Free Speech Is Being Controlled By Universities: Our Rights Are Not to Be Confined to Geographical Locations. Casey Mattox from Alliance Defending Freedom, joins us today to explain a case in which students on a college campus were arrested for handing out the United States Constitution and asking the question: “Do you like Freedom and Liberty?” Our nation”s runaway universities are not facilitating free speech, but rather controlling and prohibiting it. If our Constitutional rights are not politically protected, we will not have the freedom to actually live them out.
Air Date:Â 11/01/2017
Guests: Casey Mattox, 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. Â 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
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. Â This is WallBuilders Live! Where we”re talking about today”s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, all of it from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor, and the president of WallBuilders. My name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator.
You can find out more about us and the ministry at WallBuilders.com and WallBuildersLive.com.
Later in the program, Casey Mattox will be with us to talk about a case, crazy case, that’s going to really surprise you with what can happen when you hand out copies of the Constitution on some college campuses in this country today. David, Tim, obviously we love hot topics, but we also love constitutional topics and talking about constitutional rights. We do that a lot on our Foundations of Freedom Thursday. But today specifically, let’s dive into those principles.
Unalienable Rights Are Rights That God Gave You, Which Government Is To Protect
Well, just out of curiosity, think of all the basic rights we have in the Constitution, and Founding Fathers identified generally about two dozen unalienable rights. And unalienable rights are rights that God gave you, and which government is assigned to protect.
So whatever they are- due process rights, whether it be your rights of free speech, or your rights of freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom of petition, the sanctity of the home, the right to be free from government quartering troops in your home. Â All the things that are there.
Can you think of any that are bound by geographic location? In other words, you only get due process rights if you’re in, I don’t know, you’re in Idaho between 10 and 12 in the afternoon of the 4th of July. You know, who knows? Is there anything that’s bound geographically by?
I would say not in the way it was designed. Â But my Second Amendment rights, unfortunately, are taken from me when I cross over into certain states.
That’s right. Now that you have some states infringement on that.
And that’s, we’re seeing more and more of that get struck down by the courts. We had Richard Hudson on, Congressman Hudson, on recently talking about the national reciprocity. And they have a huge number, including Democrats, supporting reciprocity because that is a constitutional right.
If Your God-Given Rights Are Not Politically Protected, You Don”t Get the Freedom to Enjoy Them
Well, and let me point out too, even with our constitutional rights one of the things that you’ve often said is as we’re referencing constitutional right. Â Really, it’s the unalienable right what we’re talking about. Right?
Where the Founding Fathers, you identified that through their writings they’ve listed a couple dozen of these God-given rights. And one of the things, Dad, that you said before is it doesn’t matter how many God-given rights you have. What matters is how many are politically protected or you don’t get the freedom to enjoy those rights.
And so as, Rick, you’re mentioning you don’t always have the Constitutionally protect– Â Or excuse me, the politically protected- it is Constitutional. You don’t have the politically protected right to take your gun in every state.
Even though we could say, “No, God’s given me the right of self-protection, of self-defense protecting my family, my life, my property. That is a God-given right.”
But if it”s not politically protected, you don’t get to enjoy that right. And that’s one of the unique things about America, is that our Founding Fathers believed, “We are going to politically protect all of our God-given rights.”
And so Dad, as you”re referencing, that there’s no geographic place where you can go, “Oh wait a second. Â You can enjoy all your God-given rights unless you go here-“
Free Speech Is Being Confined to Geographical Locations
But we are now seeing that. When you look at your religious liberty, where you can have the freedom to worship God according to the dictates of your conscience. Â Unless you are a high school senior giving your graduation speech, well, then you- at that place you can’t really enjoy it. Right? If on your football team, you guys want to say a prayer before the football game. “Well, we don’t really allow prayer.”
So there are places that we are seeing God given rights taken away because they’re not politically protected. But apart from the fact that they’re not politically protected, America, we’ve always been one of the best nations ever at protecting those God given rights. And that’s the reason we haven’t seen these geographic restrictions really until the last couple of years that they’ve become glaringly painful.
That’s a really good distinction you’re making too, Tim, in terms of constitutionally protected versus politically protected. So the constitutional right may be there. Â But if you put people in office that politically will infringe on that and not protect that, then the right”s still there, but you”re not going to get to live it out.
In Recent Decades, Certain Rights Have Been Whittled Away
Well, we’ve seen over recent decades, that certain rights have been whittled away. As Tim mentioned, political projections losing for things like freedom of religion. Rick, you mentioned Second Amendment. Â We’ve seen that whittled away from where it had been. And now we’ve got some others that are coming under the gun, that are being whittled away that we’ve never had to worry about before.
We do. Let”s take a quick break. Â We’ll come back and find out more and that will also tell us why Casey Mattox is going to be with us later in the program.
Stay with us! You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history.
The Reverend James Caldwell was a famous minister during the American War for Independence. His sermons taught liberty and God’s opposition to tyranny.
The British hated him and tried to kill him. So for his own protection, he would actually take loaded pistols with him into the pulpit and lay them beside his Bible as he preached. In the 1780 Battle of Springfield, the Americans ran out of wadding for their guns which was like having no ammunition.
Pastor Caldwell ran inside a nearby church and returned with an armload of Watt Hymnals, the pages of which would provide the much-needed wadding. He took this great Bible-based hymnal, raised in the air, and shouted to the troops,”Now put watts into them, boys!” Â This pastor’s ingenuity saved the day for the Americans.
For more information or Pastor James Caldwell and other Colonial Patriots go to WallBuilders.com
Some Of Our Constitutional Rights Are Now Being Infringed
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. We’re talking about those Constitutional rights, and sometimes politically are not protected. And David, you were saying just before we went to the break, there are some that in the past we really haven’t had these infringed in America. Â But now they’re starting to be infringed.
Well, you look at universities now, and they literally are taking colored paint- painting lines in certain areas of the campus and say, “See that square box right there, five-foot square? You can stand in there and exercise your constitutional rights, but don’t come out of that box.”
Literally, like you were saying, defining a geographic area where your rights can be lived out, but nowhere else.
And they’re choosing usually the back part of the campus, where no one can see you, where there is no traffic. And it’s about one one-thousandth of one percent, and say, “Right there you can exercise your constitutional rights on this campus. Don’t try to exercise them anywhere-“ and we’re talking about the right of free speech.
College Campuses Are Creating “Free Speech Zones”
So what they’re saying is, “This-“ and they have a sign that says, “This is a free speech zone. Anything else you have to get permission from the University to talk about. And you have to go register with us. And if we approve it, we’ll let you stand in that five-foot square box and let you talk while you’re there. But do not try to talk outside that box unless we give you approval.”
Now that’s fairly unbelievable for free speech. “I’ll share my opinion if it’s on the back side of the campus. If it’s in a five-foot box, and if no one can hear me, and there’s no traffic going by.”
“We’ll let you share what you think about things. Â You get free speech.”
That’s that’s unbelievable. And they call them “free speech zones.” And so, what you have is groups like ADF, Alliance Defending Freedom, and groups like FIRE, Foundation for Individual Rights and Education, that have entire divisions that do nothing but litigate these. And guess what? They win every case. Which they should.
But in the meantime, these are state universities, where they’re taking taxpayer dollars to go into court on cases they will guaranteed lose. And we’re paying money for this stuff.
Groups Like ADF and FIRE Litigate These Cases
And the university presidents and professors don’t see a problem with limiting speech those areas. Now they can say anything they want in the classroom, and that’s fine. And they can indoctrinate as much as they want. “But don’t try to have a different opinion. We”ll put you out here in this box.”
It really is surreal. What we’re doing now with free speech. You would think that this might be something going on in the former Soviet Union. Â And a lot of millennials don’t even know what that is anymore. But that was the kind of typical stuff you’d have there.
Well, let me point out also, in this free speech zone you can still be attacked for having statements that appear to be a microaggression. Right? You would still be attacked, “Well that’s a sexist. Â That”s a racist.” All these labels they want to put on you.
Even In A “Free Speech Zone” You Can Be Attacked for What You Say
So even though you can be in the free speech zone you can still be attacked. Â You can still be shouted down. Â You can still be penalized for saying things. Â Saying, not doing something. Â For saying things in a free speech zone.
“Because really freedom of speech is only things that are non-confrontational, that aren’t offensive, that has been university-approved. Â That’s what you’re allowed to say inside of this little box that we’ve chosen somewhere on the campus.”
And that”s a great point because we had a pro-life group on campus that went through all the rigamarole and got approved to have their free speech. And so the university said, “Alright, pro-life group you can do it over here, and in your little free speech zone. Â You can write messages on the sidewalk in chalk. So when it rains it”ll all go away.”
And so they were writing just kinda little messages, “Every life is important,” whatever.
A professor took his class down to the free speech zone and wiped out all of their writing.
While they were writing, confronted them said, “You’re not allowed to do that. Not while I’m on this campus.” Not even in the free speech zone were they allowed to practice the right to be pro-life because that violated what that professor wanted.
Currently, About 40% Of U.S. Universities Have “Free Speech Zones”
And so that’s one of the cases. Â By the way, because ADF and FIRE, when these cases were down to- we”re now only 40 percent of U.S. universities have free speech zones. It was just a few years ago, it was up in the 80 percent. And now they’re winning these cases.
But still to imagine that 40 percent of universities have this. So this is the kind of indoctrination that goes on. And by the way, in two days we have our Legislators Conference. Â Actually, starts tomorrow night. But in two days we will roll out several provisions that deal with this.
Legislators Are Wanting To Reign In These Runaway Universities
Whereby our state legislators will be able to start getting control of these runaway universities, and reining them in and saying, “You know what, you use state dollars to run your state universities. Â And we ain’t going to fund you if you’re going to do this kind of nonsense.”
They’ll be able to rein this in. And so the good news is they’re very aggressive in wanting to do this. Â And they’re going to do this.
But in the meantime, we’ve got the kind of stories like we’ve got today from ADF.
Casey Mattox, the attorney representing students who are punished for literally handing out copies of the Constitution.
“Now you know that’s unconstitutional. You cannot hand out copies of the Constitution that clearly is unconstitutional.”
Yeah, sounds like the people that were punishing them needed to be handed a copy of the Constitution. And they needed to be read out loud to them at that particular moment.
Casey Mattox, our special guest. Â We”ll be right back on WallBuilders Live.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. It’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the Cradle of Liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders” library where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the QuickStart guide to the Constitution because in just a few hours through these videos you will learn the Citizen’s Guide to America’s Constitution. Â You’ll learn what you need to do to help save our Constitutional Republic. It’s fun! It’s entertaining! And it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now at WallBuilders.com.
Casey Mattox From CenterforAcademicFreedom.org
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Casey Mattox is with us from Alliance Defending Freedom. Casey, thanks for coming on, Sir.
Hey, thanks for having me on.
So once again the arena of ideas, not so much a free market of ideas on college campuses across the country. You got a crazy case right now for Young Americans for Liberty, where the campus is essentially saying, “You’re kind of limited to this one little space over here. Â And you have to get permission to actually speak to your fellow students about freedom and liberty.”
Am I following that correctly?
Students At Kellogg Community College Were Arrested For Handing Out the Constitution and Asking, “Do You Like Freedom and Liberty?”
You are. As a matter of fact, this is at Kellogg Community College up in Michigan. And the students there were actually arrested. We have people who were arrested on a college campus for handing out copies of the United States Constitution, and asking other students, “Do you like freedom and liberty?” That’s the case.
Arrested. Not just slapped on the wrist. Â Not just told, “You can’t do this.” Arrested for handing out the United States Constitution.
That’s correct. Spent the evening in a municipal jail. And then had to deal with all of the repercussions that come from something like that. Missed work.
And having to explain to your family that, “I was, really was spending an evening in jail because I was handing out the Constitution on the campus.”
The only permit a student needs to exercise their First Amendment rights is right there in the exact documents that they were handing out on that campus- the First Amendment.
This Illustrates the Control Mindset Of Many University Administrators
And unfortunately, though, I think it illustrates the mindset of a lot of university administrators. Â It’s a mindset of control. They want to limit, to control student speech. And what happens is the students are learning that free speech is too dangerous to permit on many campuses.
No doubt, no doubt. So what’s the status? I mean now that they- has the school apologized? Or- you guys are having to actually take them to court at this point. Â Right?
We are. We are in litigation in this case. The school has not apologized. They have- we’re now several months in litigation in this case. And that’s- looks like that’s where we’re going to be. We’re going to be asking a judge to stop them.
The School Is Not Backing Down
Yeah, they’ve doubled down. They’re not saying, “Oh, this was just an out of control officer on campus that just took his job too serious. Â And it wasn’t one of these rogue situations.”
They’re saying, “This is our policy. You can’t hand out the United States Constitution without our permission.”
They even have an administrator on the video you can find on our website, either at CenterforAcademicFreedom.org. That’s the part of ADF that I lead, that works on university free speech issues. And if you go there you can find on this case, Young Americans for liberty vs. Kellogg College, the video is of the administrator telling them that he had to stop them from doing this; from asking the provocative question, “Do you like freedom and liberty” and handing out the Constitution.
School Administrator Says That He Had To Stop These Students From Preventing Other”s Education
“Because that would cause people to have to stop on their way to class and interrupt, prevent them from getting an education. Because everyone knows that when someone asks you a question, you have no choice but to stop and engage in the conversation.”
And so that was his argument. You have no choice. Â You’re forcing people to stop because you’re asking a provocative question.
Well, I actually missed that part. Â So Casey, now I understand. I mean it was such an offensive question that they were asking, that the campus had to step in and stop it. I understand now. They were asking if people enjoyed their freedom and liberty. And this guy decided that that’s just too- that’s just going to cause all kinds of chaos on campus.
The Problem Is This Mindset Of Needing to Protect Students
That’s exactly right. It’s a pretty comical video when you see it. Unfortunately, I think it tracks the reality of a lot of administrators. Â He says at the end of that clip, that he’s trying to protect these other students who might be asked that question.
That’s exactly the problem. This mindset of needing to protect students, who are adults in these cases. Â These are adult people. Â And they’re going to be- these students are not going to stay on that campus. They’re going to be tomorrow’s judges, and legislators, and voters, and human rights commissioners, and everything else.
It’s critical that they actually understand how the First Amendment works. And this is, unfortunately, not teaching them that.
Yeah, in fact, the opposite. I mean this is the- on one hand, they indoctrinate in the classroom. Â And then like you’re saying, they in their mind- protecting. Â They’re literally keeping these students from even hearing the other side, even hearing.
We talk about the arena of ideas. Â We talk about the free marketplace of ideas. Â This is the exact opposite.
The United States Constitution Was Not Allowed To Be Handed Out
They’re saying you’re only going to get our version. Â We”re not going to allow anyone else to even share. Â This is the crazy part, that it’s actually the Constitution they were handing out. This wasn’t some, “propaganda piece” or- I mean it’s our United States Constitution.
I can’t even imagine how that administrator can stand there with a straight face and say those things. Or how the university can back him up. I don’t get speechless very often Casey. Â You almost got me there. The Constitution is not allowed to be handed out.
No. Â It is truly stunning. I mean we’ve had a dozen different cases in the last year, and I will be honest with you that when you see a case like this, you think this is one where- this is going to be a fast case. Because they’re going to realize you can’t arrest people for handing out the United States Constitution on a college campus.
This Is Not a Red and Blue State Problem
And I’ve been surprised that the school is willing to try to defend this policy. But we’ve had a dozen different cases all over the country. This is not a blue state problem. This is a red and blue state problem.
We’re seeing it on campuses from Georgia, to California, to Michigan, to New York. It’s all over the place. And it’s various ways that universities are just fundamentally getting the First Amendment wrong, and teaching the next generation that the First Amendment fundamentally doesn’t matter.
Yeah. And the importance of the case itself, Casey, is obviously that they would not do this to someone else. Even though they dropped the charges directly against these particular students, their policy is still in place. So it’s next year, or even later this school year, they would do the same thing to someone else. And not just their campus. I mean if you win this case, it helps send a signal to other campuses. Right?
Freedom for Everyone, These Aren”t Partisan Battles
Absolutely. The thing here is for freedom for everyone. And it is not only for, sort of students on the right, or Christian students, or- When you protect, when you win a free speech fight, a court fight like this, you’re protecting free speech for everyone. These aren’t partisan battles.
And frankly, the students who are the most, among the most harmed by the sort of environment that we have on college campuses these days, that are typically excluding more conservative speakers. Â It’s the left that’s hurt as much as anyone. Because you need to be able to actually engage and hear the opposing view in order to know why you believe what you believe.
Students Need To Be Able To Hear Opposing Views
And how to effectively argue against it. And the students on the left should be really upset when you can’t have mainstream, conservative speakers coming on the college campuses expressing their opinions and allowing you the opportunity to tell them why they’re wrong. This is the opportunity you want, as a liberal student. And these universities are denying them that opportunity as much as they are the conservatives, preventing them from being able to express those messages.
That’s exactly right. Hey, before I let you go, and I apologize I’m not familiar with Kellogg. Â So it’s Kellogg Community College. So I’m just going to guess here, I’m assuming there is a certain amount, if not a tremendous amount, of state and maybe even federal tax dollars that go to this college. Correct?
Absolutely. All of these schools, I mean there is a large stake that we as taxpayers have to fight because all of these schools are funded substantially taxpayer funds. And community colleges and four-year schools- taxpayers are funding that.
Whether through direct grants or otherwise.
These Schools Are Receiving Tax Dollars
So we’re paying for these schools to indoctrinate our kids with left-wing philosophy, and paying for them to not allow the Constitution to be handed out. Â The very document that’s making their ability to even have a school possible. I mean, it just- we’ve got to have a shift in our thinking, I think nationally, on this whole idea of our university model and how much money we spend through tax dollars to fund this.
And then see it tearing down the very fabric of our freedoms.
Thanks To Alliance Defending Freedom For Being on the Frontlines
So thank the good Lord for you guys, Casey. Thanks to Alliance Defending Freedom. You guys are always out there on the frontlines, and we just can’t thank you enough for fighting these battles. So thankful that you’re in that arena, and standing up for these students and for students across the country.
Keep up the great work, we’re looking forward to a positive report once this thing is over. How long you think before you guys actually go to trial?
Well, it’ll be another several months anyway, before we’re actually in trial. So hopefully we’ll see if the court rules before that point. But I think it’s such a clear case, you would hope. But stay tuned, and we’ll certainly keep you updated.
Sounds great, Casey. Â Thanks for your time today, Sir.
That’s Casey Mattox from Alliance Defending Freedom. Stay with us folks! We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Hi friends! This is Tim Barton of WallBuilders.This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. I know, oftentimes as parents, we”re trying to find good content for our kids to read.
If you remember back in the Bible, the Book of Hebrews it has the Faith Hall of Fame, where they outlined the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity and our faith as well.
I wanted to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called, “The Courageous Leaders Collection“ and this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers.
There’s a second collection called, “Heroes of History“ in this collection you read about people like Benjamin Franklin, Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, friends the list goes on and on.
This is a great collection for your young person to have and read. And it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at WallBuilders.com.
53% of College Students Think that Free Speech Should Be Limited
Welcome back! Thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks to Casey Mattox and all the good work ADF does to defend our religious liberties, and our freedom of speech, and all these other cases out there.
Guys, be careful where you hand out a Constitution these days. If you’re on a college campus at least.
Like you said, that the Constitution is a “propaganda piece” to the college administrator. And it was. Â He sees the Constitution as something that needs to be banned. And again, we’re using state dollars to teach kids that the Constitution needs to be banned. We’re teaching- and by the way, to show you how effective this is.
Right now stats show that 53 percent of college students think that free speech should be limited. That it should not be free speech. So that’s how effective they are in indoctrination, it”s 53 percent of kids believe we should limit free speech.
We should also point out that the majority of college students also don’t know that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. They don’t know that that’s actually what we follow in America- is the Constitution.
No, that’s what we used to follow in America. Hopefully, we”re getting back to it.
We”re Being Told that We Can”t Give Out the Laws of America
Well, that’s an accurate statement. Correct. But it’s the basis, certainly, at least we can maybe acknowledge that the basis of what we kind of try to do- apart from the government agencies and overreach. OK, yes. So beyond that.
But still, it’s recognized as is the supreme law of the land. And we’re saying, “Wait a second, you can’t read the laws of America. You can’t give outlaws of America. People can’t know what our Constitution says.” That’s one of the most absurd things ever. Â And yet that’s what this case is all about.
Mindset of Control in The College Administrators
And well, look at the control that’s being exercised here. College administrators, they’ve got this mindset of control. That they want to control free speech. They want to control constitutional rights. Â They want control- they want to protect the students from thinking for themselves.
“We don’t want you giving that out where people can read it. Â And have it interpreted a way that we didn’t interpret it for them.”
That’s the problem with progressives is they want to control everything. And that’s the way they move. So now we’re controlling free speech. “You’re outside of your little five-foot square box on the back side of campus where no one can see you. And we don’t want you thinking for yourself.”
They Are Runaway Universities Indoctrinating Our Young People
This is why the time is so ripe for legislators to be able start reining these things in. We”ll probably play some of this stuff after the conference- particularly on education. But there are five or six different ways that legislatures can start reining in these runaway universities. And they are runaway.
And they’re turning out kids that want to overturn and overthrow the very basis that”s provided. Â It”s the freedom. And it’s simply because they don’t know it. They’ve never heard the other side. Â And you try to give them a Constitution- you’re going to get arrested for giving them a Constitution. It’s crazy stuff.
Well, I’m so glad that these legislators are interested in reining them in. Because it is not only these actions outside of the classroom, but frankly, much of what goes on inside those classrooms that’s indoctrinating our young people of the next generation with left-wing philosophy. So this is actually a great catalyst I hope so that we can rethink how our education system is working on college campuses across the country.
Give Out Some Pocket Constitutions! Practice Your Free Speech and Exercise Your Constitutional Rights
Folks, thanks for listening! There’s so much more at our websites. Be sure and visit WallBuildersLive.com, our radio site. And then also WallBuilders.com, where you can get some great tools. Just as David was talking about, equipping these legislators and giving them a chance to sharpen each other”s countenance.
We’d love for you to be doing the same thing at your church and in your community. By getting some of these tools and using them in your Sunday school classes, or inviting people over to your home doing a Constitution class, or whatever it might be. In fact, go give out some pocket Constitutions. That”d be a great way for you to spread some free speech in your area as well. Thanks for listening to WallBuilders Live.