School Choice, Civil War, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: If school choice bills pass, should the government be able to dictate how the money is used? Why hasn’t school choice been achieved in states like Texas? Are there any righteous motives for civil war? Do you understand the “Just War” theory? Tune in to hear the important answers to these questions and more on today’s Foundations of Freedom program!
Air Date: 01/20/2022
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. It’s WallBuilders Live. Thanks for joining us where we talk about the hot topics of the day, but we do that from a biblical, historical and constitutional perspective.
Today is Foundations of Freedom Thursday, so it’s a chance to get to some of your questions. You can send those in to [email protected], [email protected]. We love talking about foundational questions about what’s happening right now in our government and in our communities, but also where the foundations came from.
So we love talking about the history, looking at the biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective to all of these different areas of the culture and what’s happening today. Thanks so much for listening.
Go to our website today, wallbuilderslive.com, you can learn more. Make your contribution there. Listen to programs from the last few weeks and months. And also consider becoming one of our Constitution coaches, a biblical citizenship coach. You can do that at biblicalcitizens.com.
Last thing I’ve been talking all last week about Constitutional Defense of Your Family and Freedom. We have the opportunity in February, a sponsor and someone that was willing to underwrite folks to be able to go to our constitutional defense program donated to make that happen. So the course that’s normally $1,000 for most people, we run specials all the time for only $100 to go through this amazing course.
But right now, even that $100 is covered by a donor. So we still got a few of those seats. Time is running out to sign up. So if you want to be a part of that, be sure and go to constitutioncoach.com today to learn about the class, and you’ll need to email Trey, that’s my son, [email protected], [email protected] if you’d like to be a part of that class starting February 20th.
And diving into those questions, first one’s going to come from Ashley. She said “I just want to say I love your show. I’m so encouraged by each episode. You present facts, encouragement and ways to get off the bench without promoting a sense of doom and gloom.
“I leave empowered rather than anxious.” Guys, that’s good news. Man. I like hearing that. That’s what we attempt to do. So thank you, Ashley, for that good word starting off your email. Here we go.
She also says “I’m a homeschool mom of three and the further we get down this homeschooling journey, the more I see happening in the public school systems. I cannot fathom sending my children to public school. I love the episode from Thursday talking about the education system and churches taking action. You talked about free choice. I have a question about free choice when it comes to education.
“My understanding is that if we were given tax credit or tax dollars, however that works to put towards education of our choice, the government actually would have more say in my homeschooling. Some states require you to take a test or have your curriculum approved. Is that correct that the government has more say in that case?
“Or am I confused on the terminology being used. I’m in Texas and currently experienced so much freedom in education, and I’m grateful. But I’m certainly for seeing a battle for our rights to homeschool or even private school and I don’t want to sit idle. Thank you, Ashley.”
Ashley, thank you for your kind words and encouragement and for even thinking about these kinds of things, and thank you for investing in your kids and the future by homeschooling. Alright, David and Tim, basically, the question is, should we have tax credits or any other kind of school choice? If those dollars come from “government”, then can they bring strings with it? That’s typically the argument against school choice. I definitely have my opinions on this one. But first, what do you guys think?
Well, I think there’s several answers that go with this. And the principal is right. Or the principal is accurately stated that when the government does it, the government can control it. Now, this is where the key thing is whose government and what’s government. Because yeah, Rick, if you, me and Tim are the ones who pass the legislation, we’re not going to be putting our noses in your home to see what you’re teaching. Now we are going to require accountability.
I’ll tell you, if I gave you $100 to do something, I would not want to say you spend that. If I gave you 100 bucks to teach your kids how to read, I wouldn’t want to see you spend that on a trip to Disney World. Disney World is fine, go there, enjoy yourself, but not on my $100.
Whose Money Is It?
So what I’m going to say is alright, even for good guys like me, Tim and Rick that we’re not in government regulation, we do want to know that if you’re taken, let’s say the average tax amount right now is about $5,100 a year is what they give were their school choice, if you got $5,100 a year, and you’re a homeschool mom, your curriculum is going to be under 1,000, so what are you going to with that other 4,000? Well, I don’t know that…
And see this is where you start having questions. And the other thing goes with it, is for me, I would say, hey, it’s your money, government’s not giving you money. This is your tax dollars is coming back to you. However, I do want to make sure your kids can read. So, do literacy tests once every three years to make sure that your kids are on. I would have that kind of accountability and I think all of us would.
We don’t want to just throw out money with no accountability. But at the same time, we’re not going to be like the libs who want to say now that we’ve given to you, here’s what you will teach, here’s the curriculum you will use, you will teach CRT, you are going to… That’s not what’s there.
So, the general way we’ve always gone at this is take the money and run. And if they start trying to regulate it, then leave the money alone. You don’t have to take the money if there’s onerous regulations. But there’s so many states now where that conservative constitutional people have passed bills where there is very minimal accountability, just enough to make sure that it’s going where it’s supposed to. And at that point in time, take it.
Now there’s going to be some states that are very onerous, and they’re going to make you do all sorts of stuff as California has done for a number of years, they’ve gotten looser, again, they’re not as bad as they were just 10 years ago. But nonetheless, if you don’t like those regs, don’t take the money. But I’ll point out it is your money. You’re the ones that are paying taxes. This is not the government’s money. And the only purpose for the government having education is because they want citizens that will be informed and literate.
And I’ll point out the Founding Fathers are all in the school choice back in their day. It was not a choice between secular and public education, whether you’re going to go to a Christian school, or a Presbyterian school, or a congregational school or Baptist School. Well, this day, we really prefer Congregationalist, so we’re not going to fund a Baptist School.
What Really Matters?
That’s not what they did. They said, we’re going to fund all schools. We just want to make sure that you can read, write, do math and science because we want informed citizens.
So we don’t care what school you go to. There’s some basic requirements that every citizen should be able to meet. And as long as you do that, we’re giving you the money.
And so that’s where a lot of school choice programs are, is we don’t care how you do it specifically, what curriculum you use, just get the results. That’s all we’re after. From the state standpoint, is we need literate, informed, intelligent citizens, not indoctrinated, you can think for yourself. And so that would be my answer to that. It all depends on what state you’re in, who the legislators are, and what kind of strings they put on it. Rick, Tim, what do you guys think?
Yeah, I think you nailed it. I think the most important thing is if you’re going to have choice, you have to have the choice to not participate, which is what you’re really saying. Like, if you start seeing a lot of regulation, you got the choice to say no, I don’t want the money because I don’t want any chance of regulation. As long as people have that choice, whether it’s an individual homeschooler, or private school that doesn’t want to take any of those funds and take a chance on that, then it really is freedom.
And then at that point, then you take the second step, okay, if it’s low reg, or virtually no reg, then yeah, I’ll take the money because it’s my tax dollars I’m getting back. And a tax credits a lot easier in that case because you’re just not sending the money in. But either way, even if you’re taking “voucher”, you’re taking the money they would have spent on your kid in public school, and you’re able to use that money at private school or homeschooling, I agree with you.
I think you should have some sort of a test once in a while just to make sure you’re educating the kids, some kind of accountability, and this is what we always push for, as long as that test or accountability is no harder or worse than what the public school kids having to do. I know without a shadow of a doubt, my homeschool kid can ace that test that you’re given to the fifth grader over to public school.
And as long as the consequences are the same, if that kid fails at the public school, you don’t kick them out of the school or stop that education. You may say, okay, we want to see if you do more in that area and we’ll give you a chance to pass that test again in six weeks.
The Ugly Truth
Anyway, that’s more into the weeds than you probably wanted to go. But absolutely, choice to not participate and then if you do participate, it’s very little required so that you can choose the upbringing and the education for that child. But there is some sort of accountability. I think you nailed it, man. I think that’s the right way to go.
And Ashley, that’s you’re blessed in Texas because we have really good homeschool laws here and private schools. What we don’t have is financial choice. We have never been able to pass in our state legislature school choice. And it just boggles the mind because 65-70% of Texans want it and we can’t get the legislature to do it.
And you might as well go ahead and be specific on why we can’t get it done, Rick, because we’ll just go ahead and out this whole thing and hang the dirty laundry out there. 68% of Texans right now they think there should be full school choice funding all aspects. We cannot even get a bill dropped on school choice. I think it’s been eight years maybe since we’ve been has somebody introduced the bill.
And the reason is that the teachers unions in Texas, and we don’t have unions per se, but we have teachers associations. They are so strong and so anti-choice in any way, shape, fashion or form that a legislature who has the audacity to try to tear down their kingdom and try to attack their castle, we will put all of our money into taking you out. And this is particularly true for rural legislators.
You’ll find that urban legislators are much more likely to introduce school choice than rural ones because rural ones, the number one employer in most cities in the end the country is the schools and they employ more people at the schools than any other thing. And so, man, if you get that group coming after you as a legislator, that’s votes and that’s money and that’s whatever. And so they have so intimidated legislators now.
I think it’s 82% that support school choice in Idaho and they can’t get a bill dropped up there either, because the teachers groups are so vicious and so anti-American. I use that word intensely. Because if you’re against people having a choice, if you’re against competition, if you’re against put everybody on the field and let the best team win, that’s really anti-American. Those are basic genuine American principles of freedom. If you’re that anti-American, and most teachers organizations are, don’t mean all teachers are, it means the organizations are. That’s why we can’t get it done.
And so, hopefully, some legislators will hear this and say, well, you know what, I’m going to do it because I think there’s more people with me than the teachers unions have with them. So I’m going to do this. And that’s what is going to take is some courage on legislators’ parts.
Yeah, they’ve got a racket going, man. Because they are funded essentially by tax dollars, and the more tax money gets spent, the more they get into their union coffers, or association coffers, and the more they spend. I think California teacher unions, they spend, it’s literally about two to $300 million every cycle preventing anything like that ever getting done in California. In Texas, it’s not quite that bad. But it’s close.
I mean, it’s exactly what you just described. And it’s going to take state legislators willing to say, even if I’m outnumbered by those employers, government employers in my rural district, I’m going to do the right thing because it’s good for the kids of Texas. And it all comes back to what you said at the beginning, David, the whole idea of informed citizenry, that’s what we want. We want kids to learn how to do these things, learn how to think for themselves. Who cares what the name on the building is! We should care whether or not the kid is getting educated and that should be the legislators’ position as well.
And by the way, while we’re on there, we’re spending $182,000 on average nationally for a kid to go through 12 years of public schools. And for the last 15 years, 19% of all kids who go to public school have been illiterate when they graduated. So you get 12 years of public education, you can’t read. Can you imagine what they would do if that were the record with homeschoolers? How intrusive they would be and how much they would demand complete turn over?
And yet we tolerate this at the public school system, and we let those teachers organizations intimidate any type of accountability against them. And at some point, we’re all going to have to get fed up with it and say, you know what, we’re just not doing this anymore. I can’t afford to live in a state where that 19% of graduates can’t even read the speed limit signs, and can’t even read the directions on a pharmaceutical that they need to take.
That’s just crazy. That’s dangerous for the nation. And at some point, we’re going to have to say enough is enough.
Public Polls Show…
And the good news is it’s moving our way in terms of public opinion polls and the desire to homeschool, all the CRT, the critical race theory, the evil stuff we saw at school boards over the last year or so, all the requiring mask and everything that’s happened, it’s pushed a lot of people out of the public schools into private schools into home schools. And boy, a lot of families, they were scared to death to do it. They’re like, oh, I don’t know if I could do this and then they did it. And they realize this is amazing. I get all this extra time with my kid. I get to go experience these things with them. It’s been a real blessing to a lot of people. And that’s helped move more and more people into the column of freedom and choice. So, great question, Ashley, thank you so much for sending that in.
We’re going to take a quick break, we’ve gotten more great questions coming after the break. Stay with us, folks, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
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Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. It’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday. Thanks for staying with us. Next question is coming out of Arlington, Texas. Yes, it’s okay for us to take our fellow Texans questions every now and then, most of the time our questions from around the country. But anyway, this one’s out of Arlington, Texas.
John, thanks for sending it in. John says “Hello, WallBuilders, I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether you think our country is headed to Civil War?” Alright, guys, serious question today.
“I sincerely hope that we are not and I’m concerned about this. Also, do you think there is a basis for Civil War to occur? I think the North had a moral basis for engaging in the Civil War, particularly on the issue of slavery. My concern today is that people on the right, conservatives are being motivated all too often by fleshly anger, rather than a spirit of redeeming our culture. I’m a conservative, and I’ll admit my anger at what the left is doing too often gets the best of me. But at the end of the day, I’d much rather see our culture transformed than see a war.”
Are We Headed to Civil War?
So, guys, yeah, we could do a whole week on this one, serious question, a lot to be said about it just in terms of history in the nation, and where it’s 250 year mark, and all of that. But Tim, what do you think about what he’s saying now, conservatives too often are moved towards this out of anger, rather than redeeming the culture?
I mean, I get righteous, I think righteously angry about what’s happening in the country sometimes. But I don’t see a lot of people. I get the fringe, there’s fringe people that do that. Most of the people that we talked to an interviewer and have on the program, and thinkers that would even consider a split in the country at any point, or any of those things are really thinking this through, I think, out of a historical and philosophical perspective. What do you think about that?
Yeah, I think at this point, a lot of people are. I think it’s, certainly something if you go back a year or two, I remember having some interesting conversations with some Christian friends. And actually, I was speaking to Christian College and it was a very conservative College. And a lot of the students there were anti-mask, okay, some of the mask mandates were coming out. And of course, for a lot of young people masks, now that we are learning more and more about COVID, we realize that, okay, masks are by and large, not effective at all because it’s an airborne virus. And a cloth or a surgical mask does not stop anything airborne, etc.
And especially if you’re a young person, and you’re healthy, you don’t have underlying, preexisting condition, you don’t have comorbidities, we know that COVID doesn’t have the same level of impact on them. And so anyway, we’re talking about these masks. And these are people at a Bible college, and they’re wanting to learn more about God and serve and honor God.
And so I brought up the question that if you’re going to make a decision, you need to make sure you’re basing it on the Word of God. And so I asked, what Bible verse are you basing your rejection of the mask mandate on?
Because what what’s very true in the American spirit is we don’t like to be told what to do. I think that’s part of the rebel Spirit inside of us on some level, but it’s also very American. We’re very independent people, and we operate independently. And so this notion of we don’t like to be told what to do, I think the connection is when we start looking, what does the Bible say about this?
Biblical RIght of Offense?
Well, we get into these notions of not just where we don’t want the government telling us what to do, where’s the biblical line where the government says you have to do this and we say, no, and the government has to force us? Where’s that line that we then could take up the right to bear arms, so to speak?
In this point, we are justified in the use of lethal force, in defense of ourselves, our family, our property, where does that actually come? Would it come if some medical professionals show up at the door, and there’s a vaccine mandate and they say, no, we’re going to put this in your arm? At what point do we say lethal force is biblically justified?
And dad, this goes back to we’ve talked about before, we’ve actually had some people in the program discuss this with just war theory. There is an entire kind of theological philosophy devoted to this idea that some wars are good and some wars are not good from a biblical standpoint. And there’s a biblical right of self-defense.
But there’s not always a biblical right of offense. There’s always a right to defend what God has given us. But there’s not always a right to go take from someone else, actually, virtually never, is that the appropriate thing to do from a biblical standpoint.
And so I do think this is interesting, getting into making sure as Christians that we know what does that line. Because Rick, as you’re saying there’s a lot of people that are thinking this through. I agree, there’s a lot of people thinking this through. There’s a lot of people now who are recognizing that the tyranny from the government, they’re recognizing the hypocrisy from the federal government, they’re recognizing the hypocrisy from Fauci or the FDA or etc, they see a lot of the problems.
But I don’t think we have the same level of moral clarity to say, here’s the line in the sand, the Alamo where we’re drawing a line in the sand. And this is the line that we’re stepping across. Or, in some cases, we’re not going to let somebody else step across, that this is as far as you shall come, and you shall come no further.
I don’t know that that’s a very clear line for a lot of people from a biblical standpoint. But I do think, biblically speaking, the Bible does give the right of self-defense, it does give the right of self-preservation.
A Biblical Perspective
And in the midst of that, there really could be a move to Civil War, which I think could be a different question. Actually, probably, we can talk about that a few minutes. Because I want to throw back to you guys and let you all maybe address some of the side of the just war theory. Which I think, again, biblical perspective, the Bible does give us the right of self-defense.
And I think you could also clarify that there are some situations where the Bible allows you the right of self-defense, but it does not require you to defend yourself, if that makes sense. If I’m sharing the gospel, and some person comes up and stabs me, I don’t have to defend myself but I certainly could defend myself, from a biblical standpoint, and be justified and cleared.
Whereas the exception would be, if I was out, and someone came and attacked my wife and my children, that would not be the appropriate time to say, you know what, I shouldn’t use the right of self-defense. No, I would be a terrible husband and a terrible father if I did not utilize the abilities I had to defend my wife, to defend my kids. And so I do think there is some nuance on some level.
In this nonetheless, it is very clear the Bible does give us a right of self-defense. And so we need to figure out where is that line when the government comes and says we’re taking your property, we’re taking your family, we’re giving you the job, whatever it is, I’m just saying some arbitrary things. As Christians, we do need to find that biblical clarity.
And Rick, again, I think a lot of people are getting more clarity on some level that the government shouldn’t be able to tell us a lot of what to do. But I’m not sure we found necessarily the biblical clarity on where that line is that we have to stand up and not let people go past that line.
You know, Tim, as you were saying that, I was actually taking notes just about the same rate you were saying stuff. And I’ve recently been writing and a sequel book that we have on The American Story coming out that’ll cover other ages and generations than just the very first founding era.
But if you look at every major war in American history that we can think of, whether it be that the American Revolution of the Civil War, World War I or World War II, whatever it is, we had a simple principle of philosophy of war that was taught from the pulpit. This goes back to what’s called Just War Theory back in the third and fourth century AD with Augustine. We used to teach this to our troops.
Just War Theory
Even at the time that was doing a lot of military instruction and training for troops on ethics and more ethics, etc, we were still teaching Just War Theory until President Obama removed that from the military. We no longer teach that. But I’m going to go back to the American Revolution and the Battle of Lexington.
Reverend Jonas Clark, it was a 70 guys out of his church that went out to face the 700 British when the British came to town to take stuff that was not theirs and violate the British Bill of Rights. And what he had been teaching his congregation was guys, there is a just war, but it has to be a defensive war. It cannot be offensive. You cannot start anything. God will not bless an offensive war. But if you are attacked, you have the biblical right to defend yourself: Exodus 22 and Nehemiah, and Luke and all these passages.
So he said, you can’t start anything; you can go out there and face the British, but you cannot shoot at them. You cannot do anything. If they shot at you, that changes the whole situation. And so in Lexington, there is the famous statue of the Minutemen. And Captain John Parker was the head of the Minutemen. He was the deacon of the church that was training the guys. And it was real simple. Hey, guys, you’ve been hearing what Pastor has been saying and that’s what we got to do.
And so the engraving on the Minutemen statute says don’t fire unless fired upon, so that’s a defensive war. You can’t start anything. But if they started, he said, don’t fire unless fired upon.
But if they mean to have a war, let it begin here. We’re not going to start nothing. But if they do, we’re going to make sure we’re the ones that finish it. And so that’s the first thing.
I think there will be probably some degree of Civil War, but we have to make sure we’re not the ones that start it. If they come after us and do the stuff, we have the right to defend ourselves. And there’s going to be a lot more people defending their selves than they believe there are in America. But most people are not going to get engaged. And that is the right way.
If you go to the Civil War, what started the Civil War? It was South Carolina firing on American Force for Sumter and laying sedge to that fort at a time when there was no war going on, there was no declaration of war, they just opened fire on the fort. Alright, once you’ve done that, you fired the first shot, we now have the right to get engaged and defend ourselves.
The American Way
Woodrow Wilson was noninterventionist: we were all over not getting involved. We were called isolationist at the time. But then when Germany started sinking our ships across the world, and started sinking our cruise liners, our passenger ships, we said okay, now we’re involved.
We were staying out, but you pulled us in, same thing in World War Two II. Congress had passed 4 Neutrality Acts. The rest of the world is at war. 50 nations at war, and we’re trying to stay neutral and Congress passed four bills in three years saying we’re staying out of this.
And then you hit us at Pearl Harbor, and you kill 2,400 Americans and wounded 1,100 of this, now we’re in it. And so that’s got to be the basis of engagement. You have to take a defensive posture, not an offensive posture. And that’s the story of America.
As you go through this, and when you do that, you’re in a position where the God can come to your defense. But if you’re being the aggressor, if you’re being the offensive one, that was not a biblical position.
And so I think it’s really important that we go back and understand that, that we go back and look at what’s called Just War Theory. Know that you have the right to defend yourself. But every one of us should be trying to talk down anybody on our side who wants to start something.
That’s not it. We want to defend our rights. We will defend our rights. And if you come at us with deadly force, we have the biblical right to use deadly force. But we’re not going to be the ones who start this.
So while there is a huge cultural conflict in America right now, we can’t be the ones that initiate to conflict. If they do, that’s a different situation. And that’s the American historical/biblical position that we’ve had for 400 years.
And to be very, very clear, as we close out today, I mean, John asked kind of a somewhat philosophical question of where this could get to that point. We all pray and hope that we’re a long ways from that. And it’s part of the reason we’re such advocates of Convention of States. Because most of the things that get our side really thinking I can’t live with these people anymore is when they take our money and spend it on transgender monkeys, and all this other crazy stuff that they’re doing.
And then when they turn around and force insane things on us, like what’s been happening with the COVID craziness, and they want to take over our elections, and all of those things, I mean, if they push us to that point, one of the reasons Convention of States is so important because it allows each state to do crazy stuff if they want, but you still can vote with your feet and go to a state that doesn’t do that and we still stay together as a nation and avoid the insanity of a what would happen in a civil war.
So, there’s lots of things we can do in the meantime. But I think it’s so important for what we just did to answer these questions and say from a constitutional, historical, and biblical perspective, when does it get to that point and not ignore the history, and not ignore these very big questions that everybody’s talking about this stuff at home around the fire or around the table?
It’s important for us to talk about it as well. So I’m glad John brought it up and really good question for us to answer today on Foundation of Freedom Thursday.
Out of time for today, though, folks, you can get more at our website wallbuilders.live.com. Thanks so much for listening to WallBuilders Live.