Foundations Of Freedom – Constitutionality Questions: Does the 13th Amendment allow slavery? Is it unconstitutional to require a permit for a peaceful assembly? Is there a legal basis for Second Amendment sanctuary cities and counties? Tune in today to find out the answers to these questions and more!
Air Date: 12/26/2019
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
Rick: My name is Rick Green. I’m America’s constitution coach and a former state legislator. I’m here with David Barton. He is America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders and Tim Barton is with us, who is a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. Most importantly, we are glad you are with us and you are going to love today’s program. It’s going to be very exciting. But before we get to that, I encourage you to visit our websites, wallbuilders.com and wallbuilderslive.com. At that wallbuilderslive.com website, there is lots of information including archives of the program from previous weeks. If you missed those, grab them right at our website and get caught up; some great interviews in there, some great presentations. Lots of information to equip and inspire you to be a good citizen and help us restore America’s constitution.
One of the best ways you can do that is click on the contribute button there at worldbuilderslive.com and make that one-time or monthly donation. Here we are at the end of the year, a perfect time for you to make that end-of-the-year tax-deductible donation. It’s how this program works. We are a listener-supported program so thank you all of you out there from all across the nation. So many different places that folks contribute and help us do this. Thank you for doing that yet and have been thinking about it, now is the perfect time. We would sure appreciate it.
Hi David and Tim, it’s time to dive into some of those questions. We’ve got a lot of folks sending in questions. Thank you all for doing that, by the way. Anybody out there that wants to send in a question for our foundation on Freedom Thursdays, you can do that on radio at wallbuilders.com.
Does the 13th Amendment Allow Slavery?
And our first one comes from Halle in Eagan. I think that’s right. Eagan, Minnesota. And you are all going to love this. She lives on Yankee Doodle Lane. I mean, we should get questions at WallBuilders from someone that…If you live on Yankee Doodle Lane or anywhere in the country, it just is appropriate that you would send in questions to us.
Anyway, Halle, here we go. She said, “I love your show. I listen every morning on my way to work and by the way, I’m using your DVD set, Constitution Live to teach my kids as part of their home school curriculum.” Thank you, Halle. Good call. Everybody out there listening, you should do the same. She said, “I was wondering, though. I’ve heard that the 13th Amendment still allows slavery in America today. Is this true or is it a misunderstanding of what the amendment was truly intended to be? Thanks and keep up the great work.” All right good question Halle. Tossing it to David and Tim.
David: All right. The easy way to answer that is to read the 13th Amendment and the 13th Amendment, by the way, was passed in 1865. Abraham Lincoln had worked on that and he was able to see it through to the conclusion and see the end of slavery. So, this is what the amendment says. It’s only two sections long. It’s a fairly short amendment, one of the short amendments in the constitution.
It says “Neither slavery not involuntary servitude except as a punishment for crime where the party should have been duly convicted shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their jurisdiction. Congress will have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
A Very Clear Answer
That said, you cannot have any slavery anywhere in any jurisdiction of the United States unless it’s for punishment of a crime like life in prison or something of the sort. So whoever has been saying that the 13th Amendment still allows slavery apparently hasn’t ever read the 13th Amendment. That’s a very clear answer.
Rick: That’s almost like a lot of our judges that take “constitutional positions” but apparently haven’t read the constitution itself. So, yes.
Tim: Now, wait a second. Doesn’t it say in the amendment that slavery is permissible if you’ve committed a crime? Isn’t that part of what it says?
David: It does say that except it is punishment for a crime. So it does say that,
Tim: So as punishment for a crime which means you could be enslaved…Right now I’m obviously, using this word “enslaved” is a very different connotation. You don’t have an individual owner but you could be working on a chain gang breaking rock if you’ve been a violent criminal, if you’ve been a bank robber, if you’ve been a murderer, whatever it is. So if the argument is that it still allows slavery, well, by specific definition, no, but it depends on how we’re defining the word slavery.
David: Yes. By any normal historical definition, no, slavery doesn’t exist.
Tim: Why? Because by the 13th Amendment, it is no longer legal for one person to have possession over another person but in this case, the idea that you could be enslaved and have to, in this case, work in a prison or the case of a chain gang or whatever it is, how they sell that punishment, you could have viewed that as wait a second, “I’m not just having to pay time for a crime. You’ve enslaved me.” And they are going, “Well, and you are allowed to be enslaved in this scenario.”
David: I would almost say you’ve enslaved yourself because you’ve done something that has caused yourself to lose your own freedom. So that’s self-inflicted slavery.
Tim: Well, in the sense of that you committed a crime, right? So if…And this is where getting these in emails sometimes is a little difficult always to determine exactly what the phrase or intent the tone was. But certainly, the 13th Amendment does not allow people to enslave somebody else anymore by any means. It does allow, in this sense, that no, slavery can still be there, although modern courts say that at this point, a chain gang would be cruel and unusual so you’re not allowed to do that anymore. But now we are getting the semantics because slavery itself certainly was abolished and outlawed.
David: Well, I’ll throw an interesting though kind of an exception to this, is the 13th Amendment does not apply in Indian nations and so that’s why even after the 13th Amendment was passed and native tribes, they did not have to end slavery because they have their own jurisdictions or reservation as an independent nation.
So, technically, I guess you could still say you could have slavery in native American tribe but nobody does it today, and the 13th Amendment sure doesn’t allow it unless you want to redefine slavery to mean a lifetime in prison or 40 years of hard labor or something of the sort. So, no, I think we all agree the 13th amendment does not allow slavery anymore today.
Rick: Clear answer. I guess we got more questions to get to. In fact, we got a follow-up question from Halle so we are going to be right back. Stay with us folks. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday right here on WallBuilders Live.
Greatest Political Privilege
Speaker: Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realized 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 rights.”
Moment from American History
Tim: This is Tim Burton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. As the American war for independence began, the president of Yale was the Reverend Naphtali Daggett. When New Haven the home of Yale came under attack, about 100 citizens rushed out to meet the British, the Reverend Daggett gout by them on horseback, his clerical robes flowing behind him in the wind, and he took up a solitary position on top of Hill. The 2500 British soon for the townsfolk to fly, but the reference agate continued to stand alone, firing down on the advancing troops. A British officer confronted him, “What are you doing there you old fool. If I let you go, will you ever fire again all the troops of His Majesty?” “Nothing more likely,” was the preacher’s reply. America’s early pastors and personally confronted danger and courageously lead their communities. For information on pastor Daggett and other colonial patriots, go to wallbuilders.com.
Power is Inherent in the People
Speaker: Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions of most of our state and other 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 press.”
Rick: Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You can send your questions into radio at worldbuilders.com and we are letting Halle from Minnesota get two questions because she lives on a great street, the Yankee Doodle Lane. Halle here we go. Your second question. Here we go David and Tim.
Is it constitutional to require a permit for a peaceful assembly. Is it constitutional to require a permit for a peaceful assembly? If we have our first amendment right to peaceful assembly, should we be able to require a permit? This was actually debated in the 60s with the MLK gatherings in Birmingham and other places.
Is it Unconstitutional to Require a Permit for a Peaceful Assembly?
David: Well, I would reverse the question this way. I would say is it unconstitutional to require a permit for a peaceful assembly? And I think the answer to that is whether you use the permit to prevent a peaceful assembly. If you use the permit to do that, that’s a problem but if you use the permit to help create kind of an environment of safety or… Let’s say that 43 groups want to peak at the same time.
Okay, let’ get a permit so that we are not all talking at the same time. You are going to get your free space but let’s get this script and this script and this script. And so having a permit is not necessarily a probation on peaceful assembly or on free speech. Sometimes it’s just kind of a procedural thing. You want the police there to prevent some kind of a riot.
Rick: You want to know a big gathering is going to happen so you can even control traffic. That’s a good reason.
David: That’s right. And we had one of those big gatherings a number of years ago in Washington DC, over 500, 000 were there. Well, actually the secret service got involved and said you can have the gathering but we have to have snipers on top of certain buildings so that if someone comes in and tries to gun down the crowd, we can take them out. And so there were a lot of procedural things.
They did not prohibit us from having the gathering, we still had the gathering. It was called Restoring Honor. But, there were a lot of procedures to go through and in that case. It was also how many [sic] you are going to have and transportation and access and ingress.
Reasons for Permits
So, if the permit is really to help establish an orderly process and keep confusion from happening, yes, that’s fine. But if you’re saying you cannot speak, you cannot assemble unless you get a permit from us, then that’s a problem. That’s a different question.
Rick: Then we will give you the permit, right? That’s what happened in Birmingham. It was, yes, we’ve got a permit process and no matter what you do, we are not going to give you a permit.
David: Yes. That’s a problem. When you use a permit to prevent the enjoyment of a constitutional freedom rather than to create a good scenario for its operation.
Tim: And we have seen some government agencies going that direction where they kind of pick their favorites and they pick their friends and if someone has a different ideology, we are not going to grant their request or their permission or their access or their permit, whatever the case is. So this is not a far-fetched thing that this might happen.
Rick, you’ve used it okay but you can just back up one president or administration and you can see some of these abuses where specific groups were targeted by different government agencies and they weren’t given the same access and the same privileges and the same permission and that’s your point. This is where there is nothing wrong with having some kind of process or some kind of procedure in place.
The Same Justice for Everybody
But if you do not allow everybody the same access to that process and procedure and you have different levels of standards for different groups of people, that’s when it becomes an unjust system because you are not giving the same justice to everybody. The idea that justice is blind, that she doesn’t play favorites. Well, the problem is when you start playing favorites which is certainly what we’ve seen.
David: And we’ve also seen on campuses where they have free speech zones. It’s not just a permit. You can only have free speech under this tree, less than one percent of the campus or behind this building back here by the dumpster where nobody can hear you. That’s a real problem too. So, not just the permit but even the absolute determination of where you can or can’t exercise free speech.
That can be a problem but that’s what we are talking about in general terms. As Tim said, we’ve seen some abuses of that but on a per se, on its face, having a permit, generally not a problem unless they use that to prohibit you from enjoying your constitutional rights.
Rick: Okay, guys. We are going to take a quick break. When we come back in the next segment, we have a question about the Second Amendment. So, hang on. We’ll be right back here on WallBuilders Live.
Safe Depository of the Ultimate Powers
Speaker: 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.”
David: Hi, this is David Barton, I want to let you know about a brand new book we have out called This Precarious Moment, six urgent steps that will save you, your family and our country. Jim Carlo and I have co-authored this book. And we take six issues that are hot in the culture right now, issues that we’re dealing with, issues such as immigration, and race relations and our relationship with Israel and the rising generation millennials, and the absence of the church and the culture wars, and where American heritage is, our Godly heritage. We look at all six of those issues right now that are under attack. And we give you both biblical and historical perspective on those issues that provide solutions on what each of us can do right now to make a difference. These are all problems that are solvable if we’ll get involved. So you can grab the book This Precarious Moment and find out what you can do to make a difference. This Precarious Moment is available at wallbuilders.com.
Speaker: 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.”
Second Amendment Sanctuary Cities
Rick: We are back on WallBuilders Live. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday and what we do on Thursdays is we take your questions and they can be about the founding fathers, about the constitution. But you want to look at the biblical, historical and constitutional perspective and our next question comes from Adam in Virginia. He says, “I live in Virginia and as you probably know, the Democrats now have a majority in our state legislature. As a result, they have said that they desire to enact gun control legislation. In response, there is a growing movement in Virginia to create sanctuary cities or counties. I’ve heard your responses to the idea of state nullification under federal law that the state does not like. And I understand that you are against it. Would you please tell me your response to the idea of Second Amendment sanctuary cities and counties and if there is any legal basis for it. Thanks in advance. Best regards. Adam, in Virginia.”
Adam, thanks for the question, great question and timely because there are a lot of cities and counties not just in Virginia. We’ve had a couple of big counties like one of the largest counties in Texas just did this. So it’s happening all over the country. It’s a fantastic question. David, Tim?
Tim: Well, I would point out the big thing. The big picture, remember is the reason the founding fathers explained the way they set things up the way they did is because there was a creator that gave rights to man and government’s primary purpose was to protect those inalienable rights, those God-given rights.
The Right of Self-Defense
Among the rights, they listed that government should never infringe upon in the Second Amendment of the bill of rights is the right of self-defense, the right of the ownership, the use of firearms in protection of yourself, of your family, of your property and of your community, and in some cases, your state or your nation.
Those were things that were recognized as a God-given right and therefore, the federal government could not violate them. When you talk about nullification of laws, it’s a little bit of a different context because if you have government officials that are being unconstitutional, one of the things, remember the declaration talked about is if there is ever a government in place that seized to recognize who God was, the God-given inalienable rights, that government’s role was to protect those rights, if government seized to recognize the concern of the people if government seized to uphold the laws of nature and nature is God, then it was the right, it was the duty of the people to throw that government off a start anew, which is what they believed they were doing back with the American war for independence back in in the American revolution.
This wouldn’t be much different today in saying, no, if we have a tyrannical government, we would want to oppose that with whatever means possible and necessary. Now, obviously not calling for any kind of armed conflict or armed violence, not that I’m suggesting it at all but to say that we’re just not going to follow laws that we disagree with.
Well, disagree with is different than saying that law is number one, unconstitutional, which is why you have three branches of government because you appeal to the other branches saying, “Hey. You’ve got to hold these guys accountable, they’re violating the law.” You take the case to court. You fight in whatever means you can but part of the fight is recognizing what a God-given right is. And one of the challenges in the culture we live in is most of the culture around us is embracing secularism so much that we no longer recognize there is a God. Without a God, there are no God-given rights. And if you ask people what are our God-given rights? The founding fathers came up with a list of, we would say, roughly, two dozen of these inalienable rights. Most people today couldn’t give you more than five, much less two dozen.
And certainly, most people wouldn’t come up with the right of self-defense being one of your God-given rights. Because we don’t know or believe in God as much in our culture and law because we don’t believe in God-given rights, we certainly don’t know the primary role the government has to protect those rights.
So part of the problems we are dealing with is the lack of knowledge by people that have been elected, by people that are in their populace. Because even though this is a problem that the people that are in office have been elected by the majority in almost every situation with the exception of the president in that electoral college but that’s different, right? If you are in a state, your governor was chosen by the majority of the population.
Your state reps, your state senators, by the majority of the people in their districts or at least the majority of the voters in those districts. And so they consider the governor still in operation. The problem is that we just have an ignorant people who are electing ignorant officials who don’t know who God is and don’t know what inalienable rights are and therefore they certainly don’t know their job is to protect those God-given inalienable rights.
David: And just because you stand up for God-given inalienable rights doesn’t mean you’ll go without punishment. I mean, if they pass the law and Virginia says you can’t own guns and you say, “I’m going to own a gun anyway,” that doesn’t keep them from coming after you, arresting you, taking you to the court and trying to prosecute you. It’s kind of like the story with Daniel in the Bible.
The law says you will bow down before the king and you will pray only to the king. And Daniel goes to them and says, “Not me. I’m praying to the God of heaven.” Well, he gets thrown in the lions’ den. Just the fact that he did the right thing doesn’t mean that you are not going to have a punishment that might go with it. So in this case, if the state of Virginia elects goofy leaders who believe goofy things just because counties stand up and say, “We are going to do the right thing,” does not mean that they may not come after them by law.
What if God-Given Rights Are Not Politically Protected?
Tim: Yes. One of the things Dad, that you’ve pointed out many times is just because you have a God-given right, if it is not politically protected, then you don’t get to fully enjoy that right because in this case, you have the God-given right of self-defense but if your state doesn’t know or you don’t, you can still practice your right of self-defense. You just might be arrested and go to jail for practicing it because if your state is on record…
If it’s not politically protected, right? If your state doesn’t say, “We acknowledge this is a God-given right and we protect it,” then it hinders your ability to operate in that. So certainly, we applaud that there are counties standing up and saying, “Yes. We are not going to do that in this county.” But there are shares, there are police ships standing up and saying, “We are not going to enact those unconstitutional and in many cases, these Godless laws.” We would applaud people standing up. Trying to do the right thing but at this point, it is a major battle that we are going to see in front of us and the best way to win this battle isn’t just in the courts. It’s in the hearts and minds of the people because they are the ones electing the leaders who are making these decisions.
Rick: We got to take a quick break. As we get a break, just to point out a little difference between, well, it’s a huge difference between what state nullification is and that we’ve spoken out against on this program and then we go into detail in our constitution classes and the constitutional life and David’s got a great article on that in the workbook.
Refusing to Enforce Unconstitutional Laws
But the cities in these counties are actually doing what we have said is a good thing to do for states which is simply to say, “We are not going to use our resources or our people to enforce what we see as an unconstitutional law.” It’s not that you are nullifying that law for everybody else. You are just saying, “Hey. We are not going to use our people.” And that’s the way I read these sanctuary cities in counties as they are basically doing what we’ve encouraged states to do.
And so, it is not state nullification like we’ve seen in the past that doesn’t work and could lead to anarchy. They are saying, “We are not going to enforce that unconstitutional law.” Quick break. We are going to come back. More on this here on this Foundation of Freedom Thursday. Send your questions through the radio at worldbuilders.com.
Speaker: 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 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.
America’s Hidden History
David: Hi. This is David Barton.
Tim: And this is Tim Barton and we want to let you know about a series that’s happening now on TBN on Thursday night. TBN is the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Every Thursday night, there is a series that we filmed called America’s Hidden History and this season, it’s 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 heroes of the nation and now we have a TV show just highlighting some of those heroes.
David: These are inspiring stories about some of the greatest people maybe you’ve never heard about. We go on location, we go to the site. We show you where the events happened and it’s a story of folks like Branco Charlie and Stagecoach Mary, Jedidiah Smith, Robert Smalls, and so many inspiring folks.
Tim: This happens every Thursday night and the time is going to be different based on where you live. Either way, we think this is something that will so encourage and inspire you into learning some of these great stories from America’s hidden history.
Virginia’s Gun Control Laws
Rick: We are back on WallBuilders our Foundations of Freedom Thursday today and we are answering a question from Adam in Virginia. He had asked about, you know, Virginia has this new take-over of the legislature and the Democrats are promising gun control legislation and there are some cities and counties that are becoming sanctuary citizen counties for the Second Amendment and saying, “We are not going to enforce those unconstitutional laws.”
And we are seeing that happening actually not just in Virginia but across the country and his question was, is that like state nullification of a federal law? Which we’ve said here on the program, we think is not the constitutional way to do that. Now, a convention of states is a constitutional way to nullify federal law because it’s a majority of the states actually overturning that law. That’s a totally different topic. So, guys, what else on this sanctuary city question?
David: Well, what we’re facing here is a real dilemma because this is all based on morality. If you don’t have a common view of what’s right and wrong, whether that be with the constitution or with anything else… And we talked before, the national polling shows that two out of three Americans believe there is no absolute moral right or wrong. Then you can do exactly what California says, “We don’t care what the federal laws on immigration are. We don’t care what the border laws are. We are going to have sanctuary cities and allow anyone to come into our city across the border. We’ll encourage them to come illegally across the border because we think it’s wrong to have a border law. And by the way, we are going to let you vote when you get here.”
Red Flag Laws
Or, you could turn around and do the red flag laws in Colorado where most of the counties have done that. The sheriffs have said, “Hey. We are not going to follow the legislature’s law, this red flag law.” Or you can have sanctuary cities in Texas. We have a dozen now that have said, “Hey, no abortions in this district and we don’t care what the Supreme Court says.”
Every bit of this including what’s happening in Virginia goes back to the fact that we no longer have a common set of values of what’s right and wrong. And so both sides say, “Well, here is what’s right.” And we say, “Well, we take the laws of nature and nature and nature is God. We take the fact that there is a God and the fact that we have a constitution and that’s our basis.” And the other side says, “Well, we reject all of that. We have a different standard for what’s right and wrong.”
And so, you’re going to continue to have these competing sanctuary laws back and forth. Whatever they are, whatever the issue is. And it’s going to be a real problem with states. It’s going to be a real problem with courts. It’s going to be a real problem with communities until we get back to recognizing some kind of absolute standard of right and wrong whether that be the 10 commandments and God’s words, whether it be the constitution or whatever it is. Right now, we don’t have that consensus and so the blue guys see it one way, the red guys see it another, the libertarians see it another. You’ve got to get back to having a common base and that really is the problem we are having with all of these tough laws that we are talking about.
Visit Both Our Websites!
Rick: We’re out of time for our Foundations of Freedom Thursday today but there is more of that at our website right now at wallbuilders.com. You can listen to some past Thursday programs that give you a chance to dive into those foundational principles and the questions coming in from all across the nation. And you can send your question. Send it in to [email protected] It’s [email protected] We want to encourage you to visit our website today, worldbuildreslive.com. It’s the end of the year, only a few days left and it’s a great opportunity for you to click on that contribute button, make that end of the year contribution as large as you can.
Foundations Of Freedom – Constitutionality Questions
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Speaker: Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man, that bind him down for mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”