Religious Freedom And The Elections – With Brad Dacus: Are our Constitutional, religious liberties really hanging in the balance? Have US citizens finally woken up to the fact that elections have consequences on the local level, as well as the national level? When will we get judicial relief from the violation of our First Amendment rights? Will Amy Coney Barrett uphold tyrannical rulings? What can churches do to empower their congregations concerning the elections around the corner?
Air Date: 10/14/2020
Guest: Brad Dacus
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. We call it WallBuilders Live, and that’s because wall builders is all about rebuilding the walls that we may no longer be a reproach. That’s that scripture out of Nehemiah and it applies today. We need to rebuild the foundations of America, desperately need to come back to those foundational beliefs and individual liberties and free enterprise and timeless truths and limited government, those things are needed. And we need to do those things for me, biblical, historical and constitutional perspective.
That’s what we do here on WallBuilders. We’re training and equipping and inspiring people to restore America’s constitutional republic by becoming good citizens, by actually applying that biblical worldview to every issue of the day, by studying history and the Constitution and making sure that we’re operating our government within its constitutional jurisdiction. It’s way outside of those boundaries right now with all these COVID crackdowns across the country. So thank you for standing up in your community and with your church and online and just speaking the truth and sharing our videos at WallBuilders, and sharing that the education.
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Alright, guys, Brad Dacus will be with us later in the program for Pacific Justice Institute. And as we’ve been talking about for the last week or so we’re down to the wire here, just a few weeks left in the election of 2020, a lot at stake here. Now, most people think President for this particular election, but as we talked about here on the program, this goes all the way down the ballot, we need to make sure that people recognize that your legislature is up for grabs, Congress is up for grabs, your local water district is up for grabs, and that as Christians, we’ve got a duty and responsibility to let our voice be heard in every single election that takes place.
Not Only a Presidential Election
And by the way, I would add, Rick, that not only do we have a presidential election on the ballot right now, we also have the next presidential election on the ballot right now. And I say that because of State legislators, this is when redistricting will occur. Depending on who wins the State legislature, they will now redistrict the State for the next 10 years. And how they do that will largely depend on whether that State will be Blue or Red or whether congressional districts will be Blue or Red whether it gives Democrats or Republicans and advantage and both sides try to do that.
But the State legislature, this is the time when State legislators go in and based on what the US Census requires, they count the population and then they redistribute the arrangement of congressional districts in the State rep districts, in the State senate districts. And so each party tries to say, well, I’ve got more Republican voters here, more Democrat voters here, let’s draw the lines to look like this. And so that’s what’s going to determine elections for the next 10 years or so. So this really is a big election, not only for president, but it’s a big election, as you said, Rick, for State legislators. What we do with our State House members and State senators in this election will shape that State for the next 10 years.
Well, and even in terms of our responsibility on some of these things, like I mean, some states are going to have school board elections in November. No, here in Texas, we do it in the spring, but some are going to be voting for school boards, so City Council, I mean, it’s up and down the ballot, and we often don’t want to pay attention to anything other than president. That’s the big one, because everybody’s talking about it. But it’s really these local races that affect our lives even more than the national elections.
Local and State Governments
Let me throw in to, Rick, because what you’re mentioning local, that also brings in ballot initiatives. And so you can be in a really Blue state like Colorado, but Colorado has a ballot initiative on that’s a prolife ballot initiative. So the State can say hey, we don’t want infant born alive to be killed, we want to protect prolife things here in Colorado. So the people actually have an opportunity as well, not only with local elections, but with ballot initiatives that are up this year.
And there’s a lot of moral implications with things that are on the ballot this election, both for individuals and from ballot measures and ballot initiatives. And this is something that even one of the things that as we’re looking at this election, we’ve seen in the midst of coronavirus a lot of churches that have been put on lockdown and even this notion of what are essential services.
So we’ve seen in some States where the liquor stores and the marijuana shops are essential services but churches are not. We’ve seen, right, where airplanes can be fully loaded when we’ve all been flying on some of these flights, fully loaded, shoulders to shoulders with people, now granted, they tell us all wear masks, whatever else. But then there’s places that are saying churches can meet but only if you have only one person at a time in the sanctuary. I mean, it’s utterly ridiculous. So there’s a lot of things that will impact freedom going from as well, impact churches going forward.
And in the midst of what we’ve seen with some of this overreach of local governments and governors, we’ve talked about the fact that federal government has done so good at not overstepping bounds in the midst of this crisis and lockdown. It used to be the slogan that you don’t let a crisis go to waste. We’ve been very pleased to see the president restrain what the federal government is done, but we’ve seen a lot of governors, a lot of mayors overstep those bounds, and a lot of churches have needed help in the situations of just defending their religious liberty, which that’s going to be one of the things in the ballot.
Defending Religious Liberty
And one of the guys who has done a lot to defend these churches to defend religious liberty is one of our friends out in California, Brad who has Pacific Justice Institute, and they’ve represented churches, and Christians, really, in so many of these crazy situations for what’s going on. And as we talk about elections, this is something that could have major implications for elections of what happens for Christians and churches going forward.
Well, he’s going to be with us when we come back from the break. We’ll be talking about what pastors and churches can do and how important it is to be engaged. Brad Dacus from Pacific Justice Institute when we return on WallBuilders Live.
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. In 1963, the United States Supreme Court decided that voluntary Bible reading could no longer be part of the school day. Founding Father, Benjamin Rush, known as the father of public schools under the Constitution, pointedly warned that the Bible should be read in schools in reference to all other books. He specifically warned that if America ever cease promoting biblical principles and schools, then we would waste so much time and money and punishing crimes and take so little pains to prevent them. He was right.
We now have seven million Americans in prison, on probation or on parole, and the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Sadly, this was unnecessary, but is the result of no longer teaching the morals of the Bible and schools.
For more information about the founding fathers views on the positive impact of the Bible and schools, go to wallbuilders.com.
Brad Dacus from Pacific Justice Institute
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us today. Brad Dacus is back with us from Pacific Justice Institute. Love you, brother, man. Thank you for all your work. I love watching what you’re doing, not just on the West Coast, man, your work is impacting the whole nation. So thanks for helping to empower pastors, for defending religious liberty. We appreciate you, man, thanks for some time today.
Oh, thank you, Rick, for the opportunity. Appreciate all you’re doing.
Man, you really hit the ground running when COVID hit. You started having seminars every week. You started getting pastors educated on what they could do to get their churches opened back safely and how to deal with all the COVID crackdowns across the country. You’ve had a busy six months and now we’re in the last few weeks of the election. Are you sleeping any, Brad?
Well, I will tell you this. I have definitely given the melatonin makers a lot of visits, a lot of visits.
Oh, man. Well, listen, I know it’s kind of converged. But I think the work you did earlier this year to help pastors, even now, I hope is paying off in big ways. Because I don’t know if, I’m sure you’ve saw and heard the same thing we did in terms of just, I mean, people that had never paid attention to politics or the constitution or any of that. And I mean, pastors and church leaders, you get shut down and told you can’t even open your doors or you can’t sing in church, you start wondering what the proper role of government is.
Oh, exactly. And this kind of intimidation, and just brutal actions by governments, it’s particularly governors of Blue state. There’s a big difference, generally speaking between how churches have been treated in Red states versus Blue states. It’s not a perfect definition, but it is distinction. But it is uncanny how different they are, generally speaking.
And so like California, for example, it’s been outrageous. So we at Pacific Justice Institute have filed lawsuits, we’re defending actually a pastor being criminally prosecuted for him. He has a small African American church in the San Francisco Bay Area. They wear masks, they’re distanced, but he’s being criminally prosecuted up to six months behind bars for misdemeanor charges.
And then we’ve got a case up in Washington State, we’re taking that to the Ninth Circuit where a churches were told that they can’t open up, that movie theaters, no problem. There’s a real issue there. When you have that kind of clear bully-like discriminatory actions taken by Democrat governors in Blue states, and this is the kind of tyranny that I guess many people don’t expect, don’t really think through when they go to the polls and vote. They’re facing it head on that the type of ramifications that they may face by who is, not just to say in the White House, but who is actually in the local level as well as at the State level.
How Will Churches Respond to the Discrimination
You read my mind, Brad, that’s exactly what my next question was going to be. Was how the COVID crackdowns and the way churches have been treated through this whole thing should make them think as they go into the polling place and vote in November, not only for president but down ballot as well. And I think, from the top down, there’s definitely been a difference in the approach, President Trump wanted the churches open from all the way back at the beginning of this thing.
And, Biden’s saying, even now, he would shut the whole country down, I assume that still includes the churches. And then as you get down to the local level, and you’ve got these out of control health officials and mayors and county officials fining pastors, and fining churches and just harassing them, while letting other places be open. It’s clearly discriminatory.
And I got to ask you, so the lawsuits, I was getting really frustrated for a little while there, because I thought we would get judicial relief sooner. And I’m one as you know, we’ve talked about this on the air together, the proper role of the courts, and the courts have gotten way outside their box. But one of the proper roles is judicial relief whenever rights are being violated in this way, and we’re finally starting to get there. The Michigan case, now the Supreme Court there has slapped down the governor, Wisconsin was one of the first ones to do it. So I guess what I want to ask and also say at the same time is do you agree that we’re going to start winning more of these cases, it’s just taken longer than we thought it would?
Yes, we will. And part of the reason is because of all the uncertainty initially about this virus. You know, is it really going to kill 2 million people? Is it going to kill the little children and the teenagers?
A More Accurate Picture
And well, now we know who really is at risk, who is not at risk. We have a clear and accurate picture, but also time, time-wise, the case out of Pennsylvania, the federal Judge that said. This is ridiculous. You can’t trounce on basic fundamental rights indefinitely, which is what Governor Wolf was doing.
And now the Appellate Court reversed, and I think that will end up going up to the Supreme Court. And I also was somewhat optimistic now. We have four Justices, earlier that had ruled government. You can’t just engage in deferential policies called the, it was a sort of a doctrine as a Jacobsen case. But instead, those four said, no, the Constitution never goes on vacation.
The First Amendment, freedom of exercise of religion, freedom to worship is still always there. And the government always has a burden to continually show that their restrictions are compelling State interest needed right now, and the most least restricted necessary to furthering that interest.
Those four justices got it right, Rick. And the good news is, if the President has his way, and the Republicans in the Senate, we’re going to have a fifth Justice on that Supreme Court, Amy Brett, who is going to do an outstanding job, and I’m very confident, will respect the Constitution like the other four Justices, and help protect us for generations to come with case law that says never again will government be able to engage in this kind of outright tyranny and abridgement of fundamental rights under the Constitution, including the wrongful shutting down of churches.
Yeah, and you said it right, early on, where we had hoped to get injunctive relief, that would have been a lot quicker. They were afraid to do that, because of just not knowing about COVID and how bad it would be. They just weren’t willing to second guess those public health officials, even though they had gone so incredibly far.
Is it Too Late?
But I hope in the future, like you just said that we’ll get to the point where, even if the disease was, let’s say it was a little worse, but it’s not quite a Spanish flu, or it’s not quite an Ebola, and we’re so far from that right now, even then that they would prevent them from going so far and doing so much damage to our rights and to the economy and all those things.
Now, speaking of voting in November, there’s only a couple of weeks left here. What can churches do? If it’s too late to do a registration drive, can a pastor talk about the election, can he talk about voting and biblical responsibility to be salt and light?
Yes, actually, first, churches should do voter registration on Sundays if they still have time, if they can still do it? Definitely. But yeah, pastors are very free. In fact, the IRS is not enforcing any restrictions on what a pastor may say behind a pulpit, even endorsement of candidates or condemning of candidates righteously, quoting scripture. I mean, pastors have a lot of freedom even though the Johnson Amendment technically limits what they can say by the pulpit. The IRS is not enforcing it, hundreds of passes sensor videos, the DVDs of their sermons doing violating it.
The IRS isn’t doing anything because they know full well, especially with this new appointment to Supreme Court that they would lose; the Supreme Court would declare it unconstitutional government infringement on the free exercise of religion and religious institutions. It would violate, “the wall of separation”, if you will.
So I’m very, for pastors to feel free to say what they wish to say. They can also, some States even allow ballot gathering, you have to check and see if your State is one of those States; States like California cannot allow it. And that’s a tool that churches are doing to make sure that their people vote. They gather the ballots, and they drop off in the polling box. But they need to check about to see if their State allows that and if so, what the rules are.
Helpful Resources for Free
We have a full time pastor liaison on, staff here at Pacific Justice Institute, Peter Moore, who can work with any pastoring in any State, they just contact us for assistance, but now is the time that definitely to get involved. And I want to make one last quick point, is real important, Rick, we talked about the Supreme Court. If Biden gets elected to the presidency, and if somehow and he is blocked, then the case law that says the churches can be shut down for just about any reason as long as there’s a “emergency”, that will be the case law ruling for decades, and allow government to shut churches down again and again and again; when it comes close to election, shutting him down again. It opens the door for unbelievable tyranny, and that’s why people need to vote.
Our religious freedom is hanging in the balance, much less the lives of over 900,000 innocent unborn babies every year that are murdered by abortion clinics. We had the ability to have real significant reform, this is a very important election, because it’s so much the way of constitutional civil liberties is hanging in the balance. We at the Pacific Justice Institute are fighting that 52 cases right now across the country that it will not be for much if we don’t have the judges on the court. And that won’t happen unless we have the right person in the White House and in the Senate.
That is so clear, Brad. I mean, it really does make it quite obvious. I mean, if you want churches to be neutered, to be shut down, to be prevented from serving the community and providing a place for fellowship and worship and meeting the needs of folks, if you want that to be stopped, then vote for the folks that have supported that and allow that to happen. And as you said, that’s been in the Blue States, where that’s been supported. Even in the Red states where governors like mine have been terrible on the COVID crackdowns, he was good on protecting the churches.
And so there is a major distinction there. And it’s a worldview thing. It’s how they see in terms of churches, the importance of that church to the community. But you just made it very, very clear. I mean, it’s hey, folks, you got to show up and vote in November, and you got to be thinking about whether you want the church to be essential or not. That’s really what’s on the ballot, in many ways, is the church essential.
And Brad, one of the thing, the website, Pacificjustice.org, Pacificjustice.org, if they get on the website, and they can get signed up, they can watch some of the seminars that you did earlier this year, they can get signed up on your email. It’s a great place to empower pastors and churches to do the right thing and do their civic duty, but do it in a biblical way.
Absolutely. And once again, many states still allowed church voter registration. That’s still possible this coming Sunday in many states across the country. So they should definitely look at that. We have all those resources, including how to open in a church or a private school safely. All those resources without charge, all our legal representation and counsel is all without charge. We look forward to serving your audience, Rick, thank you so much.
You bet, brother. Pacific justice.org. And let’s not forget, I think Brad’s 100% right and what he said about not being coward in that pulpit. Pastors absolutely have the right to speak to specific candidates, to specific elections. The paper tiger of the Johnson Amendment is on its last legs and is not being enforced, and it shouldn’t be because of freedom of speech and freedom of religion. So pastors, speak up, let your voice be heard and let those values be counted at the polls in November. Brad Dacus, Pacificjustice.org. Appreciate you, brother. Thanks for coming on.
Oh, you too, great. Rick, thank you very much.
Stay with us, folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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 citizens guide to America’s Constitution, you’ll learn what you need to do to help save our constitutional republic. It’s fun, it’s entertaining and it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now and wallbuilders.com.
Pastors Must Understand
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks to Brad Dacus for joining us. Thanks for the good work that Pacific Justice does throughout the year, not just election years, but all the time. And David, Tim, we’re thankful for all the legal organizations out there that we get to work with, that help pastors that come alongside churches.
I think that’s one of the things that’s important for churches, and especially pastors to understand is don’t have a spirit of fear about speaking out or speaking up. There are tons of legal groups ready to defend you and come alongside you and make sure that the government does not silence you. So get out there and be bold.
Absolutely. One of the things I appreciate he mentioned also, is that there’s even greater levels of protection federally right now, because the fact of what President Trump has said related to the IRS enforcing things. Like the Johnson Amendment, we’ve talked about that on the program many times, that right now, pastors don’t need to fear the government coming in and saying, hey, you’re not allowed to talk about different people or different political positions and parties and etc. That should not be a concern on any level right now given where we currently stand with the federal government, and the protection is out there.
Now, with that being said, there’s still some crazy governors and mayors, and there still will be battles that will have to be fought and won. But that’s why we’re so grateful for guys like Brad, for these organizations that fight to defend religious liberty. And this is something that, arguably, maybe more than any point in our nation’s history, religious freedoms are absolutely at the ballot box because you have one political party that is in favor of religious freedom, that is in favor of religious liberty, is in favor of churches being able to meet and operate and then you have one group.
What Should the Church be Doing?
And Rick, as you mentioned, that man, absolutely is in favor of putting things on total lockdown. And that means shutting down churches in lockdowns, where we determine what only essential services can meet. It’s almost non-existent that you have stayed saying that churches are essential services as opposed to a Walmart or a Home Depot or some of these other things. This is a big deal for us as Christians to recognize that on some levels, our Christian freedoms are on the ballot this election cycle. And it’s very clear between the two candidates where they stand when it comes to Christians being able to practice their Christian faith.
Well, and we keep targeting pastors here. We keep saying pastors, pastors, pastors, but I mean same thing for us as if you’re sitting in a pew and you’re a congregant, you ought to be going to your pastor, right and saying, hey, we want boldness here, we want you to speak out on these things; we want the flock to be informed on this. Because that’s going to let a pastor know hey, there’s people in this church that have my back if others say that made things “political”. So as just a member of the church, what should we be doing?
Well, even as a member of the church, we should be speaking out. We want to see boldness in our pastor. How about boldness in us? We saw a poll a month ago that said 77% of conservatives are afraid to speak out for fear of being attacked. My gosh, get on your social media and do something. Speak out with boldness, make some real clear points about candidates, whether it’s for governor or mayor or school board or president or whatever.
Your Friends Listen
Song of Solomon, we’re told in Song of Solomon 8:13, that your friends, listen to your voice. So speak, and that’s something that every single one of us can do. And yeah, you’re likely to be attacked, and people are going to jump all over you for saying what you do, my gosh, get some thick skin and places and just stand up. We’re told in the scriptures that if you live godly in Christ Jesus, you’re going to suffer flak, you’re going to take flak and suffer persecution. Jesus said that they did it to me, you think they’re going to do less to you? Of course, they’re going to do it to you.
We just need to get the mindset that just because somebody criticizes us or gets offended or doesn’t like it, or shouts and yells and throws a fit like a two year old, you don’t let that keep you from speaking. So just like we want boldness in our pastors, we need boldness from every part of the conservative community, the Christian community, you may not have a pulpit to speak from but you do have some type of platform from which you can speak and if you don’t do social media, great.
Just talk to your neighbors, just talk to people you see in stores, talk through your mask if you’re in one of those Blue States and, and tell them what’s at stake in this election. So every one of us can have a big part in helping shape the turnout that will show up and how people vote in the election, the worldview that they will choose.
We’re out of time for today, folks, thank you for listening today and we want to give you a couple of action items as we sign up for the day. The first one is to go watch the One-Room Schoolhouse. This is a chance to get educated on some really cool stuff as David and Tim take us through the library. You know, most people that listen to our program have never actually visited the WallBuilders Library and Museum, but you can do that almost on a daily basis with a One-Room Schoolhouse, and there’s a ton of great videos now available on the YouTube page for WallBuilders where you can actually enjoy those interesting items there in the library and learn something cool every day.
So watch those videos at our YouTube channel. Just look for WallBuilders on YouTube. And then you can also do the same thing at our Facebook page for WallBuilders. Check out that education and then go to our website, wallbuilders.com to get signed up and get some of those videos that we’ve produced over the years that really give you a great foundation and constitutional knowledge that take you through so many different issues. You can get things like Foundations of Freedom, where we have special guests like Carol Swain and Glenn Beck and others on the program. And it really is a great way to learn at home right now to build your own foundation. We as citizens need to be educated. We’ve got to know our rights.
Religious Freedom And The Elections – With Brad Dacus
And speaking of knowing our rights, you also want to visit constitutioncoach.com where right now you can get help learning about the Constitution and how it applies in the current situation with COVID-19. You can just watch the videos there on that page and begin your education. You could actually sign up for one of our free Constitution classes online. Or you can even become a Constitution host and actually be one of the folks that’s hosting classes online. Or maybe if your State is open it up, then you can do it right there in your living room or at your church. You can be a force multiplier and help other people get educated on this as well. Constitutioncoach.com is the place to go for that education.
Thank you so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.