The Police Force, Individual Rights, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: Is the police force constitutional? Can the State deny our natural rights? Did God’s morality change? Tune in to hear the answers to these questions and more on Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Air Date:Â 03/19/2020
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: Â 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
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.”
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It”s WallBuilders Live. We’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith and the culture. But we always do that from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. In other words, we take whatever that issue is, and we say, what does the Bible say about it? What’s the constitution say about it? What was the original intent of the founders with regard to the constitutional position on that issue? And then what can history teach us? What works? What doesn’t work? What can we learn from other cultures or even our own nation when that particular issue has been addressed? So that’s our perspective on issues.
WallBuilders actually comes from a scripture in Nehemiah that says arise and rebuild the walls that we may no longer be ever approached. That means we are rebuilding the foundations of America so that our nation can stand strong and so it can be a place where freedom thrives.
Who We Are
My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. And I’m here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Tim Barton is with us, a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. And its Foundations of Freedom Thursday, which means we’re taking your questions today, looking into those foundations. So please mail those into us. You can email them at [email protected]. That’s [email protected].
And actually, before we get to our first question, guys, we had a request from Joshua. I don’t see a note on what state he’s from. But I’m just going to read his request because it’s so good. And frankly, I have failed miserably at doing what he’s asking us to do. So, I think just reading his email will help with that. He says, “Thank you guys very much. I do appreciate what you do. And on a very important note, I”ve asked Rick Green talk about the items you sell through your website. During the show, he always says other useful items, which really downplays what a treasure trove you have there.
We currently have your Declaration of Independence, first prayer in Congress and United States Constitution posters on the wall next to our copies of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. It”s not to mention a grab bag of other books we picked up. If you guys would just talk a little bit more about the resources that you have, but talk about it on the radio program, you’d see a spike in sales and a better informed populace.” And so that’s what we want to do.
The Constitution Made Easy
By the way, he says, “On another side note, during the constitution class, Rick Green holds up my College, the Constitution Made Easy. By the way, the Constitution Made Easy is available in our workbook for the Constitution Alive class. And so, if you’d like more copies of those, check out the workbook there and it’s got those available for you. But you know what, Josh was exactly right. There is a need for these resources, not just the posters and the books. There’s all kinds of DVDs and other materials available for you there. There I did it again, just like Joshua said not to do. I just kind of say other useful items, I should go down the list. Tell you what, I’ll try to highlight some of those items in programs going forward so that we make folks more aware of some of the tools that are available. But thank you, Joshua, for highlighting some of those, such as the posters and so many great books available there as well.
But the Constitution Made Easy, you can get there in the Constitution Alive workbook, it’s in the appendix. And we really want to thank Mike Color for making that available to the folks who go through our Constitution class. Or if you just want to grab the workbook, you can do that as well. And maybe you want to host a Constitution class, go to constitutioncoach.com to be able to do that.
Send In Your Questions
Alright, let’s dive into those questions from the audience. Send them into [email protected]. The first one we’re going to tackle is from Holly. It says, “I recently learned”¦” this is from Minnesota. “I recently learned that an organized government-based police force, like we have today did not exist when the Constitution was written. Given that fact, can vigilante community policing be considered constitutional as long as an individual’s rights are not violated?” David, Tim?
You looked at the question, there’s a couple of caveats. There were no police forces in the constitutional era. But there were sheriffs and there were deputies and there was law enforcement, this is not police forces, several of the founding fathers. Roger Sherman, for example, was the sheriff.
And I would ask, wait a second. So, what federal police force, we talking about?
A Federal Police Force
It wouldn’t be a federal police force, but there really weren’t police force. There were more sheriffs and local law enforcement.
Well, right. So, what kind of federal law enforcement is there? Right now, you have like FBI, you have CIA, you have Homeland Security.
You’ve got Marshals. You got the Marshal Services. You got Deputies. You’ve got several enforcement agencies for sure.
Well, and so the reason I bring that up is even right now, there’s not a federal police force per se, right. You do have Federal Marshals, you have Federal Investigators. You have Special Agents, but police force generally is a local matter and it’s it certainly is something that you see. There can be state police. That’s something that is very common and, right. I don’t mean to just argue semantics here.
A Very Specific Role
But police force have a very specific role and a police force is not the same thing as the FBI or Homeland Security. Right? They’re not the ones generally pulling you over and give you a ticket for speeding. No, that’s something that the local city had, there’s a governing body to do that.
Which actually one of the interesting things, maybe even about kind of what the way the question was worded is, if there is a city where there’s no police force, could you and a group of friends say, you know what, we’re going to bring some justice to this town and, you know, even the idea as long as you don’t violate someone’s inalienable, right? Well, I mean, technically, police force, even though they’re supposed to follow, you know, kind of habeas corpus, right, and due process and whatever else, they can hold you against your will, right. They can take away freedom, so to speak for so long to get you before a judge.
And so, it’s not just a violation of your rights, but it’s how those rights are processed. But it’s an interesting thought. What does it take for you and your friends to become maybe the police of your town if there is no police?
Well, this is something that was covered by philosophers like John Locke. John Locke was used very heavily by the founding fathers. And John Locke, in writing in his two treatises that the government talks about, how did you enforce the laws before there was civil government because civil government wasn’t there from the beginning? And it talks about the fact that the laws of nature allow you as an individual to go enforce the law individually if there’s a violation of your rights.
If someone comes to your family and kill someone in your family, you can go find that person and kill them. Well, you didn’t have a trial? No, but you have the right to execute justice as an individual. Now, once you get organized into societies and civil arena type stuff, you follow more of the rule of law. But still, even in the Bible, when they got into the promised land and they were saying who gets which cities? The Bible establish what were called Cities of Refuge, so that if you kill someone, you could flee to a city of refuge. If you killed someone accidentally, you had to stay in that city of refuge because otherwise if you got outside, the family could come and kill you for killing their family member.
Now, if you get to that city of refuge, the elders would get together and decide whether it had been a murder. And if it was a murder, they turned you over to the adventure, to the family member who wanted to kill you. But if it was manslaughter or is an accidental death, you could stay there and be protected.
So, there was the individual right to go execute law. And then as you got committees together, you start putting together out in the West, you know, Vigilante Justice was a common thing. And the deal was, you can do this, you just can’t violate someone else’s rights. You can’t look at them and say, you know what, I don’t like redheaded people, we’re going to hang you. That’s not it. If you can say, hey, you violated a law of nature, if you took someone’s life, you took my property or you stole my ranch or whatever, then there’s things I can do.
So nearly every community starts in some way with some form of vigilante community justice. There’s 100 people in the community and they see a kid robbing the store and seven or eight people get together and say, hey, let’s go get that kid. It all starts with people wanting to uphold a standard of right and wrong. And so, before you ever get a police force, you’ve always got citizens who band together to do what’s right and so it becomes a police force. Or you get to the point where you organize and have a police force.
Always Been a State Issue
But Tim, as you made the point at the federal level, there’s never been a place for us. I mean, that’s always been considered a State issue. At the time they did it, there were police forces and sheriffs and law enforcement across the States. But as you created brand new communities that were without government, this is what John Locke talks about and this how you create government.
And this is why the US Constitution didn’t address the issue of how to establish the police force, because it wasn’t a federal issue. It was a state issue, was a community issue. And so certainly under State Constitutions, maybe State provisions, there”re State laws in place, right, to do this. And this is generally where you have community leaders get together and you can establish, hey, in our community, we’re doing this and this is why even to this day in towns and cities, they will elect a sheriff and the sheriff will choose their deputies or they will get a chief and the chief well established police force under him. So, there’s still a lot of this that happens and a lot of It is subject to community control, even to this day. So not far-fetched to say that that is what you would do if you were in a community with no police force, yeah, you can get the people community together, you could vote, you could determine some parameters boundaries, you can make a police force and absolutely, that could still happen today.
Rule of Law
And by the way, we’re not saying vigilante justice in the sense of go out and enforce whatever you want. You got to have rules of law. I mean, the Bible establishes standards of right and wrong, civil government does. I love the question from the sense that it said, can vigilante community policing be considered constitutional as long as an individual’s rights are not violated? And as long as you’re protecting those individual rights and, Tim, you mentioned habeas corpus and other things that are out there. Even if there’s not established courts and police to officially do that, as long as you’re not violating those basic rights, yeah, you can have vigilante kind of community stuff, but not in the sense of arbitrary kind of punishment. It’s got to follow the rule of law.
This one is going to come from Ohio. Says, “Hello, guys, I’ve been listening for a while now and figured I’d submit a question.” Well, thanks for doing that. We want more people to do that as well. A good example. Here’s the question. What are we as citizens supposed to do if the government doesn’t respect the Constitution? But that happens a lot. Sorry, that’s Rick’s side note. Back to the question.
“A friend of mine was recently attacked in the driveway of the apartment he lives in by another tenant over a parking spot. My friend then defended himself and his two year old daughter, but when the police arrived, they arrested him for assault and not the assailant. Now, he is well within his rights to defend himself according to both the US and the Ohio constitution. But the court system doesn’t seem to care at all about that. What course of action should be taken in a case like this?
This reminds me a little bit of the William Penn scenario from many, many, many years ago, where William Penn was imprisoned for not being Anglican, essentially. Right? Where he was a Quaker and the Judge was going to impose fines and penalties on him, but there was a Jury. And the jury heard the case and said, that’s ridiculous. No, this guy should go. And the Judge got angry. And the judge then at that point took it out on the Jury and, right, so there was a big hole stink. The story finally unfolds that that William Penn is released in this situation that the Jury is essentially”¦
Exonerated”¦ higher court happened, yeah, higher courts are kind of slap down the Judge.
A Current Challenge
Yeah, how we defined that, but right this is one of the problems and challenges we are today.
Probably is the word we were, problem for”¦
There you go, vindicated. Okay, so that we see the same problems in a lot of court sentences today, where the Judges and the judicial system now had way too much power granted for many, many years. You have too many police officers who don’t understand basic rights, especially inalienable rights, who don’t understand the Constitution, who understand the role of police, the role of government of the rule of law, at least not in the sense from a biblical, constitutional or historical perspective. And right, I mean, they might have been the best in their class in the police academy on their force, they might be the best, but it might be the best based on the desires and the whims of the person in charge.
And this is where we understand there is corruption in the system. Both, there can be corrupt police officers, there can be corrupt Judges, because the heart of man is wicked and deceitful and without, we would say the regenerated work through”¦
And by the way, that was a Bible verse you just quoted, from Jeremiah 17.
Well, I was quote another one right, but without the regeneration of our hearts because of Jesus Christ, then everybody is going to be prone to sin, everybody is going to be prone to doing bad things. And we still, we believe that all have sinned and fallen short the glory of God, which what Paul wrote in Romans and so nobody is perfect. But because of the subjective world we live in, we see violations of First Amendment rights, of Second Amendment rights, of you can kind of go through the Bill of Rights, you can look at almost every inalienable right the founding fathers fought to preserve when we separated from Great Britain that are now being violated is because people have lost perspective of what those inhalable rights are. The right of self-defense has been one of the longest and best understood rights really”¦
It’s a natural right. I mean, it goes back before there was anything written, it was in the laws of nature.
And that’s why, right. I was saying, this is one of the longest and best understood natural rights in the history of America and arguably the history of the world. Because this is something God put in nature, where every single animal has an instinct to either fight or the instinct of flight, whether they’re going to run or fly or whatever it is, but nothing is going to willfully stay there and accept abuse.
And the same thing when it comes to parents defending their children. This is something that God instinctively put in parents to protect their children. And I totally support situations where I’ve seen guys, news articles where a guy would be put in prison because he caught someone breaking into his child’s room to molest the child and he went and essentially beat that person to death. Now, certainly, I don’t encourage anybody to go beat somebody to death, that’s not what we’re saying. But I totally will defend that father’s right to go and defend his child from that assault, right from that really evil person in that situation. And if you got beat so bad in that situation that you lost your life, well, you shouldn’t have been breaking in and molesting and raping children.
The Role of Self-Defense
This is where, sometimes to me, I look at it, and especially I think every parent, right on some level would feel the same way if it was their child and this happened to them. We understand the role of the parent and self-defense. And we would say that’s even, that’s not only a right, it’s of responsibility as parents, you have to defend your kids. And so, it is utterly ridiculous in a situation where a parent would defend their kid and then the judge, the police officer or whatever else would blame the parent for this. Certainly, if they don’t have all the information in perspective, whatever else, I get it.
But this is where, when we’ve lost the idea of inalienable rights and among those the right to self-defense and especially defending our family, our property, right our kids in that situation. When we have lost the idea of inalienable rights, that’s when those rights begin to be violated.
It’s Even in the Bible
Well, within that framework, the question was asked, what do you do if they don’t respect the constitution? You’ve still got to stand for what’s right, whether they do or not. Now, Tim, what you just laid out as an example. Sometimes standing what’s right doesn’t mean you’re going to get out of the consequences. I mean, that guy defended his daughter that came to molest his daughter, he ends up beating the guy up and actually kills him. He goes to jail. That doesn’t mean he loses the consequences of the action, because he still did what was right. Because we would both argue that that father did the right thing by defending that child and the fact the system didn’t get it right doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stand.
Now, to point back to what happened even in the Bible. I mean, there’s so many times when people stood for what right. Daniel, Daniel was told, you can’t pray to anybody except the king. And Daniel said, no, I think I’ll pray to God. He did what’s right. Well, Daniel ended up getting thrown in the lion’s den. It didn’t get them out of the lion’s den because he did what’s right. God intervened.
But what happens is if somebody violates the Constitution, does what’s wrong, you’ve been got to stand for what’s right. Now, it goes to a Jury and hopefully, you’re going to have a Jury like William Penn had. And they’re going to say, are you crazy, policemen, this guy was defending himself, the other guy threw the first punch.
A Reason to be Involved in the Political Process
And hopefully, that wins out. And that’s why we have the right to Jury. But yeah, it was something like this, you got to stand for what’s right, even if those enforcing the law don’t stand for what’s right. And oftentimes, police officers get there and they didn’t see what happened or who threw the first punch. It’s like the referee at a ball game. It’s oftentimes the guy who retaliates who gets the foul, not the first guy.
And this is also one of the reasons that we should get involved in the political process, especially at local governments. Because if you have a judge making bad decisions, you need a different judge. If you have a police force who”s not doing a good job, you need some different people or different leadership on that police force that going to do training for that police force. And so, it’s easy to get frustrated and be discouraged or disappointed. But the solution is always going to be get involved and make a difference.
And this exactly is why we shouldn’t get involved. This could be the rallying cry that you can help activate citizens and go hey, guys, look at what happened. This is silly. We need to change this. We need to get a new police chief, we need to get some new people on City Council. We need a different Judge, whatever the case is. But this is why we have to be active and engaged in the process to help make sure that we have people who will defend those God given inalienable rights.
Foundations of Freedom
And that’s why we do Foundations of Freedom Thursday’s to get people educated on those rights and how they can take action in their community. To quick break, we’ll be back. We got more questions coming up. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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.”
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 they 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
The Rightful Masters
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 to WallBuilders Live. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday and we’re so appreciative of you listening today. We also want to encourage you to send in questions. You can send those to [email protected]. The next one simply says this is more a biblical question than a historical or political one. “But you guys are some of the sharpest people I know, so, I thought I’d ask. I was asked this question recently and I have to honestly say I did not have a satisfying answer. Could you help? Here’s the question. If morality is objective and God never changes, if incest is immoral now, how do you explain Cain marrying their sister? Wouldn’t that have been immoral then as well? Did God go against his own objective moral standard to allow this?” Alright guys, did God’s morality change?
I’ve heard this question a bunch of times. It is a great straw man question. It’s designed to push people into a corner and not know what to do.
Did God Change His Morals?
Well, and I’ll go further. I don’t even know that necessarily the straw man question, because you could be asking very genuine like I’m reading the Bible. And right, even the idea that, right we say that no, it’s only marriage is one man and one woman, you go now, wait a second, right, how many of these people from the Bible had multiple wives? Are they a harem? Or you look and God told a military leader that I want you to go and I want you to destroy the entire army and the entire population, all civilization, men, women, children, even livestock, how is that appropriate? And so not that I think there’s a straw man argument. I think sometimes just trying to get a better grasp and understanding of what is biblical and how does that apply and relate to where we are.
So now they could be asking it, you know, kind of like Bill Maher who is certainly a secular guy. He is”¦
I hear from those kinds of people, the Bill Maher…
How Do We Navigate This?
Yeah. And what I hear more from Bill Maher, it would be the thing like, oh, so you’re supposed to stone your child if they’re rebellious. You’re not supposed to eat lobster. You”re not supposed to plant two kinds of crops in the same field. And I hear some of more of those ridiculous ideas, not understanding, right, that there’s different kinds of law in the Bible and how that kind of plays out.
So, I’m saying it only that I don’t know that this was presented as a ridiculous question. It could very”¦ like, it could be Bible said it. Right? When people like, I don’t understand this, because I want to be biblical and I see this in the Bible, so how do we navigate this?
Different Types of Law
So, what you have and Tim, you mentioned the different types of law. This comes under what’s called the moral law. And even the question was, if morality is objective and if God doesn’t change. Okay, the moral law, when God gave the moral law of setting out what was civilly right and wrong, that happens in Genesis 9, we got Cain back in Genesis chapter 2 and chapter 3. So, the moral law did not come until much later after this. And you’re starting with one man and one woman and they’re going to have kids. And where are they going to get married? There’s nobody but the kids there. I mean, there’s no indication of other human life.
So, it’s kind like horses, you know, horses initially, there will be incest until the herd gets big enough that they can have several herds and move around. And so, it starts that way. But the moral law is where it came in and said no more of this. From this point on, we’re not doing any more of this and that’s in Genesis chapter 9.
Right. And this is one thing too, that even understanding that as societies and civilizations have evolved and not evolved, like in the Darwin evolved since but, right, just as they’ve grown and changed. This is very similar to a parent raising a child. Right?
Different Rules and Boundaries
Where I am not upset with my one year old daughter pooping in her pants, right, at this point, because that’s the stage of life she’s in. And so, my rules and boundaries as a one year old are going to be very different than they are when she’s 5, very different than when she’s 10. Why? Because she’s not in that place anymore.
And when you look at society, as society has changed over time, it’s not that God necessarily has decided, oh, you know what, this is now wrong, didn’t used to be wrong. This is something that I mean, we can make the argument right. Well, why didn’t God make it the way he wanted to in the first place? Well, technically, Adam and Eve in the Garden without sin seems to be the way God wanted in the first place. Right? Like that seemed like a pretty good idea.
So, yes, God made it the way he wanted it. But when sin enters the world, now things have changed. Because when did Cain marry his sister, before or after the fall? I’m just saying, right, this is interesting guy, right?
Not God’s Design
After the fall.
So, if the fall brings forward things that God did not design or desire. This is an interesting thought. There’s also a lot of very interesting things between the Old and New Testament and there’s a lot deeper theological diving, we have time to get into now. But the Old Testament was a covenant before there was Jesus and so the New Covenant comes with Jesus. And there’s a new standard where God is now saying that I’m not just looking at behavior, I’m looking to heart. And Jesus, I think, really was trying to say like this was the standard all along. And for those who, trying to justify yourself and self-righteousness, thinking that you’re good enough, like the heart has always been the issue and you’ve kind of just missed the issue all along.
But what you see is that the standard becomes elevated over time. It’s not that God has changed to who he is, but sometimes, the revealed expectation has changed over time in our understanding. So just because there’s a change in the revealed expectation for our understanding doesn’t mean that the character the nature of God has changed. It just means that we understand differently now than we used to.
And again, part of that could be because we live in a fallen, broken world and didn’t fully understand yet. But certainly, these are really good questions to ask. And if we had a lot longer show, we could get a lot deeper into some of this, but really good question.
Yeah, great question. And I’ll just say this about the question. The first line was, this is more a biblical question than a historical or political one. But folks, hey, that’s the thing. We look at every issue from a biblical perspective. So even if it sounds like it might be a political issue or historical question, it’s still biblical, because the Bible has got something to say about it.
And if you’ve got questions specifically about in the Bible, certain things that dealt with government or frankly, anything in life, we should would love to hear those questions. So please email them in. Send them into [email protected] and by the way at wallbuilderslive.com. I realize it’s confusing, two different websites. But wallbuilders.com, that’s our main site. It’s got tons of great resources there available for you. When I say resources, I’m talking curriculum, I’m talking books, videos, posters, all kinds of cool stuff, even t-shirts. Check it out there wallbuilders.com.
The Police Force, Individual Rights, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom
But then over at wallbuilderslive.com, that’s where you can get a list of our stations, you can get archives of the program from the last few weeks. And most importantly, you can click on that donate button and make a contribution to WallBuilders live. The reason I say most importantly, is because without finances, none of this would work. It takes dollars to run a radio program. It takes dollars to do constitution classes and to train pastors and legislators and young leaders, all the things we do here to restore America’s constitutional republic, it requires finances to do it. And we know you know that and we know that many of you out there are participating in that by making a contribution there at wallbuilderslive.com. We’re asking everyone out there to consider doing that.
If you enjoy this program, first of all, share it with your friends and family. But secondly, go to the website, make that contribution and become a part of our team. In so doing, you become a part of the solution. Thanks for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The Constitution of most of our States and the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves; that is 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.”