National Popular Vote In 2020 Election: Its Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your most pressing questions!
Air Date: 05/16/2019
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
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, always doing that from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and President of WallBuilders, and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.
It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, a special day of the week where we get to answer questions from you, the listeners! Always answering your questions from constitutional principles! Tune in today as we answer your questions such as , and so much more, right here on WallBuilders Live!
All right, guys, let’s dive into some great questions. Now, some of these we might have heard of the question and not necessarily know the answer; some of them are totally new. So, this is great a great way for us to know what our audience is interested in and for the three of us to get to do some research and learn some things.
Are you all already to dive in?
Let’s do it.
The first one says, “I’m a bit confused. Thomas Paine wrote The Study of God, which I found on your website. But, he also wrote Age of Reason. Did he lose his faith, or am I missing something? Thanks for all you do.”
So, the Thomas Paine question: which part of his writings should we take as his real beliefs? Did they change over time? Was he a little bit like Jefferson because, David, you’ve read an entire book on Jefferson’s changes over time and the things that he believed.
What about Paine?
Thomas Paine. I can read you quotes where they appear to contradict each other, but they don’t. What makes the distinction is he’s a firm advocate and believer in God yet a disbeliever in the New Testament and the divinity of Jesus Christ.
And, really Christianity as a whole.
I think that’s right.
I mean he really is very, very critical of Christianity. “You’re dumb for believing in Christ and being a Christian.” You know, this pseudo, made-up–because even, there’s parts of the Old Testament that he thinks are ridiculous as well.
So, it’s not just that he doesn’t believe in the divinity of Jesus or the New Testament; there’s several things about the Bible he thinks are dumb. But, really it’s an attack on Christianity. However, he very much believes that there is a God and that God even does or did have a very significant part of creating and forming the world, which is why he actually wrote Franklin a letter before he did the Age of Reason.
The Age of Reason
The Age of Reason is where he argues against Christianity, explains how we’ve outgrown it, and says that Christianity isn’t how we should base our life or base a nation. It’s kind of the argument he makes throughout. But, he writes a letter to Franklin and says, “Franklin, what do you think about this?”
Because, his belief is that Franklin and he have very similar thoughts about There is a God who created the universe who is big and powerful. Well, Franklin believed a little more than Thomas Paine did. So, actually, you can even google and look up Franklin’s letter to Thomas Paine in regard to The Age of Reason.
It’s really a brilliant letter from Franklin. But, it does give you an indication that Paine believed in God; he just didn’t believe necessarily in Christianity. And, that’s where you see some of the conflict of How can you believe in God yet say these very negative things against Christianity?
What he really seemed to be against was Christianity more than God.
Yeah, here’s one of his quotes. He says, “The duty of man is not a wilderness of turnpike gates through which we pass by one ticket to another. It’s plain and simple, consisting of a main point that is our duty to God, which every man must feel.”
He goes on to say, “Jesus Christ is a virtuous and amiable man. The morality He preached and practiced was the most benevolent. Though similar systems of morality had been practiced by Confucius, the Greek philosophers, and by the Quakers, there’s been none so good as that of Jesus.”
Pro-God Does Not Equal Pro-Christianity
So, you read that kind of stuff and say, “That sounds pretty good.” Then, when he, particularly in 1797, jumped all over the French public schools for not teaching creation science, for not teaching that God is the Creator. I mean, he just slammed them.
But then, you turn around and he says, “I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, the Roman Church, the Greek Church, the Turkish Church, the Protestant Church, nor any church I know of. My own mind is my church.” And, there he goes and keeps taking off that way.
So, Tim laid it out. I mean, you can read his stuff; and, if you think being pro-God is pro-Bible and pro-Jesus, you will not read Thomas Paine right. He is pro-God; but, he’s not pro-Bible, pro-Christianity. He is pro-Jesus as a moral teacher; but, he’s not pro-Jesus as the Son of God, the Savior of the world.
Tim, you do a lot more of the apologetics and even some of the debates and that kind of thing than I do; so, you have a better handle on what’s out there. But, it looks and feels like to me in my interactions that typically the anti-Christian are atheists. And so, this this seems different from what most people are today.
You almost feel like they think if I’m not going to be Christian I have to go the other end of the spectrum and be atheist. And, there’s very few that are anti-Christian but do believe in God, that aren’t also devoted to another religion either Jewish or whatever. So, this seems weird today.
I don’t know many people that are like this who say, “I believe in God, but I’m anti-religion completely.” Am I wrong in that?
Taking God Out of Our Education
No, it’s very different from our thoughts today. One of the things, certainly in early America and previous generations in general, education was so much different in that we looked at things with a more critical eye and more strategic, maybe thought-out, plan. If you think about what most kids learn–and really have learned for the last 40 to 50 years; significantly, we removed God from public education and took away the acknowledgement that there’s a higher being, a deity, something beyond us that had a part in this. And, the number one thing we learn about the universe really revolves around evolution.
Well, this shapes things very different in the modern mindset to where generally, today if you’re not a Christian or don’t believe in Christianity, it’s either because you believe in another religion, or in no religion at all. You’re right; there are very few people.
Now, you might find some older-generation people. You’re not going to find many millennials who believe there’s a God who don’t have some other level of faith associated with it. And, for the most part, the majority of the people I have met or encountered who claim to be atheists are not atheist because they’ve actually done the research, which I think it’s worth noting.
An Agnostic Would Be A Better Choice
The best you can be, if you’re going to be intellectually honest, is an agnostic saying, “I don’t really know if there is a god or not.” You actually can’t be an atheist. To be an atheist, you have to be able to make a definitive claim There is no god.
In order for you to make that claim, you have to have all knowledge; which, I’ve never met even an atheist who acknowledges they know everything there is to know. So, is it possible that there could be a god and you just don’t know it? Well, if they say, “No,” then they’re acknowledging they know everything there is; which, first of all is a problem.
But secondly, let’s say that you did have a great level of knowledge and understanding. Not only do you have to know everything there is to know to say with any kind of definition or definitiveness, “There is no God.” You also have to be omnipresent, be everywhere at the same time, because what if God is in South Africa while you’re in Switzerland?
And then, you go to South Africa, but God is now over in New Zealand while you’re in South Africa. You have to be everywhere at the same time to say that there is no God. So, the best you can be is an agnostic and say, “I’m not really sure if there is a god or not,” because you don’t have the knowledge you need to say that there is no God.
Generally, what happens from people that are atheist, is there an atheist out of frustration, pain, the hypocrisy of the Church or of the people. It’s not because they’ve actually done the research.
It’s more of a knee-jerk reaction.
And, I would argue that some are atheist, too, because of education. That’s simply what they’ve been taught. They have not heard the other side.
Deposited by Aliens?
Yes, and you might find a guy like Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins, guys that are incredibly smart, who say they’re atheist. But, we would even argue that the terms and the definitions might be a little different, because to say with absolute certainty, “There is no God;” well, this is where you have guys like Richard Dawkins who says, “ Well, so, I do believe that the earth is too complex to have just originated from nothing. But, I think it’s possible the earth was started on the back of a crystal that was deposited by aliens.”
Now, that takes more faith than just to believe what the Bible says, the idea that aliens created the earth in the back of a crystal. But, even I would point out his acknowledgement is the acknowledgement of an intelligent designer, right? Now, his intelligent designer might have been aliens; but, the point is there is an intelligent–there’s something beyond us that is greater than us.
He doesn’t want to call it “God.” And, this is where when you start doing actual research, it’s very different than what we hear today. But, Rick, back to your initial thought. Because today we don’t have many people who would be defenders of God, that there was a God who created the universe, and yet don’t believe in Christianity, the Jewish, Muslim, or Islam teachings; or these other things, we don’t see people who are believers and defenders of the Creator God who don’t believe something else. And so, when someone’s hostile to Christianity, it’s not normal they have a position that is pro-God. But, that is what Thomas Paine was.
And, Rick, you pointed out what appeared to you to be a dichotomy. How can you? It’s like Thomas Paine is taking a third position because you’re either, as Tim said, “You’re pro-God and therefore you’re some religious; or, you’re anti-God.”
So, when Thomas Paine came out with The Age of Reason in 1793-94–and this is where, as Tim summarized, he said, basically, “Christianity, Judaism, and the Bible are really dumb.” That’s where they launched after him and really went after him. So, you have people like Patrick Henry writing entire books; Elias Boudinot Founding Father, writing a book; and Sam Adams is doing op-ed pieces.
They were going after not only Thomas Paine, but the ideas he’s espousing. So, these guys went after the ideas and him. And, Paine really took it personally and felt injured.
We were able to obtain a six-page letter that was written by Thomas Paine to Sam Adams because Sam Adams wrote an op-ed saying how crazy this stuff is. So, Thomas Paine said, “Sam, you’re not understanding what’s happening here.
“I was writing against atheism,” He says, “I’ve been in France and wrote The Rights of Man from there. Working in France, I see that they’re going headlong into atheism. The Age of Reason was written to keep them from becoming atheist, because if you become atheist, that’s really, really bad.”
And, actually, it’s a unique letter where Thomas Paine says, “I believe in God, definitely. Now, I’m not a Christian and don’t believe in Christian stuff or the Bible, but in God. And, it’s really terrible for a nation to be a nation of atheists.”
So, even at the time that this happened, Rick, they kind of had the dichotomy thinking that you mentioned earlier where if you’re an atheist, then your anti-religion anti-everything else. But, Thomas Paine did kind of fit an unusual niche where that he’s defending God, a creator, and intelligent design. He just didn’t like the Bible, Christianity, and other religions.
Allright, guys, we got more questions to get to; so, we’re gonna take a quick break. We’ll be right back. Folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live!
It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. And, you can send your questions in to [email protected] We’ll be right back.
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And, if we think them 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.”
d the pulpit in every area of the culture. They’re leading effectively and impacting the world around them. Patriot Academy is now expanding across the nation and now is your chance to experience this life changing week that trains champions to change the world. Visit Patrick Academy dot com for dates and locations. Our core program is still for young leaders 16 to 25 years old but we also now have a citizen track for adults so visit the website today to learn more. Help us fill the void of leadership in America. Join us in training champions to change the world at Patriot Academy icon.
George Washington said, “The constitution approaches nearer to perfection than any other government instituted among men.”
Trump & the Wall
We’re back on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Again, send your questions into [email protected]
Here’s one of the questions that came in by email. David, Tim, here it goes.
“Iis my understanding that Congress has passed bills and budgets that called for the building and financing of a wall several times. Could President Trump act on legislation that was passed but never completed?”
In the sense of what we’re talking about here, they’ve authorized the funding several times; but, a budget only lasts for the duration of two years and doesn’t extend past that. Even though we’ve made some long-term programs like Medicare and Social Security; nonetheless, they have to be funded every two years. So, the fact that a previous Congress might have funded it does not give him the authority to step in and do something with it right now.
Now, if he can come up with his current budget and find money that’s not been designated money that he was allowed some latitude with, then yes, he can do that and apply that. And, that’s why they’ve looked at things like that the drug cartel guy that they took 10 billion dollars from, confiscated money from him. Use that money to build the wall; you don’t necessarily have to appropriate it through Congress.
And, one of the problems, too, is even looking back at some of these bills, appropriations, or different things that were there where people argued, “Let’s take money from previous things and apply it here,” it’s worth noting, guys, that all the previous budgets that they’re pointing to would be back under President Obama. Now, wait a second. The Republicans had the House and Senate for the first two years of Trump; where was the one they did?
Why So Many Americans Are Frustrated with Congress
And, this is where, absolutely, I point to terrible leadership from the Republican Party when they pretended like they wanted and supported securing our southern border. Then, when we have the chance to do it, they don’t even get to get the bill done? So, whoever’s in charge of calendar committee and what happens on the floor, whoever the leaders were behind this, saved this as a political ploy because they know Americans care about it; so, let’s use this as fodder for the fire and make it a big deal.
But, they didn’t get it done when they had a chance to get it done. And, this is why so many Americans are frustrated with Congress because you guys say you’re going to do something, run on it. And, this is what’s made Trump so unique is he’s been someone who actually is trying to do what he said he was going to do.
Would you say that again? In Washington? Are you sure?
It’s a novel concept that somebody–I mean, we’re saying this. We have friends in Washington D.C. and had friends on the show that are congressmen or senators. And, there are people up there who are people of integrity.
The problem is there just aren’t enough of them.
Yes, they’re as frustrated with this stuff as we are.
Drain the Swamp
There’s no doubt. And, the problem is a lot of times, you have leaders of the party, these different heads, who say, “Wait a second, no. This is gonna be a better fundraising something for us that will help the campaign better if this is still a major issue.”
So, instead of resolving it, having this major fight with all kinds of opposition and pushback, let’s just let’s just table it for now and not deal with it for now. Then, we can bring it up later when we can pretend like that the Democrats are stopping us from doing this. There’s so much political game involved; which of course, is where Trump has blown up so much this and talked about draining the swamp.
And, many of our friends are up there going, “Yes, please, drain the swamp.” There’s a lot of frustrated congressmen and senators because they want the same thing that we want: things that they ran on, promoted, and are trying to do as well. They’re just a little outnumbered.
So, I think it’s just worth pointing out as we’re talking about previous budgets and if we can go to a previous budget. You have to go back to a budget done from President Obama, not one down those first two years when Republicans were in charge of the House and Senate; and, that’s where should’ve been taken care.
National Defense Authorization Act
And, regardless of who did it, it still remains the fact that under the Constitution, your funding is only for a two-year period of time. And, that’s why even though we have what we think is a permanent military, technically it’s not. Our military is funded from top to bottom every two years. The Founding Fathers did not want a standing army.
And, even though we think we have a permanent military, if it does not get funded in the next NDAA, which is National Defense Authorization Act, the Military goes away. So, at the end of two years, you got to start over and do it again. That’s just the way the Founding Fathers made the Constitution.
All right, guys, quick break; we’ll come back. We’ve got time for one more question here on Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
And, by the way, folks, if you’d like to have your questions answered, be sure and send it to us: [email protected] Builders.com. That’s [email protected] You can find out more about us at our two websites. We’ve got WallBuildersLive.com, our radio site.
And then, go over to WallBuilders.com, our main site.
At the radio site, you’ll get a list of all our stations. You’ll be able to get into the archives of the program over the last few weeks. And, you can also make a donation there.
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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.”
Comedy and the Constitution at Front Site
Hey friends, Rick Green here. Have you ever wanted to laugh while learning? Would you like to actually have some humor included in your education about the Constitution? Well, that’s what Brad Stine and myself do in what we call Comedy and the Constitution.
We do it all over the country and can bring it to your community. But, we’re doing something we’ve never done before. We’re taking the Comedy and the Constitution Front Site in Nevada, and we’re going to combine it with the Constitutional Defense Program we’ve been doing for a couple of years.
Now, the Constitutional Defense Program is where you actually get some constitution training and some handgun training to you learn how to defend yourself and your family. You’re going to get all of it: the constitutional training; the opportunity to laugh with Brad Stine, God’s comic comedian, and you’re going to the handgun training at Front Site.
This is a one time event happening June 3rd and 4th. There’s still time to sign up; but, space is very limited. So, if you want to be on the range with us, then you’ve got to get signed up right now at RickGreen.com. Find out more; it’s going to be a great event on June 3rd and 4th. So, get signed up today at RickGreen.com.
Greatest Political Privilege
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize 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.”
National Popular Vote
And, we’re back on WallBuilders Live! Foundations of Freedom Thursday is today. And, our next question from the audience has to do with National Popular Vote.
It says, “New Mexico is the 14th state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which is a political move pushed primarily by Democrats to have the president selected by the popular vote total directly. How will this stand up constitutionally in 2020 when it undoubtedly will go to the Supreme Court
So, guys, just to clarify the question: I think they must be saying if there’s enough states to actually kick it into gear, because my understanding is it doesn’t actually trip into working until there’s enough states that total the 270 in electoral votes. So, there would have to be more pass it between now and 2020. But, it’s still a good question: What happens if it’s challenged constitutionally?
Yeah, by the Constitution, you have to have a majority of the Electoral College, which is 270 votes. So, it’s Texas has about 38 or 39 votes, and California has about 57. Enough of those states, if they said, “Here’s how we’re going to do it; and, between us, we have 270 plus votes;” then, at that point, on the night of election, they would all throw their votes in together and say, “We’re throwing all of our electoral votes to this one person,” whoever that would be.
The 17th Amendment
And, they’re going by popular vote, rather than by state-by-state count. So, they’re looking at trying to make this a national count rather than a state-by-state count, which clearly violates original intent. But, the question is What would happen at the U.S. Supreme Court. It’s really tricky, and there’s a couple reasons.
The Constitution says that the states determine the time, place, and manner of elections. And, the 17th Amendment, essentially by changing the way we elect our senators, it kind of made the Senate into a super House of Representatives. So, with the 17th Amendment kind of taking away the state-representation side of it, although you still have the 10th Amendment, there is an argument that can be made that by the 17th Amendment changing the way we elect senators, and by the clause that says, “States get the the right to determine time, places, and manners,” I think you can make a pretty strong argument for it.
However, under original intent, you would have to say, “No, we have a bicameral system: we have a Senate we have a House. There is representation for the states in the Senate; two senators get the same vote from every state regardless to how big or small is. So, I think with the current Supreme Court, we would probably come out on the side of original intent: that the national National Popular Vote Compact probably wouldn’t stand up.
A Pandora’s Box
But, I don’t think that’s a slam-dunk given. It could change things; and, if it does, man, that’s a Pandora’s box. Again, I don’t think the blue states understand the consequences that would happen if Trump were to win and all these blue states had to cast all of their electoral votes for Trump; they would go crazy.
But, they think that this would give them the win. So, I think it’s a mixed bag. There’s not a clear answer to that, Rick.
Well, and in fact, this is issue itself is a great way to talk about some of things we wanted to cover before the program is over today. You’ve got to educate people on the difference between the Electoral College that the Founding Fathers brilliantly designed to make sure that the whole country was taken into account, that no one region would elect a president or just the inner cities, and all those things. But, you’ve got to educate people about what federalism is and why our system is special.
So, we’ve got to train the next generation to understand this as well, because it’s easy to just say, “Well, whoever gets the most votes should win.” That sounds good because it’s it’s ignorant. I mean that, hopefully in a polite way, of how our system of federalism actually actually works.
Educating The Next Generation
And so, we want to recommend some programs today for young people this summer. Here we are on the brink of summer; and, as kids get out school–high school and college–there are some great opportunities for them to go to High Point out in Hot Springs, Arkansas. This is a program we love and support.
They can also come to the Leadership Program at WallBuilders and actually get to spend two weeks learning with David and Tim, going over and to Mercury One to see how all of those things work, see the library, and work in the library at WallBuilders. It’s just a phenomenal opportunity. There are two opportunities to do that this summer.
We’ve got links today at WallBuildersLive.com where you can go to find out more about the program itself and how to apply. Then, Patriot Academy is happening all across the country this summer. Go to PatriotAcademy.com to see the dates and costs for that. It’s an opportunity to live the life of a legislator for the week and actually be immersed into a mock-legislative session while learning Biblical worldview of government and the Founding Fathers’ philosophy of government.
So, really great opportunities for some people to help train the next generation.
National Popular Vote in 2020: Educate the Next Generation
To that point, looking at the summer schedule, for me, I have 10 weeks straight of working with young people this summer. I think your schedule is very similar. My dad has had several weeks in a row carved out to do some these programs as well.
For us, We recognized this, as I think most adult Americans recognize, that the future hinges on if the next generation can figure out these ideas: the Foundations of Freedom and the foundations of truth. I mean, what does this look like? Can we hand off and equip the next generation with the principles to help America maintain and be successful with the ideas the Founding Fathers?
And, this is where we spend our time all summers, working with young people. So, not only is this a great opportunity for your young people: your kids, grandkids, friends kids, the people you know at church; for them to come be part of one of these programs, this is also something you can help sponsor kids as we’re doing this. You can help sponsor WallBuilders, Patriot Academy, the Leadership Program, or High Point.
Maybe you don’t know kids that can come; but, you can help send money so that these programs can operate and we can scholarship, sponsor kids to come, and have a greater impact or reach. But, these are things we’re doing because of our recognition of the need to reach the next generation.
So, true; and actually, those sponsorships are why we can charge so little for each of these programs. For what people get at the Leadership Program at WallBuilders, Patriot Academy, or High Point based on what they actually pay, it’s unbelievable and off the charts. People are shocked all the time when they find out.
But, it’s because of donors just like you that are listening right now. So, Tim’s exactly right. Go to the website today WallBuildersLive.com.
We’ll have links to all three programs so that you can contribute, send young people to those websites to learn more and get signed up. It’s going to be a great summer. We are looking forward to investing in the next generation with our time and money.
We hope that you will do the exact same thing. Let’s make sure that we pass this torch of freedom intact to the next generation.
Our time is our for today, folks. We will have more Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs coming up in the coming weeks. So, send your questions in to [email protected] WallBuilders.com.
Thanks so much for listening to WallBuilders Live!
Be At All Times Armed
Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitutions 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 it 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.”