Was It Biblical For Us To Separate From Great Britain: Its Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your most pressing questions!

Air Date: 05/23/2019

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


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

RICK:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and President of WallBuilders, and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.

What does “WallBuilders” mean?

And, if you’re a first-time listener, maybe you’re wondering What does “WallBuilders” mean? No, we’re not actually building houses or even building the wall on the border. In fact, our name comes from the Old Testament scripture in Nehemiah that says, “Arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be a reproach.”

What it’s about is rebuilding the foundations, rebuilding what makes a nation strong. And, what made America great in the first place are our foundational principles found in the Declaration and the Constitution, the Biblical foundation of our nation. And so, our program is dedicated to looking at the issues of the day from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

We dive into those principles and talk about action steps that you can take it home, that we’re taking it home, to help restore our Constitutional Republic.

So, we’re thrilled that you’re with us today. It happens to be Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a day where we actually dive specifically into those principles that you want to talk about. Just send your questions to us.

You can do that by emailing [email protected]. And, today we’re gonna get to as many of those questions as we can. It’s your chance to ask about the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, an issue being debated in Congress right now, or whatever it might be.

Something may be happening in your community, the culture, or at the Supreme Court. You name it; ask the questions. We will search out the answer and help you look at it from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

So, be sure to check out our websites today. WallBuilders.com is our main site. And, then WallBuildersLive.com is our radio site.

Join Us!

At the radio site, you can get a list of our stations around the country, look at archives–or, “listen to archives,” I should say–from over the past few weeks, including our Foundations of Freedom Thursdays or Good News Fridays. And, check out our interviews from Monday through Wednesday with all kinds of great folks that are out there on the frontlines of what’s happening in our country today.

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Let’s start diving into some questions. David, Tim, we’ve got a stack of them. Let’s see how many we can get through. Are you guys ready for the first one?

DAVID:

Yes sir. Fire away.

Romans 13

RICK:

Okay, it’s about Romans 13. It is actually a question we’ve gotten quite a bit in the past. But, I don’t think we’ve covered it on the program for a while.

Alex sent the question, which says, “According to Romans 13, we should ‘submit to the governing authorities’ unless that authority is ordering us to disobey God. Since the British were not ordering the colonists to break God’s law; and, the chief complaint was unfair taxes, wouldn’t that mean that it was against the Bible to declare our independence and fight a revolution?” All right, guys, lots of questions in there, like Was that the only thing that it was about, unfair taxes?

Were the British ordering the colonists to break God’s law? Were they breaking God’s law? How does Romans 13 apply?

All in one segment of five minutes, can you answer all those questions?

DAVID:

I think so.

TIM:

Yes we can. That’s so easy, I wish we had a challenge.

True or False: The Colonists’ Chief Complaint Was Unfair Taxes

DAVID:

Yeah right. Rick, actually, the question becomes a little easier if we emphasize one part of the question and maybe rephrase the question based on that part, because in the question it says, “Their chief complaint was unfair taxes.” Why is that their chief complaint?

TIM:

Because all the history books today say it is.

DAVID:

Thank you very much. Because, when you read the Declaration, the Declaration gives 27 complaints; and, those 27 complaints–

TIM:

Now wait a second. You’re saying “27;” I think we should just have some trivia time. So, for listeners. Okay, see, if I ask this question, someone’s going to Google it.

When I when I do things with young people, I always carry around a $10 Chick-fil-A gift card. And, this is where I loved ask questions, because we feel like I know what it was about.

27 Grievances

There’s 27 grievances. So, can you name five of the 27 grievances?

DAVID:

Oh, good question.

TIM:

If we only know “taxation without representation,” you only know one of 27. Then, as you have identified previously, Dad, 17 out of 27 is where it was listed, number 17. This didn’t even make the top half of the things that they start listing.

So, even though we could argue that, yes, this certainly was important. There is a history from the British of being abusive with taxes; there’s no doubt taxes was part of it. But, Britain was abusive in a lot of areas.

DAVID:

That’s right. And, if you look at what the Declaration itself says, because that’s where they lost their reason for separating, “taxation without representation” is listed one time. There is one topic that’s listed 11 times; another topic is listed seven times, and another topic is listed four times.

Why is it that we only know the one this listed one time?

British Abuse Via Military, Judges, Etc.

TIM:

And, when you start looking–for your example, right? If you start looking at what they talked about how the military has abused them or how judges abused them. When it comes to legislative powers.

They don’t let their legislators show up; and, they make these these meeting houses unusual and distant so don’t have the representation. When you start looking at the legislative, the judicial, or the military, they mentioned those all the time in those grievances. Yet, they only mention taxes once.

Now, again, it’s not that taxes wasn’t a problem, because it was. But, there was a lot of things that were a problem, and we’ve just picked the one economic issue from the Declaration.

The Power of Education: the Economic View of American History

DAVID:

See, this is the power of education. Because, in the late 1950s, early 1960s, there was a paradigm shift in the way that we taught history. It was done by people like Charles and Mary Beard and others.

It was called the Economic View of American History. And, these professors and writers said, “Oh, the only thing that motivates people is money.” Uh, time out.

I’m motivated by a lot of things, and money is not the only one that motivates me.

TIM:

Well, if you start reading the Founding Fathers writings, they actually were pretty clear there were other things that motivated them as well.

DAVID:

That’s right; but see, what happens is you emphasize only the money; so, that is now a discredited approach to history. But, for 50 years we taught that all that matters is economics. And, the only economic clause you can point to in the Declaration is Taxation Without Representation.

So, we choose issue number 17 out of the 27 and said, “That’s the only one that matters.” No, that is a flawed presentation of history. Let’s go to–Tim, you mentioned there are others.

National Established Church

All right, in addition to taxes–and, that was an issue for them they felt strongly about. that. I’ll point out that people like Charles Carroll and Sam Adams, both signers of the Declaration–and, Sam Adams is a Congregationalist; Charles Carroll is a Roman Catholic. They’ve now been informed that the king intends to make us all Anglicans. We all have to be part of the national established church, the Anglican Church. He’s sending an Anglican bishop to America to take over all of America.

At that point, now, we’ve got some conscience objections. Do you believe that if the State came in and said, “Here’s the denomination you have to attend,” do you believe you have the right to say “no” to the state if they tell you what denomination to attend? Is that a breaking of God’s law?

They certainly believed it was. And, by the way, another issue that they brought up–people like Benjamin Rush and Benjamin Franklin, both signers of the Declaration, said, “Hey, wait a minute. The King is telling us we can’t free our own slaves.

“We see where Jesus said that He came to bring liberty to the slave. And, Isaiah 60:1 that that’s the prophecy given: He’s going to bring freedom to the captives. We’re trying to free our slaves, and the King is telling us we can’t free our own slaves.”

Benjamin Rush and Ben Franklin said that was a big reason for them. That’s a moral issue. If I’m told by the government, “You have to keep the slaves and cannot free your slaves,” that’s a problem for me.

Original Motto: “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”

And so, there are so many other issues that go beyond just this issue of economics. There’s a reason that the original motto devised by Founding Fathers like Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, and John Adams was “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.” So, when you take it only from the viewpoint of the Economic View of American History, that the only thing that matters is money, then you say, “Yeah, there wasn’t anything that they should have rebelled against.”

But when you look at all the other issues that were in there, there’s a whole lot of stuff that has Biblical grounds for saying no. And, by the way, I’ll also point out that in the American Revolution, the pastors taught them that you are not allowed to start something. Now, if somebody else starts it, you can defend yourself.

So, that’s why at the Battle of Lexington, Pastor Jonas Clark said, “Guys, you can’t start a revolution. Now, if the British shoot at you, you have the right to return fire because that’s a Biblical right of self-defense, and all these Bible verses say you can defend yourself. You can’t start anything.”

And so, that’s why for 11 years, the Americans tried to reconcile with Great Britain, including right up to the time of what they call the “Olive Branch Petition.” And, the king said, “There’s no way of reconciling; you will not do this but will do exactly what I tell you. And, I’m sending 25,000 soldiers to make you do what I tell you.” The Americans did not fire that first shot.

When the British started shooting at them, they said, “Okay, you guys, open the ball and we have the Biblical right of self-defense.” So, the conclusion and the question is right that it violates Romans 13 if all you see is economics. But, if you look at all the other issues that were out there, now you’ve got a Biblical basis.

The Theological Writings Founding Fathers Studied

And, by the way, I’ll also point out the Founding Fathers were very concerned about Romans 13 and did not want to get God mad at them. That’s why they studied theological writings like Lex Rex, which is part of what happened in Scotland. Or, Junius Brutus–when the government started killing 400,000 Christians in France because they belonged to the wrong denomination, theologians said, “Do we have a right to resist and say ‘no’ when government is killing us for being Protestants instead of Catholics?”

They looked at the theological writings and studied them, believing they had a firm theological basis. So, the answer to the question is yes, they had a Romans 13 basis for saying “no” to Great Britain; but, it was not based on economic issues; it was based on many, many, many other issues.

RICK:

Guys, we have a lot more questions to get to but need to take a quick break. When we come back, more of your questions. By the way, if you’re thinking of one right now on the Declaration as we cover some of that, or any of the other founding documents, Founding Fathers, or issues of the day, send that question to us [email protected]

We’ll be right back with your questions Stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live!

Comedy and the Constitution at Front Site

Hey friends, Rick Green here. Have you ever wanted to laugh while learning? Would you like to actually have some humor included in your education about the Constitution? Well, that’s what Brad Stine and myself do in what we call Comedy and the Constitution.

We do it all over the country and can bring it to your community. But, we’re doing something we’ve never done before. We’re taking the Comedy and the Constitution Front Site in Nevada, and we’re going to combine it with the Constitutional Defense Program we’ve been doing for a couple of years.

Now, the Constitutional Defense Program is where you actually get some constitution training and some handgun training to you learn how to defend yourself and your family. You’re going to get all of it: the constitutional training; the opportunity to laugh with Brad Stine, God’s comic comedian, and you’re going to the handgun training at Front Site.

This is a one time event happening June 3rd and 4th. There’s still time to sign up; but, space is very limited. So, if you want to be on the range with us, then you’ve got to get signed up right now at RickGreen.com. Find out more; it’s going to be a great event on June 3rd and 4th. So, get signed up today at RickGreen.com.

RICK:

Welcome back to Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live! We’re taking your questions; so, be sure and send them in to [email protected] The next question has to do with the courts; and, it’s basically a guy in a discussion with a friend.

Marbury v. Madison

He says, “We hit a snag over who has the final say {determining} the constitutionality of a law. {My friend} says, ‘The Supreme Court because of Marbury v. Madison.’ I say that it’s Congress.

“Could you help clear this up for us please? Thanks for all you do.”

TIM:

Now, Rick, let me point out in Marbury vs. Madison, the Supreme Court said that they’re the ones in charge. So, if the Supreme Court said, it it must be true.

RICK:

Can we do that right now? Can the three of us just say, “Hey, we’re in charge now of the whole country,” and then all of a sudden–

DAVID:

Wait a minute; I have to do a historical correction. Actually, in Marbury v. Madison, the court didn’t say they were in charge. Actually, in Marbury v. Madison, the court said, “We don’t have the authority to make this decision now.”

TIM:

Well, wait a second; that’s not what law school professors say.

DAVID:

That’s the point there. There you go.

TIM:

That’s not what I heard. And, yes; so, here’s the irony. Even the argument that is being used by law professors is, “The Supreme Court determined that they’re the ones in charge.”

Three Unequal Branches of Government

Well, there’s three branches; so, here’s what’s crazy. They’re not coequal; but, if we took the fallacy and said that all three branches are coequal, according to “coequal,” the U.S. Supreme Court can’t make that determination because they’re equal. They’re not more powerful if there is three coequal.

Now, the Federalist Papers clearly explained they’re not coequal. Even the Constitution gives this implication. When you look at the powers given to Congress in Article 1, there’s nothing given–relatively speaking–there’s not hardly any power given to the judges, to the judicial branch.

So, there’s fallacies on so many levels about this. But, this is where the way we teach things today makes it seem like the Supreme Court is in charge. But, even that violates the other thought that’s taught of coequal branches.

RICK:

Yes.

DAVID:

And, I love the fact that he’s got this friend that says, “Because of Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court’s in charge.” Okay, read Marbury v. Madison. They say, “We do not have the authority to overturn an act of the president or of Congress;” that’s in Marbury v. Madison.

So, how do you use Marbury v. Madison to say they have the power, when the court itself in that case they site said they don’t have the power?

TIM:

Didn’t Marbury v. Madison overturn something Congress or the president had done?

DAVID:

Well, it almost resulted in the impeachment of John Marshall. John Marshall complained that, “Because I made that decision and said that I didn’t have the authority to make it, but–” and, here’s what happened.

TIM:

Now, Dad, wait a second. Let’s unpack that bag for a second.

DAVID:

Yeah.

Making Decisions Without Authority

TIM:

So, “I’ve made a decision; but, I don’t have the authority to make it.”

DAVID:

And, he said that; he said, “The court doesn’t have–but, if I had the authority, this is what I would say.”

TIM:

So, like the ludacris-ness of this idea. Let’s say that I work at Chick-fil-A, because I like them and appreciate what they do and their chicken sandwiches, sweet tea, waffle fries; they’re a gift from God. Therefore, I’m picking Chick-fil-A.

If I’m an employee at Chick-fil-A, go up to another employee, and say, “Hey, I don’t have the authority to tell you this, but you’re fired.”

DAVID:

Yeah, exactly.

TIM:

That’s how silly this sounds and is.

RICK:

That’s true.

TIM:

This employee is not going to go, “Oh my gosh; I just got fired by my coworker.” I don’t have the authority to fire you!

DAVID:

Let me take it a step further. You work at Chick-fil-A, go over to Walmart, and tell a Walmart employee he’s fired, “I’m working Chick-fil-A, and you’re fired.”

TIM:

Because they’re not even in my store, my department, or my branch of government in this situation.

John Marshall

DAVID:

That’s right. And, the interesting thing about this is this Marbury v. Madison decision was delivered by Chief Justice John Marshall. Now, John Marshall is considered a significant figure in the history of the Supreme Court.

There’s been a lot of biographies done about John Marshall. The striking thing is, for 100 years–we checked the biographies after John Marshall. And, the biographies don’t even mention the case Marbury v. Madison.

TIM:

And, these are biographies not just detailing everything he did in his life, because this was a super-controversial thing he did at the time he did it. This was well known and discussed. So, why wouldn’t biographers put this in his biography?

Because this was not something to highlight; it was not a success for him. This was not a good thing. And, we would even say as historians, that you can’t cut out the things that you disagree with.

You have to tell the good, the bad, the ugly; tell the whole story. We make that argument all the time. And so, if somebody does something super controversial, you should talk about it.

But, the reason that maybe they won’t highlight it is because they’re trying to say, “Look how cool John Marshall was. Look at what he accomplished, what he did, the great things he–”

But, if you don’t mention this, there’s a reason you don’t mention it when you’re praising John Marshall.

Which Is the Most Powerful Branch?

DAVID:

So, when it comes to this argument, Joe wins this argument from a historical, constitutional perspective, and even from the perspective of the Federalist Papers. They’re all on his side. He wins; his friend loses.

RICK:

Absolutely. And, by the way, that’s just–maybe people don’t even know. Congress is the one that has the most power. As you said earlier, Tim, let’s just remind people that Congress is supposed to be the most powerful branch, the president second, and then the court super weak.

Alexander Hamilton said that we shouldn’t even have to fear our liberty being taken by the court, if it stays in its proper box of what it’s supposed to be doing.

Let’s take a quick break, guys. We’ll be right back with more questions from the audience. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live! It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.

Patriot Academy

Rick:

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The Founders’ Education

RICK:

We’re back here on WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Next question comes from Kenneth.

He said, “Hello, WallBuilders, I was wondering how the Founding Fathers studied;” that’s a good question. “I know that John Quincy Adams and Benjamin Rush were fluent in reading the Bible in many languages, amongst other Founders. Could you elaborate upon their study habits, if you will.

“Also, David, I know you’re a math and science guy. Does math come naturally to you; or, do you did you develop a liking for math? I’m not good at math.

“So, if there’s anything the Founders did to improve their studies, I would appreciate their insight. I always learn something when listening to your show. Thanks for all you do; you’ve given me the knowledge to inform professors and students about the truth, and it’s helped greatly.

“Thank you, Kenneth Osborn.” Thanks, Kenneth. Great question.

And, I really like this question, guys. How did the Founders–I mean, we know they were amazing, spoke all these multiple languages, did all these great things in their youth. How did they study; what were their habits?

Founding-Era Philosophy

TIM:

Well, one of things, Rick, I would point to is the philosophy that led to their study habits. Let’s back up to philosophy, because one of the things that we don’t do a great job of today is our expectations. Our philosophy is that there should be the structure in the way we’ve done education.

And, when you go back to the Founding Era and look at what they started doing and when they started doing it, their philosophy was so different. One of things we know about the brain is it’s a muscle; and, just like other muscles in our body, you can develop, train, grow, and strengthen it. Not all of us could ever become the massive bodybuilder; but, every one of us can get stronger and better.

So, even related to this idea of Hey, what did they do to get good at math if they weren’t good at math? Well, not everybody’s going to have the same level of capacity, not everybody can be the the Albert Einstein of some of these theories and understandings; but, everybody can improve. But, part of it goes back to their philosophy of the expectations and really working and developing that muscle at a much earlier, younger age than we do.

I think one of the reasons we have challenges in a lot of modern culture is we start working that muscle a lot later; and, so much development happens in the first couple of years of life. Which, Dad, you might remember; is it like 50 percent of brain development by the age of 4 or 5?

DAVID:

By the age of 5, you have 50 percent of all the knowledge you will ever acquire. When you’re 5 years old, you have 50 percent of all knowledge. And, by the time you’re 6, you have 60 percent.

So, you spend the rest of your life acquiring the other 40 percent of all the knowledge you’ll ever take in.

Philosophy and Expectations

TIM:

Which is crazy to think about; but, this is where I would go back to philosophy and expectations. Dad, we’ve identified; even in your presentations, what we often talk about is what so many Founding Fathers did, impressively at a young age. Guys, we’ve identified Founding Fathers whose family records and family writings talked about, “When he was 4 years old, he was reading through the Bible by himself.”

RICK:

Wow.

TIM:

I’m sure they’re helping with words along the way. But, you have kids who when they’re there 4, 5, 6, 7, they’re learning multiple languages. John Quincy Adams, when he’s 14, is chosen as part of the diplomatic staff going over to Russia; and, his job as the interpreter because he’s already fluent in six languages as a 14 year-old.

Well, for most of us, we start taking a second language in high school. We’re past 14 when we start on a second language, not when we’ve mastered a sixth language. And, this is where I think even some of the philosophy and expectation ought to back up and say a lot of what they did started at a very early age.

I think that allowed them to develop their brain at a greater capacity, which probably made learning easier than what we’ve done today.

They Believed They Could

DAVID:

Yeah. In addition that philosophy–and, by the way, I totally echo what Tim says. Their expectations were totally different. We don’t expect much from a 5, 6, or 7 year-old today and don’t expect much until maybe they’re a teenager; then they’ll do something.

The expectation was so different. And, kids do not know what they can or can’t do until an adult tells them, “Oh, you can’t do that; you’re not old enough; wait to do that.” Back then they had a different expectation; and, the kids could do so much more because they believed they could.

They Taught Them How to Think

And so, that expectation is huge. The other thing is they taught students how to think rather than how to learn. We’re now so focused on putting knowledge into them; they were so focused on teaching you how to get knowledge for yourself.

And, that’s a different thing. It’s the axiom that “You don’t want to give a guy a fish; You want to teach him how to fish because then he can feed himself for a lifetime.” Well, what we do in education today is we try to tell you what you need to learn and believe.

Back then they said, “No, you need to know yourself. And, here’s the tools you can have to help you learn.” So, they used what we’re called “forensics,” which is the art of public debating where you have to take both sides of an argument, argue the same argument from both sides.

You have to see how it looks from both sides, ask questions on both sides, show the weaknesses on both sides.

Forensics

TIM:

Well, it’s all about critical thinking and problem solving. So, by having to argue both sides, you’re really learning to dissect the issue: “How would I argue for it: how would I argue against it?”

Even today, if we said, “Okay, college kids, I want you to argue in favor of socialism,” and, “Contrast, kid, I want you to argue in favor of capitalism.” Now, the difference is in the Founding Era, they didn’t pick something that could necessarily be one that is amoral or immoral, and one that is moral. You know, we wouldn’t argue over murder; but, in this case, what you’re doing is learning to think through the issue.

So, “How do I argue in favor socialism and against it?” But, once you learn how to make the argument, what you see is where the flaws  and holes. And, as you learn to see the flaws and holes, you learn to recognize Is this good or bad, right or wrong?

Catechism  

DAVID:

The other thing they did was learn to ask a lot of questions, because the teacher asked questions of students all the time. It was often called “catechisms;” and catechisms were the asking of questions. You learn the answers; be able to answer the questions.

So, for example, we have in the collection of all these old textbooks, there are catechisms on music, history, law, on the Constitution, mineralogy, agricultural chemistry, on everything. And, that question-and-answer thing, asking questions makes you think through things. So, their education method, if you will, was the use of forensics, learning all sides of an issue; the use of questions, being able to dig; and, the philosophy that we expect more from me at a younger age.

Also, it was a thing of We’re going to teach you how to feed yourself; then, you’ll be able to feed yourself for the rest of your life. And, it’s going to accomplish amazing things. So, that’s why I think they’re so different.

But, a lot of that changed in the 1920s, as progressive took over and introduced a new pedagogy in education. But, when you go back to the educational model we used for 300 years, the results are absolutely amazing.

Was It Biblical For Us To Separate From Great Britain? 

RICK:

Well, we are out of time for questions today. There were a lot more to get to; so, we’ll do that next week on Foundations of Freedom Thursday. And, if you’d like to throw in a question from yourself, send it into [email protected]

Thank you so much for listening today. Be sure to visit WallBuildersLive.com, our radio website and click on that donate button to come alongside us with a donation. That helps us continue this great mission of equipping and inspiring citizens to save our constitutional republic.

Thanks so much for listening today to WallBuilders Live!