Is The Constitution Considered Moral Law: 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: 08/15/2019

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

President Thomas Jefferson said, “€œI 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, 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.

Visit Us Online

You can find out more about us at our two websites:, our radio site. And then, go over to, our main site, where we have some great resources. You can take a constitution class or find all kinds of curriculum for your family to study, get into your Sunday school class, or even just for your own learning.

At the radio site,, you’ll get a list of all our stations. You’ll be able to get into the archives of the program over the last few weeks, where you”€™ll find interesting interviews, Good News Friday programs, and more. And, you can also make a donation there.

So, be sure to click on that donate button if you like what you hear today and you want more of this education and want to help equip and inspire folks all over the nation to get involved and be a part of the solution for preserving freedom. Donate to WallBuilders Live! It’s what makes this possible.

It”€™s 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! If you have a question, send it into [email protected]

Is the Constitution a Moral Code?

Let’s jump into that first question, which comes from Michael up in New York. And, it has to do with whether or not America was founded on Christian principles. He said that he was listening to a program up in New York, and they were saying that Christians should be aware that our federal Constitution was influenced by the secular Enlightenment, which began creeping into American political thought in the 18th century.

“€œGod’s authority was replaced with man’s authority; and, it was no mistake that references to God in the Bible that had been included in earlier colonial constitutions were emitted from the Constitution of 1787.”€ And so, he also heard on the program they were talking about the fact that Americans should not mistake the Constitution as our sole moral or legal authority. If something can be reasonably deduced as being supported or prohibited by the Constitution, it is judged legal or illegal; and, this is a dangerous pattern since the Constitution gives us such incomplete and scant moral instruction.

Of course, guys, I don’t think any of us think that it’s the sole moral or legal authority; but, that’s apparently what the folks that he heard on radio–not our program but another program–we’re talking about it. Just to kind of summarize his questions: he said, “€œGiven the sad state of American jurisprudence, originalism appears godly. But, our Founding Fathers would never have viewed the Constitution as the source of our national moral law.

“€œLiberals want to interpret the Constitution one way, conservatives another; but, they’re both arguing in the wrong ballpark. In a Christ-honoring nation, God’s law would be the supreme law of the land, not the Constitution.”€

So, it sounds like the show that he listened to was kind of setting up an either-or: that either the Constitutions is your moral law, or you have God. I don’t think we’ve ever expressed that. And, certainly that would not have been the Founder”€™s view.

A Structure Government Operation


Yeah, first of all, I don’t think the Constitution actually is upholding the moral code. I think it’s showing a structured operation of how government operates. Right?




When it says, “€œthree branches of government,”€ it doesn’t say, “€œbecause this is moral.”€ No, it’s because we want accountability.  When you have the House and the Senate, I don’t know that you even can argue it sets up a moral structure.

But, if you back up, kind of on a bigger picture, we–whenever someone makes a claim and says that this does this or this does not do that, the question we always want to ask is How do you know? So, if you listen to a show that says, “€œThey didn’t want God to be a part of this but believed in the Enlightenment. They removed Scripture et cetera et cetera,”€ well, what sources are you pointing to where George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, Benjamin Franklin, Governor Morris, Roger Sherman, James Wilson {are concerned?}

Which Enlightenment Philosophers

The guys who were involved in this process, people who were known as some of the framers and builders of the Constitution, where in their writings does it say, “€œWe are relying on,”€ and fill in the blank, “€œof this Enlightenment philosopher,”€ who, by the way, would have to be a secular philosopher because if you pointed to someone like Charles Montesquieu, who was part of one of those Enlightenment philosophers, he was actually a very religious Enlightenment philosopher.

So, you would have to point to an Enlightenment philosopher who was anti-God, who they say were relying on them. And, one of the problems that is made quite often in reading Founding Era works, is that we think because we don’t see the Bible specifically quoted, therefore they didn’t quote the Bible. There are an awful lot of ideas in the Constitution that actually, in some of the Founders”€™ writings, they give explicit detail for why they put that phrase or that section in; and, they actually quote the Bible as part of their explanation.

Founding Era Writings

If you look at something as simple as  the separation of powers, why did we think we could not centralized power? Well, John Adams wrote several letters where he talked about how the heart of man is wicked, deceitful, and cannot be trusted. Alexander Hamilton wrote that the heart of man is wicked, deceitful, and cannot be trusted.

George Washington wrote that the heart of man is wicked, deceitful, and cannot be trusted.


Sounds like a theme.


Part of their writing was explaining why we cannot centralize power. Why? Because you cannot trust the heart of man.

Well, where did that idea come from? Well, read Jeremiah 17:9. They actually are quoting verbatim what the Bible says in their explanation for part of why we set up government the way we did.

Biblically-Based Founding Principles

And so, even this notion that well they didn’t quote chapter and verse in the Constitution, therefore it must not have been religious. That’s not what their writings indicate. And so, again, when someone is saying, “€œWell, this is what it was,”€ or, “€œThis is what it wasn’t,”€ we always want to ask questions.

How do you know? What proof do you have? What is your source?

Because even though, guys, we’ve studied countless documents in countless hours going through the Founders”€™ writings, trying to discover original intent, it’s possible that we missed things along the way. That is very possible. Now, it’s not likely that many people have read more of the Founders”€™ documents and we have; but, it’s possible that there is a letter we didn’t know about where it says something different.

But, you’re going to have to show me that letter where they said, “€œWe don’t believe in the Bible but in Enlightenment philosophers. And, we’re following these secular guys to create a secular government. Plus, our desire is to replace all morals and just base morals on the Constitution.”€

Well, if that’s a claim you’re making, you’re going to have to have some proof for that to help convince me because I’ve seen a lot of things that point to the contrary. But, what people often do is give you an idea, an opinion, or what some professor wrote. They saw a blog post somewhere, watched the news, and heard somebody make a claim; so, they’re repeating the claim they heard.

But, they don’t often have sufficient evidence to defend their position. They’re just repeating what they’ve heard.

Where Is Their Evidence?


With that, there are a couple of things I’d point out. I want to go back to, Rick, what you’re reading in the question, how this came off a Christian radio program in the New England, Northeast area, New Jersey area. So, you have a Christian minister saying, “€œLook, America was not founded on biblical principles, but was founded by the secular Enlightenment.”€

As Tim said, “€œWhat are your sources? Where do you go to?”€ And, when I heard that statement from this Christian minister, advocating that the founding was secular, I was reminded of what happened the Book of Job, because in the Book of Job, what you have is Job and his friends philosophizing over all sorts of stuff. And, they”€”



That’s a really big word, “€œphilosophizing.”€ five syllables.


It”€™s five syllables.


I mean, I feel like we’re making words, although I know it’s real. It”€™s not that the general used in my vocabulary, “€œphilosoph”€”.”€ So, they were thinking about different ideas. DAVID:

There you go.


They were philosophizing. I feel like we’re learning homeschool words in the program today.


Ooh, I wasn”€™t even homeschooled; I went to public school. Maybe it’s a generational thing.


But, you read the Founding Fathers writings, and they were home educated.


We would be sitting around talking about things. They were wearing wigs. So, they were philosophizing.


So, they were philosophizing. Whatever they were doing, Job and his friends were doing it. After they had gone on {for a long time} and had it all figured out, then God shows up in Job 38.

When God shows up in that chapter, He just confronts all of them. And, His statement in the King James says: “€œWho is this that darkens council by words without knowledge?”€ In other words, “€œYou guys are talking about stuff you don’t even know the answer to.”€

I love it in the Contemporary English Version. It says, “€œWhy do you talk so much when you know so little?”€ And, that’s really what strikes me with this overall question, not our listener asking it, but the comment made by the minister.

The Founders”€™ Bible

Because, if you take secular sources, like a book I would recommend heavily is The Origins of American Constitutionalism. Political science professors documented that far and away, more than any other source, the source quoted most often in the Founding Era was the Bible: four times more than any political philosopher, four times more than any Enlightenment writer. Four times more often, it is the Bible that’s documented.

Then, the other thing that I would point to, is out send people to the Founders”€™ Bible go get the Founders”€™ Bible and you’ll see exactly what the Founders said about Jeremiah 17:9.


And, the Founders”€™ Bible is a resource that we have at WallBuilders. It’s something that, as you read through the Bible, we put an awful lot of quotes from Founding Fathers by specific verses where they talked about how those verses shaped a lot of what they did. And, we have all the footnotes right there with their quote by the verse.

So, we encourage you, don’t just read that one, two, or three sentences that we put by the verse. No, pull up the letter and read the whole thing, because in their writings, there’s abundant evidence for this.

And, even backing up to the guy who was on the radio talking about how we didn’t have a Christian heritage, and the morals of the Constitution versus the morals of Christianity, and how Christians shouldn’t compromise morals for the Constitution; I actually support that position. As a Christian, I’m going to follow the Word of God; but, the Constitution doesn’t ask me to abandon my faith to be an American under the Constitution.

Good-Hearted People With Bad Information

However, one of the things that’s significant is, there’s a lot of good-hearted people that have bad information. And so, what we’re saying is not to be critical of this pastor who maybe is an amazing man of God who loves God and people but is just wrong on this issue. You can love God and be wrong.

That is actually though the history of all humanity and of the Bible. People loved God and were still wrong, and God uses imperfect people and still does great things to imperfect people, because that’s the only option He has are imperfect people, which is good news for you and me.

But, in the midst of this, we’re not saying that maybe this guy has ill intentions; although, sometimes people do. Sometimes they have bad intentions; but, this is where somebody just has bad information. And so, again, if you want more information, you can look up a book called Origins of American Constitutionalism.

Or, you can get the resource the Founders”€™ Bible, which will have a lot of the Founders”€™ actual quotes about specific verses. And, it’s all footnoted; so, you can look those up. Plus, on the WallBuilders website, we have lots of articles that deal with a lot of this content as well. But, I would say this is a situation where that pastor was just really misinformed in what he was presenting.


And, just to close out this segment, I would say the Founders”€™ Bible is the right way to do this, because it’s not saying that the government is our moral law or the Constitution is our moral law. It’s saying, “€œThe Bible is our moral law, and here’s how to apply it to the Constitution, government, and life in general.”€ The articles throughout the Founders”€™ Bible are so good at that: taking the issues of today and really helping you to understand how to apply Scripture to what’s happening around us.

It is a really good resource, not only on government, but every other area of life. The Founders”€™ Bible, you got to get one if you don’t have it. Get the app or book, whichever version works for you; but, start going through the Founders”€™ Bible every day and you will learn so much about how to be a good biblical citizen.

Quick break, guys. We got a lot more questions we’ll try to get to. Here we go.

Stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live! on Foundations of Freedom Thursday.

Abraham Lincoln said, “€œWe 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.”€

Patriot Academy

Have you noticed the vacuum of leadership in America? It”€™s not just that we have a few bad leaders taking us away from our founding principles and leading us down a road of destruction. The real challenge is that we’re looking around for leaders of principle to step up and too often no one is there.

This is a generational challenge.  And, we must have a generational solution.  God is raising up a generation of young leaders with a passion for impacting the world around them. They’re crying out for the mentorship and leadership training they need. And, we need to equip them for the purpose God has laid on their hearts.

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Patriot Academy graduates now serve in state capitals around America, in the halls of Congress, in business, in the film industry, in the pulpit, in every area of the culture. They’re leading effectively and impacting the world around them.

Patriot Academy is now expanding across the nation and now is your chance to experience this life changing week that trains champions to change the world. Visit for dates and locations. Our core program is still for young leaders 16 to 25 years old, but we also now have a citizen track for adults. So, visit the website today to learn more. Help us fill the void of leadership in America. Join us in training champions to change the world at

Be At All Times Armed

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œThe 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 to WallBbuilders Live! It”€™s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Our next question is coming from Michael.

Abortions Up to Birth

It’s about abortions up to birth. He said, “€œPlease cover abortions after birth and states that support it. I heard Virginia is trying to pass a law up to birth on health of the woman.

“€œI thought we ended this once Trump got elected; but, it seems to be getting worse with the Democrat states. Please cover soon. Thanks, Michael.”€

Great question. Of course, guys, we’ve seen the headlines lately of a lot of states actually go in the other direction, go into heartbeat bills and other things that are saving lives. Then, we’ve seen left-leaning, Democrat-controlled states that have been doing the opposite: passing laws that are allowing abortion all the way up to birth.

So, there’s this real difference happening in the country. And, he’s asking why that wasn’t solved when we elected President Trump.


Well, it wasn’t solved because the Roe v. Wade is not a President Trump decision, nor is it something that he himself can actually overturn or change by himself. This unfortunately, the situation we face today, we think the courts have to deal with everything and that the courts are the ones who make national policy. And, if that’s the case, I’m not sure why we elect anybody to the House and Senate, except to confirm judges.

Why Do We Have the House?

Maybe all we need is a president and a Senate. The president, all he does is nominate judges. And in the Senate, all they do is confirm judges because the courts make all the laws of the land.

I mean, that literally is the way we act today. No matter what law we pass, we”€™re going to let judges get their final word on it. So, I’m not sure why we have elections.

But, this is something President Trump, in this current culture, is not going to change by himself. Now, he is making really good strides in helping change that by appointing 127 judges that have proven themselves so far to be pro-life. And, by putting two Supreme Court justices on that are pro-life.

And, so much is it evident now that the courts are changing on this issue, that we saw recently in the Ninth Circuit, which may be the most liberal federal courts in United States, upheld President Trump’s vetoing of funds for Planned Parenthood. So, it’s now pretty apparent to folks that this Roe v. Wade thing may be in danger; this abortion on demand that the courts gave us in “€™73 may be rolled back.

And so, as a result, if the courts get out of it, it then falls back to the states. It shouldn’t because it’s an inevitable right. But, under the current secular climate, it will go back to the states.

Which is why you see states like New York starting to roll forward and say, “€œWe’re going to protect abortion,”€ because they believe like we believe, in the next three-to-five years, that Roe v. Wade, abortion, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, all those cases probably will be dumped in the next two-to-three years. Which will put the whole abortion thing back into the hands of every state.

It Will Go Back to the States

So, what you’ve got are states like New York who have moved to say, “€œHey, we want to make sure we’re pro-abortion. When the court says that states can limit abortion, not us.”€

You’ve also got Illinois, Maine, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Those are the states that, in the last couple years, have moved really aggressively to make sure that they stay pro-abortion.

On the other side of the table also reading the tea leaves, if you will, that abortion is going to be back to the states, you have a number of states saying, “€œWell, we want to make sure that when it comes back to us, we don’t have abortion in our state.”€ And so, states that have recently passed laws to that end are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Utah, Texas. So, there are a lot of states lining up on both sides.

Right now, a lot more have lined up on the pro-life side than on the pro-abortion side. Although, the ones that have lined up on the pro-abortion side are much more populous states like New York, California, et cetera, than states like Oklahoma, Alabama, et cetera. But nonetheless, it’s not that President Trump can suddenly decree that abortion is ended because under this current way we interpret the Constitution, that’s just not–he doesn’t have that power.

The Nation is Polarizing Itself

That could have been something in previous years, but not now. Nonetheless, believing that the courts are going to get out of this, the nation is polarizing itself over that issue. And, right now there are more states that are going anti-abortion than there are pro-abortion.


Okay, guys, we’ll take a quick break then be right back with another question for today’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. And, to all our listeners out there, you get to decide what we talk about on these Thursdays.

Just send in the questions to [email protected]. We’re back in a moment on WallBuilders live!

Greatest Political Privilege

President Calvin Coolidge said, “€œThe 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.”€

A Moment From American History 

This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Too often today history education excludes great black heroes from the American founding, such as Lemuel Haynes.

Haynes, though abandoned as a baby, pioneered churches across upper New England. He became the first black American to pastor a white congregation, to receive an honorary master’s degree, and to be ordained by a mainstream Christian denomination, The Congregationalist.

He was a soldier during the American Revolution and in his churches on George Washington’s birthday he regularly preached sermons honoring George Washington. Even late in his life he expressed his willingness to go back to battle if necessary to protect America, which he called, “€œa sacred ark.”€

American history is filled with numerous examples of black heroes who are largely ignored by mainstream education today. For more information about Pastor Lemuel Haynes and other colonial Patriots go to

Questions of Power

Thomas Jefferson said, “€œIn 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.”€


Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! It”€™s Foundations of Freedom Thursday today. And, the next question comes from Joe. It’s about James K. Polk.

James K. Polk

“€œI’ve been studying the presidents. And, when I got to Polk, the material I was using suggested that Polk intentionally picked a fight with Mexico because he believed so strongly in Manifest Destiny and that we took much of the Southwest Territory from Mexico unjustly.  I’d like to hear David’s assessment of the war with Mexico. Thanks, Joe.”€

Good question, Joe. I have no idea. I don’t remember any of this from my history classes, guys.

So, what did James K. Polk do in picking a fight with Mexico? Is that true? And, did we get the territory from Mexico unjustly?


Texas History

You know, the smartest thing Joe did in asking this question was to ask a Texan this question because this question is totally Texas history. What happened was, in the Texas War for Independence, Santa Anna was not the president of Mexico but became the dictator of Mexico and threw out the Mexican Constitution of 1824.

He said, “€œI don’t care about a constitution but am now in charge; you”€™ll do everything I say.”€ The flag we flew at the Alamo when we were fighting the Mexicans said “€œ1824″€ on it because we wanted to go back to constitutional government and didn’t want a dictator or tyrant.


You’re saying that Texans have been constitutionalists for a long time.

Treaty of Velasco


For a long time, and that was the flag we flew at the Alamo. Well, eventually we lost the Alamo; but, we won the war for Texas independence. And, in 1836, the treaty of Velasco, Santa Anna signed a treaty that says, “€œOkay, you are now an independent nation, and the Rio Grand is the border for the new nation of Texas;”€ so, we were a complete, separate, independent nation.

Then, after 1836 with that treaty —


And, let me point out by the way, that this was not a war between Anglos and Mexicans. I mean, kind of the way it’s perceived today is Texas is a lot of Anglos and a lot of Hispanics too. Nope.

A War of Mexicans Between Mexicans

This was a war with predominantly Mexicans against Mexicans. And, there were a lot of Anglos in the mix on the northern side. There’s even a lot of interesting history about why Mexico had invited a lot of people to come settle up in the northern regions; and, part of the reason was believed that the Comanche, who were raiding and doing so much as far as killing, robbing, and all that was happening”€”

Well, the people of Mexico said, “€œWell, we kind of want to have a cushion before they get down to where we are; so, let’s invite other settlers to move in up North.”€


By the way, “€œNorth”€ is what we now call “€œTexas.”€ But, Texas was the northern part of Mexico.


Right. And so, that”€™s where the settlers were coming in. Anyway, they were invited in. Then, when Santa Ana says, “€œHey, we’re not doing these rights anymore;”€ where, just like in the U.S. Constitution we have a Bill of Rights, Santa Anna comes to power says, “€œYeah, we don”€™t really recognize those rights.”€

They start going door-to-door, almost like the British did back in the Revolution, where they’re seizing guns and military supplies and going to the storehouses. Santa Anna was doing a lot of this kind of stuff. Well, even if you back up to the Treaty of Velasco, it’s interesting that you have a lot of Mexicans who are involved in this treaty, getting Santa Anna to acquiesce and surrender to what’s going on.

And, that’s what happens. But, in this treaty, they actually do define where the boundary line is going to be.

The Thornton Affair


And so, what happens is, after Texas becomes independent, the people throw Santa Anna out of power. So, they go through another four presidents of Mexico. Then, Santa Anna comes back into power in 1845.

When he comes back into power, he announces himself as the dictator again, saying, “€œI want all that land back that I lost before.”€ So, at that point in time, Texas is now an associate with United States; we’re now allies. And so, fearing a war, Texas asked the United States to help.

So, Zachary Taylor and the United States military come to the Rio Grande, which is where the border is. That’s what was signed in the Treaty of Velasco. And, at that point, Santa Anna, attacks across the Rio Grande.

He goes after American troops in what’s called the Thornton Affair. General Thornton”€™s troops got attacked by Santa Ana. And, that’s where Zachary Taylor comes and says, “€œNo you’re not.”€

And so, we won the war with Mexico because Santa Anna doesn’t want to admit that he was defeated a decade earlier and signed a treaty, which he broke. So, you can’t say that it was provoked in that sense, because we had a treaty signed. Santa Anna is the one who violated the provisions of the treaty.

Go Back to the Original Documents

This is all on him. The treaties and documents are really clear. Of course, today you want to make all these guys look bad, everybody else like victims, and America’s got to be bad, so we were wrong in this. Not so.


Well, and Mexico history does say a different story, right? And, one of the arguments is Yeah, but whoever wins writes the history, and that’s why it looks bad for Mexico and good for America. And, this is where we say, “€œLook, let’s just go back to the original documents.”€

Show me the original documents. Find out about the 1824 Constitution. What did Santa Anna do?

Let’s go back and look at original documents, so that is not a subjective Well, I think; you think. No, always go back and look at original things so that you can find what is true, because there are two sides of the story. But, you can’t have two independent sets of facts that are both true; you want to find what is actually true in this scenario.

Poll Question


We are out of time for today. Those are all the questions we’ll be able to get to. But, you can send your question into [email protected].

We’ll try to get to it on a future Foundations of Freedom Thursday’s program. I think the question maybe best for today for you to ask your friends and family–this new feature of Foundations of Freedom Thursday where we’re asking you to ask this on Facebook, in conversations with people. You pick something from our Foundations of Freedom Thursday topics and kind of poll people on it to see what people are thinking, find out what their knowledge of these questions might be.

Here’s what I think would be fun to hear back from you on. You can post your comments there at We”€™re looking for feedback on what you find out there. Ask the people in your circles this question: What source did the Founding Fathers quote most of the time?

What was their number one source that they quoted? And, of course, as we talked about it today, it was the Bible. But, you’ll hear people say, “€œLock, Montesquieu, Blackstone.”€

Foundations: Is The Constitution Considered Moral Law?

Yeah, those were big sources; no doubt about it. But, the source turned out to be the Bible, 34 percent of the time.

Great question to ask folks. We’d love to get your feedback on that. So, go to after you asked the people in your circle about it.

Send those responses–or, “€œPost those responses,”€ I should say–right there at

We appreciate you listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live!

Liberties and Freedom Are Worth Defending

Samuel Adams said, “€œThe liberties of our Country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against hazards. And, it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”€