Foreign Wars, Restricting Guns, Bidens EOs, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: What does the Bible say about our involvement in foreign wars? What did the Founders think? Should there be restrictions on gun ownership or taxes on ammunition? Has Biden overstepped his power, via executive orders, in attempts to undermine the 2nd Amendment? Tune in to hear the answers to these questions and more on today’s Foundations of Freedom program!
Air Date: 06/10/2021
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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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 they’re 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. It is Thursday, and we love Thursdays around here because it’s Foundation of Freedom Thursday, it’s a chance for you to ask the questions. So be sure and send your questions in, firstname.lastname@example.org is the email, email@example.com.
It may be about the Founding Fathers, it may be about the Constitution, the Declaration, maybe a piece of legislation going through Congress right now, what some of the governors are doing, whatever you got questions about, send them in, we love hearing from you. Be sure and send them in today, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m Rick Green, America’s Constitution coach and a former Texas legislator. And I have the privilege of being here with David and Tim Barton. David is America’s premier historian. He’s our founder here at WallBuilders.
And Tim is a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And guys, we got a lot of great questions for today. We’re going to get as many of those as we can. Are you all ready for some rapid fire?
Let’s do it.
Alright. First one comes from Chad in Arlington, Texas. He said “Hey, first, I want to thank you for everything you do. I believe, God is using you to spread the biblical worldview. I’m 16 and I’m going to be a freshman at Patriot Academy.”
Involvement in Foreign Wars
Yes. Alright, guys, sorry, I have to do a little fist in the air here, anyway. “What does the Bible and our Founders say about involvement in foreign wars? I’ve had trouble wrestling with this question and found a pretty good arguments on either side. Thanks again for what you do. God bless.”
Okay, can we just point out we got a 16 year-old here asking what the Bible and Founding Fathers say about being involved in foreign wars. I love it. I can’t wait to have your Patriot Academy, Chad.
And he’s also talking about spreading biblical worldview, you know, I love that too. And by the way, when you said what you said, Rick, about the little fist pump, I was remembering Colonel Brian Birdwell, when he got hit by the plane. He’s at the Pentagon on 911, the plane essentially ran over him. He’s in the hospital.
And it’s a famous piece of video clip, where President Bush comes in to see those who have been injured and he’s one of those guys that’s seriously injured, burned all over his body. And he said that, the way he explains it is that when Laura Bush met his wife and found that his wife Mel, that they were both from Texas, he said they did the little Texas happy dance.
And I guess that’s kind of like your little fist pump thing, is that Texas have this way of greeting one another, I guess. So anyway, back to the question.
Okay, so what do you guys think, involvement in foreign wars? And I guess he’s also wanting to know, not just what the Founders said about it, and the Constitution says about it, but what does the Bible say about that?
Wisdom from Proverbs
Yeah, guys, I think this is where there’s certainly some interesting biblical verses you can point to, as even he pointed out, you can make some arguments on both sides, both from some Founding Fathers thoughts, and from the Bible. First of all, the Bible is very clear, that if you see someone that is being persecuted, someone that’s being led toward destruction, that the Bible says you need to speak up for them, you need to stand up for the defenseless. There’s many verses in Proverbs that get into some of this stuff.
But here’s where becomes interesting looking even at the federal government, because it’s also one of the things we recognize in the Bible that God created different institutions, and he gave them different purpose and different function. And God gave the family a different role than God gave the church and then God gave the government. And the Founding Fathers understood this very well. And so the Founding Fathers acknowledge that the primary purpose of government is to protect your God given rights. It is not the purpose of government to provide the monetary needs to the poor or needy.
Where the Bible talks about pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this, to look after widows and orphans in their time of need, well, that was not directed to government, that was directed to the individual, the family, the church. And this is where I think there’s an interesting breakdown.
If you look at what is the role of the federal government when it comes to foreign wars? And first and foremost, the federal government’s job is to protect its citizens. Well, so if there’s foreign wars, if that is something that’s going to impact American citizen, certainly, then our government has a vested interest in that foreign war.
However, if there’s a war happening, and it doesn’t impact us, then what is the level of responsibility of our government? Because this is where it would be interesting to say that certainly, I think maybe from an individual perspective, you could say individuals, absolutely, they can stand up, they can support, and they can do things to make a difference.
And, guys, on some level, I think this is where Washington fell in his farewell address. When George Washington was dealing with many people in America at the end of his presidency, who were saying America needs to get involved and help in the French Revolution because we have friends over in France and they’re going through revolution and they stood by us, and we need to stand by them. And in Washington said, we need to be careful not to get involved in these foreign entanglements necessarily.
As a general practice, in principle, I think that makes a lot of sense. Obviously, there’s some nuance where if you have an ally, that, for us, if we saw England, if we saw Israel, if we saw some of these nations being attacked, certainly, as one of our friends and allies, we would want to stand up for them and help defend them. But it does seem, guys, on some and this is to me, we’re just having a conversation right now, so by all means, what do you guys think?
But it seems to me on some level, it’s one thing to say, this is what the federal government should do or shouldn’t do, it’s a different thing to say that we as individual citizens, or as maybe corporations, or private businesses, that there’s probably some things that we can do on a level the federal government should and then there’s areas the federal government can and should do things that we don’t have the capacity to do.
And so it does seem like it’s a little situational based on is this an ally who’s being attacked? Or are you maybe now talking about where ISIS was going after Christians in the Middle East, and there’s Christians being persecuted, and these Christians are crying out for help as they are being murdered?
Well, at that point, can you respond? This, to me is where it does seem that there are very unique and different situations that would make a difference as to who responds, should it be the individual, the family, the church, the government, at least from a biblical perspective? And then from even a government perspective, is it something that impacts the citizens of America.
Because that’s where the federal government, their number one job is to protect their citizens and protect those God given rights, is what the founding fathers identified in the declaration? It seems like there’s a lot more nuance to this question than just a simple yes, or no black and white kind of answer.
Yeah, I would say that there’s kind of four categories you can point to historically and biblically, that can answer that question. And Tim, you’ve had a lot of them. So let me just kind of line them out in linear order.
And the first would be self-defense. And if you think about biblically, Israel, whenever she got attacked by a neighbor, she responded. I mean, if it was Egypt, on the south, or if it was Syria on the north, those are her neighbors. And if they attacked her, she responded and went after him. But there’s also times when Israel got attacked by forces that were not neighbors. For example, when the Philistines attack, they’re from Greece, they’re from across the ocean, so to speak.
And so, she would respond to that as well. So anytime you get attacked, you have a right to self-defense. So whether it’s a close nation that is a close enemy, or whether it’s a foreign nation, or a far enemy from somewhere else, you’ve got the right to defend yourself against that. And if it means that you have to go into their nation and defeat them to do that, you can do that. ‘
The second thing would be the sense of preemptive self-defense. If you know that a nation is about to launch a devastating attack on you, you can go defend yourself early by taking them out before they kill your people…
So let’s just hypothetically say, if Iran said we’re developing a nuclear weapon, and as soon as it’s developed, we’re going to use it to destroy Israel and Israel’s, like, maybe we’re not going to let that happen then. So that could be a preemptive strike, where at this point, this is not the blustering of a child on playground saying, well, I’m going to beat you up.
No, no, these are people who literally are the number one funders of terrorism around the world. They have terrorist cells in their nation. They are doing things, already killing people around the world, killing Jews, killing Christians, killing other religious minorities.
And so when Iran, who already is practicing terrorist says they’re going to do something as an act of terrorism, and they’re building a weapon to specifically target and single you out to destroy you, at that point, yes, a preemptive strike makes a lot of sense.
And that’s also something that I think there’s a lot of historic examples we could point to where we would argue that is also biblically justified, because again, that is a biblical right of self-defense, where that’s self-preservation. You’re not looking to take somebody’s life necessarily, you’re looking to preserve your life.
And sometimes, the only way to fully preserve your life, it does involve the death of someone else. But that’s not the goal and intention. The goal is not I want to kill somebody. No, the goal is, I want to preserve my family, I want to preserve my wife and my kids and all these people I love, I want to preserve their life.
But sometimes in the midst of self-preservation, it does take someone else’s life who was the aggressor, who was going to acts of evil. And so a preemptive strike definitely falls in the category of self-defense in these scenarios.
The third category, it would be that, Tim, as you mentioned, of allies. One of the great examples in the Bible that is so strong on this is when Joshua was leading people in the Promised Land and the Gibeonites who were one of the tribes that God told him to destroy, they were a close nation, but they really tricked Joshua.
They came in and said, man, we have traveled for days and weeks to get here. We’ve heard about you guys. We want to make a treaty with you. We just respect your God and what you’re doing. So let’s make a treaty.
And so, Joshua made a treaty with them not knowing that they were the next country over the hill that he’s supposed to conquer. So he made this treaty with them and said, yeah, we’ll defend you, you defend us, we’ll be friends. And then he finds out they’re just over the hill.
Well, when these guys went back to their country, they got attacked by all their neighbors who said why, you made a treaty with the Israelites, we’re going to attack you. Joshua then brought his forces to go attack those who are attacking the new ally, even though it was a deceitful ally, and they had made a deceitful treaty, he still honored that treaty. So the fact that Joshua went and fought other nations on behalf of that, that’s a treaty.
Now, and people can say, well, that’s what we did in Vietnam and Korea, and it was to a great degree. But the other difference there is, not only were they our allies, they were being attacked by people who said they were going to destroy the United States. The communist has said that, that’s what they want to do.
Now they’re over in Vietnam, they’re over in Korea, but they’ve declared their intent to destroy the United States. And not only that we have allies, we said, you know what, we’re also fighting an enemy that wants to come here and destroy America. So that would be the third.
Avoid Foreign Entaglements
The fourth category would be, Tim, what you mentioned from George Washington. Well, Washington said, avoid foreign entanglements. So considering the fact that yeah, there’s self-defense, there’s preemptive self-defense regarding treaties, you fight war you’ve made a treaty, but at the same time, you don’t want to get involved with every nation out there and make a treaty with every nation, because then you get brought into their wars and their squabbles.
And so to clarify, this would be maybe a level of overcommitment, where when people talk about America shouldn’t be the police of the world, we totally agree. We shouldn’t be the police of the world. And this could actually take you back to the United Nations of the League of Nations and how they were going to try to beat the police of the world. Like so many terrible ideas that certainly is not what we should be doing.
But with that being said, this notion that we don’t want to overcome in ourselves, if you read in Proverbs that says, if you have taken up a pledge for a neighbor, right, like you have been the cosigner on a loan for them, you need to go get yourself out from that cosigning as much as possible, because that’s a dangerous position, when you’re putting yourself in the line for a bunch of other people, when you don’t really know what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it.
And this is certainly, I think what Washington would in many Founding Fathers would agree with is you don’t want to over commit yourself to all these nations of the world. Because what we know about humans and human nature, is that we’re not always going to get along and agree. And that war is something that from the very beginning of the world, there’s always been war, there’s always been bloodshed.
And this is something that likely until Jesus returns, we will continue to see war and bloodshed. And we don’t want to over commit ourselves knowing again, the number one role of the federal government is to protect its citizens and protect their God-given rights specifically. And so these foreign entanglements don’t help us do a better job of that.
Now, that doesn’t mean again, as individual citizens, that we shouldn’t neglect when these things happen around the rest of the world. But a lot of times, there’s a lot of options for responses outside of the federal government going and doing this. One of the challenges we have in America is so often we look at the federal government to be the great solution for whatever our problem is.
Government can solve all of the poverty in America, government can solve the bad education system in America. We looked at government to solve problems. And inevitably, what happens is it creates worse problems when government gets involved into something that God did not create them to be the solution for that problem.
So we want to make sure we’re not using the government to solve a problem it was not intended to solve, when many times God gives issues to the individual to solve, to the family to solve, to the church to solve. Now, there are some things that government was created to solve certain problems. But we don’t want to over commit to solve problems that aren’t ours to solve.
And that’s why you see treaties that we’re fighting in the United States right now in the Senate, like the small arms treaty, because so many countries don’t have the view of the Second Amendment we have. We commit to a treaty like that, we’re submitting our values to their values. That’s a foreign entanglement you don’t want. The same with the climate change treaty.
Now we’re submitting our values to the values of other nations. The same with the Convention of the Rights of the Child. I mean, the way other nations view families and children, very different from America.
So these are foreign entanglements. These kind of treaties, and significant in the Constitution, treaty is called a supreme law of the land equal to the Constitution. You don’t want those kind of foreign entanglements.
And so that’s the fourth category that really comes into play here. So that’s a lot of answers to a really great question, a great biblical worldview question, but a great constitutional question as well.
Alright, guys, we’re going to take a quick break, we’ll come back and get more questions on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
A Moment from American History
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.”
Hi, friends, this is Tim Barton of WallBuilders. This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. And I know oftentimes we, parents, we’re trying to find good content for our kids to read.
And if you remember back to the Bible, to the book of Hebrews, it has the faith Hall of Fame where they outline the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans, we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes, not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity in our faith as well.
I want to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called The Courageous Leaders collection. And this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers. And there’s a second collection called Heroes of History.
In this collection, you’ll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman; friends, the list goes on and on. This is a great collection for your young person to have and read and it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at www.wallbuilders.com. That’s www.wallbuilders.com.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our States and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves. That is their right and duty to be at all times armed, that they are entitled to freedom of person; freedom of religion; freedom of property and freedom of press.”
Send in Your Questions!
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You can send your questions into email@example.com. And you can listen to more of our Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs at our website, wallbuilderslive.com. There’s an archive section there and you can scroll back and look at some of those other Thursday programs.
Let’s jump into, the next question is from Jeff and it’s from Greenville, Illinois. And he asked about the Second Amendment. He said, “I know how you feel about the Second Amendment, but what are your thoughts about the restrictions and taxes that are related to different types of firearms and ammunition?
Really appreciate what you’re doing and keep up the great work. You have opened mine and my wife’s eyes on so many topics. And we have not kept our newfound knowledge to ourselves.” I love that guy. So just been listening, learned a lot about different topics, but then not kept it to himself.
He and his wife have been spreading the good news. So Jeff, we’re thrilled to get your question and thrilled to find out you’re a force multiplier out there. David, Tim, what do you guys think, Second Amendment, what do you think about restrictions and taxes related to that?
I think it a lot depends on the intention of it. A lot of the Second Amendment taxes restrictions now are part of incrementalism to just get rid of guns altogether. But if you go to the Founding Fathers in their era, they had restrictions on guns, and they had taxes on ammunition, other things as well. But it wasn’t with the intent of getting rid of guns or getting rid of self-defense.
They recognize the inalienable right of self-defense. Today, it’s a different intent. And so a lot of what’s being done is to try to drive people out of that area to get guns to be unpopular, too expensive to own. It’s a whole different motivation.
Taxes on Firearms and Ammunition
Well, let’s also point out. When we’re talking about the Founding Fathers allowed or approved taxes on firearms, you’re talking about a fraction of a penny is what we’re talking about, right, not these egregious things today. Because we can go through the restrictions put on capacities or put on different types or styles of guns, your different state saying now wait a second.
If it has a collapsible stock, right, if it has a pistol grip, if it has a capacity of the magazine capacity of more than 10 rounds, then that’s too dangerous for the American people to have, and right, all these ludicrous things are being put in place.
Even right now, if you look at suppressors, where suppressors are one of the best things when it comes to hearing protection and people argue. And by the way, it’s generally opposed by people on one side of the aisle. But a suppressor is what reduces the volume of the explosion of the bullet coming out of the end of the barrel, right.
So when the bullet fires, when the powder goes off, there’s a boom and the ball is breaking the speed barrier unless you’re shooting subsonic ammo, but you’re having this loud noise come out the end of your barrel, and a suppressor reduces that volume.
Now what’s really silly about some of this as well, and this is where some people pass these laws, because they there’s an argument that suppressors make guns more dangerous, because you can shoot them in the middle of a crowd and no one will ever hear you. This is ludicrous. Okay.
As someone who’s been around a lot of suppressors, a suppressor will take, for example, an AR-15 and it will make it sound a little bit more like a 22 rifle, which is still very audible. It’s something that all it has done is reduced the sound decibel level to something that is much more safe for the here so you don’t have to wear hearing protection everywhere you go. So really, suppressors don’t make you invisible in a crowd, they don’t reduce the volume so much that you can’t even tell where somebody’s shooting from.
And that’s the image of Hollywood movies. If an assassin has a silencer, nobody hears it. What just the recoil of the chamber reloading is loud enough…
On a semiautomatic weapon you mean, right, so when that slide, when that bolt comes back, just that that noise alone is very audible. Anyway, the point is a lot of this has been shaped and framed by inaccurate information, and dad as you pointed out by a group of people who are trying to demonize guns in general. And so if we can make it sound more scary, make it seem more dangerous, then we can ban these guns.
And what we know right now is even assault rifles, as many states and many congressmen and legislators are moving to try to rid themselves of what they consider “an assault rifle”, which is the apparently and assault rifle is just a gun that takes a magazine fed from the bottom and it can shoot semiautomatic, that is apparently the new definition of assault rifle.
As ludicrous as that is what we know from the current FBI statistics, is that far more people die every single year from baseball bats and hammers than they do from these “assault rifle or AR-15 style weapons”. So a lot of this is people trying to frame and shape the debate to be very critical or negative to try to remove guns.
And so a lot of the taxes, dad as you pointed out, it’s not that we’re against taxes, but also I would argue, well, not just what is the purpose of the tax in the sense of are you trying to remove guns, but even what are you doing with the taxes. Because back in the founding era, if you’re using the taxes to help fund the sheriff, or right, to help fund the school, like there’s basic things like I think most gun owners would be okay with having a couple of pennies come off from every round or every gun they purchase to go to actual beneficial things to the community.
The Danger of Losing the Second Amendment
It’s just that we don’t trust the government and people in government that are now trying to demonize weapons, and they’re reallocating funds and trying to penalize people who are following the God-given right of self-defense, self-preservation, and using the constitutional right of the Second Amendment. This is where it does get really silly and a lot of these debates and discussions.
Yeah, guys. And one of the one of the quotes that I learned from you all in your book on the Second Amendment is Joseph’s story where he talks about there being no small danger of losing this freedom of the Second Amendment because of people going from indifference, where they really don’t care about guns to discuss, to contempt, and then they vote for people that will undermine this thing.
I mean, that’s really what’s happened with everything you’re talking about Tim, where they try to make that “assault rifle” seem scary and ugly, and that somehow it’s the guns fault when things happen. And so, it’s a really good question this effort to change the image of gun ownership, and that’s what they’ve been after in trying to undermine the Second Amendment. And that’s part of what President Biden is doing.
In fact, our next question really ties into that. Patrick emailed in a question and said, “Good afternoon, gentlemen, as President Biden has overstepped his power and using executive orders to change amendments, specifically the Second Amendment.”
And it is part of what you’re saying is changing the image of the Second Amendment, but then on another level, it’s actually undermining. Because the Founders also said, when you in any way, under any pretext limit the ability to keep and bear arms, then you’re risking liberty: you could cause us to lose liberty. So what do you guys think about that Biden’s efforts through executive orders to undermine this?
Well, anytime an executive order goes after an inalienable right, that president has overstep bounds. It’s like saying, I’m going to issue an executive order that you can’t have the free speech to criticize me anymore. Or I’m going to issue an executive order that if you’re between the ages of 40 and 45, you don’t have the right to a trial by jury. I don’t care what it is. If it goes after an inalienable constitutional right, it’s a wrong order.
Now, in the case of Biden, as people are seeing an intent they don’t like, you’ve seen a number of governors step up. And we’ve even had legislators this session passing laws to say, hey, this state is not going to enforce any executive order by any president that undermines the right to keep and bear arms. So this is an overreach by the president when you try to start going after limiting any inalienable rights.
Is the Gun the Issue?
And guys will also point out that when you see this kind of stuff, it’s also a reflection of someone’s worldview, and in this case of a secular, humanistic worldview, where people believe that man is basically good. And therefore if you are seeing crime on the streets, if you are seeing bloodshed, if you are seeing shootings, it can’t be people because people are basically good.
It must be the gun, it’s the guns fault therefore, we have to take away the gun and criminalize and penalize not the people who are committing this atrocity but the people who are making guns. We’re going to go after the manufacturer or the distributors. And you hear these things about closing these loopholes so you can’t sell guns to certain people.
There’s a lot of arguments now being made, but it’s being made from the philosophical or theological perspective and worldview that man is basically good. And this is where of course, as a Christian, we want to make sure that we are having our perspective shaped by the Bible. And the Bible tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God that there is none righteous, no not one.
We know nobody’s perfect, back with Adam and Eve in the garden, right, we know that you care about the garden, but they have Cain and they have a second son Abel, and Cain and Abel growing up as brothers have some disagreements. The disagreement gets so bad that Cain decides he’s done hearing from his brother Abel, he murders his brother picks up a rock and crushes his brother’s skull, murders his brother.
Well, let’s point out that for the vast majority that history of the world, when people went to war, when people murdered someone else, even arguably, in much of the world today when murders are taking place, they are not using these assault weapons or they’re not relying on the Second Amendment as the reason they are murdering somebody else, right.
Foreign Wars, Restricting Guns, Bidens EOs, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom
For the history of the world, what we have seen again, this is the biblical worldview perspective, is that sin comes out of the heart. And so if you all of a sudden say there will be no guns anywhere else in the world, is that going to solve all the violent crimes? Of course, not.
What we’ve seen is that you actually have more violent crime in places where you have more gun rights restrictions where people say these are gun free zones, violence is more likely to happen in gun free zones and anywhere else. Removing guns does not solve the problem of man’s heart.
And this is part of that biblical perspective of recognizing that we are sinful people in need of a Savior. But through the incredible work of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, we can have this regenerated heart, we can be different. But this is part of having a moral compass and foundation where we learn to act morally and responsibly.
It’s not about the weapon that’s in our hands. It’s about what’s in our heart. And this is what people that argue against the Second Amendment really don’t understand.
And there’s a lot of great information in the primmer on the Second Amendment available at wallbuilders.com today, go check that out, folks, you can really get educated on these issues. And then you may want to become one of our Constitution coaches and we even have a version of the Constitution class that dives really deep into the Second Amendment called Constitutional Defense, all of that available at constitutioncoach.com Thanks so much for listening today. You can get more Foundations of Freedom programming at our website wallbuilderslive.com. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.
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.”