Constitution Alive, Section 5, Part 2 – The Enumerated Powers Of Congress: What is Congress actually allowed to do? Where are the jurisdictional lines? Are there areas Congress was meant to stay out of? What is a Constitutional Republic all about? Our Constitution is still alive and applicable today! As citizens, we all have a duty to study the Constitution, to understand where our rights and our freedoms are laid out in that document, and how our government structure should work. The reason our government continues to overstep its boundaries is because, “we the people” don’t know what those boundaries are! Tune in now for the second part of our three-part series!
Air Date: 9/14/2023
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
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live, and we appreciate you joining us today. If you’re listening online, you can get a list of our stations around the country and listen to the program right there at our website, WallBuilders Live.com.
And, you can also get our archives, so programs over the last few months, available right there on the website. You can listen to some of those Thursday programs where we dive into the foundational freedoms of America; we call it Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Listen to those Friday programs where you get some good news.
We’ve got a Good News Friday, and it’s an opportunity for David and Tim Barton to share with us some good news from around the nation, and actually around the world sometimes, on things that are happening in the culture. There’s a lot of bad things happening; we don’t ignore those things, but talk about them as well. However, on Fridays, it’s kind of fun to just to go through a lot of that good news that often gets buried by the major media.
We want to encourage you and help you see those victories, where when you do get engaged and do your part as a citizen, good things can happen. So, be sure and tune in on Fridays for Good News Friday. We’ve got a special veterans program this week; but, next week and also on our website, you can get those Friday programs and get some good news.
Constitution Alive! with David Barton and Rick Green
All right, we’re going to dive in today where we left off yesterday, bringing to you Constitution Alive! with David Barton and Rick Green. And, that’s where David and I went into Independence Hall and his library and recorded this Constitution class in order to teach people clause by clause. We go through the whole Constitution, all seven articles, all 27 amendments, to look specifically for the areas where citizens can have an impact right now in America and helping to restore our Constitution.
What a Constitutional Republic is All About
So, this particular series that we’re sharing this week it actually comes out of Section 5 of our full program where we dive into the enumerated powers of Congress. And, we’re learning What do they actually have authority to do? Where those jurisdictional lines? What are they allowed to do, and what are some of the things they’re specifically not allowed to do?
We the People set that up; that’s what a constitutional republic is all about. The people draw the lines, say, “This is the territory that you have,” if you will; “This is the authority that you have, and you cannot operate outside of that without asking our permission.”
That obviously does not happen anymore.
The courts have allowed the federal government, encouraged in many cases, and them to go way beyond those enumerated powers in the things that we actually gave the federal government the authority to do. And, states do the same thing. So, what we want to do is help educate people on where those lines are, enabling you to question the people running for office, those that are in office, and encourage them to turn this thing around.
You can hold their feet to the fire. Ultimately We the People are responsible for what our government looks like. So, we’ve got to learn what the rules are, what those boundaries are. And, much of that is found in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which is what we’re covering this week in this “Chapter 5” out of Constitution Alive!
Let’s pick up right where we left off yesterday. It is going to take us three days to get through this material. So, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
If you missed yesterday, don’t worry about it. Just go to WallBuildersLive.com, click on the archives section, and listen to yesterday’s program. After tomorrow, you can take all three parts in the series, this three-day series, and you can email it out to your friends and family to help educate your fellow Americans.
The First War on Terror
Let’s pick up where we left off yesterday with Constitution Alive!
So, Dave is going to ask the question on the air any. He looks over says, “Well, Rick, of course, this war we’re in now it is not our first war on terror.” We’re live on the air; I said, “No, David, of course not. Why don’t you tell us about that first war on terror.”
I didn’t have a clue what the man was talking about. Now, you’re probably all better students than me and remember the Barbary Powers Wars and the four Muslims states. What happened was you had these extremists that were capturing our merchant ships, ransoming our sailors back to us, or killing them because they believed they had a spiritual reward for doing that.
Well, Jefferson over here–this actually this starts in ‘84. So, this before they even came back for the Constitution. And, when I point to him, that was the Declaration; he didn’t have anything to do with the Constitution.
Anyway, Jefferson was one of the negotiators with a couple of the Muslim ambassadors during this period of 1785, ‘86, ‘87. So, he got kind of intimate with this situation. When Washington was President, he was spending; in his last year he spent 16 percent of the federal budget paying ransom to get these sailors back. That’s how bad it was.
He couldn’t fight, didn’t have a navy or the ability to go in and fight. And, he actually said he, “Felt like Christendom look weak,” and lamented the fact that he couldn’t go in, “…and destroy them;” that’s what he wanted to do but couldn’t.
Adams gets elected. President Adams, in his last year, spends 19 percent of the federal budget paying ransom to these terrorists; that’s what they were. And so, Jefferson gets elected.
The “Marine’s Hymn” & the Koran
Jefferson says, “Not a penny; I’m not paying any ransom. We’re going to war.” I don’t know if any you guys in here are Marines.
But, in the “Marine Corps Hymn”, it says, “To the shores of Tripoli.” You know; you’re a Marine? All right, you guys know, “To the shores of Tripoli.”
That was the first war on terror. Jefferson sends in the Marines. There was seven years of armed conflict on the ground before the whole thing’s, ultimately over a period of 32 two years.
We got a great peace dividend when it was finally all said and done. But, it was because Jefferson, he said, “did something different,” than Washington and Adams. Why?
Because he’d been studying the Koran. He remembered his negotiations and said, “This particular group of Muslims believes they have a spiritual reward for killing the infidel. And, if they read the Koran that way, and that’s their perspective, I can’t negotiate with it but have to defeat it.
So, Jefferson’s view was There’s no defense on this; we have to go play offense. And, that’s why Jefferson took a different action than the previous presidents had. Washington probably we would have, based on the writings that he had about this, if he would have had the military means to do it.
But, Jefferson had the means, the understanding, and went in. So, I just think that’s an important perspective for us to remember those [inaudible] were basically mercenaries because they didn’t have the means to go get the sailors sometimes. Therefore, Congress said, “We better have the congressional power to be able to hire mercenaries to go in and take care of of getting some of these sailors back in.”
So, let let’s just move right along here. The last thing–all the powers in the military we’re not even going to get into. That’s not really a controversy, I don’t think; if it is, we’ll do it on a webinar later.
“Necessary and Proper”
The last one somebody mentioned over here when we were talking about loopholes. Who said “necessary and proper” when you guys did? The last loophole that they have in there is the Necessary and Proper Clause. Let’s take a look at the actual wording, and then we’ll wrap it up.
It says: “To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper, period.” No? Are you sure it doesn’t say: “To make all laws necessary and proper period.”
Oh, what’s it say after that? Somebody read it out loud for me really loud.
“…for carrying into execution the foregoing powers and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States or in any department or office thereof.”
Hmm. So, it doesn’t sound like there’s a new power there.
Bring a WallBuilders Speaker to Your Area
Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. And, as you’ve had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live!, you’ve probably heard the wealth of information about our nation, our spiritual heritage, religious liberties, and all the things that make America exceptional. And, you might be thinking As incredible as this information is, I wish there was a way that I could get one of the WallBuilders guys to come to my area and share with my group.
It might be a church, a Christian school, public school, or some political event or activity. If you’re interested in having a WallBuilder speaker come to your area, get on our website at www.WallBuilders.com. There’s a tab for scheduling.
And, if you’ll click on that tab, you’ll notice there’s a list of information from speakers bios, to events that are already going on. Then, there’s a section where you can request an event to bring this information about who we are, where we came from, our religious liberties and freedoms. Go to the WallBuilders website and bring a speaker to your area.
Anything Necessary and Proper?
They didn’t open the lid and add a power called “Anything Necessary and Proper. No. What did they do?
They said, “All we’re doing is making sure that it’s understood that to do these things in the bucket with a lid on it, there’s some other little things you’re gonna have to do that are part of that.” For instance, right above there, what’s it say? They can build forts and magazines, arsenal, all that kind of stuff.
If you’re going to build a fort, you’ve got to go by the material to do it. Right? You’ve got to hire the guys to do it. That’s necessary and proper for the foregoing power; so, it’s not a new power.
But, boy, have they abused it. Now, they say, “Anything that is necessary and proper, they can then go do it.” However, if we look at the plain language, it changes everything.
If we go back to the original intent, it is so clear and easy to understand. The problem is we just got away from civics; that really is all it is; we stopped teaching it and pounding it in, and studying ourselves.
I mean, we figured, “Hey, I’m out of high school, out of college, and don’t need to go read the Constitution.” We do need to read and study it over and over because when this stuff becomes so clear to us as we take that quick-start guide and realize where to plug stuff in, it’s so much easier to choose our leaders, to say “no” when the leader comes home and says–
I mean, if your congressman comes home and says, “I got $100,000 for the local library,” you can say, “Wait; where in Article 1, Section 8 do you have the power?”
“Well, I’m promoting the progress of science and useful art.”
“Well, no, there’s a comma there;” and you educate them on that.
“I’m taking care of the general welfare. What I’m doing the necessary.”
We the People Have to Know First
No, none of that gives them the power to do it. But, We the People have to know first and have to be willing to say “no” when they offer those kind of things. And, I don’t know about you, but we didn’t read every clause in there in Article 1, Section 8.
After doing this for a few years now, if you’ll just stand there and help me out on pages 12, 14, and 16, I’m really struggling. Is the Department of Education in here? Does anybody see that?
You know what? Where is the FDA in here? Anybody?
What about the FTC? There’s about 14 other departments we can name, right, that aren’t in here. We allowed them to open the bucket and make it an unlimited bucket.
It’s our job to get them back in the proper place, and we can do it. The system works if we’ll work it. We can put them back in that in that proper function.
So, that’s the the “do’s” of Congress, the things they’re supposed to be doing. Let’s rein them in and get them back in their proper place.
Well, I know we’ve covered a lot of ground. On any of the stuff we’ve already talked about, we’ll just open it up and let you guys ask some questions.
Out of Control Judges
I have a question. So, you’re saying the judges are making these laws without us checking them?
Well, they’re making them without the proper authority. And, what we’ll find later when we get into Article 3 is that the proper function of the court is not to make laws, but to apply the law. In rare circumstances, rule of law unconstitutional–well actually, we’re going to look at what Alexander Hamilton said about that.
He gave us a great solution for how to actually overrule the court. We don’t talk about that anymore because we think the court’s the final say on the law. Not so, according to the Founding Fathers.
We’ll talk about what he gave as a solution in the Federalist Papers.
We had some early questions; this first one is from Sarah Curran in Michigan.
Michigan, we’ve got someone here from Michigan, don’t we. Who was it from Michigan? Yeah.
She asks, “With the Declaration of Independence declaring the violations of Great Britain, what do you say to Christians who say that we don’t need to vote because God is going to put in office whoever He wants.”
Great question. You know, a lot a lot of times people of faith will say, “Hands off; if there’s a higher being that’s in charge of everything, raises up leaders, puts leaders down, then I don’t have to do anything.” So, the question from the webinar is If these guys declared with the Declaration of Independence that great Britain was so wrong they were willing to take up arms against them–and, these were clearly men of faith that shared that view that there was a sovereign being–then then why should people of faith today get involved in government at all and try to do what we’re talking about, rein in government to put it in its proper place and do our duty?
What these guys said–well, in their particular case in declaring independence and actually taking up arms, they believed that was self-defense and was just war under just-war theory, because King George not only reneged on the agreements but actually fired on the Americans. And so, they believe that justified it. But, they definitely believed that as–
And, I love how there were two of the guys in the first Congress by the last name a Muhlenberg. They were actually pastors that also served in Congress. And, one of those guys, John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, his argument to his brother was initially–because Frederick Augustus didn’t want to be involved in the war but chastised John Peter because John Peter actually took up arms, called his men to arms from the pulpit, went out, fought, and became a major general.
He actually reached; I think there’s only 15 that reached the rank that he did.
Anyway his brother chastised him and said, “You shouldn’t be getting involved;” but he said, “I’m a citizen of Heaven and also a citizen of Earth. My freedom is as dear to me as it is to any layman. Shall I then sit still?
The Concept of Duty
“Heaven forbid it.” And, he said, “It’s my duty to fight.” That was something these guys really understood, the concept of duty.
I think sometimes as people of faith, we want to just step back and say, “God’s gonna take care of everything,” when actually, regardless of your faith, every major religion in the world I can think of still requires you to take some sort of action at times.
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.
Faith & Duty
It requires you to do your duty. I know in my faith, I’m supposed to do my duty and supposed to act on my faith. “Faith without works is dead,” right?
And, these guys absolutely believed that. I have lost count of the number of quotes from the Founders that use that word “duty.”
That’s something we kind of lost in our culture, that sense of duty that says, “You do it whether you win or lose; whether it feels good or not; whether it hurts your own person, health, economics, or whatever it might be.” That sense of duty, I would say to the person with the question, is why we as Christians or whatever faith you are, should influence the government. It’s your job to influence the culture because this system that they put in place says, “We are the government.”
So, we can’t sit back and say, “Oh, I’m supposed to just do whatever my rulers say.” No, in our system of government, we are those rulers. Therefore, if We the People are the ones in charge, we had to be engaged.
What about Exodus 18:21 that specifies. You don’t have to ask. Let’s find out what that says.
That is a great point. Exodus 18:21 actually specifies it for us and gives us the guidelines. I mean, it is a great example of–and actually where our Founders said they got our Republican form of government.
We say, “We have local, county, state, federal government.” Well, it says, “Choose out from among you leaders of 10s, 50s, 100s, 1000s;” that’s the same thing as where they got the idea. Then, it tells us how to choose them, what kind of folks we’re looking for: “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.”
So, what a wonderful guideline. There is actually a blog on my website at RickGreen.com where I analyze candidates. And, I take a poll on my Facebook page to get people to rate candidates on those four things. Are they capable of doing the job, getting elected, God-fearing, have a biblical worldview? Are they honest, and do they hate covetousness? A lot of people want the job so bad they’ll do whatever it takes to stay in office. Or, when you get in office, the perks are so nice you want to keep them, so you do whatever. Do they hate covetousness?
So, anyway, I think you’re exactly right. It’s a great command for us and a great guideline. It’s a good example of saying, “Hey, as a person of faith, sitting out is not an option.”
Don’t Do Nothing Like the Wicked Servant
And, I would add to that and forget where it is. But, in the Bible it says: “To know what to do and do nothing or say nothing is sin in and of itself.” In other words, to not act– where is it?
So, there is a right and wrong, that something is needed to help your fellow man and your country, and you do nothing? Oh man, I don’t want to be that wicked and slothful servant that buried the talent, right? I want to be the one is out there enjoying and living that talent.
Yes ma’am go ahead.
- I have a question; it’s on that page 14 that says that Congress has the power to coin money. So, Congress has the power to coin money; the states do not have the power to coin money. Where does Congress get the power to authorize the federal reserve?
Great question. She asked about the coining of money. A couple of points on this are on page 14 at the top.
It’s the first power listed on page 14 for Congress. So, we’re in the bucket of powers for Congress with the lid on it. We gave them the power to coin money, regulate the value thereof.
Also, if you flip over to Section 10, we’ll see that in our bucket that we talked about, “or prohibited by it to the States,” things we took away from the States, we said that they could not “coin money, emit bills of credit,…or make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts;” which means they could use gold and silver to pay their state debt, but not create their own currency, their own state currency.
And, there’s some debate on that. Some scholars today believe that does allow them to do it. I don’t think it does; but, it is debatable. That leads to your question, which is: If the do’s for Congress, that we said in Section 8, is to coin money, how does that allow them to do the Federal Reserve?
The Federal Reserve
I personally believe–and, I’m not a Federal Reserve fan. This is one of those areas I agree with my fellow Texan, Ron Paul, on is that you do need to rein in the Fed or get rid of it. I’m a gold-standard guy and wish we had stayed on the gold standard and think we don’t have honest weights and measures right now.
That is a whole other talk that I don’t want to get too far off on. But, I do think constitutionally, that Congress has the power to do these things however they want to do them if it doesn’t prevent them from doing it. So, if they have the power to regulate the money, if they contract, if you will, with the Fed to do that, they have the power to do it.
I don’t like the fact that they’re doing it, think it’s wrong, and believe we should get congressmen that are willing to say “no.” But, constitutionally, I don’t think I can say that they can’t do it.
It’s just like having–when I was a legislator, we have a duty to have prisons and keep criminals away from people or just for punishment. But, we could privatize those prisons and hire out somebody else to do it, if they could do it better. We’re still doing our duty in a way that we think is more efficient.
Some economists think the Fed is a more efficient way to do it. I don’t personally, but they do. Some may say, “Definitely not,” right?
But, but I do think they constitutionally have the power to do it. So, we could take it away from them if we want. And, I think the move to audit the Fed and show just how abusive they’ve been, is gaining more steam than it’s ever had in my lifetime.
Finally, we’re getting to the point where enough people are concerned that now there’s some momentum. I think it’s going to happen. Great question.
The Atheist Founders?
This question is from Amy Williams from Texas who asks, “What did it mean back then being an atheist?” I thought Thomas Jefferson was one. Was Ben Franklin one also?
Great question. Oh, wow. So, the question from the webinar is: What did it mean back in their day to be an atheist?
She thought that Thomas Jefferson was one and asked if Benjamin Franklin was one. This is a a long answer to this question. And, when we get to the First Amendment tomorrow night, we’re going to talk and touch on this a little bit better, and I’ll give you a lot of history, hopefully, on Jefferson when we get there.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But, it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders’ library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution. You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And, it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.
Among these guys, I don’t believe you could name anyone in here an atheist. All right.
The vast majority of them were outspoken Christians who lived it, talked it, wrote it, spoke it. There’s just no denying it; it’s just not even arguable.
A Handful Were Not Christians: Benjamin Franklin
There were a handful that were not Christians. I would put Franklin in that category because he was not a Christian, though he loved the Christian religion. He wanted to go start a colony with George Whitfield.
I mean, he he understood. From a man of the world that saw different governments and cultures, he understood the influence of Christianity and the positive influence it was in the culture itself. So, he promoted it and loved it; but, he was not himself, at least from anything that I’ve read or found, a Christian.
He believed in God; so, he was definitely not an atheist. You heard his is quote that I gave you earlier. No question, that’s a man that believes in the hand of Providence.
Jefferson is a much more complicated guy and not someone I would call a “robust Christian” at all. He definitely went through times in his life where he denied basic tenets of Christianity, but other times in his life where he absolutely promoted the entire doctrine of Christianity. So, he’s a complex guy who is not easy to put in one box or another; but, never was he negative on the influence of the Christian faith or say, “I don’t want religion in the public square.”
This perception we have a Jefferson is very wrong from what he actually was. He definitely said bad things about some members the clergy and, frankly, campaigned really nasty against him. I mean, he had some reasons to say some really bad things about some of those guys.
And, he wasn’t an Orthodox Christian at all. So, don’t get me wrong; I’m not putting him in that box. But, he definitely was not an atheist.
And, you can say the same thing. I’ve yet to find one of these guys that I could argue was a was an atheist.
The Proper Function of the Executive
Well, we move on to our next section where we talk about the presidency. We’re gonna find out what the proper function of the executive is and make sure we’ve got them in the proper place as well.
Thanks for staying with us. We’ll catch you on the next section when we open up the presidency.
RICK in Studio:
Well, we’re out of time for today, folks. That was Part Two in this three-part series from Constitution Alive! It’s “Chapter 5,” or “Section 5,” out of Constitution Alive!. dealing with the enumerated powers of Congress.
You can get the entire Constitution Alive! program at WallBuilders.com. If you’d like to open up your home or Sunday school class, we’d love for you to do that. There’s no–we don’t charge anything for you to share that publicly but want you to do that.
So, get those DVDs and the workbooks to become an educator on the Constitution. We want to equip you in being able to do that. It’s all available there at WallBuilders.com.
Tomorrow we’re going to get the conclusion of this particular section out of Constitution Alive! dealing with enumerated powers in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. If you’re just tuning in today and missed the opening of today’s program, I talked about the fact that this is available on our website. So, if you missed yesterday, then you can get that right now at WallBuildersLive.com.
And, after tomorrow, you can get all three parts. So, it’s a three-part series; get all three parts from WallBuildersLive.com. They’re in the archive section; share it with your friends and family, send it out there and get them educated on what the proper constitutional jurisdictions of our federal government are.
We have to be educated about it if we’re going to hold them accountable. Tomorrow we’ll get the conclusion. Thank you so much for listening today to WallBuilders Live!