Masks, Constitutional Freedoms, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: Is not wearing a mask a constitutional freedom or right? Are our First Amendment freedoms being violated? Why are several churches in the middle of lawsuits? What can we do to deal with tyrannical, irresponsible leadership? Tune in to hear the answers to these and more of your questions on this Foundations of Freedom program!

Air Date: 08/20/2020

On-air Personalities: David 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. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith and the Culture

President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think they’re not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.”

Rick:

You find your way to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live where we talk about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith and the culture. We always do that from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. We’re glad you’re with us. We hope you’re going to enjoy today. You’re going to get some great questions from our audience today, and we’re going to be diving into foundational principles, we call it Foundations of Freedom Thursday.

You can send in the questions. Send them into [email protected] They’re going to be answered by David Barton, America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders, by Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders and myself Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. You can find out more about all three of us at wallbuilders.com and wallbuilderslive.com.

Now, wallbuilders.com, wealth of information there, a lot of tools and things that will equip you and your family to be better citizens, to preserve freedom for future generations. And then wallbuilderslive.com, that’s our second website. Wallbuilderslive.com, that’s the place where you can get all of our programs from the last few months, get into those archives, listen to some shows you might have missed, you can get a list of our stations, all kinds of great information there as well. And that is the place to make your donation Yes, make your donation.

You know what? We’re listener supported program. This doesn’t happen without those supporters out there. Thank you to all of you across the nation that donate on a regular basis or if you made a one-time donation, thanks for coming alongside us and helping to make this happen. We challenge you and encourage you to continue to do that. And we’re asking you if you’ve never donated, if you would consider doing that at wallbuilderslive.com, that helps us to expand the message, reach more people and do our part in preserving freedom. Now, let’s dive into some of those questions that you’ve had.

Questions From Our Mailbag

Alright, David, Tim, we got a lot of questions in the mailbag. The first one is from Rachel. It’s not actually a mailbag, by the way, it’s an email inbox. But at any rate, “Hello, I recently heard Rick green on the Heidi St. John podcast”, Heidi does a great podcast by the way. “I’ve been soaking up the Constitution, teaching and reading and listening as much as I can on WallBuilders. I live in Oklahoma and our county just mandated mask.” Do we have like a soundtrack that goes, boo?

We should anyway. “Our governor has stated multiple times that he will not mandate for the State. I tried to do my duty as a citizen and informed our Councilman of our disagreement with the mandate, yet it passed. I’m struggling with understanding if this is overreach or just more of the people wanting the mandate than the rest of us against it. Can you help me understand how this violates the constitution?

“If it does it, tell me what further duty do I have as a citizen in this matter if it is overreach? I hear many people angry about this and boycotting stores and counties that are mandating. But is this really going to make a difference? Thanks for your time and any education you can give me, Rachel.”

Alright, guys, this is a hot, hot topic right now, because Rachel’s community there in Oklahoma, I don’t think she said what city it was. But her county, I guess, that mandated the mass, not the only ones, of course, a lot of people wondering about this one.

David:

Yeah. And to start out with, right up front, let’s just say that from where I’m sitting and looking at this, a mask is not a constitutional issue. The Constitution doesn’t talk about masks. Now. It does talk about churches and essential services. It does talk about the right to keep and bear arms. It does talk about the right to petition and assembly and speech and religion, other things that are coming under attack in COVID, but there’s nothing specifically per se on masks…

Are Mask Mandates Unconstitutional?

Tim:

And clarify too, the Constitution talks about religious liberty, in the notion of the First Amendment, especially you see it with establishing religion in the free exercise thereof. So, even this notion, the Constitution doesn’t explicitly say churches, but it certainly deals with churches. When it comes to religious freedom, which the Constitution is absolutely about a lot of commentaries in Constitution that addresses a lot of writings from the Founding Fathers.

I mean, I say that only because some people will say, well, it doesn’t really say about churches. Well, absolutely, this is what the First Amendment was dealing with was church practices and the lack or restrictions of government from over-involving in church practices.

But when it comes to masks, you’re going to have a hard time finding application. And certainly, there are people who can draw illusions and try to make conclusions out of it. But this is where, to me, it seems like much more a Tenth Amendment issue, where, according to the US Constitution, there’s only a certain few things that the federal government can do and beyond that, it is given to the States that the States can enact things in and of themselves.

And one of the things we talked about with States is that there are some States like Illinois that does have a restriction on the governor, that for 30 days, he can basically have free rein in times of a crisis, but after that, the legislative body is supposed to come back and they’re supposed to assemble and they make the law because the governor is not a dictator, he is there to really enforce the laws that are passed.

And so, he brings the legislative body back in so they can pass laws. But that’s where it falls to the State and maybe the State constitutions have something to say about it. Although, really, I haven’t seen examples of many State constitutions that deal with this issue either.

David:

Yeah, and this is where it really does come more to we just don’t like the law. But this is a lot like a seatbelt law. It’s a lot like a speed limit law. May infringe what I perceived to be my freedom, but I don’t have a constitutional basis for saying they can’t do that. And so, that’s the way that this issue has really developed and drawn and it’s more of a political issue. And we can argue that it looks like it may be very much based on bad science or at least questionable science.

A 10th Amendment Issue?

Certainly, we saw the study in the last couple of weeks, this huge international medical study that saying, well, you know, mask didn’t make a difference in the countries that used them versus those that didn’t, you had the same infection rate, the same mortality rate. And so, there’s a lot of questionable stuff out there on how good the scientists behind masks. But nonetheless, it’s more of a freedom issue from people’s perceptions, not from a constitutional perspective and therefore, it has to be solved more at a political level.

And, Tim, as you said, it’s more kind of a Tenth Amendment issue, certainly not a federal constitutional issue and most State constitutions aren’t going to deal with this either. So, it really just comes down to choose the State representatives and governors that have the freedom view you agree with and then get them in there and you don’t have to worry about this kind of a law.

Rick:

Yeah, I would get in the weeds just a little bit on this just in terms of court opinions, like the Jacobson case had dealt with mandatory vaccinations back with smallpox in 1905. And typically, even what Justice Roberts said recently in one of the decision, I think was the California church, I forget the name of the church, but in any way, not the Nevada one, but the California one.

You know, there is some level of a compelling interest has to be met. So, government is going to have to answer to the question of was it worth with 99.9%, recoverable disease requiring such an onerous thing on the citizens? And so, whether that’s a local government or State government that might have to answer that question of compelling interest remains to be seen. Right now, the vast majority of the country and certainly, the Judges say, yes, there’s a compelling interest because they’ve overblown the impact of COVID.

But you could also argue it’s not being narrowly tailored, because you’re asking everybody to wear a mask instead of just those that are vulnerable. But that’s really in the weeds and it’s not something that you can get up at your city councilor or county commissioner meeting and say, hey, here’s why this thing doesn’t fly with constitutional governance.

Who’s Issuing the Mandates?

And the other thing is, who’s making the decision? If a governor is doing it on their own or if you have county commissioners that have been elected to do that, that’s different. That’s like a legislative body, so they’re literally making law. But if you have a county Judge making it up as he goes, or governor making it up as he goes, you might have some ways to win that.

But this is kind of new guys. I mean, there was only I think 7 or 8 cities that did this back in 1918. And so, there were no federal decisions, there was only, I think two or three State decisions. So, hey, we’re going to probably see some interesting legal battles come out of this and some landmark decisions before it’s all said and done. But the most important thing is who are you electing? Because that’s the ones that are making the decisions that require mask or not require mask.

Constitutional Freedoms

Tim:

Well, and one thing to guys, I think it’s interesting, looking back historically is there was a time in America where the government used to believe that Americans were adults. Right. You can give some guidance and hey, we recommend that you wear masks and if you’re vulnerable and government could give recommendations. But it used to be that no, you guys were adults and make adult decisions, that’s fine. Right? Be responsible. Do good things.

And today, we’ve come so far in our view of the role of government, that government is viewed so much more now as the parents who needs to help take care of the kids who are not really capable of taking care of themselves. This is a modern perception of government, which is why I think we’re seeing it goes so much further than it had in previous generations.

Rick:

Yep. I think you’re exactly right, Tim, it’s a different mindset. The government wants to be the nanny, and the people, unfortunately too often want government to be the nanny. So, we’re doing that old thing of trading liberty for safety, that is really an illusion or in this case that government is somehow going to save our lives from these types of things. Okay, guys, quick break. I know we’ve got a lot more questions to get to. Stay with us, folks, it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.

Colonial Patriots

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.”

This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. American patriot Paul Revere wrote to alert Americans of the impending arrival of the British, but he also sought patriot leaders 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, a 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 meetinghouse 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.

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.”

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live, Foundation of Freedom Thursday today, which means you get to ask the question. So, send them in, [email protected] Next one is from Shane. He said, “I’m wondering, why is it necessary for a church in Nevada, for example, to go to court in order to revalidate its First Amendment right to assemble without government interference, prohibiting the free exercise thereof?”

Court Mandates Trump Rights?

That sounds familiar. I wonder where we could find that, guys? “Does it not just open the door for society to ignorantly accept the false notion that a court precedent trumps a First Amendment right? Personally, I feel a church should do what the Lord is telling them to do and walk by faith and continue to do so regardless of man’s opinion. If, for example, the governor said that because of the pandemic, all journalists had to submit their articles for government proofread and approval before being published, do you really think the press would suspend its operations while waiting on a court ruling? It’s clear from the First Amendment that no governor in the US has grounds to do either.”

Shane asked that question. And by the way, on the press thing, isn’t that what Facebook and Twitter already do, you kind of submit your post? Well, not really, but they do recall it or shut it down as quick as they can if it doesn’t meet the narrative. But interesting question, guys. Do we have it backwards? Are the churches by asking for permission or trying to get a ruling ahead of time, I mean, I realize there’s some strategy there, should they just be responding instead?

David:

Well, part of it is a response. I mean, a lot of these guys who didn’t end up in court or not ending up there because they’re arguing for a right to be able to have services. They’re ending up there because they said, we’re going to have services and the government came after them and said, no, you’re not going to have services.

So, in a lot of ways, they’ve already made up their mind, we’re doing this and that’s why we’re in court. We’re not asking permission. You’re trying to tell us we can and we don’t need your permission to have this. There’s been so many good examples over the last several weeks, started probably about four weeks ago when 3,000 pastors in California told governor Newsom he can take a flying leap because they’re going to meet and they really don’t care what he does, because they’re going to meet.

So, that has ended up in litigation. That’s ended up in a lot of lawsuits. And it’s not because the churches were asking for his permission, it’s because the State came in and said, no, we’re not going to allow you to and they said, well, we’re going to do it anyway.

Are There No Consequences for Leaders?

So, I don’t think in all the cases, now, it could be in some of the cases, but certainly in the majority of the ones we’re seeing, it’s not because the churches are asking for permission, it’s because they are standing up to defend their rights, they’re going to do it. Now, I have seen some where they’re suing the injunction from the governor or the mayor or whoever else, where they’re trying to get that dump so that they can have church without consequence. And that’s another aspect to it.

If you can go to court and get the court to rule that you have the right to meet, well, then that takes away the penalties and whatever fines or jail time or contempt or whatever the court is going to throw at you. So, in some ways, going to court to get the permission is just revalidating the right that you already have to be able to hold those meetings and now you’ve stopped the government from coming after you to prosecute you or persecute you, whichever one of those two words you want to use.

But in a lot of these cases, it really is because the churches have already made the decision. We’re standing for first amendment rights. And the government wants to validate that, great. Although there are occasions where they are going to ask permission just to keep the penalty from being enforced. But by and large, they’ve got a pretty good view of the First Amendment and the fact that they’re willing to fight for, in either case, whether it’s getting permission or saying that we’re going to do it, the fact that they’re willing to stand up and fight in court is a good sign.

Rick:

And it’s been really cool to watch some of these pastors articulate so well, not just the constitutional principle, but the biblical principle and in fact, even saying, look, we can argue First Amendment, but the first and foremost thing we’re arguing is that God’s law tells us to meet and if we are going to obey God first, then we’re willing to have civil disobedience or as our friend, Rob McQuaid in California says it’s not civil disobedience.

Winning the Approval of Man or God?

This is obedience to God’s word. You guys like having to say disobedience, is actually obedience to the correct authority in this case. So, it’s kind of neat to see several of these pastors, not several, a lot of them that are standing up and articulating this really, really well, but also being strategic in the legal fights and helping to make sure that these constitutional protections are there for other pastors as well.

Tim:

Yeah. And it’s really similar to what the apostle Paul wrote also in Galatians 1:10, where he said, am I trying to win the approval of man or God; if I was trying to win the approval of man, I wouldn’t be a servant of God. And kind of to Rob McQuaid’s point this is not about disobeying a law, this is about obeying God. I’m not here to serve man. I’m here to serve… Well, I mean, in some capacity, right, we serve God by serving man, but not serving a tyrannical government.

Which is what, even you go back to one of the early founding pastors, Jonathan Mayhew, who had this really famous sermon where from the sermon, the motto, “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God” was really birth. That he pointed out, hey, sometimes the way you can show the greatest obedience to God is that you are rejecting the tyranny of tyrants so that you can do submit to God’s higher call. And certainly, that’s what we think a lot of these pastors are doing right now by rejecting a lot of these ungodly and unconstitutional church closing mandates.

Rick:

Alright, guys, more questions when we come back. Stay with us, folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.

Greatest Political Privilege

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.”

Hey friends, Rick Green here. I know there’s a lot of crazy stuff going on in America right now, but we know God is sovereign. We also know that “duty is ours, results are God’s”. And that means we do our duty. You know, Proverbs 22:3 says “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions, the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”

Friends, if you are not prepared to defend your family, can I just challenge you to come spend a few days with us for a training we call ‘Constitutional Defense of your Family and Freedom’? During the day, on the range, you’re going to get the best handgun defense training in the world. And in the evening, I’m going to teach you on the Constitution, “Handgun Defense by day, Constitutional Knowledge by night.”

Sign up today at rickgreen.com. We’re going to take you out there for 1/10th, that’s only 10% of the normal price of going out to these very, very good trainings and no more important time than to do it right now. Rickgreen.com, sign up today. Doesn’t matter if you’ve had a lifetime of gun experience or you’ve never touched a gun ever in your life. Check it out at Rickgreen.com, we’ve got multiple dates coming up and we want you to be with us for constitutional defense.

Holding Officials Accountable

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.”

Rick:

We’re back here on WallBuilders Live, Foundations of Freedom Thursday today. Be sure and send your questions in to [email protected], that’s [email protected] And Josh gets the next question. His question is about lawsuits against government. Guys, here’s what he said. “Currently, there are over a dozen businesses suing the city of Seattle for their failure to enforce the law regarding Chaz, Chop, whatever you want to call that independent nation that existed in the streets of Seattle for a few weeks there”.

Or, thought they were independent anyway. That was not Josh, that was me. Sorry, guys, adding commentary to his email. Back to his email. “Add to this, the many lawsuits against governors who have made unconstitutional decrees across America. This raises a problem for me that I was wondering if you could address.

The premise: When a government official, elected or not, is negligent in their duties or blatantly refuses to do them, they get sued. However, it is not them personally that pays, but the government body they’re a part of, be it a city, county or State, the money paid out is paid by taxpayer. So, in effect, taxpayers pay for the attacks against them by their own public servants.

Is there any way to hold these officials personally liable for their actions? Voting the bums out is not a good answer. But the Bill of Rights does not criminalize those who break it. How can we stop paying for injustice? Thanks, Joshua.

So, guys, I think what he’s really hinting at here is that sovereign immunity that happens, unfortunately, elected officials act like you have no accountability because truthfully, legally, they don’t right now.

How Many Citizens Are Not Voting?

David:

Well, they don’t in several ways. But I want to hit the concept that voting the bums out is not necessarily a good answer. That may be true, but that is the good answer. I mean, in one sense, it’s not a good answer, because we don’t ever vote the bums out. But in the other sense, constitutionally, that is the right answer.

Tim and I did a series of programs that run nationally before the presidential election. And one of them, we have a quote from a guy in Los Angeles who became mayor. He was elected there, mayor of Los Angeles, so the second largest city in the nation. And he talked about how that he won the election with a landslide of 2.9% of the vote in LA. Now, that was a landslide win at 2.9% of the vote.

 And that’s the problem with most of these big cities, whether it’s a Houston or Seattle or anywhere else. Generally, you’re only looking at 2%, 3%, 4% or 5% of people vote. And so, if we don’t vote the bums out, it’s because 95% aren’t doing anything. If we ever get tired and actually decided we want to vote the bums out, man, get an 8% turnout in the city and you will have scared everybody to death, because instead of having a 4% turnout, you’ve doubled it. So that still is the answer.

But you have such a high percentage of citizens who do not vote in local elections. You got a pretty high percentage that votes in presidential elections. You got a decent percentage that votes in gubernatorial elections and the off non-presidential elections, but you have a pathetic amount of people who vote in city elections. So, that is it. But now going to your other point, Rick.

There is immunity for government officials from what they do in office. Because when you have a city of a million people, you can’t just have people sue that the mayor every time they don’t like what happens. So, you have this limited immunity where the city actually has to give you permission to sue it. The same in Congress.

Government Overreach

The same with any government agency. You really have procedures in place to protect them from frivolous type of lawsuits. Now, if you can show is malicious, then generally, you get permission to sue the city or sue the official if you can show that there was actually something malicious going on as opposed to, I just didn’t like what you were doing.

And so, that really is what’s driving a whole lot of these and it’s crazy that you get all these lawsuits brought and exactly right, we’re going to be using taxpayer dollars to pay for the stupidity what these guys did. For example, we’ve seen cities recently where the city has been ordered to pay $100,000 fine, because they shut down the free speech of some group in the city. Well, that means the citizens all get to pay toward that $100,000 fine by paying extra taxes because the city did something really stupid. That’s just the nature of how this happens.

So, I really hope as a result, what we’ve seen with COVID and the result of what we’ve seen with governors and their overreach and with mayors and their overreach, I have great expectation that we’re going to see a lot of mayors be out of jobs and that we are going to see an 8% 9% 10% turnout in a lot of cities where they’re just disgusted with this. Whether that be…

When you look at what’s happening with Minneapolis and what happened with defunding the police and now all the high crime that’s gone there or do you look at what’s happened with Detroit and cutting back on the police there in New York City, defunding the detectives and now crime is up 206%, I have great hope that the people are going to say I’ve had it. I haven’t voted in 20 years, but this stupidity deserves a vote from me.

And I’m hoping that we see a whole lot of changes and mayors as a result. But if we don’t, it’s going to be because the people decided that we don’t want to throw the bums out even though we think the bums should be thrown out, we’re doing nothing about it. And so, I hate to kind of harp on that phrase, but again, when you win a landslide election in Los Angeles, 2.9% of the vote, that’s a problem.

Rick:

Well, let me ask you guys this and I know you don’t have a crystal ball. But it seems like what you’re talking about, especially with the riots continuing and then a lot of these people, you know, standing by politicians, actually, in some ways encouraging it, does that affect…

“Mostly” Peaceful Protests?

David:

And by the way, Rick, just a little commentary. How in the world can you be a leader of Portland and have a protest that’s gone nearly three months now when…?

Rick:

Every night.

David:

Every night.

Tim:

But it’s mostly peaceful, guys. They’ve only burned down part of the city and beaten up a few people and killed a couple others, but it’s mostly peaceful, so it’s fine.

David:

And you have other cities who finally get fed up with this and they asked President Trump for help like Minneapolis, and in three hours, the riots are gone and they don’t happen again after that. I mean, this is such a lack of leadership. When you can have something go months and you have another leader that can come in and put it down in less than a day as he’s done a number of cities that have asked for help, I mean, that says a whole lot about leadership as well, but I’m sorry, Rick, back to the point you were making…

Elections

Rick:

In fact, you read my mind, man, that’s exactly what I was going to ask. Was does this wear on the American people even just watching Portland, let alone the ones that keep breaking out in Seattle and other places across the country? You know, does this have a huge effect on the November election?

David:

I don’t think it will have an effect on November election, because most city elections occur after the federal elections. So…

Rick:

When I mean, the federal election. I mean, like, do people see this and go, that’s it. I mean, Trump is the only one that has spoken out against these rights firmly. The Democrats are essentially encouraging it, refused to decry it. I mean, you saw the Hawaii senator walk out of Ted Cruz’s committee refusing to condemn antifa, because sometimes people feel like they don’t have any other way to fight back against this. And so maybe that’s their way of fighting back is showing up in November and voting for President Trump?

David:

Well, my belief is that we’re going to see a landslide win in November. And it’s based on my belief that what I see in polling is American is a lot more healthier and a lot less polarized than what we’ve been led to believe. Now, if those polls are right and what we’re seeing, covering the last couple Good News Fridays is correct, I think it will not be close.

Tim:

Well, I think mostly, they’re getting frustrated with the promoted polarization. Right? I think, certainly, there’s a lot of different views. But I think they’re so fed up with the media, forcing this division and trying to widen the gap in America that I think Trump is going to be a lot of the protest candidate for a lot of the nonsense from the media.

Masks, Constitutional Freedoms, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom

Rick:

Well, thanks for listening today, folks. We are out of time on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday, so we can’t get to any more questions, but we will do that next Thursday on Foundations of Freedom Thursday, then don’t miss tomorrow, Good news Friday. We got a lot of great good news stories to share with you. Great good news, not just good news. Great good news! I don’t know where that came from.

But in anyway, we are sure glad that you’re listening to WallBuilders Live. We encourage you to visit our websites today as well, wallbuilderslive.com and wallbuilders.com. I hope that you will continue to do your part. I know if you’re listening to this program, you’ve already been moved to action, you’re already doing your part to be a good citizen, to live out that biblical worldview, and to do your part in preserving freedom for future generations.

Thanks for coming alongside us. Be sure to share the program on your social media outlets and tell your friends and family about it. Thanks for listening today 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.”