Biblical Principles In Education, Communicating Historical Truth, And More – On Foundations of Freedom: Should we be able to teach Christian principles in the classrooms? How do you teach biblical principles in public schools without encroaching on the religious freedom of others? Is it lawful to censor historical documents due to religious content? How do you communicate historical truth without losing friends? What is the next move to fix our dying nation? Tune in to hear the answers to these questions and more on today’s Foundations of Freedom program!
Air Date: 08/05/2021
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
- WallBuilders | American historical events, founding fathers, historical documents, books, videos, CDs, tapes, David Barton’s speaking schedule.
- Coupons: Use promo code WBL17 to receive 10% off your entire order on ALL WallBuilders Store Products!!
- Helpful links:
- Send In Your Questions!Â
- The Founders Bible
- The Founders Bible App
- Constitution Alive
- First Liberty
- The Courageous Leaders Collection
- Heroes of History
- Quotations of the Founders Books
- Alliance Defending Freedom
- Liberty Counsel
- Patriot Academy
- High Point Leadership Camp
- WallBuilders’ YouTube
- Wallbuilders Summer Leadership Training Program
Download: Click Here
Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith and the Culture
Abraham Lincoln said. “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts; not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live, where we’re taking on the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. And I have the honor of being here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian, our founder at WallBuilders. And I’m telling you, I’ve learned so much from this guy over the years. If you’ve been listening to wall builders for a while, you know that his brain is a national treasure, just so thrilled at how deep he’s been into the Founding Fathers materials over decades.
He’s read more of the Founding Fathers’ documents and letters and everything else than anybody alive today, and just a blessing to get to have his knowledge and share it with the world. So David, awesome, awesome, awesome information that WallBuilders has been sharing for 30 years. We get so many emails, so many commentaries about that.
Tim Barton with us as well, he’s a national speaker and pastor, he’s president of WallBuilders. You’ve seen him on Epic TV and all of these different programs out there, Victory Channel. Make sure that you get Tim into your community to speak. I’m telling you, you’ll be blessed. Your church or your group, whoever you have him to speak will be incredibly blessed. You can find out more at wallbuilders.com.
Send in Your Questions
This is a special day of the week that we really zero in. Every day is a little bit different here at WallBuilders Live. Thursdays are dedicated to what we call Foundations of Freedom. And we let you drive the conversation. So we want to talk about some principle from the Declaration or Constitution or just some principle of liberty and how it’s applied to how the system works today, and what we can learn from history about how that thing works.
And of course, what the Bible says about it. So you send in the questions, and then we will answer those questions from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. Send them into [email protected]. That’s [email protected].
Alright, guys, let’s jump into those questions. So the first one is “How do you teach biblical principles in public schools without it feeling like it’s encroaching on the religious freedom of non-Christian students? Thanks, guys.
I’m a huge fan, a coach and a student.” For those that don’t know, you can become a Constitution coach and teach our biblical citizenship class in your church, our constitutional live class, at local library. Be sure and go check that out, go get the DVDs today at wallbuilders.com or go sign up as a coach at constitutioncoach.com. Thank you very much for the question.
Alright, guys, so we agree that teaching religious biblical principles is what’s best for the culture in society. The Founders said that, but boy, do we get this question a lot. Wait a minute, wouldn’t that violate the religious freedom of a non-Christian student sitting in that classroom?
You know, the difference you have to do here, I think is you have to make a distinction between Christian principles and Christian theology. Christian principles: kindness, benevolence, turning the other cheek, forgiving an enemy, not being offended. All those things, that’s behavior, and that comes out of Christianity. And so that’s the reason that so many courthouses have the 10 Commandments hanging because those are behavior. That’s not necessarily a doctrinal position about the divinity of Jesus, or the Trinity or salvation, etc.
Good Samaritan Laws
So, one of the first ways to bridge that gap is by talking about behavior. And you can often do that by pointing to historical figures and let them make the presentation. You know, John Adams is the guy who talks about how that Christianity introduced the concept of benevolence. And they look, Dr. Rush, Benjamin Rush another Founding Father talked about how the first hospitals were created by Christians.
And so you can look at things like that, or why is it that all 50 states have a Good Samaritan law? What is the Good Samaritan law, by the way? And what is the golden rule? And you can ask all these behavioral questions that have Christian thesis to it without getting into Christian doctrine?
Well, it’s one of the things too that certainly, as a teacher you want to have an objective list of character moral values that you emphasize in the classroom, right. So whether it’s hard work, which seems like an obvious one that we would want to be in our classroom, whether it’s responsibility, whatever the values might be that we want to promote, whether it be forgiveness, or treating other people the way you want to be treated, there are certain values and characteristics that you can promote.
And so as you go through and identify, what are the things I want to promote? The idea of working really hard. Well, certainly, that’s a value that everybody can appreciate. That certainly is something taught in the Bible.
The Bible tells us that all hard work brings a profit, that whatever we do, we should do with all our might as unto the Lord, we should do with all our strength as unto the Lord. There’s a lot of those basic principles that certainly are biblical.
And one of the things that is very unique about the Bible was it shows us the way that God created the world to function. And the reason that matters is because you don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy some of the blessings of God. You just have to do it the way that God said to do it, and you enjoy those blessings.
For example, if you have a marriage with two atheists, but they love and serve each other, then if they’re putting each other’s needs before themselves, and they’re giving everything they can to the other person, well, those are the things the Bible actually teaches. That’s part of what should happen in marriage. You don’t have to be a Christian necessarily to enjoy some of the basic benefits you get from good behavior.
And so this is something that’s very unique about the way God made the world operate. His blessings are open to people that will do the things that bring those blessings. And so you don’t have to be a Christian to be able to work really hard and be productive. But that certainly is what the Bible teaches us. So I would find those values that you can promote.
Now, obviously, if you want to be strategic, and you want to get some Bible and Christianity in, there certainly are ways to do that. As a historic organization, we can point to a lot of historic documents that you can show in the classroom as a piece of history that will talk about Jesus, that will talk about the Bible. We can go back to some early prayer proclamations from John Hancock, from Sam Adams, from Thomas Jefferson as governor of Virginia, from George Washington, John Adams, notable names.
And you can show a prayer proclamation or Abraham Lincoln’s prayer and fasting proclamation in the middle of civil war, you can show historic items or artifacts that have religious content, because it’s a historic item or artifact. This is not you promulgating your faith necessarily, this is you showing history which you’re totally allowed to do. It’s constitutional.
With that being said, if what we’re talking about is promoting Christian values, you promote the values that the Bible teaches, because we know those are the best things. But you don’t have to necessarily specifically associate that to the Bible, right? We don’t have to read the Bible verse and say, because of this verse, we’re doing this.
We can just find those values. What are the things I want my kids to know? I want my kids to be respectful. I want my kids to work really hard. I want my kids to have manners.
These are all biblical concepts that will help these students perform, achieve, and do better in life. But these are not something specifically that you have to associate only with a Bible verses.
And so that’s where I would show the distinction. Pick those characters, those values, those traits that you want to promote, and, obviously, if they’re from the Bible, those are things that will have certain benefits and blessings that are associated with it. It doesn’t have to just be a Bible verse.
And adding to that I would point out the courts have said this kind of stuff fine, in the sense that the courts have said, look, you cannot censor a historical document just because it has religious content or religious connotations to it. You can’t do that. And so in the sense of being able to use historical examples to make a point, that’s alright, that’s permissible.
And this is kind of the strategy, if you will, that we see in the culture when Ben Franklin was having this discussion with Thomas Paine. And Thomas Paine was talking about how good of character he has now. He has loyalty and integrity and bravery, courage, whatever it was, and Ben Franklin said, yeah, but you learn that in your Christian education.
You’re not a Christian now, and you haven’t been, and you don’t like Christians. But you know what, you learn those behavioral principles in your Christian education.
Well, we’re not saying to Christian education, per se. That’s not the point. But there are principles that can be taught in education that people from any faith can take and grasp. So good example is what we call the hard work ethic.
That is something that we would point back to the pilgrims as being the great modeling folks of doing that. I mean, they were really into hard work and they started in socialism, they found out that didn’t work.
And there was a phrase that really changed them. And it says, if you don’t provide for your own family, you’re worse than an infidel, really bad. And so they get into hard work. Well, that actually happens to be a Bible verse that they quoted. And that Bible verse led them into working differently. Their productivity went up through the roof. That’s the source of the free market system.
So what is often called the Puritan hard work ethic goes back to the pilgrims and the Puritans. So that’s a historical truth. You’ve also got things like the golden rule, what’s the golden rule? Well treat others the way you want to be treated. Well, it was the abolitionists that really use that to help in slavery.
They said, look, you wouldn’t want to be a slave if you were own by someone else. So you need to apply. Well, where did they get that golden rule? Well, that’s one of Jesus’s teachings. And it tells us to treat others the way we want to be treated. So there are so many historical examples based on Christian teachings, but they were modeled historically and changed the culture.
Don’t Censor History
And you don’t censor history just because it has Christian underpinnings. I mean, and so that can be strategically used in the classroom to help teach character and teach us benefits without getting into Christian theology or crossing that line.
And we lost the benefit of all of those character traits and teaching those character traits because of this idea that this would somehow force religion, when in fact, you’re just teaching character trait.
Well, this is one of the things that we saw, probably about 20 years ago now. There was a big legal move. Oklahoma did a great job of saying, hey, we want to character education in our schools and a lot of schools were doing that. Arkansas, Oklahoma, a lot of schools got into character education. And they would have say, 12 traits, they would pick honesty and integrity and loyalty and whatever. And in Oklahoma, I thought it was so cool that the entire state agreed to model those throughout the year.
So in January, let’s say it was integrity month, and you would see businesses would cooperate and put up the word integrity in their front door, and TV stations would run all these ads about integrity and schools would teach it, and pastors would mention it from the pulpit. And so they wanted students to say that these are character traits that the whole community needs to live by.
And so Oklahoma did a great job with the stuff. It was even going in Illinois of all places, and people were early into it. And then the critics start saying, well, that’s teaching Christian stuff. You can’t teach Christian. Now, wait a minute, when is integrity just a Christian thing?
But so many lawsuits were filed against character education that people just ran away from it. Well, there’s no way today that those lawsuits are going to hold up in court. I mean, the courts have so changed the last 20 years. And we’re winning so many cases now. And it’s like people saw what happened 20 years ago, and they don’t want to try it again.
Now, it’s a whole different world with the courts. I mean, we’re winning cases we have more than 60 years on things like this. So people should not let that associate in their mind with well, that’s religious stuff, and we can’t do religious stuff. No. No. No.
Benefiting the Nation
That’s historical stuff. And these are traits that benefit entire communities, that benefit the nation. They help have a good nation. That’s what everyone wants. So people should be bold with this kind of stuff. And there’s a lot of ways to do this now.
So important for the future of our kids to get back to teaching these things. We’re in the mess we’re in by really falling for this whole thing if you can’t teach these good principles. I mean, these are the things you want your own kids to experience. So of course, you want the other kids in the community, and the culture to experience those things and live out those things as well.
Alright, guys, that’s question one down, we’ll come back with our next question when we come back from the break. Folks, you can get more information at wallbuilderslive.com. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our States and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed, that they are entitled to freedom of person; freedom of religion; freedom of property and freedom of press.”
The AMERICAN STORY
Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a 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 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 that impacted the entire world from America. To find out more, go to wallbuilders.com and check out The American Story.
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
Discussing Politics with Family and Friends
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, taking your questions, which can be sent in to [email protected], [email protected]. Next question is, well, first of all, compliment. “Hey, guys, love the show. You blew me away when you were on a YouTube episode with Steven Crowder. Many my friends are not super political.
“And I want to explain to them all the good that the United States has done. Although I’m trying to figure out how I can do so without getting too involved in politics. I’m worried if I start blaming one party and praising the other, I will lose them if they have a political party.
For example, how many Democrats stalled civil rights, and how many slaves came from Muslim slave traders? I want to inform them without demonizing politics. Thanks. Listen to every show.”
Alright, guys, good question. I guess another way to say it is, how do we you know, win friends and influence people, little Dale Carnegie here, while at the same time getting some truth across there, but still getting them to listen without, well, I guess you’re going to be offended in any conversation like this, so I’m talking in circles, but sometimes you just have to plow through and speak truth?
Yeah. And you know, historic facts are what they are. And there are certain facts you don’t have to emphasize that you think might cause people to kind of tune out to what you’re saying. But with that being said, we don’t change the narrative of history just not to offend people.
And one of the things that we’re seeing right now with things like the 1619 project, or critical race theory, or these notions that America is still systemically racist, we disagree with all these assertions based on historic facts. And we don’t have to identify the fact that every black American elected office back in the 1800s was a Republican. We don’t have to emphasize that. But we can’t talk about the fact that you did have a lot of states doing…
Wait, wait, just to be clear, because some people might have thought you were being facetious. That was a true statement, what you just made.
Absolutely. And this is the point is, you can say things that are historically accurate and true that people have no idea about that are narrative shifting thoughts. You can talk about the fact that do you know who the first nation that signed a law abolishing the slave trade?
That was America. America, did you know? I had no idea America is a first nation. You can bring up some of these facts. You can ask questions about it.
But when you point out that America was the very first nation to actually sign a law that was going to abolish the slave trade, we signed in March 2nd, 1807. Nowhere else in the world had signed a law to abolish a slave trade before America did that. England did it three weeks later.
So you could say England, right, was really close to us. And probably there were some abolitionists in both nations that were talking about these movements and what they wanted to do.
But Thomas Jefferson is the guy that signed the very first law. And he had been talking about that, literally, for decades, wanting to get to that place in American. And some of the historic context and background for that was the Constitution said that we couldn’t end slavery or go against slavery in America for 20 years.
Because the southern states, we’re going to have a 20 year provision; they kind of start to wean themselves off slavery. And after that, constitutionally, we could pass laws or constitutional amendments to change the position of slavery in America.
But the point is, there’s a lot of historic fact that counters a lot of the modern narrative that people just have never heard of. And so you don’t have to even get political to help change their mind in many regards. You can just learn more history and more truth and help inform them of truth.
And if you lead them in a way where they can discover truth for themselves, then you don’t have to necessarily be the one changing their mind. You’re just helping them discover some of these truths that maybe you’ve discovered along the way.
The American Story
And with that being said, I will offer a shameless plug that “The American Story: The Beginnings” is a really good place to go to get some of these historic facts, some of this information that will give context for that. And even as the question mentioned, well, what about some of like the Muslim slave trade, or some of the other story to the narrative of slavery? There’s a lot more to that story that’s not being discussed today.
But as people learn more of that context and story, and you realize contrary to what Senator Tim Kaine said last year, that America actually created the institution of slavery, if you back up and study slavery on a big scale picture, you realized that in the time of America’s beginning, every nation of the world was not only engaging in slavery and slave trades, but that was the norm, every single nation in the world. America was doing what everybody else was doing.
Now that’s not to justify and say America was right in what she did, because obviously, slavery was wrong. The slave trade was evil what was happening. With that being said, America was the first nation to lead an effort to oppose the slave trade. America was the fourth major nation to actually end slavery.
And America fought a war to end slavery. America is the only nation where white people went to war against other white people, and at the end of the war, they freed up a black people. And it took more than 650,000 lives before that war was ended.
And this is where if you go back and look at what Abraham Lincoln said that he thought it was very possible that the war was not going to end until enough blood had been shed for Americans to match every drop of blood that was spilled from the backs of slaves and slavery.
And it was recognized this was going to be a very hard and high price, but America paid that price. We’re the only nation that’s gone to war to end slavery. And if you look at the world today, there’s 193 nations that are part of the UN right now. And that number changes from year to year. It was 192 and 189, 195, and the number has gone up and down over the last several years. Right now, it’s 193.
It was reported earlier this year that 94 of those nations still have not passed laws to criminalize slavery, which is why slavery is still legal. And recognizing slavery is still legal, there are many places in the world that are working to fight against slavery, and none is doing more than America.
America is an Example
America is spending more money, giving more aid to oppose modern day slavery than any other nation in the world. These are all things that when you begin to learn the history of slavery, when you begin to learn the story of America’s role in that, certainly it is true, America has had many dark, sinful, evil moments. It’s also true America has done a better job than virtually anywhere else in the world at changing those really bad things that the rest of the world was embracing, and in many places is still embracing today.
You know, one of the things I would add to that, Tim mentioned asking questions, is so important. And even asking questions by playing the role of vicarious dummy, and let me explain that. You know, I was just reading, I could not believe, I just read that the Republicans once they got control of Congress in 1861, they passed 23 civil rights laws just in 15 years. And then when Democrats took control, there was not another civil rights law passed for over 70 years. I couldn’t believe that. Have you ever heard that before? That’s the first time I’ve heard that.
If you play the role of vicarious dummy, they can’t just dismiss and say, well, you’re being partisan. If you said, this is something brand new I discovered, I’m really excited about this. Have you heard about this? You got to hear this. That changes the whole tone of the debate. You’re no longer trying to lecture them.
You’re not trying to teach them. You’re not trying to be smarter than they are. You just be that vicarious dummy that I’ve learned something brand new, and I’m just thrilled with what I learned. Have you? Everybody ought to know this. I’ve never heard this. And when you go at it in that way, that changes the whole tone of the debate.
And so asking questions, and asking questions from something you’ve recently learned or something that was super exciting to you, and you share that excitement with them, that helps them take a whole lot of medicine they wouldn’t want otherwise to take.
It’s like that spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, back from Mary Poppins days, that old movie from what, 1964. Nonetheless, that’s still a good principle and it’s a good way to get people on board with this kind of concepts.
You can be practically perfect in every way.
Another throat a Mary Poppins, okay. So listen. I just want to say this about the question. We need more of this. We need more of these conversations. We need to not be afraid to discuss these things with our family, with our friends, with our coworkers, with people at church, and finding ways to have those conversations is just absolutely critical. And, you know, the nature of the beast, as we said sometimes will seem offensive.
But like you’ll are saying, questions, man, questions are the key to getting their brain to work too, right? I mean, it’s by asking those questions, you’re causing them to think through it. So I love the question. I’m so thankful that it came in. And I hope that folks at home that are listening will look for ways to have these kinds of conversations.
Okay, guys, I think we got time for one more here. This one’s from Patrick. He said, “Good morning, gentlemen, what to do from here since we have failed this country and God? What is the next move to fix it?”
Boy, guys, he is summing up the feelings and the thinking of so many Americans right now. They just kind of thrown their hands up in the air going, okay, obviously, we have failed the next generation by not preserving the freedom that we were given.
And so he’s saying, what can we do? Now, you know, every program we talked about somehow touches on this. But how would you guys summarize that in terms of those people at home right now that are feeling like, hey, we dropped the ball, what can we do now to pick it up and do the right thing?
We are so used to see in photo finishes in football game, just majestic wins out in the end. Somebody throws the Hail Mary at the end and wins the game and wins the Super Bowl, or whatever it is. We’re used to seeing real climactic finishes and that very rarely is the way it works in the real world.
If you go back to the time of the early Christians, at the time Jesus was executed and came back to life, Christians were in the definite minority. They stayed in that minority. And somehow within just a couple of generations, they had really taken over the world, they were the dominant force in the world, the Holy Roman Emperor, and then the Roman Empire, it was Christian. How did they do that?
It was by discipleship. It’s because they weren’t one on one. They didn’t try to have mass meetings. It wasn’t the Apostle Peter filled a stadium with 35,000 people and had an altar call. Is because they went one on one from town to town, place to place, city to city, every single one of them shared with the individuals around them. And that is how you get multiplication:
1 becomes 2, 2 becomes 4, 4 becomes 8, 8 becomes 16, 16 becomes 32. All you got to do is reach one person. What is the old thing that they say, that if you can take a piece of paper and fold it in half, 64 times it will reach to the moon, because that’s the exponential growth rate. And apparently, nobody can fold a paper 64 times, it just becomes too big and too unwieldy, but it reaches to the moon.
So whatever that number is, is something like that. But it’s that principle of multiplication by using small numbers. You don’t have to start with something big and majestic. If we simply start and saying, you know what, I can’t fix all of America.
But in my case, I live in a county of 9,000 people, my town has 4,500 people in it, I’m going to work and I’m going to commit myself to getting one school board member elected that I know is really solid. And if everybody just took on one person, and you know if I had 10 people in town take on that same goal.
Wait on the scoreboard, wait on the city council, I don’t have to get everything done by myself and I don’t have to eat the cake in one sitting. I can take it a bite at a time.
And I think that’s what we have to start thinking in terms of I’m going to disciple one person, or I’m going to disciple one person a year. If that’s the case, maybe in the next 40 years, I can get 40 people turned around. And if everybody did 10, 15, 20, or 40 we’d have the nation back within a generation.
So it’s transgenerational. We can think in terms of one election to the next or one legislative session to the next. You got to start thinking long term. And that’s the way the Bible really does teach us to think and that’s what has made the transformative changes we see across the world over time.
Yeah, good word, David. I mean, every one of us need to be encouraged to know we can rebuild the wall right by our place just like in Nehemiah. So everybody needs to do something in their community. And there’s something every single one of us can do.
Biblical Principles In Education, Communicating Historical Truth, And More
I mean, if you’ve never done anything like this before, if you’re listening to the program going, okay, yeah, I want to do something, but I’ve never been involved in this kind of thing, that’s what WallBuilders is all about, equipping you with the information, giving you the action steps.
So keep listening every day. Go to the website, wallbuilders.com today and get more information. In fact, here’s an email we got from Skyler. It says, “I’m a college freshman. I’m working on getting my bachelor’s and then going to law school. In this time we are in, it is so helpful to have a resource that provides the truth. It allows me to give answers to discussion in my criminal justice classes that fall in line with who I am and what I believe as a Christian.” So that’s a perfect example.
So Patrick, your question was fantastic. I think the email from Skyler just puts it in focus. The information is out there. The tools are out there. The principles haven’t changed. We absolutely can turn this thing around.
You know, if the Lord blesses the work that we’re doing, and look, you know, there’s a lot of bad things that are happening in America, but when you look at some of the good things, and you should listen tomorrow to Good News Friday, because we’ll be talking about some of those things, then you will be encouraged.
We’re seeing it all the time. And maybe David and Tim and I are a little bit spoiled, because we get to travel around and speak to groups that are involved. We get to see the results of Christians truly being salt and light in the community. But we challenge you, Patrick, do your part, get involved. And Skyler, thanks for sending in your comment as well.
All of you that sent in questions, keep sending them in, [email protected]. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.
Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”