The Constitution And Impeachment- Foundations Of Freedom: Is the Geneva Bible Anti-Semitic? Did Thomas Jefferson like Blackstone? Does the Constitution say how impeachment works? Tune in to find out the answers to these questions and more!
Air Date: 12/5/2019
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.
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.
Faith and the Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, it’s WallBuilders Live where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith and the culture. We always do that from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective especially today though on Foundations of Freedom Thursday, it gives you a chance to dive into what are the principles that make a nation great, what are the things that will actually produce good results?
And so what we do is we let you ask the questions and then we take that question and we look at it from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. And sometimes those questions have to do with, you know, the Constitution, certain principles, how they’re being applied, what’s happening politically in the country, maybe it’s a cultural issue. We get all kinds of questions on Foundations of Freedom Thursday. But we answer those here with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian and our founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton is with us, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas Legislature. We look forward to answering those questions today.
Before we get to the first question, I encourage you to go to our website wallbuilderslive.com, you can get archives of the program, listen to other for Thursday programs where we dive into those foundations, listen to the interviews that we do throughout the week and, of course, our good news Friday programs. And as I say almost often here on WallBuilders Live, as a listener-supported program, we ask you to hover for a moment over that donation button, then actually click on that button and give yourself a chance to be a part of the team to actually come alongside us here at WallBuilders Live.
Send In Your Questions
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Alright, guys, we are ready to dive into some of those questions, we got them coming in from all over the country. And folks that want to send in additional questions, you can do that to [email protected]
Judith is up first from Silver Spring, Maryland. Alright, Judith, your question, here it goes. “I heard you mentioned that the Founders’ Bible includes the Geneva Bible contents. I purchased the Geneva Bible a few years back and noticed some of the notes and content to be anti-Semitic, the church has not always been kind of the Jewish community. Your thoughts please”. Okay, guys, first of all, I don’t know which program she’s talking about. I don’t think we’ve ever actually said the Geneva Bible contents are in the Founders’ Bible, we just said it’s similar to the way the Geneva Bible was designed with the commentary of, you know, church leaders and reformers at the time. You do that with the Founders’ Bible, but you give the commentary to the Founding Fathers. Is that an accurate description, I don’t remember there being Geneva Bible content in the Founders’ Bible?
The Geneva Bible
Yeah, the thing in the Founders’ Bible, we do have several article inserts that reference the Geneva Bible that will talk about the commentary from the Geneva Bible. So there’s a few things in the Founders’ Bible that do make a reference to or an acknowledgment of the Geneva Bible, those commentaries, but the Founders’ Bible does not have the commentaries from the Geneva Bible. I’m not sure if that was what the statement or the assumption was.
But with the idea that the Geneva Bible has negative things, at least when it comes to maybe anti-Semitic things, it is true that in the history of Christianity, there were some anti-Semitic leaders at times in inside the Christian faith and this is where we would talk about it right in the Dark Ages, it was not a very biblical Church in many regards, where you had a lot of state-run religions, a lot of kings, really some of the atrocities that happen in the name of Christianity where when they were not following the Bible, when the Bible was illegal, when there were people, some of the Catholic priests and bishops who were saying, hey, let’s make the Bible available to the public, they were executed for some of those efforts. When you look at some of the Bible Translators, how many of them were martyrs for trying to make the Bible public knowledge or make it available to the public anyway? So that is a part of the history of Christianity.
What Comments Were Anti-Semitic?
However, when it comes to the Geneva Bible, as she mentioned, there were a few things that she found to be anti-Semitic. My first question is what are those things? Because anytime somebody makes a statement, they need to define the ground that they are going to then have to defend. Because if you’re going to say, well that the Geneva Bible is anti-Semitic, my first question is well, what part of the Geneva Bible is anti-Semitic or where, right, what statement, what commentary?
And to my knowledge in the email that was sent, there was nothing additional sent after that and so there’s we have nothing to look at to say, oh, this statement right here, yeah, we agree it’s an anti-Semitic or even do some historical background on where that commentary was kind of derived and who was the one saying that.
Check Out Negative Generalizations
But this is one of the things that is very common is people like to and I’m not meaning this to any disrespect or anybody that asks us questions or listener. But right, just in general, there’s a lot of things that are stated or many generalizations that are made in a negative light to the Bible, to Christianity, to Founding Fathers, to Pilgrims, whoever and they’re not always substantiated with facts.
Now, if she was reading this and saw something, well, I would love to know what was it that you saw, because I’ve never seen the anti-Semitic claims made about the Geneva Bible.
And actually, if there’re anti-Semitic sections in the Geneva Bible, that’s the stuff that Bible critics like to find and like to point out. Look how terrible these Christians are, look at the Bible, their Bible is anti-Semitic. So even just a quick internet search, I didn’t even find critics saying that the Geneva Bible was anti-Semitic which I would expect.
And that doesn’t mean that there’s not statements that might not be anti-Semitic. But I’ve just never seen them and I haven’t read every single commentary and in the 1560 or 1599 Geneva, but I’ve not seen them and I’m not seeing critics point out that they’re anti-Semitic.
The Founders’ Bible, we kind of likened it to a Geneva Bible in the sense that the Geneva Bible was willing to take on the culture of that day and it said, no, no, you’re doing it wrong in the course, here’s what the Bible says about due process rights. Oh, by the way, this socialism is not a good deal, here’s what the Bible says on free-market stuff and you’re not doing education right because every single person needs an education.
Finding Answers to Challenging Issues in Scripture
And so the Geneva Bible was taking on everything in the culture that was not biblical. Hey, kings, that’s not the way God wanted it originally, he wanted you to elect your own leaders… by having kings run your nation, that’s not the best form. And so that’s why we say the Founders’ Bible, kind of like the Geneva Bible in that sense and that we take the scriptures and take on the challenging issues of the day, whether that be with sexuality or morality, whether it be with economics or family whether it be with whatever the issue is.
So as Tim, as you pointed out, it’s not Geneva Bible commentaries but it has the same kind of purpose as the Geneva Bible and that is to make the Bible applicable to every issue that goes on from military through child racing through faith in God through whatever it is.
Quick break, guys. When we come back, we’ve got a question about Thomas Jefferson. Stay with us, folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live on the Foundations of Freedom, Thursday.
Abraham Lincoln Quote
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”.
America’s Hidden History
Hi, this is David Barton.
And, this is Tim Barton, and we want to let you know about a series that’s happening right now on TBN on Thursday night. TBN is the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Every Thursday night, there’s a series that we’ve filmed called America’s Hidden History.
And, this season is called “America’s Hidden Heroes.” The reason is, we highlight heroes from American history. For years we’ve been focusing on the forgotten history and heros of the nation.
And now, we have a TV show just highlighting some of those heroes.
These are inspiring stories about some of the greatest people maybe you’ve never heard about. We go on location to the sites and show you where the events happened. It’s the stories of folks like Bronco Charlie, Stagecoach Mary, Jedediah Smith, Robert Smalls, and so many inspiring folks.
Now, this happens every Thursday night, and the time is gonna be different based on where you live. Either way, we think this is something that will so encourage and inspire you in learning some of these great stories from America’s Hidden History.
Be At All Times Armed
Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions of most of our states, and of the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.”
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live Foundations of Freedom Thursday today and our next question comes from Ryan and it’s about Thomas Jefferson. He said, “Rick, David, Tim, first off, thanks for what you do. My wife and I homeschool our kids and attend the Florida homeschool convention in Orlando every year. Your sessions are without exception the highlight every year. David’s keynote speech a couple years ago was the best I’ve ever heard. My question today is about Jefferson and his thoughts about Blackstone. I read his entire letter to John Tyler from May 26 1810. And in it, he wrote, “I have long lamented with you the depreciation of law science. The opinion seems to me, the Blackstone is to us what the al-Quran is to the Muhammadans. That everything which is necessary is in him and what is not in him is not necessary. I still lend my counsel and books to such young students as will fix themselves in the neighborhood, Coke’s Institutes all and reports all their first and Blackstone, their last book after an intermediate course of two or three years. It is nothing more than an elegant digest of well they will then have acquired from the real fountains of the law. Now men are born scholars, lawyers, doctors, in our day, this was confined to poets”.
Jefferson and Blackstone
That doesn’t sound complementary to me. Can you explain this letter and give a little more detail on Jefferson’s relationship with Blackstone’s work. Thanks again for all you continue to do and I hope see you in Orlando next May. Best regards, Ryan.”
Great question. Ryan, thanks for sending that in. Okay, guys, I don’t have the actual letter, I’m just going to assume for a second that Ryan transcribed it correctly for us. Can I just throw out real quick, it sounds like he’s not saying anything bad about Blackstone, he’s just saying some people only do Blackstone, I like to broaden it to other books as well. I mean, maybe I’ve read that too quickly and read into that too quickly.
I know in the segment, you read notice that he said in first-year law school or first year of legal training, they didn’t have law school, it was all internships and apprenticeships back then, the first year of reading and they called it reading for the law. You read the law books, the great law books and the great law givers. And he said, you start out with coax and after two or three years for reading other folks, then you finish your training by reading Blackstone.
And so for some folks, they look at Blackstone the same way that Muslims look at the Quran, that’s the sum of all knowledge. And what Jefferson does is he says, Blackstone really summarizes what so many others do and he’s right. Because in Blackstone, you’ll see them quoting from Richard Hooker, you’ll see him quoting from Coke’s Institutes, you’ll see him quoting from [inaudible 11:12] or whoever else and those are the law books that the students would have read in those intermediate years.
Blackstone Not the All-In-All
Jefferson also disagrees with Blackstone in some areas. For example, there’s an exchange of letters between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson where that John Adams says, Christianity is part of the common law and Jefferson says, no, is not. And so Adams points to Blackstone and Jefferson says, well, he’s wrong. And so you have some disagreement with Jefferson on some areas within Blackstone. But still overall is not necessarily derogatory towards Blackstone, he just doesn’t think that should be the all at all.
And Jefferson was a very well-read and very opinionated person, right, which is why in his political course in career, he disagreed with basically everybody at some point in his life, in politics. He was very strong in his sentiments and he was a brilliant mind. He had read and every significant book there was and what he was able to do in mastering languages, there were reports that he would get on a boat… one of the things, he said is you should always read a book in its original tongue.
And well if you don’t know the original tongue, what he would do is he would take an English copy of that book and then he would take whatever the original language was of that book and while he is on a ship sailing across the ocean to see wherever he’s going, he would read those two side by side and by the time he arrived to where he was going, it was reported that he had now learned that new language and could now read that book in the original tongue, having studied the English and compared it with the original language. I mean, the dude was brilliant on so many levels of what he could do and accomplish.
Blackstone’s Influence Was Significant
So it’s not surprising that in some positions, he would go, well, I think Blackstone is wrong here, that’s not diminishing the role that Blackstone had in America and how influential he was. As Jefferson points out that every law student studies Blackstone. Blackstone’s influence was incredibly significant and very far-reaching in America, but not surprising Jefferson also was saying, God, there has to be more than just this one book that people are going to.
And I say not surprising that Jefferson would have that field because Jefferson was a brilliant guy, he was very well-read that he would think there are many other things. And that’s not to say that every founding father agreed with him. Dad, as you pointed out that even John Adams said, no, but I think you’re wrong on this one and they disagreed about that again.
The Founding Fathers were not always unanimous in their sentiments towards books or individuals or faith or theology, right. I mean, you kind of pick a top and they didn’t all agree. But I would not take this to be Jefferson saying, Blackstone is no good, trash him, don’t listen to him. I would take it more to be that there’s more to what they should be setting than just Blackstone. So not a slight to Blackstone, maybe a slight to the practice of only setting Blackstone and not having more than they’re taking in.
Yeah, I think, it’s great summary. Tim, let’s take a quick break we’ll be right back, we got a question on the Constitution and impeachment. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Greatest Political Privilege
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.”
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, “a 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 WallBuilders.com.
Thomas Jefferson Quote:
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution’s on 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 and that they’re entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of the press”.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us, is Foundations of Freedom Thursday and the next question comes from Scott in San Diego, California where the weather never changes, it’s perfect all the time and we in Texas are jealous. Am I actually jealous of somebody in California? That’s just weird.
Only the weather.
Only the weather. Only the weather.
Until the fire set and then we’re happy not to be there. Sorry, California. True. Alright, Scott, your question is, “Since the Constitution doesn’t say how impeachment works, can speaker Pelosi simply declare the President impeached with no more of a vote than her little appointing committee and make it stick?”
Okay, so the Constitution, I know it says on the Senate side for the actual trial, it does kind of say how it works in terms you got to have two-thirds and Chief Justice presides. But I don’t remember on the House side where it gives them the sole power to impeach, does it say anything about how they do it? I didn’t look that up before we got to this, so I hope you guys did?
The process was fairly well defined and it was certainly defined right after the Constitution. Because and let’s say, the decade or so after the Constitution, you had, oh probably a dozen impeachment.
Pelosi and Impeachment
I had them said, well and you had the impeachment of the US senator or the attempted impeachment of the senator, you had I think about six Federal Judges that were actually removed from the court through impeachment. So the guys who wrote that clause in there within just a matter of a few years after that had demonstrated how it works.
So there’s pretty clear understanding of original intent by the fact that those who wrote the clause actually put it into practice and actually implemented and showed it how it worked. And it is pretty much whatever you can get a majority of the House to agree on. I think the problem we have today is if I were to say, Bill Clinton is an impeached president, most people would think well, I’m saying he was removed from office and that’s not the case.
Impeached simply means the House voted, let’s say an indictment against him. I would have to say he was impeached and convicted for it to mean what a lot of people think impeachment means today. So it’s not that House can remove anybody, they can’t. They can say, we think there’s enough substance here that you need to look at getting this person out of office, whatever that office may be.
So in the case of the Founding Fathers impeachment, while the process is not clearly defined in the Constitution, it certainly is defined in the writings preceding it and the practices of the states surrounding it and the practices of the federal government after it. And it really does go to the thing that, yeah, if Pelosi and the House want to declare the President impeached, all it takes is their declaration and a vote.
The House Can Vote
Now, that doesn’t mean it’ll stick. I mean the House can vote that instead of me having blue eyes or actually green or brown or something else, I doesn’t mean it’s factual, but it’s just what they voted. And so I think people look at the impeachment process and think that what’s going on the House is a really big deal. It’s a really big news opportunity for the media, but it does not have much substance yet. Which is why when you look at Federal Judges, out of more than 100 impeachment investigations, you actually had roughly 15, 16, 17 impeachments. It doesn’t happen very often, although the impeachment or if you will, the indictment and comes down a lot more often than you actually convict someone.
It does make you think about the once again the wisdom of the founders to separate power every chance they got and to make removal from office a two-step process here and an impeachment be on one side of capital with the House and the trial and actual sentencing and whether or not to remove someone on the Senate side. A lot of wisdom in that. We’re going to take a quick break. Thanks, Scott for that question, we’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, be sure to send your questions in to [email protected] Stay with us, we’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live
Calvin Coolidge Quote:
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution the more I realized and 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 a quarter to the human race”.
Share Your Veteran’s Story
Hey friends, if you been listening to WallBuilders Live for very long at all, you know how much we respect our veterans and how appreciative we are of the sacrifice they make to make our freedoms possible. One of the ways that we love to honor those veterans is to tell their stories.
Here on WallBuilders Live, once in a while, we get an opportunity to interview veterans that have served on those front lines that have made incredible sacrifices have amazing stories that we want to share with the American people. One of the very special things we get to do is interview World War II veterans. You’ve heard those interviews here on WallBuilders Live from folks that were in the band of brothers to folks like Edgar Harold that survived the Indianapolis to so many other great stories you heard on WallBuilders Live. You have friends and family that also serve.
If you have World War II veterans in your family that you would like to have their story shared here on WallBuilders Live, please email us at [email protected], [email protected] Give us a brief summary of the story and we’ll set up an interview. Thanks so much for sharing here on WallBuilders Live.
Thomas Jefferson Quote:
Thomas Jefferson says, “In questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man that binds him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution”.
We’re back on WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Next question is actually referring to an article about presidential succession. It’s from Mary Ann wanted to know what our thoughts were on an article that suggested ousting Pelosi from the presidential succession line. So yeah, interesting, I didn’t thought about that. Is there a conflict here that she’s pushing for impeachment when she’s second in line to replace him?
Well, this presidential secession line, I mean we haven’t had to have it that many times. The Constitution kind of establishes a little bit of the order. It says, okay, if the president goes down, the vice-president steps in. And then the question becomes, well, what happens if the vice president goes down? And by the way, in the age in which we live and we had the Cold War back in the 60s, what if Soviet Union had at nukes DC and 95% of the elected officials have been wiped out, who’s going to be the president in such a case? Which is why they now have what they call the designated survivor. When everybody goes to the State of the Union address, it’s not everybody that goes. There’s always one designated cabinet member that stays behind.
We’ve seen the TV show, we know it works.
Oh yeah, that’s right, that’s right. You’d have in TV show. So the Constitution kind of…
Wait, you mean, Kiefer Sutherland didn’t actually become president, I thought that wasn’t real?
Harry Truman’s Important Question
I’m actually probably grateful that it wasn’t real in that scenario.
Yeah, he was much… if his character in 2014 had been president, I would have [crosstalk 22:25] but his character and designated survivor, no, no.
Yeah. Yeah. That’s right. So you have this thing of how do you get someone there? And this really goes back to something that happened in 1947 when FDR died and then Harry Truman came in, actually back to 1945. Harry Truman comes in and the question is okay, Harry Truman is the vice president, what happens if he goes down, who’s the next one? And the Constitution says, okay, Congress can establish the line of secession and Harry said, well, I don’t think I should be able to point my own successor. I mean, in case I die in office, I don’t think I should pick who follows me. He said I don’t think it ought to be some elected official that’s been picked by the people.
And so that led to the Act in 1947 being signed by him. That said, okay, after you have the president and then the vice president, the next should be the Speaker of the House. And then it went through the Senate Pro Tem and right on down the list elected officials. But the Speaker of the House was there because that is the one that’s closest to a nationwide election. Now granted, the nation did not vote for Pelosi, she’s out of San Francisco, only her people did. But the nation voted for Representatives, they sent to Congress and the majority of those representatives voted for Pelosi.
Speaker of the House
So in that sense, the congressmen become like presidential electors and who’s the one they chose from among them to be the most likely to be president if the president or vice-president go down. And so really, I don’t think you remove Pelosi from the Secession line. I think you should have someone who represents the broadest consensus of the people at the time and that’s interesting, redistricting comes into this. Because even though Hillary beat Trump in the popular vote, in the House vote, if you just look at the congressional districts, the House vote was very strongly in favor of Trump. In other words, more House districts voted for Trump than voted for Hillary, although more people voted for Hillary than voted for Trump. It just means that in a lot of those districts like San Francisco like Pelosi district, there was a high percentage of people that voted Trump, whereas in the other districts it wasn’t that way. It was more balanced and some district were more Trump.
So I would support the line of succession staying the way it is even though there may be a possible conflict of interest between Pelosi and going after impeachment because she can’t control impeachment, we just talked about that, it’s the Senate that makes that decision. And so if the Senate, if two-thirds of the Senate agrees with what Pelosi and the House sends them, then it’s off Pelosi is back, now the Senate has made the decision. And she’s not doing something to get herself in office because you would have to have 20 Republicans go along with her, which means it’s bipartisan at that point. So I’m a fan of keeping the presidents of secession line the way it is.
The 25th Amendment
And it actually worked well. I mean the only time in American history that that’s happened, the president’s you know, kid had been kidnapped and was basically, you know, felt incapacitated but there was no vice-president, the vice-president had resigned and so the Speaker took over and dealt with the situation and became president, acting president for that time and this was season five of west wing by the way in case anybody is wondering, but it was a really cool episode. John Goodman was president for a little while.
But we got to leave it right there. That said, no more West Wing, no more 24, no more of these television examples of how the 25th amendment works. We’re just simply out of time for the day. We really appreciate you listening today and again encourage you to visit wallbuilderslive.com and again encourage you to hover over that contribute button for only a second and then actually click on it. It’s really easy to make a contribution online.
Foundations Of Freedom – The Constitution And Impeachment
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Samuel Adams Quote:
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks”.