t teach me that. I’m too young for that. It’s the expectations we put on them. And so you see from American history, what we do here, and this little book right here, a fun little book done by President John Quincy Adams, he did this book, and it shows 10-year-old Americans how to read the Bible from cover to cover once every year. So, 10-year-old Americans, so a book from the President, how to read the bible cover to cover? So that’s our history. And that’s our heritage. We were into the Bible, the Founding Fathers were into the Bible.

Let me go to a guy named Fisher Ames. Now, most folks they have never heard of Fisher Ames. Fisher Ames is a framer of the Bill of Rights. He is the guy credited with coming up with the house language for the First Amendment of the Constitution. Now…

Rick:

Here’s where we have our freedom of religious?

David:

Freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, freedom of press and speech and all the others. Interesting thing about this frame of the First Amendment is he’s looking at schools in his day. And he’s noticing that in the schools are putting in lots of new textbooks. And he’s kind of wondered about that. And he says, well, I read them. And it’s an a piece here. It’s an op-ed piece that ran in a national magazine called the Palladium. And he says, “I’ve looked at the books, and they have good content, the moral content is really good.” He said, “But here’s what I’m noticing. The more textbooks we’re putting in the classroom, the more time we’re having to spend on those textbooks.” He says “The more time we spend on the textbooks, the less time we have available to spend on the Bible.” He said, “If we’re not careful, the Bible is going to start drifting to the back of our classrooms, and this can’t be tolerated in American education.” So there’s the guy who gave us the First Amendment, the House version of the First Amendment, and he said, don’t ever let the Bible drift to the back of classrooms. See, that’s how he was educated.

Rick:

And he had seen the results of a generation raised with that being the main textbook?

David:

I mean, that’s the way we’ve done it in America. The very first public school law we have in America 1647, it was passed to make sure the students knew the Bible because then you can understand how government’s supposed to operate, you then understand how the courts are supposed to operate, you’d make sure civil atrocities didn’t get introduced like they had in Europe. So knowing the Bible is really key.

You got folks here like Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration; John Adams said, he’s one of the three most notable signers. Benjamin Rush is called the “Father of Public Schools” under the Constitution. So you’d think, hey, that’s a pretty important guy. Not today. We don’t talk about him. And it could be because right here in this piece, he goes through in 1790 and 91 and gives a dozen reasons will never take the Bible out of public schools in America, dozen reasons the Bible always be our number one textbook.

And in explaining that, he gave a great warning to future generations. He said, “Any generation that takes the Bible as schools is going to spend all this time and money fighting crime.” Because you could prevent crime right there in the classroom. But teaching the Bible, if you take it out, you’re going to spend all your time and money fighting…

Rick:

Sounds like a prophecy coming true today?

David:

Oh, yeah, exactly. And see what happened was in 1963, in two cases, [inaudible 12:43] the US Supreme Court announced out of the clear blue, time to take the Bible out of schools. Yeah, we’ve been doing it for 300 years, time to go. And the court said there’s no historical precedent or legal precedent for what they did. And so they take it out. Going back to Benjamin Rush, he had a great quote and he said the Bible when not read at schools is seldom read in any subsequent period of life.

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David:

Go back to answer your question. You take a founding father like Benjamin Franklin, out of the 250, everybody will know him, but he’s one of the least religious. And I do use the term “least” because that’s comparative term. So I want to give you a line from Franklin, a speech from Franklin, part of a space that he gave at the Constitutional Convention. And it’s a really significant speech for him because Franklin is the first guy in American history to say let’s have the United States of America. Way back in 1754, the Albany plan of union, he said let’s not be 13 colonies, let’s be united. Didn’t happen back then. 22 years later, he’s one of the 56 guys who signs the Declaration. Now we get step closer…

Rick:

He was the one that cast the vision for what we could become…

David:

Oh, man, two decades he’s been saying, guys, this is being… So now he gets to sign the document that helps kind of birth that. Seven years later, he’s one of only three guys who signs the peace treaty to end that, now we’re getting really close. And four years later, he’s sitting at the Constitutional Convention where we’re forming the United States. And he’s loving this, at least initially. Five weeks in, he’s not loving it anymore. Because five weeks and the convention is falling apart: all the delegations came with their own agendas. You had the New York plan. You had the New Jersey plan and the Connecticut plan, the Virginia Plan. And guess what? New York didn’t want the Virginia plan. They want a New York plan…

Rick:

So, nobody’s a grant?

David:

Nobody’s a grant. And Franklin is watching this fall apart. And he’s been wanting this for 33 years, and he’s now watching it fall apart. He’s the old man of the convention, 81-years-old, by far the elder statesman. Listen to what he says.

“In this situation of this assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth and scarcely able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayers in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, sir, were heard. And they were graciously answered.

All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor. And have we now forgotten that Powerful Friend? Or do we imagine we no longer need his assistance? I have lived, sir, a long time. And the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, sir, in the sacred writings, that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. And I also believe that without His concurring aid, we shall succeed in this political building, no better than the builders of Babel, and we ourselves shall become a reproach, and a byword down to future ages.”

David:

Now, he’s one of our five least religious founding fathers. And what you just heard there was nine sentences. Here’s the question. The nine sentences just heard, how many Bible verses did he quote?

Rick:

So this is a guy that was raised in this kind of education where he was taught the Bible, so it’s going to come out in what he says. But I recognize two or three.

David:

No, 13 verses.

Rick:

13 Bible verses, they are 9 sentences.

David:

Franklin quoted 13 Bible verses and 9 sentences. So here you have your least religious Founding father, who knows the Bible that well because that’s how they were raised in that generation. Now, let’s shift to a Founding Father that no one’s going to question his faith. And that’s Patrick Henry. Patrick Henry, very outspoken.

We’re going to go to March 23rd, 1775. We’re at St. John church in Richmond. The reason we’re at church is because that’s where the legislature met.

Rick:

So this is not a church service?

David:

It’s not a church service. The legislature is meeting there and they’ve had what’s called the gunpowder affair which the governor has come in and taken the gunpowder away from all the Virginians. And by the British Bill of Rights, you can’t do that. They have the right to keep and bear arms. They have the right to defend themselves. Now, the governors come in broken the British bill of rights because we hadn’t separated from Great Britain yet. And the question is, what are we going to do? Well, Patrick Henry knew what to do.

He went and got 4,000 Virginia farmers. He got them all together. He climbed up on top of rock, he preached them a sermon out of Exodus 20, and then those 4000 farmers wouldn’t attack the 200 British soldiers, got all the gunpowder back. But now we’ve got a conflict because the government has come after us violating our rights. And so what are we going to do?

So the argument is going that we really need to stay with the government because they’ve got the greatest military in the world. We’re just a bunch of farmers. There’s nothing we can do about this. We just need to do whatever they say. And Patrick Henry says, know that we need to do what’s right. We have laws. We should follow the law. Here’s what Patrick Henry said.

“Sir, we are not weak. If we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature has placed in our power. Three millions of people armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country is that which we possess are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us.

Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone. It is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Gentleman may cry, peace, peace, but there is no peace. The war is actually begun. The next gale that sweeps from the North will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms. Our brethren are already in the field. Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentleman wish? What would they have? Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God. I know not what course others may take. But as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

WORLD WAR II VETERANS

Hey, friends, if you’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories here on WallBuilders Live. Once in a while we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices, have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people.

One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live from folks that were in the Band of Brothers to folks like Edgar Harrell that survived being Indianapolis, there’s so many other great stories you’ve heard on WallBuilders Live. You have friends and family that also serve.

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David:

He made a very compelling argument, but I think today most folks would miss his argument. Because again, in what he just did, that was 14 sentences, same question. How many Bible verses that we just hear in 14 sentences?

Rick:

I probably recognize less out of that one. And Franklin, so I’m not even sure I could recognize any of them.

David:

11 Bible verses.

Rick:

11 in 14 sentences.

David:

So how you have him here with 11 Bible verses and 14 sentences…

Rick:

Talking about war and battle, something that we don’t typically…

David:

And quoted Bible phrase after Bible phrase after Bible. But see, they didn’t need to say back then now I’m quoting to our Job 4:12. They knew it. They recognized it. Now today we need somebody to tell us you’re quoting the Bible because we don’t recognize the Bible anymore.

Rick:

And nobody there in the legislature stood up and said, we don’t like you speak in the Bible at us like that?

David:

Oh, no. They stood up and said hey, we think you’re nuts. We are too weak. And you know, that was the conflict they had is, are we weak enough? Are strong enough? One more founding father, and here’s a founding father that today we’re often told he’s a deist founding father, George Washington. George Washington is going to visit the various colonies. He’s going around to visit these colonies. And he’s on his way to Rhode Island. And in Rhode Island, Newport, there is a Hebrew congregation in Newport and they so appreciate everything he did for their civil and religious liberties. And so they wrote him a glowing letter of how we just think God’s raised you up and you’re such a wonderful leader, and we thank God for you. And so George Washington responds back with a letter to the Hebrew congregation at Newport. Look at what George Washington told that congregation.

“May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the goodwill of the other inhabitants, while everyone shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the Father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in all paths and make us all in our own several vocations useful here and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.”

David:

Now that’s only two sentences. Same question?

Rick:

And this is the supposed deist?

David:

How many Bible verses, two sentences?

Rick:

No idea, in two sentences.

David:

9 Bible verses and they recognize them because most of them are out of the Old Testament. So that Hebrew congregation hey, we know there’s a couple of New Testament verses he used as well.

Rick:

He didn’t have to reference them. He didn’t have to explained.

David:

He didn’t have to reference them. People knew them. See, today, we’ve become biblically illiterate. There’s a great quote by John Quincy Adams. He said “With regard to the history contained in the Bible, it’s not so much praiseworthy to be aware of it is it is shameful to be ignorant of it.” And we’ve come to the point where that we don’t know it.

Rick:

Why is that though? Why is it shameful to be ignorant? Why is this so important? I mean, we said it had a big impact on that generation. But what’s the difference if we don’t have it today in our culture?

David:

Here’s the difference. Let me take this book right here. This book, “Godless Constitution”, when somebody today says you have a godless constitution, what they have just told me is that they are biblically illiterate. They wouldn’t recognize a Bible verse if it bit them on the ankles.

Rick:

So we’re back to not recognizing the idioms, not recognizing even in the Constitution Biblical references?

David:

Even in the Constitution, Bible verse after Bible verse was included in the Constitution. And what brung us to that point of success as a nation was the Bible undergirded. Even with Franklin, the Bible undergirded his thinking and what he said and how he communicated. And they understood those principles because it’s not just religious stuff. This is true, tried and tested principles that work. And if we use these things and by the way, we use them and it did work.

Rick:

Well folks, we’re out of time for today. We’re almost finished with that first episode from Foundations of Freedom. It’s called the Founders’ Bible. And we’re going to pick up the final conclusion of that tomorrow when we start WallBuilders Live and then we’ll get a second episode with Michelle Bachman on the Foundations of Law. So be sure to join us tomorrow here on WallBuilders Live.