The Role of Religion And The Church – Foundations of Freedom: Today, we answer your questions on MLK’s view of religion in society, how the Church should deal with illegal aliens, and whistleblower protection. Tune in now to learn more!

Air Date: 11/21/2019

On-air Personalities: 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. 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

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith in the culture, it’s WallBuilders Live where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith and culture. We always do that from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective, especially today though on Foundations of Freedom Thursday. It gives you a chance to dive into what are the principles that make a nation great, what are the things that will actually produce good results?

And so what we do is we let you ask the questions and then we take that question and we look at it from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective. And sometimes those questions have to do with, you know, the Constitution, certain principles, how they’re being applied, what’s happening politically in the country, maybe it’s a cultural issue, we get all kinds of questions on Foundations of Freedom, Thursday. But we answer those here with David Barton, he’s America’s premier historian and our founder of WallBuilders, Tim Barton is with us national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders and my name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas Legislature.

We look forward to answering those questions today. Before we get to the first question, I encourage you to go to our website, wallbuilderslive.com, you can get archives of the program, listen to other Thursday programs where we dive into those foundations, listen to the interviews that we do throughout the week and of course, our good news Friday programs.

Become a Part of What We’re Doing

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Well, guys, let’s dive into those Foundations of Freedom questions are coming in from all over the country, folks, who want to send them in. Do that to radio at wallbuilders.com. David, Tim, here’s your first question, it’s from Jeannette and it’s about a freedom from religion speaker named Mandisa Thomas.

Was Mandisa Thomas Wrong?

And the question is this. “At the 2019 convention, Mandisa Thomas said that Martin Luther King Jr. endorsed State and Church separation in an interview in Playboy. I read that interview, I could not find where he endorsed this idea. Am I wrong? Did I miss that he really endorsed this? But the very least, she wanted her audience, meaning the speaker, Mandisa Thomas to think that she and Martin Luther King Jr. were on the same page, removing religion from America. I like your feedback on this.”

Guys, I can’t imagine MLK being for separation of Church and State the way that freedom for a religion is. I mean they don’t want religion in the public square at all. This is a guy that quoted Bible verses all over the public square.

Tim:

Yes, certainly not in the scheme of wanting to remove religion from politics. It seems like a lot of his challenges were to religious leaders to get involved in the process, to help remedy some of the problems they were seeing in the political spectrum, right. A lot of the civil rights issues were in his mind something that Christians were doing the wrong thing, we’re not standing up, that Christian leaders weren’t speaking out for these movements. Which that would be very much political talk, that wouldn’t be separating or removing religion from political discourse and conversation. That’s directly inserting and I mean he’s chastising religious leaders in many occasions for not getting involved in the process.

MLK’s Playboy Interview

So it certainly doesn’t seem consistent with his actions, but in the interview, he does get involved with this. When we saw this question, I went and I read the interview in Playboy which just felt super weird, right, when you have to search for an interview from Playboy and that just felt dirty on all kinds of levels. Like I’m not, I really like I shouldn’t be doing this at all. But in this interview with apparently Playboy magazine and it did raised a question like why is Playboy apparently writing some kind of article dealing with religion and him okay, so just kind of a weird but with certainly the way that Playboy has labeled themselves and what they do.

But in this interview, I didn’t see anything in the tone of him calling for separation of Church and State. To the contrary, he was challenging that we needed more Christianity to be the solution for what’s happening and he wanted more of that in culture and in politics and in discourse. Dad, what did you see?

David:

I’ve read the same interview, same weird feeling reading it, but the same interview. And when you look at Playboy back in the day, they used to do some articles kind of like this. I remember that Jimmy Carter when he was running for president, I recall did an interview with Playboy. Wait a minute. Here’s the guy who calls himself a born-again Christian, who is doing an interview with Playboy. But this interview with MLK was done in January of 1965, the interview was actually done by Alex Haley, he was the author of Roots and Roots became a big miniseries back in the day.

MLK’s Own Words

And so Alex Haley, black authors talking to MLK in this interview, I’m just going to read part of it. And so Alex Haley or it says, Playboy is the way because he’s asking on behalf of Playboy, he said and he’s talking Dr. King. He says, can you recall any other mistakes you’ve made in leading the movement? And he’s asking this, MLK. MLK said, “Well, the most pervasive mistake I’ve made was in believing that because our cause was just, we can be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciousness were challenged would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures, I ended up of course chastened and disillusioned. As our movement unfolded and direct appeals were made to white ministers, most folded their hands and some even took stance against us. So that’s the context of I made a mistake by thinking the white church would help us in this”.

And here’s Alex Haley or Playboy’s next question: “Their stated reason for refusing to help was that it was not the proper role of the church to quote, intervene in secular affairs. Do you agree with this view?” So white churches are saying, oh the church shouldn’t get involved in politics, we shouldn’t be involved the worldly stuff. He’s asking Dr. King, do you disagree with this view. Dr. King answers, “Most emphatically”. So he most emphatically disagrees with the view that the church should not be involved in worldly affairs or intervene in secular activities.

Tim:

Which means he’s not in favor of the separation of Church and State the way it is argued today?

David:

That’s right. He is absolutely opposed to the separation Church and State that says you stay out of the public square.

Check the Source Documents

Tim:

So he’s actually saying, he said the opposite of what he actually said?

David:

That’s exactly and that’s why I wanted to read this, because how that Mandisa Thomas how she can say that when you have this at your disposal. By the way, no to everybody. When you hear a professor say something or you see something on social media, you see a meme, don’t just believe it because somebody said it, go check it. And that’s what both Tim and I did independently, both of us had the same thought as what did he actually say?

So here’s the rest of what King said. He says. “Most emphatically”. In other words, he said, he disagrees with church was not being involved. He said, “The essence of the epistles of Paul is that Christians should rejoice at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believe. The projection of a social gospel in my opinion is the true witness of a Christian life. This is the meaning of the true Ekklesia, the inner, spiritual Church, the Church wants to change society. It was then a thermostat of society. But today, I feel that too much of the Church is merely a thermometer, which measures rather than molds popular opinion.”

I mean everything he said was, no, no, church has to be involved. So for Mandisa Thomas to take the position and no, he didn’t want the church involved. That is crazy stuff and Tim gave other reasons for that as well. So again, this is just a good example of why it’s important to go to the actual original source and not what somebody believes.

Send In Your Questions

And by the way, don’t believe Tim or me. Either one, just go, check the article. Is online, you can download it, read it, see who’s writing this thing.

Rick:

Oh, Jeannette, great question, thank you for sending that in. Others who want to send in their questions, to do that to radio at wallbuilders.com, we’ll get to as many as we can today and then hit some more next Thursday. Stay with us, we’ll be right back from the break with more of your questions on Foundations of Freedom Thursday here on Wallbuilders Live.

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Rick:

We’re back on Wallbuilders Live, thanks for staying with us on this Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Next question comes from Mike in Remsen, Iowa. Remsen, have you guys ever campaigned in Remsen, I know you campaigned in Iowa a lot? I don’t know where Remsen is. Anyway.

David:

I don’t recall.

Rick:

Remsen, R-E-M-S-E-N. Alright, Mike… email us tell us all about Remsen. But Mike asked the question, I liked your recent broadcast on illegal immigration. I thought the rabbi’s response was very good. You guys remember we had Rabbi Daniel Lapin on to discuss this. We talked about the original language of what sojourner men in the Old Testament.

And Mike goes on to say, “My question is my local church has decided to have a local Hispanic festival in order to minister to the local Hispanic population. They’ve also begun having small groups led by Hispanic believer, especially for those people not able to or with very poor English. After hearing your broadcast and the history of immigration into this country, I agree that these people should not be here illegally, but if you’re legally, they should strive to learn and speak English as well as assimilate into our culture. I agree with the local churches, go to win others are Christ. However, is this the right way to go about this? I guess I feel that in sponsoring these activities, is the church condoning illegals being here in this country?

How Does God Want the Church to Treat Illegals?

I realize you can’t really question newcomers as to their legal status, but by reaching out to these people and not questioning their legality, isn’t it the church sinning by not reporting illegals to the authorities and allowing them to continue to break our nation’s laws? Wouldn’t this be similar to the church knowing of someone who committed theft and didn’t report them to the authorities? Surely, God does not want us church to be condoning illegal activities, does he? I would like to know your opinion on this situation. Thanks.” Mike.

You know, guys, before you answer this to our listeners out there, this is a common question that people are struggling with in communities across the country and in churches. So I mean, I think Mike is smart to ask this question because a lot of people are wondering, this is where the rubber meets the road in your own backyard, in your own community. How do I deal with this if it is illegal activity, how do you reach out to the individual without, you know, supporting or condoning the illegal activity? So a great question, let’s toss it out there.

David:

I think there’s a jurisdictional answer here. What is the State supposed to do? What does the individual supposed to do? What is the family supposed to do? What is the Church supposed to do? The State is supposed to uphold the law. It’s not the role of the Church or the individual or family to enforce the law, the state is supposed to do that. Now if the State chooses not to do that, then what do you do? And that’s kind of where we are here.

The State Is to Enforce the Laws

The State is not enforcing the laws is supposed to enforce. This is one of the big battles going on with whether we should have a wall or not, Democrats on one side and Republicans laws…in the opposite side and this is all about enforcement. Should we control borders? Should we control who goes in and doesn’t go in? And so part of what you have is up to 20 million illegal aliens here, not just because they came in illegally, but mainly because the government refused to enforce the laws that existed. And so that’s what happened when you had the amnesty that happened under Reagan and then you had the one with Bush and now here we are a third time and the government is just refusing to enforce. And then when they do enforce, judges turning people loose or Democrats aren’t funding things. So you’re really in a situation here where that they’re here illegally but they’re here almost with the permission of government, because the government is not enforcing the laws.

So you get in the situation of now I have to look at this from a humanitarian standpoint. Number one, I need to start electing people to office who will enforce the laws or who will repeal the laws. You shouldn’t have laws in the books you’re not going to enforce, you don’t pick and choose. So if you think this is law is wrong, get it off the books. Elect people they get that dumped or else elect people who will enforce it, but don’t like people who will ignore. That that’s just not the right thing to do with laws.

What Do We as Individuals Do?

So now that we’ve gotten the jurisdiction there, right okay, I can do it again as a citizen to get the right people in office, what does I do as an individual? And this is one of the things where about three or four years ago when we had that first really influx of children coming to the border. Many of them being brought by coyotes who brought them as political fodder to help make political points. You’re talking kids five, six, seven years old being brought to the border with no parents. You can’t just throw them in jail.

And working with a different nonprofit, we put a lot of money into helping the kids. We were all over enforcing the law, being here illegally is wrong. But you know what, what those kids get dropped off, you got to do something. And you can’t just say, well kids, you shouldn’t have come. I mean, that’s not even their choice in many cases.

And it’s kind of that way with the illegal immigration movement. You got here, granted, it violates the law but if nobody’s up holding the law, then it really is the law by abdication, you’re just not doing what you’re supposed to. But the church can definitely reach out to meet spiritual needs. And hopefully, the church is doing that. They’re doing festivals, teach them how to read English, speak English, etc. But hopefully, they’re also giving them spiritual connections. So they’re saying, here’s Jesus Christ, you need to know about Jesus. Here’s the Bible, you need to read the Bible. You know, hopefully, they’re meeting that need because until the government decides it’s going to enforce the law, it’s not individuals that will change the culture in this way.

We Need Some Kind of Structure in Place

Tim:

Well, and so we actually have some kind of border structure in place that is going to make it more difficult for people who are illegal to flood the nation and so we changed some immigration laws or standards. I mean as a Church, you are very limited in what you can do. Because in theory, you’d like to say, you could have churches, go hey, you know as we’re helping you and your family and you get food and whatever else you need and we’re helping you learn English, we would love to help you as well become a US citizen, we would like to help you in that journey.

And right now, immigration is not really set up in a way where it’s it even affords some of those opportunities and so it put the church in a hard place as to what they can do to. I believe those people, but dad as you mentioned, this is also a jurisdictional issue. Dad, the role of the church is concerned much more with the soul and the morals of people and of a nation or at least the soul of the people which impacts the soul of the nation.

And so it is a dilemma. I don’t think as a Church, I would be sending people away who were there for ministry, who were there for need, who were somebody we could love on because they didn’t have the proper legal status. But it wouldn’t be an indication of why we want to help into some of this immigration problem be resolved, both weather it comes down to we build a wall or have some kind of structure, do something different to help mitigate the flood of illegal immigrants that are coming in.

Two Different Problems

And once you are able to control more who comes in your borders, then you can deal more with the people who are in your borders who might be or illegally, well how do we resolve that problem? There really are two different problems we’re talking about.

But it does put the church in a challenging position as far as if you’re someone who is and maybe you’re the type A, you are the law abiders, follow the law we want to do that. It makes it a little hard for some people who have grace and mercy in some of those scenarios. But as the church’s role isn’t really to execute justice in this regard, that’s the role of the government and so it does make it an interesting dilemma.

David:

And by the way, I’ll throw out that the most recent book we’ve done, is called This Precarious Moment. It has a section in there exactly on this kind of a question. What’s the role of the individual? What’s the role of government? What can you do to get laws enforced? And what do you do when they’re not being enforced on the immigration issue? Specifically deals with this issue, I’d highly recommend that book for anybody who must look more into this.

This Precarious Moment

Rick:

This Precarious Moment, that’s available Wallbuilders.com today. I couldn’t but think as you guys were describing that, you know, it’s kind of that you got to meet the need in front of you sometimes and not try to solve the bigger picture and just meet that particular need. It reminds me when, you know, we went out to where a hurricane had occurred and there was a lot of damage.

And it was in a community where, you know, on one hand as we’re handing out food, I’m thinking you know, man, these people really need help, you know, with a much bigger picture than just this meal today. And the guy that was kind of heading up this effort, he said, Rick, stop, just think about the need in front of you, meet the need in front of you, there’s another time to have those discussions. And I think that’s what you guys are saying. There’s definitely a time to have the bigger picture discussion and work to get the laws in force, but sometimes it’s just that person right there that’s at your church that needs help and they’re not interested in all the politics that’s going on, they need help right now. Let’s take a quick break. We’ve got more questions from our listeners, send them into radio at Wallbuilders.com and hang on, we’ll be right back on Wallbuilders Live.

America’s Hidden History

DAVID:

Hi, this is David Barton.

TIM:

And, this is Tim Barton, and we want to let you know about a series that’s happening right now on TBN on Thursday night. TBN is the Trinity Broadcasting Network. Every Thursday night, there’s a series that we’ve filmed called America’s Hidden History.

And, this season is called “America’s Hidden Heroes.” The reason is, we highlight heroes from American history. For years we’ve been focusing on the forgotten history and heros of the nation.

And now, we have a TV show just highlighting some of those heroes.

DAVID:

These are inspiring stories about some of the greatest people maybe you’ve never heard about. We go on location to the sites and show you where the events happened. It’s the stories of folks like Bronco Charlie, Stagecoach Mary, Jedediah Smith, Robert Smalls, and so many inspiring folks.

TIM:

Now, this happens every Thursday night, and the time is gonna be different based on where you live. Either way, we think this is something that will so encourage and inspire you in learning some of these great stories from America’s Hidden History.

Can Anyone Be a Whistleblower?

Rick:

Welcome to Wallbuilders Live, it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. And our final question of the day comes from Laurie and the questions about whistleblowers. She says, “I hope you can address this someday? What is a whistleblower? Can anyone be a whistleblower? Is it someone specific job, how do we ensure they are legit in the current climate just suggesting things about a person without factual foundation does just as much damage even if they didn’t do anything? Thank you and thanks for your podcasts.” And some of our listeners that just listen on radio stations across country might not even know you can get us on podcast. So check out your podcast apps and search for Wallbuilders Live. It’s a real easy way to catch up if you miss a week or two of programs, you can grab them all very quickly.

But Laurie sends a great question in and David, Tim, I’m going to just tell you right up front, I have no idea what the answer is to this question. And if I were only watching the news for the last month, then I would assume that whistleblower means you have to be of the opposite party of the person you’re going to blow the whistle on and have a real political vendetta to, no, I’m kidding, that’s what it feels like. But I have no idea, what is a whistleblower specifically?

Tim:

Well, I think more specifically, the question, can anybody be a whistleblower? Let me point out on Amazon for about $1.99, you can buy a whistle and you are free to blow that whistle. So…

Rick:

But Laurie, she’s like, oh you all going to answer my question?

Whistleblower

David:

Well, yeah, but generally whistleblowers identified as the one with the black and white stripes on this shirt, it’s pretty easy to… whistleblowers.

Tim:

If they ever make a call against the Dallas Cowboys, then all we know is they are absolutely wrong, that’s all we know.

David:

I mean, yeah so whistleblowers generally in our field of purview are not our favored people, but that’s usually sports related. But again, I mean anybody go to Walmart, right, a couple bucks, you buy a whistle, you can get the Fox 40s, some really good whistles out there. We have some backpacks that have survival whistles on them. So yeah, I mean anybody, but guys, this is not complicated, anybody can be a whistleblower or no big deal.

Rick:

Okay, that’s questions answered, let’s move on. No, the only part of her question that I know the answer to, is that is it some one specific job? I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. It’s actually they’re doing whatever their other job is and then decide to expose something going on. That’s kind of my perception of it.

David:

Well, it actually has more than that. It goes, wouldn’t you think the first based… let’s define a whistleblower: someone who exposes corruption and brings it to light and is rewarded for doing so. That’s what a whistleblower officially was from the start. When do you think the first whistleblower in a legal context in a government context, when do you think the first official Whistleblower Act was? And a Whistleblower Act is that if you bring bad stuff to light, stuff that’s being hidden in government, if you bring the light, we will reward you for doing so. What do you think that first law was?

Highlighting Corruption

Rick:

Wait, when you say reward, you mean like the monetary compensation?

David:

There was actually monetary compensation, there was.

Tim:

I feel like you go back to the founding fathers era, this doesn’t seem far-fetched for something that even they would do. Because the notion of highlighting corruption that was maybe being secretive, I mean you can look at 27 grievances in the Declaration, they were dealing with this kind of stuff. So I think it would make a difference if we’re talking about something inside business, corporate, political, maybe what spectrum we’re talking about and then how they were rewarded and who rewarded them. Because certainly if it was against the king and the king wasn’t rewarding you, but the American people celebrated the Sam Adams and the John Hancock and, right, some of these guys who were leading the charge and exposing some of the things that were happening. But in the sense of what we’re talking about, the context we’re talking about, I would guess, it’s somewhere in the 1800s.

David:

It goes back to 695 AD, England passed a law…

Tim:

True, that was really close.

David:

Yeah, you’re really close. You’re only interested by about 900 years…

Tim:

No, in fairness, I was thinking about America.

David:

Well, whistleblowers, the English tradition goes back to 695 where that the king has said, okay, if you point out for all, let’s say somebody stole $1,000 back then, if you point that out and bring that to my attention, I’m going to give you a percentage of whatever you recovered. So it was really you got a bounty. If you save the government $1,000 by pointing out fraud was going on, then we’re going to give you, I don’t know $50, $100, $200, whatever the percentage was. So that’s the way started.

The First American Whistleblower

You actually had Benjamin Franklin, it’s probably the first American whistleblower in 1773. And he pointed at the colonial governor there was stockpiling military stuff. Different from what he was telling the Great Britain he was doing, he was stockpiling this stuff and Franklin blew the whistle on him. And so these are things that had rewards that went with him, he did it because it was right. But there were also rewards with it. When you get into the Civil War, you…

Tim:

And let me suffer second, so I think with Franklin, right certainly, he was not rewarded by the governor and Franklin wasn’t actually rewarded by the king for pointing what the governor was doing, but in this case, the people applauded, celebrate and praised Franklin for what he did. And this is where it would make a difference too, where I like who is going to reward you? And certainly, in America, now we’ve and I know you can go to the history of it, so you’ll cover this. But we’ve come to the place that we want to make sure that in certain industries that whistleblowers are protected inside of those industries from any kind of repercussions that might come against them. But…

David:

That’s part of it. I mean, you now have to protect people because the person you expose the fraud of, he’s going to want to take you out. Well, if he’s in government, he doesn’t want his fraud be exposed, she’s going to come after you.

Tim:

Which is why Franklin would have dealt with?

David:

That’s right.

Tim:

And many people other than Franklin too, right? But this is certainly why I mentioned, right founding fathers, you would have seen some of this.

Whistleblower Protections

David:

So it’s a big deal that went on, we had it at the time of Franklin and the Civil War is a big deal, because they were selling lame mules for the army, they were selling defective rifles that wouldn’t shoot, all sorts of bad stuff. It actually became a big federal law in about 1986. And that’s when they started establishing protection. That if you point out what’s going wrong, you can’t be prosecuted for pointing out what’s going on, you can’t be punished. We’ll protect you from whoever the wrongdoer is, we won’t let them come after you. So it was all about shining light, believing the sunshine is the best disinfectant. It was those who wanted to bring bad things to light and not be punished for doing so. That’s what a whistleblower was and that’s where we got the whistleblower protection.

The Role of Religion And The Church – Foundations of Freedom

Rick:

Alright, guys, we are out of time, no more questions today. But folks who want to send those in, send them to [email protected] and we will get to them on our Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs. We really appreciate you listening today and again encourage you to visit wallbuilderslive.com.

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Thank you so much for listening. You’ve been listening to Wallbuilders Live.