Mandated Vaccines, Bureaucracy, Amending the Constitution, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: Are mandated vaccines constitutional? What should the government be protecting? Is it constitutional for legislatures to delegate their power to bureaucracy to make policies? What did the Founders truly believe about amending the Constitution? You asked; we’re answering! Tune in to hear answers to these questions and more, all from a Constitutional and historical perspective!
Air Date: 03/18/2021
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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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. This is WallBuilders Live. We’re talking about the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective, and we’re thankful that you’re here with us. My name is Rick Green.
I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. I’m here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders, Tim Barton with us, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders.
You can learn more about all three of us at our website, wallbuilderslive.com. That’s also a great place to go for programs you might have missed earlier this week or last week, or even in previous months, a lot of shows available to you there, including the Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs like what we’re going to do today, that’s where we take your questions on all kinds of topics.
Send In Your Questions!
It might be a topic about the Founding Fathers or the Constitution, or maybe just biblical application for a particular issue of the day that’s happening in Washington, DC or in your state or community. Anyway, send those questions in email@example.com. And if you’d like to grab some of those previous Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs, they are available right now at wallbuilderslive.com.
In addition to Good News Friday programs, interviews that we typically do Monday through Wednesday, or some of the live presentations that we do around the nation that sometimes we bring here to the program, all of that available at wallbuilderslive.com. That is also the place we encourage you to make that one time or monthly contribution. Thank you so much for coming alongside us and helping to amplify this voice of truth.
Alright, David, Tim, lots of questions to catch up on. You know, we’ve had some special programming over the last few weeks, so we’ve had a ton of Foundations of Freedom questions come in, we want more of those. So folks, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
You can ask about constitutional questions, history questions, biblical application to what’s going on in the culture. Send those questions. If you guys are ready, David Rodriguez gets the first question today. And it’s about the vaccine mandate. So he said, “What’s the opinion constitutionally of mandated vaccines at a state level? And as an employee of law enforcement, regarding COVID, I know schools mandate polio and other vaccines before you can go to the schools, and law enforcement mandates some vaccines for its employees. Thanks for all you do.”
Alright, fellows, good question and timely question, I think we’re probably headed this direction with the COVID vaccines since that’s kind of the push of big government right now that that is somehow the savior of the country on COVID. So I guess just principally, first of all, should government be able to mandate and I would argue for some important terminology here mandate versus forced.
So you could have a rule that you’re supposed to get the vaccine but have exceptions, or what some people are calling for, forced vaccines, that you make everybody get it, whether they want it or not. I just throw that out there to both of you. What do you think?
I think generally, it’s good to look at this through the grid of levels of law. You have at the top, the highest law is the moral law. That’s the law given by God. It tells us what’s right and wrong. It’s the laws of nature, nature’s God, as the Declaration identified it. Below that you have constitutional law. Constitutional law comes under God’s law, under moral law, it is often reflecting that or at least subjugated to that, in other words, the Constitution is not going to force you to do things that God tells you can’t do otherwise.
And below that you have social compact law, it’s a term that is often attributed to John Locke, great philosopher who really impacted the Founding Fathers. And social compact law are the things that we agree to below the level of constitutional. So when you look at vaccines, I don’t think that comes necessarily under moral law, or under constitutional law. That more falls down in the social compact law.
But Rick, as you said, there’s got to be caveats to that. You cannot force someone to get a vaccine if it violates their religious conscience, which is protected both in the Constitution and both by the moral law. So generally, yeah, you can do that. You know, mask or vaccines or whatever, I don’t think falls rises to the level of constitutional issue, unless coercion gets involved there and that coercion is around your religious beliefs.
So with the newest vaccine that’s out, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, that’s one that apparently does use fetal tissue in it. And I would have a conscience objection to that, for sure, if that were the case. The first two that were out didn’t necessarily, some strands did, some didn’t. So that’s why I would look at that as a social compact kind of area.
Well, and guys, it’s worth pointing out that there can be multiple objections that people might have on a religious content issue. Dad, you mentioned one. If maybe there’s fetal tissue in it, which fetal tissue is tissue that was taken from aborted baby and used in the production of a vaccine, and so certainly, understandably, well, Christians would say, wait a second, I do not want to put part of an aborted baby into my body. Certainly, that makes sense for an objection. There’s other people and part of their religious faith says that because God made our bodies this way, I think it would go against God’s standard for my life to inject my body with this vaccine.
Now we could argue is that wise, foolish, right, wrong, you can have that discussion. But the point is, that the philosophy in America for literally generations was that you don’t force tender consciences. If somebody has a firm belief based on a religious conviction, a religious duty they believe they owe to God, then the government can’t come in and compel them to violate their conviction they believe that they’re doing something that is part of their life, form of worship to God, etc. So there can be multiple reasons why someone would oppose a vaccine in general.
And this is where Rick, you pointed out, there’s a difference between the government mandating and the sense of saying, we want everybody to get this, except they allow exceptions to that as opposed to a forced vaccine, where they say, we’re going to vaccinate everybody regardless. And there are some ways even in the midst of this, free businesses can have their own choices and say that we will open up if people get vaccinated or whatever else.
The market certainly can’t have an impact on the switch at that point, in the same way with masks, you can choose to frequent with the businesses you like and support your views and those kinds of things. This is something that certainly the market can dictate and have an impact on this. And that’s probably much better left to individuals to be able to make decisions.
And the government’s job is much better when they treat people like adults, and grownups, give them information. If you think people are going to make bad decisions, and you think they need to know something that they don’t know, okay, well, then you can use some of the tools at your disposal and help educate people on some level. But anytime we talk about government compelling or forcing or coercing somebody, that’s always going to be something that’s contrary to the intent of the Founders when they establish the Constitution and help form the American system of government.
I would add another caveat in there. Tim, you mentioned that some folks have an overall religious objection. I think Christian scientists fall in that category of any kind of medical stuff being injected or put in their body. But there’s others they’re going to have nonreligious, conscientious objections.
For example, there seems science now showing that with the rise in vaccinations, there has been a corresponding rise in autism for different school vaccination, not COVID necessarily, but other things that are required for schools. And there’s a lot of parents now drawing the lines said no, I’m not going to do that with my kids.
But the other thing that I think comes into this is in America, the free market is going to drive a lot of this. As you said, we can choose to go to businesses that we agree with. But now we’re hearing we got friends in Israel and we’re finding out that in Israel, if we want to take it to over to Israel, that’s a whole different ballgame now, because you can’t even go in a grocery store over there, unless you can show a card that you’ve had a vaccination COVID. So that is coercive in a way that we’re not used to in America. And so you might have to make some decisions if you want to go overseas.
What Is Government Supposed to Protect?
Well, and also, it’s different when you look at nations like Israel that they have levels of socialism in Israel. And it’s not surprising when you look at nations that embrace forms or levels of socialism that they would do things that seem socialistic, that the government will compel you, if you’re going to operate in public, you have to get this vaccine and then you have to show a card before you get into business, as Greencard, that means you’re now cleared, you can go to this business. That’s not something we’d expect to see in America.
Now, again, let’s back up, Dad, you pointed out that there’s people that are against vaccines, because they think there might be negative outcomes from it. And then others would argue, yes, but that’s such a small fraction of a percent and so that’s not really valid. But this is where the point is, we’re not necessarily saying what is or isn’t correct in some of these thoughts and ideas.
We’re acknowledging the fact that people have different convictions. And in America, part of what has made America unique is we recognize the government’s job is not necessarily to tell you what your convictions are, or are not.
And this is where, again, Rick, you pointed out, there’s a distinction between a forced vaccine and a government mandate that has allowances for conscience or religious convictions, etc, as the case might be. And it will be very interesting to see going forward, what’s going to happen. Because even right now, you have the CDC saying, well, even if you get vaccinated, you still shouldn’t be in large groups of people, and you still need to wear your mask, and your life really shouldn’t change that much if you get the vaccine. Which raises the question, well, if you can’t live life differently then why do you get the vaccine?
And if it’s possible to even get COVID after the vaccine, there’s just a lot of things that either the science is not done very well at all on this, or people are not being honest in what they’re telling or they don’t really know what they’re telling. It just seems like there’s way more to the story, as of course we know there is in this situation. Nonetheless, we absolutely recognize that the government’s job is not to tell people their religious convictions, and the government’s job should be protect people’s rights, their conscience, their convictions. And so that’s kind of where things ought fall.
A Constitutional Provision
But to answer the question, I don’t think there’s a constitutional provision that automatically says you can’t require vaccines any more than there’s a constitutional provision that says you can’t have speed limits over 45, or whatever. This is a social compact kind of law with exceptions for higher law and constitutional law.
Yeah, you guys had so many great fundamental principles here. And even that idea of the government’s role in this type of thing, and like you said, Tim, really, it’s to educate and then let people make individual decisions based on their particular circumstances. And certainly, with a medical procedure weigh all the pros and cons, the potential harm from the vaccine itself versus the chance of potential harm from whatever the particular disease or viruses.
And we do have a pretty rich tradition of letting people make that decision most of the time. And that’s why even that conscientious exemption, I mean, even 20 years ago, when I was in the legislature, that was one of my big battles was adding conscientious exemption to the Texas statutes because we had religious objection, but it had to be in the tenets of your faith. So you had to be like you said, David, Christian scientist or Jehovah Witness or one of these that actually has it in the tenets of their faith. And so we got that expanded here in Texas; about 40 states that actually have conscientious objection, as well as religious.
But all of it goes back to, believe it or not, almost 120 years ago, 1905, a Supreme Court case called Jacobson that dealt with a mandatory vaccination in Massachusetts. But the fine was only five bucks. And so you could decide as a family, I don’t want to get this particular vaccine in our family and pay the fine.
How Did the Supreme Court Rule?
That’s what the Supreme Court ultimately ruled. You can’t force the vaccine though. And I actually have a video out at constitutioncoach.com responding to Alan Dershowitz on this, because he says that based on Jacobson, you could be dragged out of your home, and they could plunge the needle into your arm. And I disagree with him completely on that based on not just Jacobson but basic constitutional principles.
And last thing I’ll say is, it’s about is there fetal tissue? Is it actually with the RNA and all the things that we had Matt Staver on to talk about with the COVID vaccine? I mean, people have to cast informed decision. So government, give us the information, don’t withhold the information, and then let us make those individual decisions. That’s what freedom is all about. Alright, guys, quick break. We got a lot more questions coming up. Stay with us, folks, it is Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Abraham Lincoln said. “We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts; not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
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. And 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. 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 and wallbuilders.com.
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.”
Delegating Power to Bureaucracy
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live! Thanks for staying with us. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, when you get to send your questions in, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. And David and Tim, the next question comes from Joe. It’s about legislative powers and its response to one of the profamily legislators talks that we had. And his question is, “In your speech at the Profamily Legislators Conference, I understood you to say that the legislature could not give their lawmaking power to another branch.
But in another broadcast, I understood you to say that it’s constitutional for them to delegate their power to a bureaucracy. Since the rule set by bureaucracy have the power of law, why Is that allowed? Did I misunderstand or am I missing something? Very thankful for the three of you. Keep up the great work. You are blessing and a gift from God to this country.”
Okay, so great distinction question here, guys. So the legislature, obviously, we all agree that’s the lawmaking authority, is what the Constitution says, not only in US, but all the state Constitutions. When can it actually farm out its job basically, and delegate it to a bureaucracy or to an executive, to the governor, or the president?
Yeah, there’s really has a great distinction to that question. And let’s just drive home the first part. The legislature constitutionally by the intent of all early political philosophers and by the Founding Fathers, etc, you can’t give away your legislative power to anyone else, which is one of the objections against governors taking the authority in COVID and making statewide policy. No, no, you’re the executive branch, you execute what the legislature does. You don’t make policy. You execute policy.
So whether this goes back to the John Locke’s, or the James Otis’s, or whether it goes to Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, or the Federalist Papers, or James Madison, or Alexander Hamilton, they all weigh on this, you can do it. And to use analogy, you know, Rick, it’s like you have something precious and really important, and you give it to a neighbor across the street to keep and take care after you get back. Well, if he gives it to somebody else, and it gets lost or damaged, he’s the one responsible for it, not the guy he gave it to.
And so that’s the way that the Founding Fathers saw power. The power comes from the people, the people are giving it to elected legislators for a period of time, for two years, or one year or four years or six years, whatever the term is, we give it to you for that period of time, and you get to give it back to us at the next election, then we’ll decide who to give it to again. So the legislators don’t have the authority to pass that on to anybody else, or to any other branch. Constitutionally, that is their sole responsibility. And it cannot be delegated anywhere else.
Now, I do recall when I talked about what happened back under Obamacare, that in that bill, they created 187 new federal agencies and said, you guys implement the law, you take care of putting it in. And that’s exactly what they did. And the courts have upheld that and said, well, Congress gave their power. Well, yeah, they did. And the bigger question should have been, should they have had the right to give it away? And the answer is no, they should not have.
So from a constitutional standpoint, what Congress does routinely on a regular basis, by delegated authority to a, whether it’s the EPA, or the Department of Justice, or whether it’s to any other cabinet level or any other agency, they can’t do that constitutionally.
Now, we’re so used to it happening today that it does it all the time, and the courts now look at it and say, well, you know, Congress, you gave that power away to whatever the regulatory agency was, and you gave them the authority to make the penalties and whatever. And so they just defer to that now. But that’s a great question, great distinction.
Law Making OR Law Executing
And I do remember when we were talking about that Obamacare decision 187 agencies and what they do, but under absolute constitutional interpretation, original intent, Congress can’t do that. They’re the ones who have to make the policies, not the regulatory agencies.
So it really comes down to the difference between lawmaking and law executing. If an agency is executing the law and the policy that Congress came up with, great, and of course, they would need to do that, Post Offices and Post Roads, Patent and Trademark Office, the military itself, all of those are executing the policy, the law that the legislature, the Congress made.
But if you hand the power over to a big agency and say, hey, you guys make this up as you go, do it however you think best, and now they’re literally making law and regulating the American people, it’s hard to have recourse against that because they’re not our elected officials.
So I’d say that’s the real difference is it’s either lawmaking, which the only the legislature should do and law executing which the executive branch does. And that’s why these agencies come on to the President because they’re part of that executing of the laws. Quick break, we’ll be right back. Great question, Joe. We got more questions for you, folks. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live, it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
President 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.”
A Moment from American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson originally worked closely together, but later became ardent opponents. This troubled Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration who knew both of them very well.
In the Bible, 2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us that God has given each of us the ministry of reconciliation. Dr. Rush believed this and set out to bring the two back together. It took a while, but Adams and Jefferson once again became close friends. And looking back on his role and helping bring about this reconciliation Dr. Rush stated, “It will give me pleasure as long as I live to reflect that I have been in any degree instrumental and affecting this reunion of two souls destined to be dear to each other and motivated with the same dispositions to serve their country though in different ways.”
For more information about Dr. Benjamin Rush and his other remarkable achievements, go to wallbuilders.com.
Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power, then let no more be heard of confidence in man that bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”
We’re back on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. One more segment and we’ll see if we have time for more than one, but probably one more question. Here we go. It’s from Charlie. He said “What do you think the word amend meant to the framers of the Constitution? Do you think they would have been okay with amendments like the 16th and 17th that completely contravene existing clauses in the constitution? Love the show, and listen every week.”
Okay, guys, so does amendment allow for just a slight modification? Or can you reverse a policy in the constitution with an amendment?
Rick first let’s just define amend. One of the guys that would be in the founding era, Noah Webster who had an influence on the Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 came up with the first dictionary. And he said, it means to correct, to rectify by expunging a mistake; to reform. He said, it also means to grow or become better to correct to supply defect, etc.
And so it’s not that a constitutional amendment is unconstitutional. As Charlie pointed out, would they have been okay with 16th and 17th Amendments which completely contravene existing clauses in the Constitution? Let me back up to the 11th and the 12th Amendments.
You had the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments that were ratified and accepted by the states. Then in 1794, you have another amendment added, the 11th Amendment, and George Washington as President then and you’ve got a whole bunch of the guys who wrote the Constitution still in Congress. And then let’s go to the 12th Amendment. In 1804, which you still have a bunch of the Founding Fathers, I mean, this is when Thomas Jefferson is President, etc. So if you take the 12th Amendment, the 12th Amendment completely expands the way the Electoral College operated, and came up with a new way to operate the Electoral College.
Because prior to that, whoever got the most votes in Electoral College was President, whoever got the next most votes was Vice President. That worked okay for George, but it didn’t work okay for John and Thomas. Because John Adams was a federalist, Thomas Jefferson was an anti-federalists, you have two opposite party leaders in the same administration, they did not get along well.
The Twelfth Amendment
So the 12th Amendment came back and expand original content of the Constitution put there by the Founding Fathers themselves, they amended the Constitution. So literally, a constitutional amendment will expand part of the Constitution is originally designed and the Founding Fathers themselves said that twice.
Yeah. And they didn’t think it was a problem, because the Founding Fathers, several of them acknowledge that Constitutions don’t last forever. And the only way this could have longevity was if new generations came and they were engaged in the process and changed it to fit their needs the best. So the Founding Fathers largely knew and agreed that what they had done might be a really good foundation to build on, but this would not be the way it would remain forever or would not continue to be successful.
Now, we can certainly have a discussion about whether or not some of these amendments have been good or productive, or which ones never should have passed, and how things maybe shouldn’t have changed, or what amendments actually would be very beneficial for us right now? If we could get constitutional amendments done, what would help the Constitution in our nation be better?
The Founding Fathers were not anti-major fundamental changes if the majority of the people agreed on it. And this is why there was such a high strenuous standard for a constitutional amendment to be passed, because they want to make sure that this was in fact what the American people thought wanted and the direction that the country should go with is unison. But that’s where it goes back to we the people should be in charge.
A Whole Different Philosophy of Government
Now I’ll point out that what the Founding Fathers did with the 11th and 12th Amendment, they still understood their original intent. And they’re really just kind of cleaning up what didn’t work out the way they wanted to. When you get into the 16th Amendment, which is what authorizes and allows a federal income tax, and you get into the 17th amendment, where you get away from state legislature appointing senators, now senators become like a “Super House of Representatives.”
That’s a whole different philosophy of government. That was the result of the progressives that really started pushing stuff in the 1880s. And so what you see in the 1617 amendment is really a conflict of governmental ideas.
Yeah, and this is where the Founding Fathers again, they would not have had a problem with a major alteration like that, in the sense of the fact that it was done by we the people, the people involved. They would have had a major problem with the philosophy behind the amendment. So when we talk about the amendment process, they’re okay with major changes, but they would have debated, is that a good major change or bad major change?
And certainly, the reason some of these very bad amendments have been embraced and accepted is probably a reflection of an education that was promoting those ideas that lead the people to embrace those concepts or that bad philosophy. Certainly not what the Founders intended. Certainly not even for us but we would argue is the best. But the Founders did believe that major changes could be done if we the people, the majority of Americans agreed to that by that three-fourths.
Trump as President, Hillary as Vice-President
Well, since you brought up the 12th Amendment, I have to say I have a very selfish reason for being against it. If we didn’t have it, we would have the most entertaining reality show ever and Donald Trump is president and Hillary Clinton as his vice president for four years, we would have all been glued to the TV just to watch the fun. But alas, we have a 12th Amendment and now they run together, president and vice president on the same team. So, probably a lot of wisdom in that.
Anyway, out of time for today, folks, we’ll have more questions for you on next Thursday’s program. Please send them into email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, if you are looking for a great way to be a part of the solution, we would encourage you to go to biblicalcitizens.com, biblicalcitizens.com, that’s where you can sign up for free to host one of our Biblical Citizenship in Modern America classes. This is taking off like crazy across the nation.
We have almost 6,000 Constitution coaches out there now hosting this class in their home or at their church or offering it online, somehow getting other people together to have fellowship and to discuss what the Bible says about how we should operate as citizens and what our Constitution says about how to do that peaceably, how to make a difference, how to impact the culture around us, all of that in the Biblical Citizenship in Modern America course.
Mandated Vaccines, Bureaucracy, Amending the Constitution, And More!
It’s an eight week course. What we recommend is you do one night, a week or an afternoon, you can crash course if you want to do it all in one weekend. But typically, once a week, get together with your friends and family for about two hours and go through this course and have a great discussion together. All the tools are there.
It’s got a lot of great people in it, from Kirk Cameron to Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Mat Staver, David Barton, Tim Barton, David Harris Jr., all kinds of folks. So go check that out at biblicalcitizens.com and start hosting that class today if you want to make a difference. Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been 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.