Our Founders, Education, The Judicial Branch And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: What makes Wallbuilders presentations so unique? Where did our Founders get their brilliant formulas? What can we learn from past systems of education? What is the true purpose of the judicial branch? Tune in to hear our answers to your questions and more!
Air Date: 10/20/2022
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.
You found your way at the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live, and we are talking about the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. And today we’re specifically talking about topics that you want to talk about.
So send in your questions [email protected], [email protected], and we’re going to cover as many of those as we can. We dive into these questions to answer foundational questions about the principles, about how a nation works, about how to apply the Constitution, some of the historical questions of how America came about and became the nation that it is.
And so send in, whatever your questions are, we’ll get to as many of them as possible today. And if you missed the last couple of weeks, you can listen to those previous Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs at our website wallbuilderslive.com. And at wallbuilderslive.com is also where you can make that one-time donation or you can make a monthly donation.
But all of those dollars are an investment in freedom; it allows us to reach more people; it allows us to go out there and add stations to this program and to have our legislators trainings and pastors trainings and youth training. All the things that we do, your donations make that possible.
So thank you to all of you that have been donating, and thank you for listening. Thanks for being a part of this program just by listening. But I want to challenge you to act on what you hear. Host a Constitution class, run for office, or help a candidate that’s running for office, but act on the things that we’re talking about here at WallBuilders Live. Let’s jump into some of your questions and answer those questions on this Foundation of Freedom Thursday.
Alright, David and Tim, let’s dive into those questions. And by the way, folks, you can send those in to [email protected] if you’d like us to read your question on the air. We love getting them, so send them in. First one’s kind of a comment, actually, from Christian John in St. Peters, Missouri.
He said “Our family heard Tim speak on Saturday in St. Louis, and it was great. We heard lots of new, interesting history, and even our eight year old son was listening. He heard Tim mention his favorite Bible story about King Eglon and his fat closing over the knife when he was assassinated. Our son leaned over and told me that was his favorite Bible story too. So that makes Tim Barton and me twins.”
So, Tim, you’ve got a twin out there he’s eight, I’m not going to say anything about you being eight years old, Tim. But anyway, you got an eight year old twin in Missouri. And Christie goes on to say, “Our son thinks he’s so funny. He also told me his next favorite Bible stories when David cuts off Goliath’s head big. Thank you to Tim for making his speech interesting for eight year-olds as well as for adults. My husband and I talked about the information all weekend. PS. Our son John has also wanted to learn who all or maybe five, the faces and people are and learn their names to the picture of the signers of the US Constitution. He perked up when he heard Tim mention Chick-fil-A.”
So I got to echo this, Tim, I mean, it’s one thing to get up and spout off a bunch of history, but when you look out there and you see those little kids in the audience and you know you got to keep their attention, too, that takes extra effort. And so I think what she’s saying is thank you, thank you for not just talking to us adults, but keeping the kids engaged too.
And I think that’s important. We got to make kids love history early on, and that’s what WallBuilders does so well, is instead of just giving dates and names, bringing the stories to life is what makes it interesting to them, especially when you’re thinking about a king being assassinated and the fat literally closing around the sword. How does an eight year old not pay attention to that? Well done, sir.
Hey, by the way, maybe we’ve got a future Seal team member there. I mean, if David and Goliath and Eglon are your favorite stories, we got a warrior coming up there. So maybe we’re going to have a military Hebrew of some kind.
Well, Christie and John, thank you, first of all, for bringing your kids to the presentation. I mean, that’s a start right there, parents, get them engaged and get them watching this kind of stuff so that they will become interested in history at a young age. So really good call there, Christie and John exposing them to the good stuff.
Alright, John Craig, I think I said that right from Arlington, Texas, sends in the next question. And it’s, let’s see. “Hello, WallBuilders, I’ve written them before, and you’ve been gracious to answer a couple of my questions on air.” Oh, well, John, you shouldn’t have said that. You’re pastor quota, that’s it. If we’ve already done two of yours, you don’t get any more.
No, I think Sebastian portion has the record for the most questions we’ve ever asked. And guys, I got the meeting last week and I forgot to tell you about that. Got the meeting in person. I think one of you guys had met him somewhere along the way at some point. But anyway, it’s really cool when we run into people.
Hey, Rick, by the way, we have done hundreds, hundreds of these Foundation of Freedom Thursday programs. And we do anywhere from two to four questions a week. So I don’t know, we’re up 1,000, 2,000, whatever. So how many think Sebastian’s had on air? If he’s the most, what do you think?
Man, I’d guess it at least ten. He’s probably had ten over the last two or three years that he’s been sending them in.
I know our listeners can’t see this, but I’m sending you guys the picture of Sebastian because I thought that was so cool running. So he’s actually a trucker now. He says “I get to listen to all of your shows. Every week I listen to every show, and it make my trip. So really cool.
Okay, so back to John. John, we’ve answered a couple of your questions. So since we’ve admitted that we’ve answered about ten of Sebastian’s, I guess I have to give you more than your quota. So here we go.
John said “I’ve written it before, and you’ve been gracious to answer a couple of my questions on air. Thank you. I teach a US citizenship class here in Arlington with students from all over the world.
And last week, we talked about the declaration of independence and our war for independence. I took some time to talk about some of the ideas behind the Declarations, such as inalienable rights and god as the source of our rights. One of my students who is from Cameroon, asked, what made our founders so brilliant, and what can we do to restore America as a God-fearing country? I told him that our founders were highly educated men who…”
Now, wait a minute, wait, hold. We’re talking about an immigrant coming in from Cameroon who wants to be a citizen who’s concerned about restoring a God-fearing country. How about Americans, can we get Americans to say amen to that? Man, that is so cool. And by the way, what a great idea to teach a citizenship class to impart into these new citizens the right philosophy, not just the right answers. You know, there’s 100 questions or so on the immigration test, but the reasoning behind them and what it is that makes America special. I mean, that’s a big opportunity.
Yes. He goes on to ask, in fact, he tells us what he told this young person from Cameroon. Well, I don’t know that this young person could be an old person, but it’s an immigrant. He said “I told him that our founders were highly educated men who were well read, that the bible was their most cited source, and that I believe their Christian faith is what made them to be great.
My question to you”, and that’s John asking us, guys, “my question to you is what made our founders so exceptionally brilliant? What set them apart from other leaders in the world? In a republic such as ours, where we don’t force people to practice a certain religion, how can we convince people to return to our Christian roots?”
So, guys, just to kind of summarize, I think what the immigrant from Cameroon and what John’s saying is, I’m just looking at the results in America had incredible results. How did these Founding Fathers put together a formula and a secret sauce that was so successful and how do we get people to go back to that formula?
Well, I think it’s worth noting as well that these were guys as even identifying the question that the Bible is the most cited source of their writings. These were Christians. They relied on the Bible. But you can go back for hundreds and thousands of years and see people that were Christians that relied on the Bible that did not have the same outcome. And so it really is such a province of thing how God called it all to unfold. Where actually I will make a soft plug right here.
If you go read The American Story, the book where we start with Columbus coming up roughly the ending of slavery in America, there’s so many providential things that build on each other where you see God laying a foundation, that there’s so much providence involved in the way the story unfolds that had it not been for Columbus, and really Columbus selling for the Spaniards; had it not been for the Pilgrims; had it not been for Squanto; had it not been for George Whitfield, we can go through lots and lots of people. But it never could have come to place that would have worked for the Founding Fathers.
And had the Founding Fathers not been people who were brought up in a nation that the number one textbook they were learning to read from was the Bible, had they not been students of the Word of God and then students of so much other history and philosophy where they referenced John Locke so much.
Or William Blackstone, we can go through some of their major influences, had these not been incredibly well read people, or even one of the things we will often point out is if you look at the Declaration, so many of the ideas, if not virtually every single major issue in the Declaration, it was really being taught by pastors well before the Founding Fathers ever got together. So there’s so many things that came together in early America for America to become a nation.
But what we can look back at and recognize why America has enjoyed so much stability, so much prosperity, so many blessings, it’s been because we as a nation have done a better job following biblical principles than virtually anywhere else in the world and those biblical principles are led to us being blessed as a nation. And where we’ve seen moments where our nation struggled.
In fact, right now, so many struggles in our nation right now, not to mention the administration, right, politics, government, so many issues,the reason we have these issues is we’ve divorced ourselves, gotten away from the principles of the Word of God.
So it’s not that the Founding Fathers were uniquely wise and brilliant in and of themselves, although they were wise and brilliant. There was a whole sequence that really you can see God laying out along the way building to get to this place where the Founding Fathers, God had them at the right place at the right time. I mean, really, it’s kind of this Esther moment from the Bible.
For such a time as this, they were placed in that position. And really where we are today, how do we restore that? We have to get back to those biblical principles that they used and applied to make this so unique.
You know, I would add to that even the thought that their education system had a lot to do with it, for sure. I mean, what they studied, yes, no question, Bible, John Locke, all those guys. But there’s a quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln that says, “The philosophy of the schoolroom in one generation be the philosophy of government the next.” And as I look at their system of education, they are so different from where we are today. They taught you how to think. Today we teach learning, and so we learn new things, recite new things, remember new things. But they were always thinkers.
And so they would look at really try to examine all sides; iron sharpen iron kind of things, the Bible says. They would have their discussions. We actually have a book that’s called Four Centuries of American Education, where it goes back to and looks at some of those school lessons and how they taught thinking, how questions were so important to them. In the gospels, Jesus asked more than 300 questions in the gospels, and he hardly answers any questions. He’s always asking them to make people think.
And so I think that thinking aspect that they had is really significant. And I was with Dennis Prager one time, and he made a comment that really struck with me. He said, “Where does common sense come from? Well, it comes from the fear of the Lord.” And I think that that’s another thing they have, is a lot of common sense because they asked a lot of questions, because they looked at things from all sides. They were willing to change. And I’ve seen them in their writings where they would change positions.
A great example is James Madison, who was an anti-Federalist, who was completely opposed to the national bank and then set up a national bank as an anti-Federalist because when he got in the War of 1812, he said, you know what, it really doesn’t work the way I thought it was. And so they were willing to change positions when things lined up. So they really followed truth. And I think that’s another aspect. In addition to all the content they got, I think they were in a system.
And again, I encourage people to get that book, Four Centuries of American Education. It’s a short book. It’s not long. It shows you some of the lessons they went through and how they learned to think.
And I think that contributed. And then you throw into that the fear of the Lord. They had common sense at a level that was really kind of unusual for where we are today. They were able to see and apply things and they were objective enough and loved truth enough that if it didn’t work, they tried something else.
They didn’t just stick with what they believed. So I just think they were remarkable in a lot of ways, and it’s either biblically based or biblically derived. And even people like Franklin, which I don’t think Franklin was a Christian, at least there’s no indication he was at the time he died, he still had been trained in that biblical system of education that made him a great thinker and a great leader.
Alright, John, thanks for that great question. We’re going to take a quick break, we’ll be right back. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our States and of the United States asserts 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.”
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 at wallbuilders.com.
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.”
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on this Foundation of Freedom. Thursday next question comes from Britain. He said, “Gentlemen, sorry, but I am a little confused of the significance of the judicial branch rulings if they’re supposed to be the weakest branch. I’m sure this has been covered before on Foundations of Freedom so for that I apologize.
If the Supreme Court was supposed to be the weakest of the three branches, and let’s say they still were for the sake of the argument, then what uses their rulings or opinion on cases brought before them? Couldn’t the other two branches just ignore what they claim is unconstitutional?
For example, with the Roe v. Wade overturn, if the Supreme Court was still the weakest of the three, then wouldn’t that ruling be meaningless in some ways? It’s just hard to understand what their significance is if they are not able to overturn law. Plus, understanding how they are supposed to work is helpful in convincing those not as educated on the law of the Republic. Thank you, Britain.”
Okay, Britain, great question. You know, we’ve celebrated a lot here, guys, on the not just the Dobbs case, but the brewing case on the Second Amendment, the coach Kennedy case on religious liberty, the West Virginia EPA case, so there’s been a lot of cases from the summer that we’ve celebrated here on the program. And so we teach in our Constitution classes, court is the weakest branch, all that. And so I think what Britain’s asking is, if it’s the weakest, why would we celebrate their decision? Can’t the other two branches just ignore that decision? I don’t know, the weakest means irrelevant. It just means weakest in comparison to the other two. What do you guys think?
Yeah, I think part of it is understanding their purpose. The Supreme Court is in charge of the judicial branch. So the Supreme Court is over all the lower courts, that’s the court’s appeal, the district courts, all the various courts.
And so a lot of what they’re there for is procedure and protocol. They rightly should be looking at jury decisions and saying, was the jury and paneled correctly? Was the law followed?
Was the process properly used? Because the Supreme Court, they are the supreme of the courts, and they can set up the process for the lower courts, and it’s appropriate for them to give precedent and to say, hey, here’s how we’re going to handle these kinds of situations. And no, you can’t take that case because that plaintiff doesn’t have standing or whatever.
They’ve got the right to really establish those rules under the rules that Congress has set. So if Congress specifically says this particular issue is to go to this court, they can’t change that. But they can look at juries and say, yeah, the evidence was correctly done, or no, you shouldn’t have allowed this evidence, whatever it is. So that’s all appropriate.
What they don’t have the right to do is make national policy for the other two branches. However, they do have the right to give their opinions. And that’s why on the court decision, every one of these court decisions, it always says the opinion of the court, and that’s the way it describes it. And somehow since the 1970s, we’ve allowed the opinion of the court to become the law of the court. And we’ve said that whatever the court says, that it’s the law of the land. No, it’s not. That’s the opinion of one branch.
And there were times, definitely, even in the Founding Father era, where the Founding Fathers themselves would look at decisions by the Supreme Court and said, you know what, that’s a good idea, and they would go back and adjust the law appropriately. It’s not that the court struck the law down, the Court gave its opinion on that law. And there’s times when they looked at it and said, no, you’re wrong and we’re going to ignore you. And that was their prerogative. So they don’t run the other two branches. And that’s what’s new in judicial activism, is one court running the other two branches.
But what’s interesting too is polarized, as we think about the Court today with the Dobbs decision, what’s happening with that, and by the way, out of that Dobbs decision to watch the Biden administration and Democrats make that die on the mountain issue, it’s unbelievable to me. We’re traveling all sorts of states, working in areas where there’s some important races.
And I mean across the nation, the number of ads that are being run on how Republicans are extreme because they want to end abortion, I mean, US senate races and governor’s races, Democrats have just made that their hill to die on, which seems like a really, really strange thing to do.
And now you get the Justice Department going out and arresting all these prolife people who pray outside clinics and doing nothing to go after those who are firebombing the clinics and the Crisis Pregnancy Center. So it’s a really strange thing to see the Democrats do that. But all that to say that the Supreme Court was not to be in the position of making national policy. It can make national policy for the courts under the laws passed by Congress and it is the supreme of all the courts. But Britain is right that it’s not supposed to.
So going back to the polarized thing of how that Roe v. Wade has really polarized the nation, it is striking. You guys, what percentage of court cases in a given year do you think are unanimous by all nine judges on the court going in the same direction?
Man, I’m going to guess not very many, maybe 10%.
I know some more of the numbers and Rick might just be playing nice to set you up and help you out, but it is the vast majority of cases where they’re looking at the legality of something that they come in unison on, because they’re not politically polarizing decisions for the vast majority of the cases to go before the court. And so they are unified on the vast majority of their decisions.
Yeah, they will have 80-90 cases a year, often times, and it’s not unusual to have 60% of those cases be unanimous.
Yeah, 80-90. So I said 10% are not unanimous. Isn’t that what I said? No. Maybe. I feel like I’m pulling Joe Biden here. No, I never said the vaccine was going to stop transmission.
Go ahead. They’ll hear 80 or 90 cases a year, and about 60% will be unanimous, which means maybe 50, 55 of the cases a year are unanimous. It’s only about 19% that are 4, 5 decisions, really split decisions. So only about one in five cases which if you look at that number you’re talking about maybe 18 cases a year are really kind of divisive among the court justices. So overall, they’re really not, and especially in the last five years, they’re not trying to run the nation to make national policy anymore. And while Democrats claim that they’re trying to make national policy by stopping abortions, they didn’t. All they did was that the states get to decide. And that’s the position that was there before they got involved, and they just took themselves out and went back to the status quo.
So it’s the kind of thing where the court does have a definite function, and they are the weakest of the three branches. And this current Supreme Court is definitely helping them get back to the weakest of the three branches.
Isn’t it interesting that the court actually said that about themselves? I mean, in these decisions, they said, we’re putting ourselves back into the place where we were supposed to be. We shouldn’t have been trying to tell everybody what to do. I mean, they didn’t say it quite that way of we’re the weakest branch? But they started basically acknowledging their limitations, which is something not many people in government have done in my lifetime.
And it’s worth noting too that a lot of the decisions we’ve celebrated, it’s been a reversal from the Supreme Court of overreach of previous courts. So part of the reason we celebrate these so significant decisions that came out this summer is because when you’re looking back at, like, Roe v. Wade, right, and they say that this was never the position of the Supreme Court to be able to make a decision like this; it always belonged in the states because it’s clearly not a power we have at the federal level when even you have justice acknowledging maybe we shouldn’t go back and review some of these marriage decisions because marriage is not something in the Constitution given to the Supreme Court either. It’s really exciting.
And as we’ve already mentioned, right, they’re acknowledging the limitations of their jurisdiction being the least of the three of those branches; not they don’t have power, but they are the least of the three. But these decisions, the reason we celebrate them on a significant level is because they were decisions to go back to the limitation, saying that no, the government can’t do this because it doesn’t have that right or power.
The court said this. They were wrong. They didn’t have that right or power. So they are getting back to the Constitution, which is a really exciting thing.
Alright, guys, final question of the day. This one is about the death penalty actually in the Bible. Question goes this way. “I have a question. Is there any way I can justify the death penalty with the Bible? It’s just since I’m pro life, people are saying, how can you be prolife and believe in the death penalty? I try to justify it, but maybe my argument’s not very convincing. Where can I get some information about that? Thanks for your ministry. God bless you.”
Alright, guys, what do you say about the death penalty, the Bible and what our laws should be today?
Well, I think the first place I would point to is where was the death penalty first described in the Bible? And it was given, actually in Genesis chapter 9, is what God told Noah. After Noah is on the ark, it lands on Mount Ararat, he gets off. And then part of what became known as the Noahide laws, the Noahic covenant. Part of that covenant, God told Noah, if man sheds blood, by man his blood will be shed.
God ultimately says, right, if somebody comes in and murder someone else, then that person forfeits their life, for the crime, for the sin of murder. And what is significant here is God actually did this to protect life. God said if someone comes and takes life, which is arguably the most sacred valuable thing there is, and I’m saying arguably, I believe it is, life is the most sacred valuable thing there is, and if someone comes in and takes the most valuable sacred thing there is, they should pay the highest price they can possibly pay for taking the most valuable thing there possibly was. And what is the highest price they can pay is for putting their own life.
So God does not put this there because God wanted more bloodshed. God put it there because God wanted to protect the inalienable right to life as the Founding Father described it. It is a God given right to life. So literally, the very first civil ordinance was God saying if someone comes in and murders someone else, that person is going to forfeit their own life. There’s more places we could point to in the Bible, but to me that is an obvious strong starting point.
Now, it’s also worth noting that if you’re talking to other Christians, some other Christians can be very adamant against the death penalty. And I get that the Bible even talks about there can be rights of conscience and differences of conscience. And so we might not all agree on that. But as far as can you find justification in the Bible for the defense of the death penalty, I think you certainly can. And that’s one of the specific verses I would go to, to start with.
Our Founders, Education, The Judicial Branch And More – On Foundations Of Freedom
And I would also point out the Bible says the death penalty is to be used very cautiously and very carefully. What the Bible absolutely opposes is the shedding of innocent blood. And that’s why abortion is a problem, because it’s innocent blood. But death penalty for capital punishment, for murder or something else, that’s not innocent blood. But the Bible does say you cannot put anyone to death unless there are two eyewitnesses to the actual crime. It’s not enough to have circumstantial evidence.
You have to have eyewitnesses. So the Bible is very, very concerned that you don’t shed innocent blood, but capital punishment is definitely in the Bible.
I tell you, folks, thank you all for participating in this program, for really coming alongside us as a part of the program. Your questions really help to make the program interesting and tells us what you’re curious about. And I love learning. Every time you ask one of these questions, I learned something. It’s just a great opportunity for all of us to dive into these foundational principles. We appreciate you being part of that.
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.”