Foundations Of Freedom -Inalienable Rights, Trump and Federalism, And More!: Do judges not know what “inalienable” means? How can we defend Trump for overriding governors on these COVID religious issues? Do pastors, or the majority of Americans for that matter, understand who or what is the authority in the United States is? Tune in to hear these important answers to these questions and more!
Air Date: 06/04/2020
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith and the Culture
President Thomas Jefferson said, “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. It’s WallBuilders Live and we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith and the culture, always from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. Whatever the issue is, that’s the way we’ve got to address it, biblical, historical and constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder of WallBuilders; also, Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. Learn more about us at wallbuilderslive.com and that’s also a great place to get archives of the program. If you had to miss a few shows over the last few days or weeks, it’s available right there at wallbuilderslive.com. You can also tap into our video series about the Constitution and the COVID crisis as well as commentary on the current crisis of riots and looting around the country. Check it all out at wallbuilderslive.com.
And then also wallbuilders.com is where we have a lot of great resources for you. In fact, there’s a couple things I specifically want to point to today, very pertinent for the current situation: a Video there called American History in Black and White, Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White.
I encourage you to get that and watch it. And then also Chasing American Legends, the third episode in Chasing American Legends where we visit the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum and have Dr. Alveda King as our special guest right there in the church where MLK grew up and there’s some great behind the scenes discussions with Alveda and with Ahmad Ward over The Civil Rights Museum and just some fantastic information there to help put all this in perspective and talk about why peaceful protest works and changes the world and violent protests does not.
Alright, guys, so for our Foundation of Freedom Thursday a little bit different today than what we normally do. We got, you know, pile of questions we get from our audience, but we’re going to read one that’s just a comment, not really a question and then there are a ton of headlines that touch on constitutional issues right now and the whole COVID crackdown thing that we’ve got to address, so we’ll jump to some of those.
But first, this one comes in from Kenneth. He said, “David, Rick, I was listening to your podcast and you interviewed the farmer. I enjoyed that podcast, especially when you read the 1920 Colorado test on agriculture for school to graduate. I was impressed and shocked to know the detail of farming. I found it very interesting, the depth of knowledge and understanding it takes to farm properly for the best results.
I couldn’t answer a single question from that test. I want to know more. You guys inspire me to learn more. For instance, the second law of thermodynamics debunks evolution. When you explained it, David, you made it interesting. I have a better understanding why God wants us to be well educated. Thanks.” That’s from Kenneth. And that was one of the days that Jonathan sat in with us. You were traveling somewhere, Tim, I think you were in, where you? You might have been in Israel or I don’t know, Asia
I think that’s when I was in Israel, but we all have crazy schedules being on the road. And so that there’s no telling, I don’t remember looking back, but it was probably Israel.
It was the perfect one for you to miss so that Jonathan could find out how hard it is to work the ground. Right? And so, I think you guys were probably going to put him out in the back of the WallBuilders office to create a garden or something just so he could get that experience.
Well, yeah, you know, we thought, especially being prepared, now COVID has helped reaffirm that, we just need a bigger garden. And so, we’re just going to throw Jonathan out and let him figure it out and figure out, you know, what kind of soil do we need to do and what kind of testing? And how do you prevent the different kind of insects from eating the crops? And yeah, we’ll figure it out.
It’s all the basic stuff that everybody in the 1920s knew. I mean, what it was…
We gave him the old textbook from the 1890s, 1910 era. And so, he’s going to figure it out, we’re going to have a great garden, it’s going to be perfect.
Newsom and the Supreme Court
Well, I appreciate Kenneth’s email, because, you know, we do cover a lot of different topics on the program. And it’s just a reminder of learning from history and the things from the past and, you know, there’s so much that we don’t know. But as Tom Jeeping said, on our program, one’s ignorance is curable. So, let’s keep that learning coming. We’ve got a lot to learn today on how to approach some of these, you know, some people saying constitutional crisis issues.
I mean, in some ways, I think you could legit say that. I mean, there are things happening that we never thought would happen in our lifetime. But let’s just hit some of these headlines and talk about three of the suits, you know, see what you guys think. I mean, California, churches are appealing to the US Supreme Court, because Newsom still refuses to let them open as they want to open.
I mean, he’s even telling them how to have communion. Can you believe that, he’s literally specifically telling churches how they can have communion? So, it’s over the top. And you know, churches are saying enough. It’s been two and a half months, we’ve got to start meeting again. And I think what are they up to, a couple of thousand churches now in California that have come together?
Well, no, they really had it this last weekend. And as they went into the weekend, they were up right at 2000 churches. And so just the number of lawsuits Gavin Newsom has filed, he backed down and said, okay, I’ll let you do some drive-in stuff. And so, he started backing down because of the number of lawsuits.
But interestingly, the lawsuits that we’re talking about right here, the one that came, there have not been many Federal Circuit Courts of Appeals that have ruled on the churches and the COVID stuff. Been a lot of lawsuits, a lot of Federal Judges, but not many have gone up the chain to the Circuit Court of Appeals.
South Bay United Pentecostal Church
So, in this case, of California you had South Bay United Pentecostal church and their Bishop, they said look, Governor Gavin Newsom is crossed the line here and he can’t shut us down. So, that went all the way up the line to the Ninth Circuit. And the Ninth Circuit came back with what I consider to be a fairly amazing ruling.
This is the part that really needs to be focused in on. I’m just reading from the ruling, and it says, and the Judges, by the way, came back and said, no, there is not a constitutional right for you as a church to be able to meet this way. The governor has responsibility to save lives. And if that means shutting you down, then that’s what it’s going to be.
And so just reading out of the decision, the Ninth Circuit said, we’re dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there is presently no known cure. And the words of Justice Robert Jackson, “If a court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact.”
Oh, my goodness.
Now, that statement, if we defend your First Amendment right to freedom of religion in the face of COVID, we’re turning the Bill of Rights into a suicide pact, you will be killing people all over the State. And I say that logic that says that you can take certain rights and the Bill of Rights and set them aside for the good of the whole, that’s a constitutional problem. That’s a really big constitutional problem.
And more specifically set them aside if it might threaten the health of the whole, right? The idea well no, if you have the freedom of speech, if you have the freedom to petition, if you have the freedom to assemble, if you have the freedom of religion, if you have the freedom of self-defense, the right to carry a firearm, right, those things are not a threat to other individuals, as hundreds of years have demonstrated and experienced. But this is where the notion is not just that we need to temporarily put those away. No, we’re talking now.
Tabling Constitutional Rights?
If we’re going to say anytime there’s a crisis, we can just kind of table or put on the shelf any of your constitutional rights for the good of the whole. Well, who determines what’s a crisis? Who determines what’s the good of the whole? That was the reason we had a constitution to say, government, you can never touch these specific rights. And then the Ninth Amendment specified, oh, yeah, there are more rights that you also can’t touch, but we’ve just listed a few for you just to give you the general idea.
And they’re doing it without any due process, right? And then there’s zero evidence that particular church is a threat in any way. It’s all based on, you know, hypothetical scenarios and what might could happen. And some of the courts have actually said that. They’ve actually addressed that said, wait a minute, you can’t intervene in this way, thinking that something might happen. You don’t even have evidence that there is any spread happening at this particular church.
Well, see, that’s the other part. Because first off, you have a really bad constitutional philosophy here, but this Justice is saying that if necessary, we can take away certain inalienable rights. We can abridge them. We can suspend them. Now, by definition, they’re an inalienable, so they cannot be touched, they can never be taken away. You have to uphold them. So, by definition, they’re violating really what the definition of inalienable rights are.
But even beyond that, the whole tone that I read there at the beginning, they said we’re dealing here with a highly contagious and often fatal disease for which there is presently no known cure. Now, that’s even based on a bad model of fact. But Tim was telling me just last week, you know, the CDC now apparently has about as much credibility as CNN or Huffington Post. So, there’s not a whole lot of credibility for CDC, but even…
Which is not what I told you, although that probably is accurate. That was not the conversation we had. But probably…
Let’s not forget, that’s not just us saying that. Even Dr. Burks herself said she couldn’t trust what comes out of the CDC.
Yeah. And this is something that generally is being accepted as being the case. But what we did talk about was, and you were leading here, I was just joking and clarifying, right? But what we talked about was that the CDC came out with a report and several outlets covered, I think, The Daily Wire, Blaze, but they identify the CDC said you are more likely now to die from anything other than COVID-19. COVID-19 is not the leading cause of death in America, although people seem to think it is.
And not to say that it’s not deadly, not to say that a lot of people have not died from it, although, certainly in situations like in New York with some of their nursing home policies that you’re sending sick people to some of the most vulnerable places which are nursing homes, you’re locking them in a room together, right, I mean, lots of silliness that was happening and devastated lives. But with all this being said, the CDC identified this is not what’s most likely to kill the majority of Americans, because for the vast majority of Americans, this is not a threat to them.
Well, even with Gavin Newsom, in California right now, seven people a day die in car accidents. Three people a day die in COVID. So, twice as bad car accidents, why don’t we shut the State down because of car accidents? So, why are we taking something that’s not high, the modeling is not high?
So, the Judges on the Ninth Circuit actually repeated some mantra that goes kind of with blue thinking, but it doesn’t go with medical evidence, it doesn’t go with statistical evidence. In Texas, COVID deaths are not even the top 10 causes of death in Texas right now. Nationally, I think it’s number seven. There’s six things nationally causing more deaths than COVID. So, the whole…
And David, it’s important to point that out. Because even among our listeners, a lot of people are still very fearful and very scared because of the mantra being just repeated over and over and over again. And let’s get practical. For children, for kids, if you’re under 18, it’s no kidding, this is the data.
More Likely to Die from a Lightning Strike
You’re more likely to die from a lightning strike than to die from COVID. I mean, that’s important for people to know. If you’re healthy, and you’re under 65, you’re far more likely to die in a car accident, just like you were pointing out for California. So, we got to get some perspective on this, because right now everybody is walking, not everybody. Most people are walking around in total fear, because they’ve been convinced, there’s a really good chance I’m going to die from this thing and that is not true.
Well, and Rick, to that point, I also saw stats that identified, it showed flu deaths for those 15 years and younger and COVID deaths for those 15 years and younger. And if you are 15 years and younger, right, which is kids, if we’re talking about kids in general, you are 15 times more likely to die of the flu than a Coronavirus. So, right, in the midst of all this talk, we can’t send kids back to school and blah, blah, blah. There’s so much fear that is leading people’s behavior and the fears oftentimes based on very poor faulty and bad information as, right, we’re kind of trying to point out and allude to.
I was talking to a guy just a week or so ago, and he was talking about up in Colorado. When you go out hiking, you will sometimes see people up in the mountains by themselves wearing a face mask. And he pointed out something really interesting. He said, you know, when I look around in places like this, if you’re out in hiking trails, mountains, public parks where there’s nobody around you, he said, I pretty much tell what news outlets people watch by whether or not they’re wearing a face mask.
And I thought that is so interesting, because I think there’s a lot of truth to it. It’s very revealing in people’s behavior where they’re getting their information from. And if you think that you need to wear a mask when you’re out in an open area, like hiking in the mountains of Colorado and there’s nobody anywhere around you and you still need to wear a mask, you’ve been watching a really poor news source, getting some really bad information, because that’s not what masks were being even recommended for as much as now people are even questioning if they’re effective on any level.
Terrible Constitutional Assumptions
So really, what we have with this California situation is they’ve really excused themselves with a bunch of bad data that’s not accurate. But that doesn’t change the fact that their constitutional assumptions are absolutely terrible. You do not suspend the Bill of Rights for any kind of crisis, because that’s what makes it an inalienable right. It can never be abridged. That’s what the Founding Fathers said when they define that term. It can never be abridged by any human authority.
So, we’ve got a problem with the Ninth Circuit. Now, we’ve praised them on a number of occasions and they’re moving in the right direction. I think that now it’s almost 50/50 for Republican appointed Judges on the Ninth Circuit and Democrats appointed Judges. I think Democrats have a two-vote margin, if you will. I think there’s 29 Judges on the Ninth Circuit.
But nonetheless, this is one of those where I think they got it wrong. But the good news is that this church is not backing down, so they’re taking this to the US Supreme Court. So, this will be the first case that reaches the US Supreme Court that has to do with a violation of any rights related to COVID. So, this one coming out of the Ninth Circuit, who knows whether the court will pick this up or not? I mean, the chances are very small, they will, but they might simply because of the constitutional implications here.
And David, I do think there’s a better chance than that, because we’ve got differing opinions from the Sixth Circuit and Seventh Circuit. There’s several different opinions coming out. So maybe that diversity of results from those appellate courts will help to push this over the top and the Supreme Court go ahead and address it.
A Split Opinion
Yeah. And you’re right. There is that split of opinion in Circuit Courts, which really helps the court to take something like this faster. But it will really be interesting, because what we’ve had is yes, we can suspend your constitutional rights and no, we can’t. We’ve had those two decisions. So, it’ll be interesting to see if the court weighs in on this. But at this point, this one out of the Ninth Circuit, I consider a very abominable, very terrible constitutional decision.
Alright, stay with us guys, we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be back with more of these hot topics in the culture right now looking at them from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Samuel Adams said, “The liberties of our country and the freedom of our civil Constitution are worth defending against all hazards and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.”
Hey friends, this Rick Green from WallBuilders Live and I have had so many requests about, what in the world could we be studying at home right now you know I got the kids at home, they’re normally in school? Or if you homeschool, you’re looking for additional material. One-Room Schoolhouse. It is a great new series WallBuilders is putting out where you literally get a tour of the WallBuilders library as Tim Barton and Jonathan Ritchie bring history to life. There’s a couple of resources on this.
You go to YouTube and search for WallBuilders and look for a One-Room Schoolhouse. You can go to our Facebook page and get it right there on Facebook as we do it live each Monday and sometimes additional days from there. And then you can also just go to wallbuilders.com, scroll down to the bottom and we’ll be posting the videos as they come out. This is such a great way to learn and a great way for you to share with others. Gather the family around, watch the One-Room Schoolhouse and learn some great history. It’ll be vitally important to restoring our nation and bringing back these principles that made America great in the first place. Check it out email@example.com.
Greatest Political Privilege
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 race.”
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us on this Foundation of Freedom Thursday. We’re talking about these challenges in the courts for churches to be able to open up, but governors are kind of treating it different across the country. It’s been very difficult to get churches back open, at least legally back open. Now, there’s been a lot of them say, hey, listen, I’m going to exercise our rights. We’re going to have civil disobedience, we’re going to take care of our people, but we’re going to open.
David, Tim, the president actually came out and saying, he’s standing behind these churches. In fact, this one headline says Trump announces that houses of worship are essential and he calls on governors to open them up. And we’ve even heard him say he’s going to overrule the governors that don’t do that. So, we’ve got a federalism question to answer today as well.
Yeah, that what we’ve talked about before is the fact that we really do appreciate the fact that President Trump has observed federalism. In other words, he has not said the federal government is going to do it all, you States will do what we tell you. Here’s the medical guidelines. Oh, no, let me change that, the mandates. Here’s what we’re mandating from federal government. No, he’s had guidelines. And from a federalism standpoint, that’s the right way to do it. The Constitution does not allow the federal government to step in on medical issues and override all the States. It’s not one of the enumerated powers.
And so, here we have that, that we’ve been praising President Trump for. And then he turns around and says, basically, I’m going to override all the governors on this religion issue and how can we defend that? I mean, if we’re going to hold federalism, well, the way we defend it is federalism applies if there’s not an enumerated power. But in the case of religion, that is enumerated specifically in the Constitution.
The Constitution does give the First Amendment protection for the free exercise of religion, the right of individuals to assemble themselves together which is churches and their free exercise. So, what he’s doing here is not a violation of federalism, he’s actually upholding an enumerated power, a constitutionally guaranteed right. And so, it really is not constitutionally inconsistent for him to say something like that. As long as he’s limited to what he did and that’s what he’s done.
I’m curious if you guys thought about this too or tell me if I’m totally off. But I immediately thought when I when I heard him say that. I immediately thought of Eisenhower and the kids being protected to be able, those black kids being able to go into that school with Faubus, you know, standing in the schoolhouse door. I thought about Kennedy and protecting that gal in Little Rock, Little Rock was Faubus. And then I guess it was Georgia, that was George…
No, you had Ruby Bridges and Louisiana.
Louisiana, that was it. Louisiana.
Ruby Bridges Yeah.
Protecting First Amendment Rights
And their whole idea was, hey, we’re protecting this child or these children, their 14th Amendment rights of equal protection and privileges and immunities. In the same way, President Trump saying the federal government has a proper role to protect your First Amendment right of freedom of religion. That’s the way I took it. And I would think that what he’s talking about doing is having AG Barr, you know, step in with suits against these governors that are literally standing and trying to stand in front of the church house door, trying to prevent people from going to church, that mayor in Chicago, the Governor of Illinois, the governor of California. It’s happening all over the place.
Yeah, Rick, I see it very similar that looking at the federalism issue and dad, as you pointed out, we’ve appreciated that President Trump in spite of right sometimes tweeting and saying dumb things, we talked about his policies have generally been very good. And on a federalism issue between State governments and federal government, he’s done a good job of not interfering with things that belong to the States.
But if you look at what we now consider the Bill of Rights, the Bill of Rights was specifically written to be a limitation on the federal government. But then the application was given to all States saying, look, every State, you’re supposed to uphold the freedom of speech, the freedom of religion, the freedom of the press or assembly or petition or the Second Amendment. These are things that are God given inalienable rights. And as the Founding Fathers pointed out in the Declaration, the primary purpose and role of government is to secure our God given rights.
Government’s Role: Protect People’s Rights
And so, this is something where I look and go, you know, I really do think Trump absolutely has the power and maybe even the mandate that he should stand up and say, guys, here’s the role of government and it’s to protect people’s rights. And when you’re coming against and violating those inalienable rights, you are no longer doing your job as a governor. And so, even though, right there could be some questions about well, is it federalism or not? I think especially the way that the 14th amendment is interpreted now that that Bill of Rights applies to all the States., absolutely, he has the opportunity to have a voice and speak up and say no, we’re going to recognize people’s God given inalienable rights.
See, I think part of what goes on here is people have sometimes misunderstanding of who authorities are. Back over the last two weeks, I’ve done a lot of podcasts and a lot of Zooms and a lot of other things with groups of pastors, who are saying we kind of feel ourselves in a dilemma. Because when you look at Romans 13, you look at First Timothy 2, we’re supposed to submit ourselves to governing authorities and Governor Newsom says no churches can’t meet and so, how do we do this biblically? Well, the here’s the answer, is you’ve got the wrong definition of authority.
The authority in the United States is not governor Newsom, is not governor Pritzker, it’s not any of those other governors. The authority is the Constitution of the United States. And so, what you submit to is the Constitution. We, the people have established these and do ordain this Constitution. So, the authority is the Constitution. If a governor or a mayor or anybody else violates that Constitution, that’s not who you’re supposed to submit to; your authority is the Constitution.
And so, when you have a governor that says, hey, you can’t enjoy your First Amendment rights, well, do I submit to that? No, you don’t submit to that. Which is why I also pointed out that in the Old Testament, before a king was crowned in Israel, what the Bible required was that the king was to go off and do a handwritten copy of the laws of God. And after the king had written down the laws of God and understood them, then the king and the priests made a covenant to God for the king to follow the laws of God.
They’s Taken the Oath
And then the Bible says, and then the people made a covenant with the king. Once the king has said, I’m going to follow the laws of God, then the people made a covenant with the king and said, yeah, you’re our king, we’re going to follow you. But only after the king have agreed to follow the laws of God. So, that’s why every one of our governors takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States.
Now, if they break their word and don’t uphold the Constitution, are we supposed to submit to that and follow that? No. We ordained a Constitution that set forth, if you will, the laws of God except it’s laws of the nation, but it’s that same parallel that you have out of the Old Testament is you agreed to follow the guiding overarching law. And once you agree to that, then we will follow you.
So, if you have a governor that doesn’t do that, then you’re not looking at the right interpretation of First Peter 2 or Romans 13 to say that I’ve got to follow a governor who’s doing the wrong thing. No, your authority that you’re to submit to is the Constitution, in this case civilly, and certainly God in the spiritual sense.
So, that’s why I think that really Trump does have the right standing here and he even has it from a constitutional standpoint as well as a biblical standpoint. So, I agree with Tim, I think this is the right thing for him to do. And, you know, he’s going to take some flack over that from civil libertarians who say, hey, that’s not the role of the federal government. Yes, it is.
That’s the oath he took, was to uphold the Constitution United States and by saying to governors, hey, listen, this is an essential service. And if you won’t let churches come back in, I’m going to get involved and we’re going to see churches get back in. That’s the constitutionally proper thing to do.
You know, and we’ve always pointed out overreaches of the federal government, we teach that in our, you know, WallBuilders Constitution classes. I mean, we’re consistent with that. But that doesn’t mean that there should be no federal government, right? That doesn’t mean the federal government doesn’t have some areas of authority and responsibility and protecting those constitutional rights.
As part of it, we’ve already said on the program, we think the Commerce Clause would be a legitimate use of federal authority in this case, because it’s literally intended to prevent States from impeding interstate commerce, which is what they’re doing when they prevent these companies from opening up and being able to sell their goods across State lines.
So, you know, it is a really important distinction here on Foundation of Freedom Thursday to say part of our foundational system of federalism is that there is a proper role for the government, now, for the federal government. And it’s rare, but it’s important and we’re seeing it. I didn’t think I would see it in so many ways so fast in such a short period of time, but it is definitely happening.
Out of time for today, folks, you can get more at wallbuilderslive.com. We sure appreciate your listening. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.
Inalienable Rights, Trump and Federalism, And More!
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.”