Robert E. Lee and Confederate Statues, Dreamers Act, Gay Weddings, Trump and the Constitution On Foundations Of Freedom Thursday: David and Rick answer questions from the audience regarding the Dreamers Act, Baking for gay weddings, and the recent tearing down of Robert E. Lee and Confederate statues. See how President Trump is living by the Constitution. Learn about the importance of living by the laws of nature and nature’s God. And take a look at the lives of two Confederate generals, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.
Air Date: 10/12/2017
Guests: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. 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.
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.”
Faith And The Culture
You’ve found yourself at the intersection of faith and the culture this is WallBuilders Live where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture. Today we’re talking about it on a Thursday, which means it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Now every day during the week, we always approach these topics from a Biblical, historical, and Constitutional perspective. Thursdays are a little special because we let your questions drive the conversation and it tends to be more about those foundational questions how the Constitution works, maybe a question about the Founding Fathers and how they applied things, or specifically how to apply some of these Biblical, Constitutional, and historical principles to an issue of the day. That’s happening right now hot in the news and that’s the other thing, we’re always talking about those things that are actually happening in the culture.
Q&A With David Barton
Our conversation today is with David Barton. He’s America’s premiere historian. We’ll be throwing some questions at him. He’s the founder here at WallBuilders. My name is Rick Green – I’m a former Texas state legislator.
Be sure to visit our websites today – WallBuildersLive.com is our radio site. Pretty cool. There you can actually go back over the last few weeks and listen to programs you may have missed – more of these Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs for instance, or our Good News Friday programs where David and Tim Barton bring a lot of good news that you probably have not heard in the typical news cycle. And then we have a lot of great interviews with special guests. So check all that out at WallBuildersLive.com and if you want to listen in the car, listen on a radio station close to you. We have a list of those 300 stations that carry the program on the website right there as well.
Then our other website is WallBuilders.com – that’s our main website. Be sure and check that site out today for great resources for yourself, your family, your church, and your school. All kinds of tools there to help you become a better citizen and help you to understand what our nation is all about. I promise they will equip you, they will inspire you, and they’ll educate you. You’ll be glad that you went to that website and be sure and share it with your friends and family.
Foundations of Freedom Thursday
David, alright, Foundations of Freedom Thursday – it means we’ve got a lot of great questions coming from the audience. We’ll try to get in as many as we possibly can. You ready for the first one?
Well our first question comes from Joe, just simply says, “Please explain, I guess you pronounce it ‘DOCA’, and the president, and Congress, and their roles, if any, in any of this.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – DACA
It’s actually a DACA – and it’s called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals also called the “Dreamers Act.” And so what happened was back in 2012, President Obama issued an executive order that says, okay, individuals who entered the country illegally as minors and they remained in the country, they can receive a renewable two-year deferred action from deportation and they can be eligible to work. So what happened was, President Obama established an immigration policy by executive order that set aside several laws on what was legal and illegal about deportation immigrations, etc.
So what happened at the time that that law went through — and say what you want to say about the Dreamers Act — that’s not where I’m going to go for the time being. I’m going to go to how the law was enacted because I am calling it a law because there’s a national federal policy. It did not come to the House, it did not come to the Senate, it was not signed by the president. So it went through by executive order. Now executive order by Constitutional use is – you have the right to tell your branch what to do, but you can’t tell the others what to do.
And normally that would be to actually in the implementation of a law that did come through Congress right?
Not just making stuff up out of thin air —
— and creating new laws.
Congress has already passed an immigration law and the executive order says, “Alright, Congress passed this law, here’s how we’re going to implement the law passed by Congress.” In this case, he made up a whole policy, a whole law, by executive order and even at the time, a number of Democrats came out and said, “That’s not what executive orders are supposed to do -you don’t make laws.” So he was widely criticized by both Republicans and Democrats for the way that this policy was enacted.
So it’s gone now for several years. A matter of fact, in 2014, he tried to expand it to cover additional illegal immigrants and then a bunch of states sued and went to court and the court said, “No you can’t do that, you don’t get to make this kind of policy by executive order.” So what has happened is that — Dreamers Act is what they call it — has been in place, not constitutionally passed, since 2012. So President Trump comes in, he reviews all previous executive orders, and he starts repealing those orders that are not Constitutional.
Obama’s Unconstitutional Orders
Where President Obama said, “Hey, I’ve got a pen and a phone, I’m going to make law”. Well, President Trump has said, “No, you can’t do that”. Now what he did —
That clause isn’t in there – the Pen and the Phone Clause, we don’t have that one in the Constitution?
No, that’s actually an Article 8, Section 3, Paragraph 2.
And so anybody that doesn’t know, there’s only seven articles in the Constitution, so that’s a facetious way of saying, “No, it’s not in the Constitution.”
So he repealed that executive order because it was not done according to the Constitution. Now, on the other hand, it can be done by Congress and so on repealing that executive order, president or Trump announced that he’s going to hold off on the actual repeal of that order to give Congress six months to see if they want to make that a law. In other words, take the content or the substance of what Obama tried to do if Congress wants that as a law, then Congress is going to have to pass it as a law and President Trump will uphold that law.
But as it is now, the policy itself is not a constitutionally passed federal statute which is what it needs to be because the Constitution says that it is Congress who controls immigration, and immigration measures, and standards, uniform standard of immigration, et cetera. All that’s Congress – doesn’t come from the president, it comes from Congress. So that’s what DACA is all about – the Dreamers Act.
Trump Asked Congress To Decide
President Trump did exactly the right thing. He repealed all those executive orders that did not come Constitutionally, but he recognizes there is a lot of support for this order, and there’s a lot of support for the policy, and people wish it was a law, and so he said to Congress, “Alright, if you guys think this should be a law, make it a law. Otherwise, in six months this is going away.”
And he issued that order in early September, so essentially by the end of the year, if Congress doesn’t make that a law, then that executive order will repeal the Dreamers Act which affects about 800,000 minors who are here illegally who have stayed on.
So he’s essentially saying, “Look, if you want this to be the law of the land, then do it the way the law of the land is supposed to be passed”–
Congress Passes Laws
— which Congress had refused to do so far, right? So the people’s representatives did not pass this law. And Obama did his “phone and a pen” thing and all Trump’s doing is saying, “Hey, I’m taking away the phone and the pen. We’re going to back up and say ‘do this right.’”
Trump Is Following The Constitution
And I will say that at this point I need to go on record with an apology because I had predicted that because Trump had been a CEO for so many years, and it runs so many businesses and industries, that he would probably use the same pen and phone approach – that would be his same temptation because that’s what a CEO does – is they make orders and they get followed. Trump has been exceptionally good and has executive orders about not making policy and even in this executive order and repealing policy that was not made according to the Constitution.
Well great. Alright, well David, if you’re apologizing, then I’ve got to apologize too because I said he would possibly be even worse than Obama because the same thing – that business experience of “I’m just going to get it done no matter what it takes.” I thought he would do the same, so, alright, fine – mea culpa, I was wrong and I apologize too.
And can I tell you how glad I am that I was wrong?
Me too – I’m pinching myself going — I couldn’t — I’ve never been so glad to have been so wrong about someone.
Thankful To Be Wrong About Trump
And I cannot tell you in recent memory, the presidents who have been this tedious — and maybe tedious is the wrong tone — but this precise and trying to follow the intent of the Constitution and not just its literal wording. I mean, he has done a good job of separation of powers under Pelosi. Pelosi gave so many congressional powers to the executive and they encouraged Obama to do these kinds of things. And what has happened is, even though Congress ceded those powers wrongfully to the Executive, this president is saying, “I don’t want those powers. You may have given them, but I don’t want those powers because that’s not Constitutional.”
And I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to say that about any president, but particularly about President Trump when I had really predicted that he would probably go the other way because of his business experience.
Yeah, no doubt. Let’s take a quick break. We’ve got more questions coming from you, our audience, and by the way, if you’ve got some questions as you listen and you think about some things you’d like to ask David, be sure to email those in its: [email protected] That’s [email protected]. And also there at WallBuilders.com or WallBuildersLive.com, either one, if you like our program, if you’d like to hear it more and you’d like more people to be able to hear it, be sure and help support us there as well. You can make contributions on the website or get materials that will help educate yourself and your family. Check those out at our website today. Right back on WallBuilders Live.
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of Constitutional power.”
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment in American history. America is a special and unique nation. The average length for a constitution in other countries is only 17 years. But we’ve had ours for over two centuries. Our 4 percent of the world’s population produces 24 percent of the world’s gross domestic product and every year we produce more inventions and technology than the other 96 percent of the world combined.
In 1831 Alexis de Tocqueville of France came to America, traveled the country, and in his famous book, “Democracy in America”, reported, “The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional. It may be believed that no Democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one.”
This is the origin of the phrase “American exceptionalism” and affirms that America is unique because of the distinctive ideas on which we’ve been based. Including in inalienable rights, individuals, and limited government, and the importance of religion, and morality. For more information about American exceptionalism go to WallBuilders.com.
Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever recorded to the human race.”
What About Discrimination?
We’re back on WallBuilders Live – Foundations of Freedom Thursday today. Thanks for staying with us. We’re taking your questions and throwing them to David Barton – here’s the next one. This question says, “I’ve been using WallBuilders material to educate myself and family for a decade” —
Alright, hey, congratulations – keep that up —
“And last year, came across the world of podcasts. Thank you for all you do. My question – What is the difference between store owners refusing to serve black persons in the 1960’s and a baker refusing to make a cake for a gay couple today?”
Well, the way I would go at it is, the answer to that question is – if you have moral relativism, there is no difference in the two scenarios – in the 60’s saying, “I don’t want to be around blacks” and today in the 20-teens saying, “I don’t want to participate in a homosexual wedding” – moral relativism, there is no difference.
However, under God’s law, there is a big difference. And the Declaration establishes that we are to run the nation under the value system known as “the laws of nature and of nature’s God.” In the laws of nature, no distinction is made on race – all are equal. There is no color, there is no distinction on that.
Laws Of Nature
In the laws of nature’s God, you have things like Acts 17:26 that says we’re all of one blood. You have what we see in Revelation 7:9 that gathered around Christ’s throne, God’s throne, at the end of days, are people from all races, all tribes, all nations, throwing down crowns before Him. That’s where we get the concept that all men are created equal.
So what you had in the 60’s and what you had not only in the 1960’s but in the 1860’s, was a bad view of natural law, a bad view of the laws of nature and nature’s God, a bad view of the Scriptures. Scriptures teach that one man is not worth more than another man – it is just, it is not. And so from that standpoint that’s already the difference.
But that assumes that you believe a moral law, that you believe there are moral rights and wrongs. And if you believe that, and if the laws of nature and nature’s God in the Declaration are your standard, then how you respond with homosexuality, you can have a different response to that.
Homosexuality In Nature Is An Aberration
Take the laws of nature. There are some ten million known identified species in nature and only half a dozen or so have any instances of homosexuality in them and it is never a lifestyle, it is never a permanent form of behavior – even in the half dozen species where it does occur, it’s always considered an aberration.
So under the laws of nature and Nature’s God the quality of human worth is not the same as the quality of human behavior nor of animals. We’ve always regulated types of behavior that violated the moral law. Which is why even as recent as 15 years ago, the Supreme Court, that certainly was not anything religious at all, still said that homosexuality violated the laws of nature as they said it was a crime against nature.
So if you have an objective moral standard, which we did, which was the Laws of Nature and Nature’s God, which was also the Scriptures because that’s the laws of Nature’s God, you have the laws of nature and then the laws of the God who created nature. When you combine those two you get the common law and the Seventh Amendment.
How the Founding Fathers defined the common law was the laws of nature Nature’s God and practices that we used judicially to enforce that. The laws of nature and nature’s God makes a big distinction between how you treat races and how you treat behavior. Races are inherent, they’re not voluntary, they’re not choices of behavior, but homosexuality is.
Behavior Driven Vs. Inherent Characteristics
And so if I choose not to participate with homosexual activities or weddings or anything else, that’s a behavior-driven decision. But if I choose to say I’m not going to hang with blacks because I don’t think they’re worth as much, now I’ve violated the laws of nature and nature’s God. Whereas choosing not to hang with a homosexual wedding is not a violation of laws of nature and nature’s God.
So that’s probably the easiest, broadest, way to answer that question is – is something where the laws of nature and nature’s God does make that distinction and of course God’s word makes that distinction. And so based on those two, that’s why there’s a difference between how we treated races in the 60’s and how we’re treating homosexual weddings in the teens.
And we’re not even talking necessarily about outlawing a particular activity at this point – we’re saying, “Don’t use government to force people” —
Rights Of Conscience And Association
Don’t coerce me.
Yeah, “Don’t coerce me into participating in an activity that violates your conscience”.
And by the way, this is also part of the right of association because that’s another First Amendment right – that’s another part of the laws of nature and nature’s God. In nature, I can choose which herds I want to hang with. I’m a cowboy rancher, so let me talk cows for a minute. If I am an Angus cow, I can choose that I want to hang with the Holsteins – no, today I’m going to hang with the Jerseys – no, I think I’ll hang with Santa Gertrudis – no, let’s make it Charolais today – no, let’s make it Beefmasters.
In nature, if you’re an elk and want to hang with the deer, you can. If you’re an elk and want to hang with the mule, you can. If you’re an elk and want to hang with the mountain sheep, you can. You can choose where you hang – that is a law of nature.
And suddenly we’re saying, “No, you can’t choose where you hang with your wedding cakes – that’s not your choice. We’ll tell you which herd to hang with. That violates the right of association which is an inalienable right, the right of laws of nature. This is not about the worth of individuals – this is about me hanging with who I’m comfortable with, and who I want to be with.
And to not have your conscience violated.
Force Lionel Richie to Perform at a White Supremacist Rally?
As we mentioned last week, for instance, the comparison was black persons at the counter in the 60’s. I mean to force you to use your photography skills, your baking skills, you know, whatever it is to force you to take that – your gift, your skill, what you’re good at – and go use it in this activity that it is celebrating something to violate your conscience, that is no different than saying to a black person — let’s take a performer, a singer, like Lionel Richie, a black performer — saying you’re going to go sing at a white supremacist rally —
— You’re going to go sing at some activity or are gathering that violates everything you believe in, and that you stand for, but because they asked you to and because they came to your door and said, “Hey, we want you – not the guy down the street,” you have to do it. Government’s going to force you to participate in commerce or force you to participate, in this case, a ceremony – it’s the same exact thing and I don’t think anybody would say, “Yeah, we ought to make Lionel Richie do that.” Of course not.
In the same way, you shouldn’t make that Christian, or that Jew, or Muslim, or whatever their particular faith is or conscience, you know, their foundation for their consciences, go participate in something that violates their conscience.
Exactly right. And so you’ve got the right of association, the right of conscience, and the right of equal worth, that are all three rights dealing here that make this a very, very, different situation from what would have happened in the 60’s.
Alright, quick break – we’ll be right back. We’ve got more of your questions. Folks, send them in to [email protected] We’ll be right back at WallBuilders Live.
Thomas Jefferson said, “The constitution of most of our states, and of the United States, assert that all power is inherent in the people that they may exercise it by themselves. That it is their right and duty to be at all times armed. That they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know. But it gets frustrating because you don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. 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.
President Calvin Coolidge said, “The more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever recorded to the human race.”
Thanks for staying with us on WallBuilders Live on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday.
Washington National Cathedral
Next question from the audience comes from John. He says, “I read in the USA Today on 9/11 that the Washington National Cathedral is removing two stained glass windows that depict Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson. The cathedral statement says the images are quote, ‘a barrier to racial justice and racial reconciliation.’
Do you believe this is in response to all the hype going on about taking down statues? How is the Biblical worldview, or any worldview, affected by removing all these various landmarks?
Martin Sheen or Robert Duvall?
And just a side note, since Robert E. Lee was mentioned and Stonewall Jackson, if you’ve watched Gettysburg and Gods and Generals, then you should send in an email let us know if Robert Duvall or — what’s his name, the liberal, — Martin Sheen played a better Robert Lee. I’m just I’m just curious because I like Robert Duvall, he’s much better actor.
Okay, back to the serious part of the question, David. So, do you believe this response is appropriate to take down the Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson stained glass windows?
Well, I’ll say first off that I think Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were both wrong in what they did in fighting for a movement that held a view that violated the laws of nature and nature’s God – just to be right up front with it.
Even if they didn’t agree with the movement —
Even if they didn’t agree.
They still fought for it and therefore, they were wrong in doing that.
It’s like having the president of the Southern Baptist Convention also be the president of Planned Parenthood. Those two things are incompatible. So for a Biblical-thinking Christian to be part of a movement that says one race of people is inferior to another race, violates the laws of nature and of nature’s God.
So let’s just be real clear about that.
Robert E. Lee was Wrong
However, having said that, when you look at those two individuals, what happens is you’re expecting absolute perfection all the time. Let’s take Robert E. Lee for an example – he was a very outspoken Christian. He was very pious. I think he was wrong in this area, although, he may not have been as wrong as others were because he treated slaves very differently. He treated them as equals in so many ways, but he lived in a country, and he fought for a country that did not do that as a practice.
So we can say maybe his beliefs were different, aberration, whatever. That aside, when it comes to his death, one of the things that happened at his death was he refused to let any Confederate images be placed anywhere around because he was working for reconciliation. He was trying to heal the wounds. He didn’t want to bring any reminders up that there were distinctions and differences. He’s working to heal.
Now that’s a pretty good message to follow – that regardless of what your former beliefs were, what you want to do now is reconciliation. And what he did in following the Freedmen’s Laws and the Freedmen’s Bureau – and all the things that went for equality – he went with all of those laws, worked for equality.
Robert E. Lee Worked For Reconciliation
So I could make him a pretty good role model of having been on the wrong side of things but ends up on the right side of things. And here’s a great role model for those who have been on the wrong side that, look, you can take the leadership of Robert E. Lee and come over and start working for the right things, working for reconciliation, etc.
We can’t say that about Stonewall Jackson because he was killed by friendly fire in the war. We know he’s an extremely devout, extremely pious, Christian which is why they were at the National Cathedral. Their professions about faith in Jesus and about the Bible etc. Unequivocal. There’s no question.
Stonewall Jackson was Killed Too Soon to Know
Now, we don’t know how Stonewall Jackson would have ended in treatment of racial equality because he was killed early on, but I suspect that because of his dedication to the Scriptures, the Scriptures would have eventually won out over his Southern teaching and inclinations. Perhaps not, but we don’t know.
But this is one of the problems we have with what’s going at that monument movement now, is we’re expecting people to be absolutely 100 percent perfect on our views as we hold them right now and nobody’s ever going to do that. So I guarantee you, every statue from here on can be taken down for some reason, for some way, shape, fashion, form, for some purpose. Every one of them can be taken because they will not match – ever.
But you can always use Schumann’s – the good, the bad, and the ugly about humans, to make positive lessons. Now I can point to really bad people. I love what they do in Germany – in Germany they keep the memory of the Nazis and Hitler alive and they do that to remind them what they don’t ever want to go back to.
Germany Is Least Tolerant On Neo-Naziism
And that’s why, right now, Germany is one of the least tolerant of all European nations on neo-Naziism. They don’t put up with it in Germany because they remember Hitler and they keep alive the memories of the injustices of Hitler and the Nazis, everything else.
You have the same thing when you go to Israel. They’ve got all these monuments to bad kings – this huge one to Absolom – maybe one of the worst kings in the Bible. Yeah, but they point to that and say, “This is what you don’t ever want to become. Don’t become like this.”
They don’t eradicate those – they use the good and the bad and the ugly to teach for positive reasons.
We are so bad about knowing our own history today and so incapable of handling things and moving toward truth. And we have such a moral relativism, generally, that you have to conform 100 percent precisely to me or you’re absolutely wrong in every way, shape, fashion, form. There’s nothing redeeming in your life, nothing I can learn from real life, unless you believe like I believe. This movement’s not going to last that long. It can’t last that long because eventually, you’re going to be tearing down their heroes because they’re going to be something that comes out that doesn’t match the life, or we’re going to be in control and we don’t like them.
This just can’t last. It’s illogical. But in the meantime, I think that’s probably the right way to look at Lee and Jackson as they were on the wrong side, fought for the wrong things. But in the case of Lee, he came to the right side, worked for reconciliation, worked for the right things. We don’t know about Jackson, but we suspect he probably would have – doesn’t matter – all statues can be used to teach something good if you know history.
Robert E. Lee Was In The Wrong But He Changed
I don’t usually plug Hollywood, but since I mentioned Gettysburg and God’s and Generals, we were at — went and visited Gettysburg a few weeks ago and watched them just because we were going and, I have to say, they did a pretty good job of showing both sides and letting you kind of understand the mindset of the times. It really does kind of take you back into that era to be able to understand some of what was going on, so you might check those out.
But be sure and check out our websites today: WallBuildersLive.com – you can get more of these Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs. And our regular website: WallBuilders.com.
Thanks so much for listening to WallBuilders Live.
Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”