Unprecedented Defense Of Religious Liberty With Jeremy Dys – Jeremy Dys speaks on the importance of religious liberty and recent cases involving this important issue. Tune in to hear more!!

Air Date: 03/16/2020

Guest: Jeremy Dys

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton

Today’s Links: http://firstliberty.org


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.



Rick Green: Welcome to the Intersection of Faith and the Culture. Wall Builders Live is a place where we talk about the hottest topics of the day from a biblical, constitutional, and historical perspective. And that conversation takes place with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and the founder of Wall Builders with Tim Barton, National Speaker and Pastor and President of Wall Builders and myself, Rick Green. I’m a former Texas Legislator and America’s constitution coach. And I say it takes place between the three of us, but it also usually involves a special guest, which is going to be coming up in the middle of our program today. Jeremy Dice is going to be with us and he’s going to be talking about some really cool religious liberty announcements and looking forward to having him on for that conversation.

But first, I want to encourage you to visit our websites today, wallbuilderslive.com and wallbuilders.com. Now, I throw those out there. If you never heard the word wall builders before, if somebody just sent you this link or you found us on a podcast, you know, app on your phone or maybe you just happen to be driving and you’re listening to us on one of the 300 stations we’re on across the country. Wall Builders, you need to know what that means. It comes from a scripture, Nehemiah that says, “Arise and rebuild the walls. That we may no longer be a reproach.” What was happening there was that without the outer walls of that city, you were run over, it was essential to the strength of the country. And so about 30 years ago, God put on David Barton’s heart to create an organization called Wall Builders to rebuild the walls. He was reading through Nehemiah over and over and over again and seeing how God, restored the nation and said, “How can we do that in America?” And it comes down to restoring the foundations, the principles that make a nation great in the first place. So that’s what we do here at Wall Builders and we do that mostly through this discussion here on the radio program about how to bring back a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective.

But then not just discussion, but actually taking action in the community and that’s where you come in. Of course, we do that all over the nation. We do that in our own communities, but we’re challenging you to do the same thing in your community and we want to equip you as best we can. We do that here on the program through what we believe and people tell us is an entertaining discussion of these things. And also through tools that will, in an entertaining and inspiring way, equip you to be a good citizen. It really just comes down to that teaching good civics and showing people how to be good citizens and how to live out the freedom that we’ve been blessed with. And those tools are available to you at those websites I mentioned earlier, wallbuilders.com and wallbuilderslive.com. Now, wallbuildersloive.com, we also want to encourage you to make a contribution and here’s why. It takes finances to wage war. It takes finances to impact a culture. And so when you get involved and you decide to be like a founding father, and they were willing to give up their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. When you do that, you give of your time, that’s your life by studying, by listening, by sharing this program with other folks, by hosting a constitution class in your community, by challenging and encouraging your pastor and your church to be salt and light in the community.

All of those things take time. And unfortunately that’s finances, just like the founding fathers, it took finances to win the revolutionary war. It takes finances today to be able to engage effectively. When you donate wallbuilderslive.com that’s what you’re doing. You’re investing in freedom. You’re coming alongside us here at Wall Builders and by doing so, becoming a part of the solution. So please consider doing that at wallbuilderslive.com today. We’re going to take a quick break. When we come back, Jeremy Dice will be with us from First Liberty. We’re going to be talking about some victories in religious liberty that we’ve for many years, had to talk about all the defeats. I mean, religious liberty was being attacked on every front in America. And it’s been so fun the last few years to be able to talk about some of those victories. That’s what we’re going to do when we come back from the break. So stay with us, you’re listening to Wall Builders Live.


David Barton: This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. Elections are approaching, yet many Christians find involvement in civil government to be a distraction. After all, there are so many demands in our time. There’s our careers and homes and families, and especially our children. However, the founding fathers did not believe that involvement in civil government was a distraction from our families. In fact, they believe just the opposite. As Samuel Adams explained, “Every citizen will see and I hope be deeply impressed with a sense of it, how exceedingly important it is to himself, and how intimately the welfare of his children’s connected with it, that those who are to make the laws should be men of singular wisdom and integrity. By being involved in civil government and electing wise leaders, we actually secure a better life for our children. Therefore, for your children’s sake be actively involved in this year’s elections. For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact Wall Builders at 1-800-8REBUILD.


Rick Green: Welcome back. Thanks for staying with us here on Wall Builders Live. Jeremy Dice back with us from first Liberty Institute, one of our favorite organizations on the planet. Kelly Shackford and that team does incredible work on religious liberty and so many other important constitutional issues. Jeremy, thanks for what you guys do, man, and thanks for a few minutes today.

Jeremy Dice: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Rick Green: Hey, you guys brought attention to what the president is doing on religious liberty. Of course, you’ve done that, you know, for three years. We’ve all, you know been amazed at the judicial appointments. You guys have a tracker basically on the website. On that you’ve really helped inform people on the big differences being made. This one is specifically now President Trump doing everything he can to, I guess on one level, public schools, making sure that religious liberty is protected there and prayer and several other areas. But tell us what, I think Kelly was even at the White House when they had this announcement, Coach Kennedy there. What was this all about and what can the president do without Congress with regard to the agencies that implement a lot of this? That’s a lot of questions, Jeremy. That was totally unfair. You know, it was like, “Okay, Jeremy, there’s my three minutes. Now you talk for 10 and we’ll see.” No, seriously. I don’t know which part of that you want to pick on, but go for it.

Jeremy Dice: Well, let’s start at the constitutional level, because that’s a great place to begin and that’s where the President gets the responsibility to make sure that the laws are faithfully executed, that’s his job. And Congress has given him, you know, they pass the laws and they say, “Hey, go make sure this is carried into effect.” And the way that we do that in our executive agencies these days, is through regulation and guidance and that sort of thing. So this is all flowing from what the constitution requires. Number one, that there’s is religious liberty to be respected in our country. Congress then takes that and passes various laws that ensure that religious liberty is well protected. So they’ve pass things like the equal access act that protects students who are performing religious groups to have the same access to resources from the school as their secular counterparts and secular groups would be able to have. There are things like the religious freedom restoration act, which makes sure that the government can’t substantially burden your free exercise without at least a compelling reason to do so and a variety of things like that. And so what the Congress does with those is then they just say, “Hey, go, go execute these. Go make sure these things are carried into effect.” And that’s what the President does.

Rick Green: They say, this is what we want to see happen, but then it’s the President and the, and the executive branch that has to faithfully execute that then and make sure that does happen. And then that involves, you know, thousands of bureaucrats at the federal level too.

Jeremy Dice: Exactly.

Rick Green: And so he’s got a direct in some way how they implement that.

Jeremy Dice: Precisely. Precisely. And so he’s got to go in and I’m glad we’re able to have, you know Civics 101, again on this call. So he’s got to go then and give directions throughout the, the federal bureaucracy, which of course is probably way too big, bigger than it needs to be at least, or certainly bigger than it was when our nation was founded. And within that there are all kinds of little things. And so let’s just take education as one good example.

Rick Green: Yep.

Jeremy Dice: One of the things that the President put out there was a guidance on prayer and religious liberty within the public schools. And that document is actually supposed to be regularly updated, I think every two years, it’s supposed to be updated. It rests in the department of education. They’re responsible for the ones that are supposed to be, you know, updating the thing was regularity. Well, that hasn’t been updated since 2003. And so you’ve gone through a Bush 43, you’ve gone through Obama and the first couple of years of President Trump without that docket being updated. And thankfully now it is updated and the updates to it are really fantastic. What they’ve basically done in this guidance is to say, “Look, there are certain laws that are on the books that you’ve got to follow public school students and teachers and administrators.

Here’s what the laws are and on top of the laws.” Of course, we’ve got that third branch of government, the judiciary. And the judiciary has enacted or has, opine of a variety of fronts as well. And here’s what they’ve said on these laws and on the first amendment and your responsibility towards the religious liberty of our school students here in this country. And so this guidance that’s come out has really updated that language quite heavily, as a matter of fact, to explain the additional freedoms that our students possess today that they may not have had back in 2003 or at least that were not recognized by the course in 2003 or at least the new ones that it was out there within those decisions is now fully updated.

That document, by the way, is then sent to every single school district in the country, and they actually have a responsibility to certify that they are in compliance with that guidance. And so in order to receive any federal funding, every school district has to certify that they are in compliance with that guidance. And if they’re not, I guess the question mark is whether or not that funding would be removed, but potentially it would be because they have to abide by the laws of the United States in order to receive federal funding. So that’s a pretty big deal.

Rick Green: Yeah, it’s a huge deal and I think of two things where that becomes very practical in terms of the religious liberty protections in our communities, and for guys like you all that come alongside students and teachers and others that have to defend those, those rights. The first one being that having a president in the white house and a staff that loves religious liberty and is going to defend it at the time these things are rewritten and send out to the schools is vital. Because I’m assuming the language in this thing is very different depending on your perspective and how you write it. And you could be an Obama saying, “Hey, you got to let, you know, boys go into girls bathrooms” and all the other things that he was for in implementing education laws. Or you have a president that’s saying, “Hey, we’re going to protect religious liberty. You’ve got to allow that kid to pray.” So that’s one, is just who’s at the helm when this is written. But then two, now that that has been written and sent out to those schools, when a kid’s religious liberties are violated and you come alongside them to defend them, you’re able to point to that document and to that schools received that document and say, “you’re not following the law on this.”

Jeremy Dice: Yeah, and we can drop a little CC line at the bottom there, to the department of education to say, by the way, you might want to check to see if they’ve actually certified that they’re compliant because here’s an incident of them not being in compliance with your own guidance.

Rick Green: Yeah.

Jeremy Dice: And so you may want to take a little bit. So it’s a pretty heavy, heavy weight to put around the neck of those who are wanting to silence the religious liberty of students. Let me give you just an example of what that looks like.

Rick Green: Sure.

Jeremy Dice: We’ve had several students and one just recently, as a matter of fact, that had been denied the opportunity to form a religious club within their school district here. And that is, I mean, that’s as old as I am. That law is actually just a little younger than I am these days, unfortunately. But that law of equal access act has been around since I think I was six years old or something like that. And it requires you to be able to have these religious clubs if you’re going to have secular clubs as well. Well, this continued to be a problem. Shockingly, not. In fact, we’ve had students that were told that it’s not just wrong, but it’s actually illegal for them to have this and that they could actually go to jail if they were to form these clubs in the public schools, which is just absolutely asinine and absurd.

Rick Green: You’re going to go to jail for exercising your constitutional right of freedom of religion. Even though its student led, student organized. Yeah. Crazy.

Jeremy Dice: Exactly. It’s ludicrous and so forth for school districts to say that to students. If they’re acting out of ignorance and let’s grant them that they probably are, they can be quickly informed by a quick glance at this guidance that solves that problem.

Rick Green: Yeah.

Jeremy Dice: But if they’re acting intentionally and with some sort of animus towards religion, then it’s right and proper for us as the citizens, as we, the people to say, “we’re going to hold you accountable here, and here’s how. If you’re going to violate intentionally the civil rights of our students, we’re going to see to it that we remove the hard earned tax dollars that would otherwise flow to you from the federal government, from your school district.

Because those school districts who are refusing to abide by the document, to which we would hold ourselves accountable, the constitution and the first amendment, which is within it. Do not deserve to receive federal taxes on that whole thing. So these are strongly. Now, look, we’ve never had to come to that point. We’ve never had to actually assert that [Inaudible 12:43] but that’s something that actually now hangs over the head. And that’s just one of several things that President Trump has done with his new guidance, his new memos on religious liberty. There are other things within the other agencies, for instance, of the department of labor. And a number of the other agencies have passed contracting rules. This is a shocking one, right? That if you’re going to have an organization that is religious, be a subcontractor with the federal government. Supplying some sort of need or service to the federal government to execute the laws there, through a federal contract, you can’t discriminate against them because they are actually religious. You know, this is a case that we had to fight with a couple of years ago called Trinity Lutheran versus Comer.

Rick Green: Yeah.

Jeremy Dice: When they said that, you know, you have two schools that are completely the same, they do the same thing and the same way, the difference is that one comes from a Lutheran school and with that religious tradition behind it, the other one does not. Well, the one that does not, receive the state funding from Missouri for a playground, [Inaudible 13:41] lay down on the gravel.

Rick Green: It’s that tire stuff that [Cross talking 13:44 – 13:47] so the kid doesn’t break both arms when they fall off the monkey bars, only one. No, I’m kidding.

Jeremy Dice: Exactly

Rick Green: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jeremy Dice: They give it to the school that was secular, but deny it to the one they denied them from even being able to be eligible for the limited school. And that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.  And what the federal government has now proposed for these notices of rulemaking and these proposed rules here, they’re going to say, “Look, the law has changed, or at least the law has been updated and recognized by the Supreme Court that you have to treat religious organizations fairly and equally with non-religious and secular organizations.” And I mean, look, this is just like kindergarten stuff. You got to treat people fairly and politely and the same, right?

Rick Green: Crazy that you’re..

Jeremy Dice: This ought to be a basic thing. And now that these new rules that the President has adopted or as has proposed are going to do that basic fairness thing.

Rick Green: Yeah. It brings us back to what people would have thought was the situation anyway. And it’s why we’ve had so many shocking programs in the last 10, 12, 15 years about situations just like you’re talking about where you got to scratch your head and go, this is happening in America. But you said something earlier that I think is key here and that you haven’t had to, you know, drop the hammer and go all the way on the funding thing and all that because you have these tools now to sit down. The thousands of times when, like you said, maybe out of ignorance, but sometimes out of out of hostility towards religion, a school official prevents a kid from living out the religious liberty. When that happens now, they can call on you guys at First Liberty and you can make the phone call and probably take care of it in a matter of days by simply pointing to these things. It really allows you guys to do your job in an even bigger and better and faster way and actually helps the school districts. It makes it clear, this is the law, and you might’ve been misinformed by an attorney that doesn’t do religious liberty cases. A lot of times they have attorneys advising these school boards and what not, they just don’t deal with this kind of stuff before. So I’m excited about how quickly this will help to stop a lot of that abuse of the constitution that takes place in these school districts by equipping you guys with this tools.  I could see many of these cases going away much faster than in the past, what you guys had to do.

Jeremy Dice: I certainly hope so. And really, the really practical effect of all of these things is something that is right in front of us. Let’s just state it, the mere fact of the leader of the free world is talking about the importance of religious liberty and saying that the administration, their fee are directed towards more religious freedom than less, sends an enormous message. The very fact that we’re talking about the fact that the President prefers religious liberty, more religious liberty over less…

Rick Green: It’s school prayer. He’s talked specifically about the importance of school prayer and kids being able to pray in school. You’re right.

Jeremy Dice: Exactly, exactly. And so that little visual element, it says a lot to students who are in High grove, Texas.

Rick Green: It does.

Jeremy Dice: Or you know, in Beckley, West Virginia or something like that, where they’re able to say, “Okay, the President thinks religious liberty is good, the President’s important. It must be okay for me to be able to reference my religion at at school as well.”

Rick Green: that’s great.

Jeremy Dice: It shouldn’t be that way, but the reality is when important people like the President say important things, like he said that religious liberty is itself important, we tend to get the message that maybe just perhaps religious liberty is an important thing.

Rick Green: No, it’s one of the most important things the President can do. I mean, in leading in that example, and some people might call it a bully pulpit, but I mean it’s literally the pulpit it’s giving you that platform to influence the culture in that way. Such a good thing. Jeremy, we appreciate you guys. Website real quick for First Liberty.

Jeremy Dice: Firstliberty.org F.I.R.S.T.liberty.org.

Rick Green: Firstliberty.org. Folks, you can donate there. If you have an issue on religious liberty and you need good counsel, these guys are amazing. Go to that website today. Get on their email list. Help support them in what they do. Jeremy, let’s do it again soon, man. Thanks for your time today.

Jeremy Dice: My pleasure. Thanks so much.

Rick Green: Stay with us folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.


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Rick Green: We’re back in Wall Builders Live. Thanks for staying with us. A special thanks to Jeremy Dice for joining us today on Wall Builders Live. We are back with David and Tim Barton.

David Barton: I was really, when this announcement came out from President Trump, I was kind of floored because all the media played this thing as President Trump has put prayer back in schools. Now I go what? He can’t…

Tim Barton: How did he do that?

David Barton: I love it, but he can’t do that. You can’t put prayer back in schools. Well, you know, that was their visceral reaction to this. And that’s not what he did. What he did was clarify something. And what he clarified was significant, it goes back to 2003, as Jeremy mentioned, and it goes back to Secretary of Education Rod Paige, under George W. Bush, “no child left behind.” They came out and said, “Look, here’s where all the law is right now.” And I hate saying law because it’s not sure where all the court decisions, our court decisions aren’t law. But they said, here’s where the law is, and here’s where the court decisions are. Here’s what you can and can’t do in schools. And so at that point in time, when Secretary Paige announced that, he said, “We”€™re going to be working on this over the next several months,” about, I guess as 18 months later. Tim, you remember how long?

Tim Barton: No, I don’t.

Rick Green: Eighteen months, they came out with a final paper and the final paper said, “Here”€™s what students and teachers and administrators can do regarding religious liberty of schools.” And they came out with a form that says every single LEA, which is a Local Education Agency, which is your local school.

Tim Barton: Or law enforcement agency.

Rick Green: Oh, it could be, but it wasn’t in this case.

Tim Barton: [Inaudible 20:08 – 20:09]. I”€™ll let that slide.

Rick Green: Leos, yeah. So every LEA has to certify to the SCA, which is the State Education Agency that you’re in full compliance with religious Liberty mandates that you’re not keeping any of the kids from doing this. And if you do not get certified for that, then you lose all your federal funding. And that can be 6 to 9% of federal funding. Well, that’s a lot. A lot of schools claim to run on the margin. So that was a really big bite. I did not recognize that this was supposed to be updated every two years. That was news to me. And so it did not get updated again and in the Bush administration, it did not get updated at all in the Obama administration. So what President Trump is doing is simply what the law required. He’s updated this, and it should have happened probably six or seven more times prior to this, every two years. And now we’ve had more religious liberty decisions that have come down. So you are literally getting closer to being able to have prayer in schools again, just by simply looking at what’s out there.

Tim Barton: Well, and let me also point out to me, Rick, one of the funny things, when you were explaining part of how the process works and Jeremy says, “Oh yeah, well, you know, here we go back in Civics 101. And when he said Civics 101, I thought, “Now, wait a second, who in the last 20 years has had a civics course?” Because that’s not even taught anymore.

Rick Green: Three percent of schools have civic courses, 3%.

Tim Barton: Right. So I thought this isn’t Civics 101, this is Civics 00001, maybe, right? Nobody knows this anymore. And so we’re going to, and I was very grateful that you explained some more of this process, but this is one of the reasons that there’s even levels of frustration with members of the media and with different political factions. When President Trump does something that actually is legal because they don’t even recognize what is legal, what’s not legal anymore. And really, that’s not even the point for most of them because they just don’t like president Trump. And they want to disparage anything he says anytime, even when he’s right. You know, backup state of the union, when he was saying really positive things about how, that we now have more minority communities that are employed and they have jobs and entrepreneurs and we should be applauding that. And there was a whole section of the crowd there in Congress who would not applaud because it’s not about what necessarily is always beneficial and good, it’s about my side winning.

Nonetheless, we just don’t understand how Civics works anymore. And, you know, Dad is, you’re, you’re mentioning 2003 is when this was updated last, was to be every two years, which certainly it hasn’t been. But also, it’s interesting, one of the things President Trump has done is when he has done things, whether it’d be a proclamation, whether it’d be an executive order, largely they have been constitutional. And it made me think, you know, if this must be updated every two years, how do we know it’s going to be good every two years? But what President Trump has done, even in helping update some of these standards, or at least under his administration, they’ve been updated, is they’ve always been limited to the constitutional actions. And this is where, again, I’m continually impressed and I probably shouldn’t be surprised anymore, although sometimes I am about how often what President Trump does is limited and guided by the constitution. And, now that we’re coming to the point where every school has to comply with this, or they’re going to lose their government funding. And now the new compliance is you have to acknowledge religious liberty, guys, this is not a victory. We thought we would probably be celebrating when President Trump was running against Hillary Clinton, right? Like this probably wasn’t something we’re like, “you know what’s going to happen here in a couple of years, we’re going to have prayer back in schools and the president’s going to be the one promoting this.”

This is really an impressive thing. And as Jeremy pointed out, right, the fact that you have the President of the United States, a leader of the free world, who is saying that we want prayer back in schools. Even the fact he’s talking about school prayer is huge because now kids, parents are hearing, “Hey, kids should be praying in school.” They’re allowed to brand school, which contradicts what they’ve heard for literally decades. And knowing that the president who is the arm of the, the leader of the executive branch, the arm of kind of law enforcement is saying, “No, no, no. This is okay. We’re promoting this. We want to do this.” This is a huge win coming from President Trump.

David Barton: It is a huge win. And I really like the word hammer. I mean, that’s not what I would normally have thought, but this is a hammer because when you have school districts that are recalcitrant and do not want to allow religious expressions, when you’ve got school districts like the Plano school district in Texas. Tim, how long did that lawsuit go on the candy canes? Was at 12 or 13 years?

Tim Barton: Yeah, it was 12 or 13 years.

David Barton: They lost every level. They lost at every level. And the same with the Koons cheerleaders and their schools are just not going to give in and let you have religious expression. All right, let’s just chop your funding. Let’s take wait 9 to 10% of your funds and see how that feels. And so the fact that they are now tying money to being constitutional and again, they’re not making up the standards here, they’re using the standards that the courts have set forth based on what the Supreme Court has said and current rulings. So they’re saying, guys, you will be constitutional or we’re not going to fund you. I mean, that is a standard I haven’t heard in, I don’t know, maybe my lifetime that we’re funding only what’s constitutional with constitutional compliance. That is a really big deal. This really is a huge thing. This happened with President Trump.

Rick Green: Well, we seem to be saying that over and over and over again on this program, but it’s just reaction to what’s happening, what’s actually being done by this administration. So many religious liberty victories over the last few years. And it’s just exciting to see, even another step here in the right direction to defend our constitutional freedoms and specifically that first amendment right to your conscious to be able to live out your faith. It’s such a vital part of what it means to be an American and it is encouraging not only to have a president that will stand for that, but attorneys like Jeremy Dice and organizations like First Liberty and others that are out there defending those things for. So that’s why we do this here at Wall Builders Live is to equip and inspire you to do the exact same thing. We thank you for coming alongside us. If you go to the website today at wallbuilderslive.com, you can make that contribution, one time our monthly. You can also sign up to be on our email list and share those emails with your friends and family. You can grab these programs right there on the website and send them out on Facebook and Twitter and other social media tools. And then you can go to constitutioncoach.com and sign up to host our constitution class in your community. Be sure and check that out today as well. Thanks for listening. Today you’ve been listening to Wall Builders Live.