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Can Trump Really Build The Wall: It is 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!Â
Air Date:Â 01/31/2019
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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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
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And, if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith in the culture. Well, we do that from a Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
Today’s special, because it’s a Thursday; so, we call it “Foundations of Freedom Thursday” around here at WallBuilders. It’s a chance for you to send in your questions and drive the conversation where we actually dive into those founding principles upon which the nation was built and actually apply them to the issues of the day. So, maybe you’ve got a question about something that’s happening right now in the world of politics or maybe in your own backyard or in your church, whatever it might be, and you want to know some Founding-Fathers philosophy on that, some Biblical perspective on it, and certainly some constitutional perspective on it.
Well, send those questions to us: radio@WallBuilders.com. That’s radio@WallBuilders.com.
My name is Rick Green; I’m a former Texas legislator. And, I’m here with David Barton; he’s America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Tim Barton is with us; he’s a national speaker and pastor and the president of Â WallBuilders .
And, you can find out more about all three of us at WallBuildersLive.com. You can find out more about the ministry at WallBuilders. com and also get some great tools there as well that will equip and inspire you and your family to do more to be good citizens to help us restore America’s Constitution.
Help Restore America
And, while we’re at it, before we dive into your questions today one of the things you can do to help restore America’s Constitution is to help us continue this good work we’re doing at WallBuilders Â and spread it out there more. Get it in the hands of more American citizens so that they can understand what the principles are that made America great, the secret sauce of American exceptionalism, and accept their duty as good citizens and get out there and become active in the culture.
So, if you want to do that, if you want to help us out, be sure go to WallBuilders .com and make that one-time contribution or sign up for a monthly contribution. We greatly appreciate your support.
We’re going to dive into questions. David, Tim, you guys ready for your first question today.?
The True Purpose of a Census
Okay, this one’s out of San Diego, California and comes from Scott. He said, “A judge has said a question asking if a person is a citizen is not to be on the census. Is a census to be used to count all residents for representation or limited to the number of citizens? How would the president of the three-fifths rule in the Constitution play into this?
Okay guys, so I think what he’s saying is, “Look; if a judge says that we can’t ask on a census if someone’s a citizen, isn”t that kind of defeating the purpose? Because, if the census was to count citizens, not just residents, we kind of need to know that. Or, is that a question — maybe it was just for residents and that that would determine representation.”
This sounds like an argument from right before the Civil War with the North and the South.
Back to too long before the Civil War. But, to me this sounds like the same debate.Â Look.
If you’re counting individuals who are not eligible to vote, then it really does skew the whole balance of saying that this is our population, but they’re not really citizens, but we’re counting them. That’s where you go back to the North was saying, “Wait a second.”
This is right when the South and a lot of areas was disenfranchising the African-Americans, the black community, and saying, “You’re counting them but not letting them vote. They’re your slaves.
“Either give them the right to vote or don’t count them,” which is where the three-fifths compromise came in and said, “You can count three-fifths the slaves, but you can’t count them all because you would overrepresentation.”Â And, states that have declared themselves sanctuaries, it gives them an overrepresentation of people who are not actually citizens. And, certainly doesn’t seem to be the reason or the point of having a census.
We Don”t Take a Census of Mexico or Canada
The census ought to be to let the government know that these are the citizens. There are situations where”we don’t take a census of all the people of Mexico or Canada; and yet, it would seem to be kind of what we’re doing, at least in places like California that allows these sanctuary places for people of other nations who aren’t citizens to come and reside.
And, Tim, doesn’t that encourage them to do more of that? I mean if they can count everybody they can get there, whether they’re there legally or not, man, they’re gonna want to pull in as many people as they can. Because, that means they get more members of Congress.
Well, I would take just a little different position on that from the standpoint that Tim said, “They’re not citizens and you’re counting non-citizens.” But, you have a little different situation; it’s not apples-to-apples with what we have with illegal immigration today; because, the slaves were involuntarily brought here against their will. They were not here because they crossed the border illegally; they were coercively brought here.
And, as such, they were considered within federal law to be citizens in the standpoint that, particularly under 13th and 14th Amendment, when we abolished slavery, we said, “By the way, all of these former slaves that are here have been here for generations.”
We outlawed the slave trade in 1808, and now we’ve gone with these folks being here for more than 50 years. They are citizens. So, originally at the time of the Founding Fathers, Â they were considered citizens in the North. Blacks could vote; they just couldn’t vote in the South.
And so, the compromise was over a mindset in the South that said, “Well, we don’t consider them citizens. You guys in North can; but, we don’t.”
The Count Was to Figure Representation
So, in looking at it, the census actually went after them as though they were citizens. But, Tim is right. That that count was there to figure representation; that’s what the purpose was.
And, that’s where the example kind of breaks down as far as today. If a judge says that you can’t determine who a citizen is today, then let’s just count the whole global population of 7.5 billion and divide that up with 435 House Reps and let’s just represent everybody; because, you can’t actually tell who’s a citizen.
Anybody who comes in, if you’re on this ground, you get to vote. How crazy is that?
And, the danger is in places like California where they will issue driver’s licenses to people who are not citizens. Even if they said, “Well, we will only count the people who have driver’s licenses”,” whatever kind of limitation they’re going to put on it in their own mind, for their own benefit, for “right”kind of the pushback they might receive, it still is not going to be an accurate reflection of who is an actual citizen. Because, California already gives so many benefits to non-citizens.
And,Â there’s probably a lot of ways we go with this. When you look at the homeless population and at the veteran population, when you look at people where there is a genuine need and yet, instead of taking care of people in our own country, right? In San Francisco, there is poop all over the street; people are wanting to leave there.
There are literal human defecation all over the street. They have major problems; and yet, they’re saying, “No, let’s bring more people in.” It really does seem like they’re just trying to expand their voter base as opposed to saying, “Let’s actually do something for
And, by the way, Tim, what you just said it’s not hyperbole. I mean, there are actual studies out that San Francisco has the most public defecation of any city in America. Waste-management-kind-of-folks have done these surveys and studies. And, this is not rhetoric and hyperbole; they’ve actually won that position of number one.
Liberal Ideology Run Amuck
It is very much is leftist and liberal ideology that has run amuck. And, this is why California is so bankrupt, which on some level does make sense. They want to expand their population, because then that’s more people that in theory are being taxed, and they’re trying to recover money.
The problem is, when you spend more money than you take in, you’re always going to live in debt. And yet, nonetheless, Â it certainly not what the census was about or what it’s supposed to be for. It is supposed to be a count of the American citizens so that we understand how many we have. And then, it does make a difference for representation and other things.
The 13th and 14th Amendments
Yes, and while some people could say, “Well, this is like the pre-13th Amendment with counting the representation for black folk; but, they were considered citizens by many in the North it’s just the South wouldn’t do that.” And so, the 13th and the 14th Amendments were passed to say, “Hey, these folks are citizens; they’ve been here for several generations. You’re not going to exclude them simply because of the color of their skin.”
Now, that’s a whole different situation from those who have crossed the border illegally. They’re not in servitude. This is not a slavery situation. It’s not the same comparison.
Yes. Nobody’s questioning their validity of being a human being in this situation.
Where there were many in the South that said, “They’re not really humans, right? These dark-skinned people are not really like us.” No, that’s not what’s happening right now.
Nobody’s looking at people coming from nations from South America or from the Middle East and saying, “They’re not people;” that’s not the discussion being had.
It’s really a matter of saying, “Have they gone through the legal process to become citizens?” And, that’s a very different discussion. But, again back to the census. This is something that’s certainly, it’s only supposed to be a census of actual American citizens.
It”s About Representation
And, Scott is right on this. This is to determined representation for voting, which is why you do a census every 10 years and then you do redistricting right after the census. This is when every state will go into redistricting; because, based on the census, they will then redistribute the representation within that state.
They’ll have a certain number of congressmen, but they’ll now, instead of having 760,000 people to a congressman, it may be 690,000 or maybe 810,000 or whatever it’s going to be. But, this is all about determining representation at the federal and at the state level.
Really quick, guys, I know we”ve got to go to break, so quick comments. Should this be part of the overall immigration solution? I mean, should this be addressed by Congress so that there is a better handle on what the census is actually counting? Or, is that a totally different issue and being handled by them on a separate level?
Have you heard much about that?
Well, I will say this. A lot of what is asked on the census doesn’t have to do with representation. It’s information the government wants.
The Census of 1860
For example, in the census of 1860, they wanted to find out how many free blacks in the South owned black slaves. Now, that’s not for representation; that’s just for knowledge. And, so it’s a lot of stuff just asked for knowledge.
But, the bottom line is you have to be able to have some kind of numbers of who are actual citizens so that you can distribute the representation of 435 congressmen across the nation. We already know that Texas is going to pick up four congressional seats, which means that four seats are going to be lost by other states somewhere. But, this is all about representation; so, that has to be part of what the Census gives you.
And, if the judge says, “No. You can’t do that right now.” That’s wrong.
And, we could have a different conversation about all the stuff the government is asking for they have no business knowing about. So, there are some things in the census I would go, “Yeah, that’s none of your business.” That that’s a different conversation.
Nonetheless, it does make a big difference when it comes to state representation and seeing that shift of population from different states. And therefore, those states will get more. Or, in some cases, they will lose some of their representation when it comes to the federal government.
All right, quick break, guys. We’ll be back. We’ve got a lot more questions we’ll try to get to today. Stay with us; it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live!
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.”
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Founding Fathers John Adams and Thomas Jefferson originally worked closely together but later became ardent opponents.
This troubled Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the declaration, who knew both of them very well. In the Bible, second Corinthians 5:18 tells us that God has given each of us the ministry of reconciliation. Dr Rush believed this and set out to bring the two back together.
It took a while, but Adams and Jefferson once again became close friends. Looking back on his role in helping bring about this reconciliation Dr. Rush stated, “It will give me pleasure as long as I live to reflect that. I have been in any degree instrumental in effecting this reunion of two souls destined to be dear to each other and motivated with the same dispositions to serve their country, though in different ways.”
For more information about Dr. Benjamin Rush and his other remarkable achievements go to WallBuilders.com.
Be At All Times Armed
Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions 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 it 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.”
Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us on Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on WallBuilders Live!
Larry Robinson has the next question for us; and, it’s about protecting our country.
He said, “Dear WallBuilders, I appreciate all you do in keeping people informed. My question is: If our system worked right, and Trump would declare a national emergency and start building a wall, would he really have to stop if a judge said it was unconstitutional; or, could he keep going until the Congress made a law to stop the building? This seems ridiculous to know there is a judge somewhere that will stop you until the Supreme Court chimes in.”
A Constitutional Crisis
So, guys, real process question here. This would maybe what some might call a “constitutional crisis,” like this might be an unanswered question. Could a judge actually stop him? Would he do an Andrew Jackson and just say, “Nice opinion,” and just keep building?
I don’t know that we know the answer to this. What do you think?
Well, I think first of all, this is a great reason for listeners to check out Constitutional Alive!
This does get answered a little bit in Constitution Alive! And some of this thought and concept”because, Rick, as you mentioned, Andrew Jackson when the Supreme Court tells him, “Hey, you can’t do that,” he says, “Okay, well, you come and stop me then.” Because, they have no enforcement mechanism from the court.
Actually, the president is the one that’s over the military; it”s part of the executive. And so, the court is very limited in what they do. And, it really is a much more modern concept that the U.S. Supreme Court is the only one allowed to determine what is and is not constitutional.
A PR Problem Rather Than a Constitutional One
It used to be that the representation from the House and the Senate can make that determination. The president could make that determination; and, the Supreme Court could. Today we look and say, “Well, it”s just the Supreme Court.”
But, it does raise an interesting question; because, the American population thinks whatever the court says, that’s what you have to do. If the court says, “President Trump, you’re not allowed to build that wall anymore;” and, he says, “Stop me,” and keeps building it, at that point you would hear a lot of calls for impeachment, I think. Because, most Americans don’t know he actually probably has the authority to keep building, especially if he declared it to be some kind of national emergency.
Yes, Tim’s exactly right on. It would be a PR problem more than a constitutional problem. He has the constitutional authority to ignore that. But, when you’ve gone through public schools in the last 30 years or you’ve gone through law schools last 30 years or you listen to the media for the last 30 years, when the judges say, “Jump,” you have to say, “How high?”
So, if a judge says, “You can’t do that; that’s unconstitutional,” and if we said, “On what part of the Constitution is it unconstitutional?” The judge couldn’t name any part but, “Well, it’s because I said it is.” Nonetheless, people would say, “He can’t ignore that. That’s our constitutional system; that’s a constitutional crisis.”
It would be a PR and political problem more than a constitutional one. And, Tim mentioned the fact that Andrew Jackson told Chief Justice John Marshall, “All right, let’s see you make me do it.” Well, President Jackson learned that first from Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. By the way, Abraham Lincoln learned it from all three of them.
Furthermore, Abraham Lincoln, in his inaugural address said, “If that’s the case and the court gets the final word, that’s like us taking an oath to uphold the opinion of the judges rather than the Constitution of the United States.”
This would never have been a constitutional crisis back when we actually read the Constitution and when we had civics classes in school”which we don’t anymore; we have government classes and political science, which is not civics. We don’t know how the process works or what the limitations were; but, Tim is exactly right on this.
It would be the kind of thing where in this generation, it would be a problem. But see, this is the problem you’ve got when you have just under 900 federal judges. I can do what’s called “forum shopping.”
I will find a judge that will give me the decision I want. And, that’s why you find so many of these cases being filed over in the Ninth Circus; because, they’re the ones most likely, that is the one that right now is overwhelmingly dominated by liberal appointments. You’re not going to get this out of the 8th Circuit; you’re not going to get a judge dealing with this and the Fifth Circuit. It is not coming out of these other circuits; because, you actually have some judges there who know what the Constitution says.
So, what happens in this system, you forum shop and you go find some wacky judge somewhere that will give you whatever you want. And then, it’s media news; and, “If you try to go against that, you’re going against the constitutionally-designed system.” And by the way, under the Constitution, there is not a single circuit court that’s authorized directly by the Constitution; they’re all under the control of the U.S. Congress.
Every circuit court exists only if Congress says that it exists, and Congress can abolish every circuit court at any point it wants to. The only court it cannot abolish is the Supreme Court. But, even at that point, they can reduce the Supreme Court to just one justice if they want to do that.
The President Has Plenty of Authority to Build that Wall
So, Congress has much more authority even than the president does. But, the president has plenty of authority to be able to build that wall; because, he does have a constitutional mandate to defend the nation. And, for the courts to say that that mandate has to be ignored or abridged, that’s a real problem.
Really quick, before we go to break, Tim, you said it exactly right; it’s a PR problem. It’s kind of like, David, I remember you saying Â probably 20 years ago, whenever a good friend of ours Â was still a majority leader in Congress and there wasÂ the issue of Can judges be removed; Can you abolish a court? Some of those things that happened in history, but most the congressmen didn’t know. And, you made the point back then.
You said, “If they do this, because 99 percent of the American people don’t think they have the authority to do it, they don’t know that they have the constitutional authority to do it, then they’ll get slammed so much in the media, that they’ll back off. Because, Congress just typically won’t get too far out in front of the people,” is the way I remember you saying it.
That this kind of fits that, right?Â But, Trump’s more than willing to get way out there, if he knows he’s got the constitutional authority to do it. But, there’s no question he will get”I mean the media, everybody, will be clamoring and saying that he’s violating all kinds of things.
It’ll be really interesting to watch. But, this reminds me of that same issue 20 years ago.
Quick break, guys. We’ll be right back with plenty of questions to get to. We’ll be right back on Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Greatest Political Privilege
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.”
This Precarious Moment Book
David Barton. I want to let about a brand new book we have called This Precarious Moment: Six Urgent Steps That Will
Save You, Your family, and Our Country. Jim Garlow and I have co-authored this book and we take six issues
that are hot in the culture right now.
that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration, race relations, our
relationship with Israel, the rising generation Millennials, and the absence of
the church in the culture wars, and where American heritage is, our godly
heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack
and we give you both Biblical and historical perspective on those issues that
provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference.
all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So you can grab the book This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a
difference. This Precarious Moment is available at WallBuilders.com.
Â Questions of Power
Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
And, we’re back here on WallBuilders Live! It is Foundations of Freedom Thursday, and for those of you that might be joining us for the first time, that means we’re letting your questions drive our conversation. So, if you’d like to send some in, you can simply e-mail us at radio@WallBuilders.com.
Next one comes from Steven. His question is about Romans 13 and submission to governing authorities. He said, “Can you explain how the Founders saw and/or followed, if they did, Romans 13:1.Â Some in my church try to make the case that the Founders rejected this Scripture by overthrowing tyranny.
And, isn’t overthrowing tyranny a good thing? However, this leads to today, as many claim Trump is a tyrannical leader and must be overthrown just as our Founders did. Can you please shed some light on this?
“Thank you. Please keep up the great work.”
Stephen, thank you for great questions. Guys, I’ll toss those two questions to you. First, the Founders” view on Romans 13 and whether or not they followed it, and secondly, what would be the difference in terms of some that are, certainly Hollywood, claiming that Trump is a tyrannical leader and needs to be overthrown?
Well, I think the first thing you have to do is define “tyrannical leader.”
Because, we’re talking about vast extremes in who we are comparing. President Trump, there’s no doubt, is a very abrupt man and leader and at times can be offensive. However, how do we define tyranny?
Because certainly, when the left tries to compare President Trump to Hitler, President Trump has not singled out a group of people for annihilation and murder. He’s not built death camps. So, a lot of these parallels that the left is trying to make are really farcical, ludicrous, whatever kind of adverb you want to put with it.
It’s ridiculous. But, even this notion of a tyrannical leader, once we could define it”and I think for kind of easy reference as a Christian, the kind of leadership that we would say that you don’t have to submit to is the kind that cause you to violate these standards of God.
And so, if your leader says, “Hey, I”” If you are a midwife, and the president says, “Hey, I want you to kill all the boys.” You go, “Ooh, you know what? I think murdering children is wrong and probably I shouldn’t do that.”
Well, that is submitting to what you believe is God placing value on life and at the same time, rejecting what in this case we would call “the tyranny of the leader,” which I’m pretty sure is a story from the Bible.
I mean, that literally is a story in the Bible involving Moses where the Pharaoh said, “Hey, midwives, kill all the Hebrew baby boys.” And, they didn’t, and that’s where Moses survived.
The Romans 13 Issue
And, as a result, we have the nation of Israel being led out of slavery. But, I mean, Tim you’re talking about Trump as a tyrannical leader, and that’s what the Left claims. But, the Romans 13 issue is really raised by Christians who have a misunderstanding of what the Bible says.
They think it says, “Submit to leaders.” And so, if you look at the Bible, it is filled with all these cases of what we would call “civil disobedience” where God blessed people for not following what the government said, not only with Hebrew midwives, but Daniel when he was told that he couldn”t pray. The three Hebrew children when they were told by government, “You have to bow down; you have to worship.”
I mean, all across the Bible, we see examples of where people did not do what government said, and God blessed them for that. So, for Christians to use Romans 13 as though it is a catch all that you obey everything the government says or you can’t be in good standing, that’s totally wrong.
On the website, we have a piece that addresses this very directly. It’s called “Was the American Revolution an Act of Rebellion?” And, it’s based on Romans 13; because, even back in the day, the Quakers and others believed that this was a rebellion against God and you can’t do this.
Are All Governors Ordained By God?
The Founding Fathers looked at Romans 13 where it said, “Submit to governing authorities;” and, they said”now, I’m not an expert on the Greek. I mean, they probably were, because they studied Greek.
They had to translate as freshmen in school usually and in college. But, the Founding Fathers said that the Greek word there meant not the specific government, but the general institution of government. That you should not be trying to throw off all government and try to get anarchy in. You should have government; because, God ordained government.
Now, does that mean that every single government that exists is ordained by God? Did God ordain China to kill millions of its peoples or Stalin? No. Those are governments, and we would say, “That’s not doing what God said a government should do; therefore, we can rebel against tyranny, but not just because we don’t like what Trump’s doing.” This is a Biblical-based standard.
Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God
But, it’s really what Benjamin Franklin suggested. He thought the motto should be “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.” And so, it’s not just that you don’t have to obey all authority, it’s you don’t have to obey the authority if they’re asking you to violate God’s standards and commands.
And, with that being said, no matter on what level that you don’t submit to authority, there will be consequences for action. Right? So, if for example, you”re Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; and you say, “Hey, I don’t have to obey you, because that’s ungodly, and I’m not going to bow down to the thing that you made, that big golden image.” Well, you don’t have to as far as God’s perspective is concerned, if you are not submitting to bad authority because they’re asking you to be ungodly.
However, that bad authority, if they’re in a position of authority, they also have power in that position, and they can try to bring pain and inflict harm and damage on you.
And so, it’s not to say there’s not consequences; but, there’s not the same level of negative judgment that you would receive, in this case, from God saying, “Whoa, you’re violating my commands.” No.
When you reject evil to submit to righteousness, Â that is a very godly thing to do. And so, the idea that we can reject evil, in this case an evil government, to submit to God, is really a good thing.
An “Appeal to Heaven”
And, the Founding Fathers realized that maybe they were on the wrong side; but, they tried to follow what the Bible said. They read theologian Samuel Rutherford, Lex Rex; they read theologian Junius Brutus” The Defense of liberty Against Tyrants, long theological treatises on Romans 13.
And, remember, they came out with a flag that said this is an “Appeal to Heaven.” “We think we’re doing the right thing by throwing off the tyranny of Great Britain; but, we appeal to Heaven on whether we’re right or not.” And, as it turned out, it looks like God blessed and He intervened.
Nonetheless, they realized and submitted to God in that civil disobedience; and, it was civil disobedience. Tim, you’re exactly right. There are so many examples; there may be a price to pay, but it’s not anti-Biblical to resist government when government is wrong.
Send More Questions Like Those Regarding Trump Building the Wall
All right, well, thanks to Stephen Patrick for sending that question in. And, to all the others that sent in questions, we’ll get to some of those next Thursday. We are out of time for today. Be sure to visit WallBuildersLive.com for archives of the program over the last few weeks and also WallBuilders.com.
And, in either those places, be sure and check out the opportunity to donate to the program. We are a listener-supported program, and we greatly appreciate you coming alongside us.
Thanks for listening today to WallBuilders Live!
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country and the freedom over civil Constitution are worth defending against all hazards; and, it is our duty to defend them are attacks.”