Life, Constitution and Biblical Citizenship on Foundations of Freedom Thursday: Today on Foundations of Freedom Thursday: How can you debunk the argument that abortion is healthcare? Was there ever a time when the federal government and the states behaved according to the constitution? Is it the role of the church to preach Biblical Citizenship from the pulpit? How can we persuade our pastors to teach on these topics?
Air Date: 5/18/2023
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green and Tim Barton
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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.
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live, and it’s foundations of freedom Thursday, we’re diving into those foundations. And we’re taking your questions so you can guide the conversation on which particular area of those foundations we’re going to discuss. But we’re always talking about hot topics in the culture from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. We’re having a conversation today with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian, and the founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton is a national speaker and pastor and the president of WallBuilders. And my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator, you can find out more about us and the program. And you can also listen to some of the past programs over the last few months, right there at WallBuildersLive.com. That’s our website for the radio program, you can get a list of our stations, a lot of other great information there. And then over at WallBuilders.com, you can get some great tools for your family, whether it’s DVDs or watching videos online, or getting some of the books or just reading some of the articles right there on the website. All of it is designed to equip and inspire you to be a part of the solution to be a good citizen, and live out your freedom in a way that will preserve it for future generations. One of the things you can do as our founders gave us lives, fortunes, and sacred honor, is to invest some of that fortune to actually make a contribution to WallBuilders. Maybe it’s a one time donation, maybe it’s a monthly donation. But if you would come alongside us and help support this program. We’re a listener supported program. It allows us to reach more people, inspire more people, equip more people, and do our part in preserving freedom for future generations. Check it all out WallBuilders.com today. All right, David and Tim, let’s dive into those questions from the audience. First one’s going to come from Steven. He said, first of all, thanks for answering past questions. So we must have had some of his before. So Steven, thanks for continuing to send them in and by the way, everybody else out there [email protected] is the place to send them in. He said he loves being a constitutional coach, and grateful for all that we’re doing. His question is feminist and the left argue that abortion is healthcare, and is a constitutional right. How would you debunk that? Thank you again, and congrats on the Patriot Academy campus. Thank you, Steven, for sending that question in. And yeah, you hear this all the time, it’s healthcare, it’s killing someone. So it’s kind of an interesting form of health care might have been popular in in Germany, perhaps in the late 1930s and early 1940s. But health care ending a life doesn’t seem like good health care, guys.
I think the answer to this question actually goes back to something that Tim does very well in the summer. And by the way, in the summers, we have a Leadership Institute, where that a couple weeks in the summer, young people are welcome to come in. And we take them through all sorts of training. And Tim takes them through apologetics of what they’re going to face in college. And the arguments are out there and what progressive left is saying. They get to see all these original documents in the WallBuilders and American Journey Experience collection. And they get to handle that and see that and know the truth of it. But one of the things that Tim really points out well is you need to answer a question by asking questions. And Jesus did this better than anyone we know in history. I think there’s 337 occasions in the New Testament where Jesus asked questions to those around him. Now, you want to count how many questions he answered, It ain’t very many. But he asked questions all the time. And when people would throw a question at him, he would throw a question right back at them. So if people say, well, healthcare is it’s a constitutional right, first thing, I’d say, really? Can you show me in the Constitution where healthcare is a right in the Constitution? I would make them… I would put them on defense and make them show me the basis for that. Well the Supreme Court has said, okay, so the Supreme Court is who decides what’s constitutional? Then why do we have a written document? Do we need that written document? And by the way, do we need to go back to all the bad examples we’ve had in history of Supreme Court making decisions that were really really bad? So I would keep asking questions. If healthcare is a constitutional right, show me in the Constitution where it is? If that’s the kind of right that you can find in the Constitution, then I want you to show me how it’s been protected through history, why it’s an inalienable, right, because the rights are protected in the Constitution, by and large, are God given rights. So show me we have a God given right to health care, and that it’s the duty of the government to provide health care for every individual. I mean, first off they probably never read the Constitution, if they’re making that argument. Second off, they have a progressive view that the court is what decides right and wrong. And if that’s true, then how come they don’t support the court decision in Dobbs that says that abortion is not health care? Why don’t they support that decision, If they support the 1973 decision? If the courts are what decides what is and isn’t unconstitutional? Then how come you’re changing your mind going back and forth? I would just start asking questions.
Well, and Dad, to that point, one of the things as we are encouraging people to ask questions, is also understand what we’re trying to accomplish with the questions. When someone’s making a claim, like abortion is health care, they have just staked their ground. And the impetus is not on me to prove they’re wrong, the impetus is on them to defend their position that they have the burden of proof. They’re the ones that made the claim. And it really doesn’t necessarily do a lot of good trying to explain why someone is wrong. If they still believe they are right. Well, then how can we help them realize that’s not a defensible position? You ask them questions, making them defend an indefensible position. And this is where you don’t have to do it aggressively. You don’t even have to necessarily do a confrontationally. One of the things we encourage students in the summer, is even if you’re in a college class, and you have a professor saying something just crazy, you can pretend like you just want to learn more about the topic. And so I’m just going to ask a question, hey professor, where can I find more about that topic? And I’m going to ask questions that help expose the lack of, the kind of standing, maybe the lack of footnotes or lack of credit for the claim they’re making. And Dad, as you pointed out, if they’re going to say, Well, we know this the constitutional right, well, where will we find that right? Like, where’s that in the Constitution? Well, it’s what the judges said, oh, so is it whatever the judges say is right? So you know, the judges… Dad to your point, if the judges have said that abortion is not a federally protected, right? Does that mean it’s not anymore? Or, you know, if the judges have said that religious liberty is now okay, and we can, you know, maybe have the religion back in schools, I would lead them first of all, to understand the ground, they are claiming, the ground, they are staking is not a position they really want to defend. And I’m giving a little bit of exaggeration, because usually I wouldn’t even try to lead them in questioning, I wouldn’t try to lead them. So are you saying this is true? Are you saying this? I’m going to lead them, I’m going to ask them to defend their position. And only once they come to the conclusion, that is not really a defensible position they’ve claimed, then I can offer maybe a different solution. And the reason I think this matters is because most of the time people don’t care that you are presenting truth to them, if they think you are wrong, and they are correct. But once people realize they might not have all the answers, then they are oftentimes much more open to a presentation of truth, if, again, going back to the fact that we’re asking this in a non threatening, non confrontational manner, because we start off with, you’re wrong, and you’re dumb, and you shouldn’t believe that, well, then they’re not going to care what we’re telling them or what we say. But if we can ask questions, and through our questions where they have to defend their position, if they realize that what they’re saying is not really consistent, it’s intellectually dishonest. It’s contradictory. If we can help them realize that themselves, then they might be in a position to have a different conversation and say, well, why do we need a different basis? And it kind of goes back to one of the very basic worldview, I think, really solid questions you can ask somebody is how do you determine right and wrong? How do you know what is true? And once you find the metric that they’re using, once you find their measurement, either they have a good metric, or they don’t, right? Either someone says, Well, I believe the Bible is true, or I believe it’s up to the individual to determine right and wrong for themselves. Whatever direction they go, it helps you know where they’re coming from. And then once you know where someone is coming from, and you know, where you’re trying to take them, it’s easier to navigate and map out that route. And so asking these questions can help expose the faultiness of their position, it can help expose where they’re coming from, and it can give you a better foundation for the long term conversation to help guide them to truth.
So yeah, I mean, it’s a fantastic question on a hot button issue. But like you said, Tim, I mean, this applies to all of these different issues, really important way to do it. And as you said, David, you know, it’s just following the example that Jesus gave us. That’s exactly how he did it. So let’s jump to our next question. Coming from Virginia, Adam in Fairfax, said Hey team WallBuilders. We always talk about restoring our country to its founding principles and the benefits that we will receive if we do so. Was there ever a time in American history where the federal government and the states were actually behaving according to the Constitution? Was there ever a time when America really got it right? The duty is ours. Thank you Best regards, Adam in Fairfax. Well, great question, Adam. You know, before I toss that to you guys, I’d say of course, we’ve probably never nailed it, never had it. Absolutely perfect. But there certainly, I would think, earlier to the time the Constitution was adopted, we probably followed the Constitution a lot better than we do today.
Well, it’s interesting. The question that’s asked, I think there’s two ways you can kind of read that question. So it was ever time in history when the federal government in the states were behaving according to the constitution? I can read that as was there ever a time the federal government was behaving according to the constitution and the states were behaving according to the constitution, or I can read it as was our time when the federal government/states were behaving according to the constitution in their relationship toward each other that is toward federalism. So I think there’s actually a couple of ways of answering that question. So we’re working on a book right now, which is called the American Story Building The Republic. Now, we did the American story, The Beginning, which kind of starts with the very, very beginning of America, the exploration, discovery of America, the early colonization and the folks who came here and the really early founding of the nation up to independence and the American Revolution, etc. Well, this kind of takes it from the finish of the Constitution, we now have a constitution in place. And so the first seven Presidents we had, were all part of the process of winning American independence and getting that constitution established and in place. So all first seven Presidents, that’s George Washington and John Adams. That’s Thomas Jefferson, that James Madison, that’s James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, and Andrew Jackson. They all were familiar with each other, there were several times they interacted with each other, they knew each other, and they all were part of wanting independence or helping establish the constitution. So that’s got to be people, you say, okay, they probably understand constitutional intent, because they’re of that generation. They are leaders in that movement. And it’s so interesting that when you look at them, they really had serious disagreements. I mean, take George Washington administration. George Washington, father of the country, well when Washington goes into the second term, you have Thomas Jefferson, that leaves his administration because he so vehemently disagrees with George Washington on major issues. And then you have, by the end of Washington’s second term, you have James Madison, who goes home because he just disagrees with Washington on major issues. Now, most people would think that Washington, Madison, I mean, both of these guys signed the Constitution, constitutional convention, they all heard every bit of the debates, they all were in there, certainly they see things together. And they didn’t. There was a lot of disagreement. And Andrew Jackson particularly disagreed with the first five founding fathers or five out of the first six, he had some agreement with Monroe. So as you look at it, we look back and say, you know, they had disagreements, but they didn’t have real serious failures of constitution. They disagreed on things like what can the bank do? The Constitution talks about the role of the federal government with currency and money, etc. And there was a huge difference between what James Madison and George Washington thought that meant with banks, and what Andrew Jackson and James Monroe thought that meant with banks, but they’ve all been there. So when you look at it, I don’t know that there’s a time, Tim, as you said, nobody got it perfectly right in all areas. But they really got it right in the big things, they did a really pretty good job in those early years of keeping the states separate from the feds, not letting the feds do the things that the states are supposed to do. They all were very familiar with the language of the Constitution. And they would debate certain parts, like on banks and currency, but they weren’t debating the parts on the enumerated powers- What is it the federal government can can do? they would debate things on whether the Army and Navy should be big, and whether it should be permanent, or whether it should be temporary. And the view of all seven of the first presidents was we don’t want a standing army, which is why in the Constitution, they said the military can only exist two years at a time. And I was talking to someone today who was shocked by that, that even today in America, the military only exists two years by the Constitution, it has to be rechartered every two years. People don’t understand that.
Well, and Dad, too, it’s worth noting that as you’re talking about some of the federal leaders, and even arguably, in the States, they had a much better understanding of the role of states, the role of the federal government in kind of this federalism/constitutional concept. But we can go back and point out that even early in America, there were states that tried to nullify federal law, there were states that were discussing secession along the way, and you had to have founding fathers who were still alive at the time, say, guys, that’s not how this works. But because there’s human nature, there’s always people looking to do it their way, and not always wanting to do what the Constitution says or even follow the proper means of changing the constitution. Because Article Five, they could do amendments, they could call for a convention of the states, they could do things to change the constitution along the way. It’s why there was a Bill of Rights added at the very beginning, they were adding amendments because they recognized there were things that needed to be corrected and adjusted along the way. But there were individuals in states who said we don’t care what the law says we don’t care what somebody else says, we’re going to nullify it, we’re going to do our own thing. So there never was a time when there weren’t people being people. But when people… when the population as a whole was much more familiar with the Constitution, was much more familiar with the basic premise and philosophy of America, it was a lot easier to call people back to the proper position and proper role, because people were familiar with the Constitution and the Declaration. They’re familiar with the Bill of Rights, whereas it’s so much more of a challenge today, because people don’t know the declaration, the Constitution, Bill of Rights. They might have heard what somebody said, you know, separation of Church State, First Amendment, they might have heard what some judge said but they don’t really understand the Constitution, so it’s a very different challenge for us today than it was back then. They did not get it perfect back then. But because they were much more familiar with the original documents and the philosophy of America, they were much quicker to correct some of those issues, certainly than we are today.
And I think the real dividing line was whether they had a respect for the Constitution that was higher than respect for their own opinions. And I would say the first six presidents all respected the Constitution above their own opinions. They might differ with interpretations, but they didn’t differ with the Constitution placing limits. I think Andrew Jackson is the first president that had opinions that differ with the Constitution that he went with his opinions rather than the Constitution, and it set the nation in really bad direction for the next 50 years, at least. And longer than that, actually, when you look at some of the stuff he introduced, but I don’t think that’s unusual with what we even have in Christian community. There’s a lot of people who respect their own opinions higher than they respect Bible opinions and say, well, that’s pretty hard. I don’t know if I agree with that. Here’s what I think. And anytime you start putting your own opinion, above the opinion of the authority that is supposed to govern you, and for Christians, it should be the Bible and for political people, it should be the Constitution, when your opinion goes higher than the opinion that governing document be it Bible or constitution. That’s when you’re going to get into trouble. And we can have disagreements between denominations, as long as you’re not disagreeing that the Bible is the authority of God’s word that Jesus Christ has set forth in the Bible that God has the authority over heaven and earth and everything in it. When we start saying, yeah, but you know, my opinion on LGBTQIA+ is this. I know the Bible says this, but here’s what I think. When you get into here’s what I think stuff that’s where you get into trouble. And I think the first president’s did a really good job of not, here’s what I think, but it’s here’s the way I read the Constitution. Here’s the way I understand the Constitution. And I’m trying to apply it. There were some differences. But I think overall, those first six presidents did a very good job of maintaining the right balance in so many areas, even though we can point back to every president say, well, he didn’t get it quite right here. But it’s not like pointing to Woodrow Wilson or Andrew Jackson or or pointing to James Buchanan are the guys that didn’t hardly get any of it right, because they had their own opinions. And that’s where I think the dividing line is.
All right, guys. We’ve got some more questions to get to, but we’ve got to take a quick break. We’ll be right back. folks, stay with us. It’s foundations of freedom thursday, you’re listening to WallBuilders.
Samuel Adams said, the liberties of our country and the freedom over civil Constitution are worth defending against all hazards, and it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.
This is Tim Barton, from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Meaning today wrongly claimed our Founding Fathers were largely atheists, agnostics, and deist. Certainly, some Founders were less religious than others, but even they were not irreligious. Consider Benjamin Franklin, definitely one of the least religious among them. Yet, when the delegates at the Constitutional Convention hit an impasse in their deliberations, it was Franklin who called them to prayer, invoking numerous scriptures to make his point. As he reminded them, “God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured in the sacred writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. I firmly believe this. So, even the least religious of America’s founders urge public prayer and dependence on God. For more information about the faith of the Founding Fathers, go to wallbuilders.com.
Calvin Coolidge said the more I studied 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. Thanks for staying with us on this foundation to freedom Thursday. Next question is going to be from Jennifer. She said, Rick, David and Tim, my family are longtime supporters of WallBuilders and Patriot Academy. I’d like to take this moment to thank you for your service to the people and all you do to inform and educate us. My 20 year old daughter had the privilege of attending the WallBuilders American institute and will be joining the group to Israel this May. And these opportunities have served to educate and empower her as a Christian woman and a citizen of the United States. My husband is a pastor and serves as a commissioner state’s legislative liaison for the state of Florida and I’m a biblical citizenship coach with Patriot Academy. Together we lead a young adult church group aged 18 to 30. And we are often disheartened at how little the next generation knows of our history, the Constitution and their roles and privileges as citizens. My question, and I think I know the answer, but it comes with a follow up is do you feel it to be the duty of the church, And those who have answered the calling to lead and shepherd the people to preach biblical citizenship, our role as citizens and even current events and politics from the pulpit? If so, how can we encourage and support our pastors to do this? I found that in most cases, there is either a blatant ignorance of the need, or a fear of the result that keeps pastors from addressing the touchy subjects of our time. And I feel like this has created a disconnect of the role as a Christian and the role as a citizen. The reason one among many… that’s my question is because I’ve hit wall after wall when speaking to lead pastors of various churches about hosting a biblical citizenship class, on or off the church campus to church members and non members alike. And I’m a little frustrated. Again, thank you for all you do. Jennifer, it’s interesting. We just had a conversation, David and Tim and myself and some pastors right there in front of the Jefferson Memorial talking about this very thing. Guys, you know, that was actually our topic standing there was, is it the role of pastors to address these things from the pulpit? And how do you get them to do so if that is part of their role?
Yeah, one of the things I think, so often that pastors discount is the reality of biblical application and how practical it is for people in their lives. And what I mean is, that so often pastors get caught in this kind of modern conceptual bubble, that the role of a pastor is just tell people about Jesus and love and whatever else which not to downplay Jesus and love and those things, right, not downplaying that, so important. However, pastors think, well, I don’t want to get political, right, I’ll just stay with Jesus. And what they mean by not getting political is they don’t want to touch on cultural issues. The problem is, you cannot identify a single cultural issue that is not a biblical issue. And when pastors fall into this thinking, well, you know, I don’t want to deal with human sexuality. I don’t, I don’t want to deal with gender, it’s political. Literally, the beginning of Genesis is in the beginning, God created the heavens of the Earth, go to verse 26, and 27, male and female, He created them, in His image, He created them male and female. Like, this is the beginning of the Bible. And this was not a political thing that God did. This was the Bible explaining how God created things. And when pastors look at the Bible, through the lens of culture, they censor themselves by not saying, let’s teach the whole of the Word of God. And you have to know the Word of God setting up for what God has called us to do, to understand who God is, God made us a certain way, on purpose for a reason. God’s got a plan and purpose and part of God’s plan and purpose is… and you start unfolding what Scripture says. Well, God has a plan and purpose for marriage and family. And those are things today people say well, that’s political. Well, no, those are things that are culturally being debated today. But if the Bible addresses it, it is not a political issue. It is a biblical issue. We don’t see a lot of pastors engaging properly on the level they should. And there could be lots of reasons, Dad, you’ve talked about this a lot. Some of the polling from George Barna, about the indicators that pastors use to measure success for their churches. Were the top five things, that the metrics that pastors use to identify if they’re successful in ministry is how many people attend their church, how much money do they get in the offering, how many people they have on staff, how many ministries the church have, Well, what is the square footage, how big is the building. Those are the metrics they use. Well if those are the metrics they use, then it actually makes sense why pastors would not want to touch on cultural issues because it might be offensive, it drive people away. And one of the things that for us we love to do is go back and study history and see how that, not only the Bible influence America, but how pastors specifically influenced America. And there’s a book by Alice Baldwin, she was a professor at Duke University back in the 1940s and 1950s. She wrote a book called The New England clergy and the American Revolution. And in this book, she identified that every single issue, every major topic that the Founding Fathers dealt with in the declaration had been preached from American pulpits prior to 1763. So you’re talking more than a dozen years before we even get the declaration, pastors from their pulpits were saying, guys, we’re seeing the king say this, we’re seeing governors say this, we’re seeing the judiciary do this. We’re seeing that soldiers do this. We’re seeing the legislature abuses do this. But here’s what the Word of God says. They were literally taking what the culture was doing and they were saying, let’s compare what culture is saying to the Word of God. And the founding fathers were going to these churches, they were reading the sermons. So when the founding fathers come together and do the declaration and then when they’re debating all of these issues, they’re literally using what they’ve learned from their pastors to lay the foundation of a political philosophy for America. And this is what we’ve disconnected in modern culture, with Pastors saying, we don’t want to engage in the culture. We just want to talk about Jesus and love. We’ll talk about Jesus and love, but also let’s teach what the Bible says about these basic biblical issues that are now being debated in culture.
And you know, Tim, you mentioned American history. We got four centuries of American history, got a lot of history. You mentioned Alice Baldwin, but go back to even history, the Bible and look at God’s leaders who spoke to his people. And you can go back to Moses who is a leader from God who is a prophet. You look at the other prophets, Isaiah or Jeremiah, you look at Daniel, look at any prophet, you go through the Gospels, you go through all the early church fathers, you’ve got probably 3,700 years of church history and Bible history with God’s leader speaking to this issues, except in the 20th and 21st century, we’ve kind of gone silent. And so unless you’re going to argue that the other 35 centuries got it wrong, but in the last century and a half, we are the first ones to ever get it right, that doesn’t make sense. So if we’re going to take the position that we’re right now, and everybody else has been wrong, that is going back to the thing we mentioned earlier of loving your own opinion, more than you love what the Bible teaches or what history shows.
Alright folks, we’re out of time for questions today, you can send yours into [email protected] . We can get to it on a future Thursday, foundations of freedom Thursday, and also make sure you tune in tomorrow. We got a lot of good news coming your way and you don’t want to miss that. Thanks so much for listening to WallBuilders.
Thomas Jefferson said that constitutions are most of our states and the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people, that they may exercise it by themselves. That is the right and duty to be at all times armed and that they’re entitled to freedom of persons, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.