“In God We Trust,” Taking Back The Culture One Bill At A Time – Huge Arkansas Victories

“In God We Trust,” Taking Back The Culture One Bill At A Time-Huge Arkansas Victories: Great discussion regarding a very encouraging legislative season in Arkansas with big wins for conservatives. Representative Jim Dotson talks about his successful bill and explains the efforts to get “In God We Trust” in every school in Arkansas. Also, learn how you can help!

Air Date: 10/11/2017


Guests: Representative Jim DotsonDavid 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.  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:

You have found your way to the intersection of faith and the culture, 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, he’s America’s premier historian and also the founder here at WallBuilders. Tim Barton is with us, national speaker, pastor, and president of WallBuilders. My name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.

You can find out more about us and the program at our website WallBuildersLive.com with a listing of stations and all kinds of information. Also some archives of past programs.  And then WallBuilders.com — that’s our main website with a lot of great tools for you. So check that out as well.

Later in the program, State Rep Jim Dotson will be with us. David, Tim, they’ve had a pretty good run in Arkansas in the state legislature there – a lot of good stuff coming out and some of it revolves around this whole idea of actually acknowledging God and acknowledging the fact that our system of freedom works because we recognize He’s the source of it.

Operation Blitz

David:

One of the things that happened earlier this year was a whole bunch of the legislators got together and joined into something that was called Operation Blitz. And Operation Blitz, what we did was we came up with about two dozen religious liberty laws that had been passed in various states over the last 20 or so years and we said, “Let’s focus on protecting religious liberties across the nation.”

The Constitution does that, so let’s get those provisions brought down the state level on that. We’ve just recently talked about protecting free speech on campuses across the country and then the right of reciprocity talking the Second Amendment right across the country, so why don’t we get first amendment guarantees for religious freedom across the country.

Phenomenal Results

And so what happened as a result was a bunch of these legislators took on these bills, went back in their states, and the results have been phenomenal. For example, last year when you look at all 50 legislatures there are only four measures on religious liberty that passed the state legislatures last year and became law in the states. And that’s good. I mean that’s four more measures whether at the state level they’re protecting what the federal Constitution allows, you shouldn’t have to pass state laws to protect what the federal Constitution allows. But you get state judges you get other judges who just don’t read the Constitution the way it has been read traditionally.

But this year under Operation Blitz, they have now passed over 31 of these laws which is an 800 percent increase from last year and then there’s a bunch of these laws still sitting on governor’s desks waiting for signature.  So expect that number to go up. And Arkansas is one of those states.

In God We Trust

And Representative Jim Dotson of Arkansas is one of the guys who said, “Hey, we can do more here in Arkansas to protect religious liberties.”  And so what he did was he got ahold of a bill about — let’s just have “in God we trust” posted in every single public school classroom and these state – prominent posting – and that’s been done in other states as well.

So here with the state of Arkansas, you’re talking about — that’s a huge impact because when you have kids and faculty and staff being God-conscious it does change behavior. That’s something that Romans 1 tells us real clearly is when you think about God, it changes the way you behave and we want more civil, more decent, behavior. And so Jim’s done a great thing in picking up this legislation.

Rick:

Stay with us folks. Jim Dotson state representative from Arkansas will be with us when we return on Wall Builders Live.

Moment From American History

This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. American Patriot Paul Revere road to alert Americans of the impending arrival of the British. But he also sought patriot leader Samuel Adams and John Hancock to warn them that the British were seeking their execution.

Adams and Hancock were staying with the Reverend Jonas Clark in Lexington. When they asked Pastor Clark if his church was ready for the approaching British he replied, “I’ve trained them for this very hour. They will fight and, if need be, die under the shadow of the house of God.”

Later that morning 70 men from his church, and several hundred British in the first battle of the War for Independence. As Pastor Clark affirmed, “The militia that morning were the same who filled the pews of the church meeting house on the Sunday morning before.”

The American church was regularly at the forefront of the fight for liberty. For more information on this pastor and other Colonial Patriots go to WallBuilders.com.

Rick:

Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on Wall Builders Live. A good friend,   Representative Jim Dotson from the state of Arkansas is with us. Jim, good to have you on, bro.

Representative Jim Dotson of Arkansas

Representative Jim Dotson:

Hey, thanks for having me.

Rick:

Absolutely, man – looks like a lot of cool stuff came through your legislature there in Arkansas this year. We want to try to highlight some of those things, but let’s start actually with what’s been happening the last few weeks with the In God We Trust posters you guys are putting into schools there. Give us a little background.

Representative Jim Dotson:

Well, this legislation — I can’t remember exactly where I saw the idea for it initially, but it was kind of one of those things that struck me as something that we should be doing – we should have In God We Trust displayed in our public buildings in Arkansas. And so — and I just got as sessions, as you well know from being a Rep in the past, sessions can sometimes get incredibly busy and get away from you —

Rick:

A little crazy.

Shell Bill

Representative Jim Dotson:

Yeah especially toward the end. And it had come toward the end of the session and bill filing deadline was upon us in Arkansas. We can actually file what’s called a “shell bill” and it’s just a title and holds the placeholder for subject area. And so I actually filed this originally the shell bill just to have it there in case I got around to it, you know, before the end of session.

Once that is filed I kind of did a little bit of research and found a Georgia law that they had already done or passed into law in Georgia and asked our bill drafters to create an amendment to amend that shell bill with the Georgia language into the bill. And so once again as kind of if I had time to pursue it — figured it could be, you know, something that blew up in my face or it might not be, who knows, and it wasn’t. I don’t think I spent more than two minutes in the committee on it and I don’t even think I’ve got a question on the House floor. It passed the House.

National Motto

Rick:

Now, did it actually call for the national motto be put into schools or it just clarified that we think this is okay and if the local school district wants to do it — I mean, how did it actually work?

Representative Jim Dotson:

So if funds are available, they have to be contributed – private funds – to either the public building — It’s the building authority division of the Department of Finance Administration for the state — of a public building or to the local school boards. And if those funds are made available or if a durable poster or framed copy of the national motto In God We Trust above a U.S. flag and an Arkansas flag, if those are made available then the building administrators shall display the national motto —

Rick:

Interesting.

Representative Jim Dotson:

— or the superintendents, I think the exact wording says, “shall place a durable poster or a framed copy representing the national motto.”

Rick:

No, this is great. Let me just clarify the distinction with you. So it’s not a, you know, we legislators use the terminology a “may statute” or “shall statute” – may meaning, “We’d like for you to do this and you can do it if you want.”

“Shall  you’re going to do this.” You kind of combine those two here.  So it’s basically if somebody makes it available to you, either by donating the money or providing you with the national motto, as you described a frame and all that, then you shall put it up there.

So if a school district says, “Well we don’t have the money” or “We don’t have any copies and we don’t want to take time,” okay, fine – no problem. Local citizens can get together raise the money or go through a foundation or whatever —

Representative Jim Dotson:

Absolutely.

Rick:

–and get them to you and then, hey, no excuses superintendent- get this national motto up over at the school district.

Representative Jim Dotson:

Exactly.

Rick:

Is that an accurate description of your event there?

Motto Displayed In Public Buildings

Representative Jim Dotson:

That is the description and the wording in the bill actually tells the superintendent that they shall put it up in the public building or facility in the state or in the school districts. For instance, the public elementary school or secondary school library and classroom. So in either a classroom or in the library.

Rick:

Cool. No, I love it. I love it. That’s awesome.

Representative Jim Dotson:

I mean you’re talking about thousands upon thousands of potential areas in the state that this would become.

Rick:

Yeah, no doubt, no doubt, and for good reason. I mean it’s a great reminder. This is the very reason Eisenhower wanted us to put “under God” in the pledge so that you go to the Valley Forge to the Freedom Foundation there and you see the whole deal about the fundamental foundation of our American system is that belief in God and an understanding that that’s the foundation of where we come from. So it’s very important to have that national motto.

Now, what about pushback, Jim?  Have you gotten many people saying, “Hey, you shouldn’t be doing the national motto because it’s the word ‘God’ and we don’t want it in our schools”?

Representative Jim Dotson:

Well, so that’s what’s interesting about it – during the session, like I said, there was absolutely none. The Arkansas House passed 78-1 and the Senate passed 20-2. I mean it just flew through without any opposition or any problem and sort of forgot about it. I mean it — maybe out of 80 plus day legislative session, I spent a total of 30 minutes on it.

Rick:

Yeah.

Representative Jim Dotson:

I mean, it was literally non-controversial or any problems which surprised me a little bit. Now that it went into law and schools are starting to go into session, however, one of the local school board members in my area kind of said, “Hey, want to recognize that this is what’s happening and I want to thank representative Dotson. He’s here if you want to have any questions about how this would work for our schools.”

National Media Coverage

And from that point within a couple of days, I was contacted by a national news organization they’re called Headline News. So I guess that’s the real one, not the other sister station CNN which — so anyway, they contacted me, went on there, and from that point in time there have been quite a few different folks talking about it, tweeting about it.

And last week an atheist organization sent a letter to all the superintendents in the state saying that this will violate the First Amendment separation of church and state, yada yada yada, and don’t follow the state law or else we will sue you. Well, what was interesting about that, shortly after they sent that out they tweeted the first official response they got back from the superintendent, and they actually said, “The first official response received to our letter regarding In God We Trust in Arkansas doesn’t bode well”.

So here’s what the superintendent who wrote them back and says, “How does ‘In God We Trust’ become an establishment of religion? Most people believe in a higher power, but it does not establish a religion. There are many people who believe in God but do not belong to any religion. Here’s what I’ll do for you -I will pray for you that you believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and become saved or be burdened so bad you will repent. May God have mercy on your soul – God bless you.”

Rick:

Now that was from the superintendent to —

Atheist Opposition

Representative Jim Dotson

To the atheist organization that sent them a letter —

Rick:

Saying, “Thanks for your input, but no thanks”.

Representative Jim Dotson:

Right, now, obviously this is part of our American heritage, it’s part of our history, it’s part of our culture, and it has been in multiple court cases since 1956 when Eisenhower signed it into law as our national motto and all along that entire time period it’s been upheld, actually, as a secular symbol of our national motto – not necessarily as religion or endorsing any particular religion. 

So this will have no problem holding up in court if they do try to pursue and there’s a lot of people out there that will gladly jump in to defend it. No doubt attorney general you know if it is a state law that they’re required to defend.

Distributing Posters To Campuses

Rick:

Yeah, and no doubt it’s going to educate a lot of people as well because this is a forgotten part of our history and a lot of us — certainly, in our public schools, you know, even, man.  In fact, Jim, it’s like deja vu right now because when I was a legislator — this was, you know, nearly 20 years ago — American Family Association was giving out these posters to put into schools, or wherever you wanted to put them. 

And so I bought a bunch of them and sent them to every campus of every school district in my district. There’s like 10 different districts, I think it was 50 or 100 or whatever campuses and anyway, we started getting the same kind of pushback like that and one school district actually had a meeting and voted 7-0 against putting them in there because the attorney for the school district was saying this would violate the First Amendment.

Representative Jim Dotson:

Wow.

Original Intent

Rick:

Well, we showed up in mass with tons of citizens wearing “In God We Trust” shirts and I actually had David Barton’s original intent book and opened it up and was quoting from all these different sources, the Founding Fathers, and I gave the book to the president of the school board who was an attorney and I said, “Man, you need to read this.”

He calls me just a few days later and says that totally changed — reading that book totally changed his view of the First Amendment, separation of church and state, as I understand, he said, “I didn’t learn any of that in law school.”  And they had another meeting, they completely reversed their course, and 7-0 said, “Let’s do it.”

So what you’re doing by passing the law there and then encouraging the school district to do it, I mean, it’s going to educate not only those school boards, the kids, people in the area, this is a big, big plus.

Representative Jim Dotson:

Oh absolutely, and you know, since its past its been kind of, you know, I’ve done more research on it in the last couple of weeks than I probably did before I jumped into it. I’m not afraid of handling something that might potentially be controversial, but it didn’t become so, so I didn’t do as much research having to defend it at that point in time.

Rick:

Yeah.

Representative Jim Dotson:

Since then, I’ve done a lot more research and the U.S. House of Representatives recently reaffirmed it by a vote of 396-9 in 2011 —

Rick:

That’s awesome.

Representative Jim Dotson:

–as our national motto. And so I mean this is bipartisan. It has overwhelming support amongst all peoples across America and particularly in Arkansas here. And so there might be a few loud voices that are in opposition to it, but they really are — they’ve got all bark and no teeth. The law, the historical precedent, everything is on the side of upholding our American values, and our heritage, and our history.

Rick:

Stay with us folks we’ll be right back on Wall Builders Live.

Avalon Project

Tim:

Hey, guys, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. I know you hear my dad and Rick talk a lot about our Founding Fathers about the original intent of our nation, a constitutional heritage that we have. And really we’ve seen how far we slipped away from that. And I know a lot of us as we hear my dad and Rick talk think, “I wish there was a place that I could go where I could see these documents and I could read and learn about the Founding Fathers firsthand.  See the things they did.”  

I want to give you some websites today that can help you accomplish that very thing. If you get online you can go to places like Library of Congress and you can look under their century of lawmaking or historical documents. You can go to the Avalon Project, to the Founders Constitution, Google Books, or even the internet archives.  

Or you can just go to WallBuilders.com. We have a section for our WallBuilders Library. And under that section, we have different subgroups for historical documents, historical writings, even a place where you can get helpful links to find out more information about other websites.  Where you can do research for yourself and find the truth for yourself. Friends, this is the time that we need to know who we are and where we came from. WallBuilders.com is a great place to go.

Rick:

Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on Wall Builders Live – Representative Jim Dotson with us from the great state of Arkansas.

Massive Victories

Rick:

And Jim we’ve been talking about the “In God We Trust” thing going into schools across your state. Real quick, you guys had a very successful session looks like to me and actually got some things coming on the Constitutional Amendment ballot, but you’ve done voter I.D., you’ve got the anti-B. D.S. law, the very pro-Israel, we’ve covered that on our show many times that one passed out of your state as well, repeal of the prevailing wage, you did American laws for American courts — Dude, this is like, I mean, those are massive victories. I mean, most states are happy if they get one of those! What happened in Arkansas that you guys had all of these come through?!

Representative Jim Dotson:

Well, obviously there’s been a seat change. The legislature here in Arkansas has gone to — up until 2013 for 138 years it had been controlled by one party and as a very blue state in 2013, it became a red state in 2015, it became redder and now after this last election, it’s dark red. I mean, 76-24 Republicans out of 100 members in the House and 26 out of 35 are Republicans in the Senate.

Rick:

You said that change was when – what year?

Representative Jim Dotson:

Well, 2013 is when it started. The Republicans took a majority in the legislature, we still had a Democrat governor at the time. And then in 2015, we had a Republican governor and control both house, increased the majorities on both chambers, and then even increased them, even more, this last election.

Human Heartbeat Law

Rick:

Well, that also explains why 2013 you all were able to pass the 20-week pain-capable law and the human heartbeat law. I mean, those are both huge pro-life victories —

Representative Jim Dotson:

Both of them got vetoed by the governor and both of them were overridden by the legislature.

Rick:

See, that’s huge – I mean, that’s about as far as you can go right now until we get out Roe v. Wade overturned at the Supreme Court and you guys were able to do that and override a veto. I mean, these are big victories. Another one I’ve just got to mention real quick — so you guys did the deal that Arizona did on requiring passing the U.S. citizenship test as a requirement to graduate from high school, which is the minimum you ought to know right?!

Representative Jim Dotson:

You would think.

Pro-Family Legislators Conference

Rick:

Yeah. So anyway, just a lot of great, great stuff, bro.  We’re just thrilled to see it all coming out of your state and again, a great way to share this legislation with other legislators from around the country is through our Pro-Family Legislators conference that we do. And man, just want to see this happen all across the country. So Jim, keep up the great work. Let’s get you back after some more victories.

Representative Jim Dotson:

I just want to thank you for what you guys do in educating folks and keeping issues in front of them. Obviously, some good victories there are still some things that we’re working on. And I know from school choice, to trying to do our part for a national balanced budget amendment and those types of things that are going to continue to take time and don’t have necessarily widespread support all the way across the board, or have a lot more opposition I should say. But all in all, you know we are moving positively, the glass definitely half full or maybe even three-quarters full, and so we are, we’re moving in the right direction. And if people want to get involved particularly with the “In God We Trust” getting hung up and donate to that effort, they go —

Rick:

Oh yeah!

Donate For In God We Trust

Representative Jim Dotson:

— AmericanHistoryandHeritage.org. There was a —

Rick:

And this is — you’re teaming up with Senator Rapert on this, right? This is the — you guys had the Ten Commandments monument that got destroyed by the atheists that came in and ran over it, or if I remember right, we had him on this show, I don’t remember all the details, but —

Representative Jim Dotson:

That obviously, was a law that was passed in 2015 and has recently gone up and that AmericanHistoryAndHeritage.org, that foundation, was established with multiple purposes. I didn’t even know before I ran this bill, and in fact, after it had already become law, that part of the things that people, that they could actually help fund and establish was things like “In God We Trust.”

Rick:

Yeah.

Representative Jim Dotson:

Actually, specifically in their mission statement. Well, I already wrote the bill, filed it, passed it, and it was law, and then they contacted me and said, “Hey, we can raise money to help try to put these posters and things in schools.” 

So the organization was already established and people can go to it and donate right there, obviously. I can add that link to my Facebook page if people want to follow me at Representative Jim Dotson or on Twitter at @RepJimDotson – which you can find those links at my website: jimdotson.com. And so contribute if you can, it’s definitely moving in the right direction, we’re just, we’ve got to keep going.

Rick:

Yeah – amen, amen. A lot of great victories there and folks, that’s one of the ways you can help to get those “In God We Trust” posters into schools, to help rebuild the Ten Commandments monument, americanhistoryandheritage.org. And then, and Jim, one more time what’s your Facebook page? Your website’s JimDotson.com, right?

Act 9/11 of 12017

Representative Jim Dotson:

Right, and on that you can link to my Twitter handles @RepJimDotson – all spelled out one word – or search me on Facebook Representative Jim Dotson and follow me, like my page, and share videos and things like that. Oh – one other thing that I just wanted to point out, when you’re writing bills and they become law you don’t have any control over what order they become Acts for the session. They start out Act number one and they go through however many there are until they’re done, so we couldn’t have planned this, but thought this is pretty, pretty awesome that “In God We Trust,” the national motto, became Act 9/11 of 2017.

Rick:

Wow. Very cool. Very cool. Well Representative, appreciate your time, man, thanks for coming on today.

Representative Jim Dotson:

Hey, thank you, Rick. Appreciate it. Look forward to it in the future.

Rick:

Stay with us folks – we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

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Rick:

Welcome back to Wall Builders Live – thanks for staying with us. Thanks to Jim Dotson a state legislator from Arkansas for joining us today as well. We’re back with David and Tim. And Tim, you know, I think most people are immediately going to say, “Well, but, isn’t this pushing religion on people? I mean you’re mentioning God in schools?”

Tim:

Was there a question coming because well, you know, maybe a little. Well here’s the reality, is one of the things Jim points out – this is something historic. If you go back to Francis Scott Key with his fourth verse of the national anthem he says, “and this be our motto ‘in God is our trust.’” Go to Abraham Lincoln – under Abraham Lincoln, we have “In God We Trust” put on the coins. Go forward to Dwight Eisenhower – under Eisenhower, it’s put on the currency.

This literally is a historic thing in our nation. This is not a brand new thought that we’re — that we are now looking at history going, “hey, what can we do to make religion appear where it never appeared before?” No, that’s not what this is about. This is recognizing something that our nation has long understood – this historic thought – even going back to the Declaration, we’ve talked about that a lot over the last several programs with the Declaration. But we clearly identify in the Declaration that there is a Divine Creator. And if there is a Divine Creator, we’re recognizing that there is a God, something above us.

Historical Precedent

So it’s not farfetched to go, “Hey, In God Is Our Trust, this is something certainly historic, but, we could even point, as we do in many of our presentations, even the practical consequences when you remove — the founding father’s explained, if you remove religion from education all the negative consequences that come from it. Because as a nation where we promote freedom, we know freedom only works if you have a moral people, but you only have a moral people if you have a God consciousness – this kind of religion Christian foundation. 

And so hopefully this is what impact this has in Arkansas – it raises a God consciousness, a God awareness, for the students that they recognize if there is a God, then my decisions matter. What I do in the locker room, what I do in the classroom, what I do in the lunchroom – if there is a God, my behavior matters and I want to make sure I have good behavior because there is a God. So hopefully there are some of those very practical benefits because of it.

In God We Trust Raises A God Consciousness

David:

And by the way Rick, there are 30,000 public school classrooms in Arkansas – 30,000. So, you know, Jim gave us the number there for people who want to contribute and help get this up in classrooms. As Tim said, being God-conscious affects behavior – 30,000 classrooms. Great opportunity to help.

Rick:

We have links today at our website: WallBuildersLive.com. We sure appreciate you listening today to Wall Builders Live.

2017-10-17T15:21:47+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Education & Schools|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Pauline Wilder October 11, 2017 at 2:59 pm - Reply

    Praise God!

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