The Church & Education, Government Mandates, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom: What is the solution to any failed system? How has the Church affected education in America, and should it continue to do so? Does Wallbuilders have any curriculum for homeschoolers? Are exemptions just bandaids? Why is it unconstitutional to have certain mandates? Tune in to hear the answers to these questions and much more!
Air Date: 10/14/2021
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith and the Culture
President Thomas Jefferson said, “I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society, but the people themselves. And if we think they’re 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.”
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture. It’s WallBuilders Live. We are talking about the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
I’m Rick Green, America’s Constitution coach and a former Texas legislator. And I’m here with David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder at WallBuilders. Tim Barton is a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. You can find out more about all three of us at the website, wallbuilderslive.com. That’s also the place you can make a contribution to help us spread the truth to equip people all across the nation to restore our constitutional republic. Do that today at wallbuilderslive.com. It can be one-time or monthly.
We just appreciate all of you all across the country that are doing that and participating. It’s allowing us to add stations, reach more people, just really exciting what’s happening in the country. So many bad things happening, but yet there’s a lot of good things happening as well.
As people wake up, they’re hungry for truth, they’re seeking truth, and that’s what we do here at WallBuilders. We bring that truth from that biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. Well, today is Thursday, so it’s Foundations of Freedom Thursday, this is your chance to ask questions. Send them in via email. You can send that to [email protected], that’s [email protected]. We’re going to try to fly through as many of those questions as we can today.
David and Tim, I’m going to toss this first one to you from Caroline. She said “Do you think more churches should start opening up private schools and raising money for scholarships so more people in the community can have alternative options to just public schools since school choice legislation has yet to come through? Has David Barton consider creating a history textbook series for homeschooling and private schools. Thanks for your time, Caroline.” Alright. Couple of good questions in there for you guys.
Competition is Key
While we are looking at creating some curriculum, that’s kind of in the process of working. In the meantime, we’ve got a lot of good books out that have great history in them, The American Story. Rick, you and me, and Tim, we’ve all been working on creating a government curriculum. So we hope to have that out shortly. But yeah, we’re looking at that.
But going to the other question, what should more churches create schools and should we do more to raise money for scholarships, etc? And the answer to that is yes because you need competition with a really failed system. And I’ll say right up front, churches should be the basis of education and a community. I mean, that’s the way it was historically.
Well, let me point out, it’s not just competition, you need good options when there are a lot of bad options. And so not to diminish the fact that yes, you want competition because competition will help drive excellence, where you will improve in your customer service, you will improve in your product, you will improve in things you do. That’s what competition does in the marketplace.
With that being said, it’s not just competition, you want something that is a good option that promotes a biblical worldview, that understands there is a God. It actually is part of the founding ideals of America, that there was a Divine Creator, and that Creator gave rights to man, and government’s primary job is to take those God given rights. We need kids growing up learning about basic biology and gender and DNA.
When the Bible says that God made them male and female, we need people to know actually male and female are a real thing. They do exist. There’s a lot of very basics that kids are not getting in most academic settings anymore.
Good Things on the Titanic
And guys, actually, I mean, periodically, we will get an email from a teacher in a public school, from a public school principal or superintendent, they say, hey, guys, you all a lot of times rag on public schools, you all trash and diminish public schools a lot. But we are here, and we’re doing a really good thing.
Let’s point out that, absolutely, there can be some really good things out in public school. But as I mentioned, it’s a little bit like saying the band on the Titanic was really, really good. There might have been some good things about Titanic, but the Titanic as a whole was going down and you don’t want to be on the Titanic. This is the reality of the public school education system. It’s not that there are not exceptions or aspects that might be good on some level.
I know several teachers in public school who are great people, and I love them, and I think they’re awesome. However, they’re not necessarily going to be enough to overcome the other teachers in their school district or to overcome some of the other underlying philosophy.
If you are having education system where you can’t teach your kids that there is a God, when you can’t say prayers in the morning, when you don’t have the pledge of allegiance, when you don’t have some very basic things that would actually help students in some of their understanding of America or culture or life, when you can’t give a biblical worldview, there’s only so much good you will be able to do.
And what ultimately, I think some of these teachers and principals and superintendents would be saying when they say hey, we’re actually a good school, as what you’re really saying is we’re not as bad as all the other schools. Because you’re not, you’re not as bad as all the other schools, and you’re a better teacher than all the bad teachers. But if we’re not promoting a biblical worldview in what we’re doing, we are still doing a disservice to our kids.
Again, I’m not trying to belittle any public school teacher, or any principal or superintendent who listens to us, and we’re so grateful that God has you as a missionary in the land you are living in. With that being said, I’m still going to hold the line that public education is not the best option.
The Church’s Affect on Education
And this is where I think churches have missed a lot of it. They have bought into the thing that well, we have government doing education. And historically, it was the churches that did education. I mean, the reason you had the high literacy rate in New England was because they passed laws quoting the Bible on what the Bible said about teaching young people education.
And so in New England, particularly, they said, hey, you know, Europe, you had education that was just for one gender, you didn’t educate girls, you just educated boys. But in New England, they said, no, no, the Bible says that male and female, they’re equal in Christ, and both needed education.
And so you’ll find that the literacy rate in New England was higher than anywhere in Europe for women and young girls because we took the Bible, and it was the church that did that. It was Bible teachings that did that. And so when you look the early educational laws, they’re built on Bible concepts and phrases. And matter of fact, if you look at education in the Bible, the very starting point says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, and then Proverbs later on it says the fear of Lord is beginning of wisdom.
There is not an educational model in the Bible where you leave God out of it: God’s the center of everything. And yet churches are content to say, well, you know, we’ll let the government, well, government that keeps God out of everything, that has lawsuits. If you try to say God at graduation, that brings lawsuits against kids if they try to give out gospel tracts to school, we’re going to send our kids to that system. That doesn’t make any sense.
And so when you look, early America, I mean, all the major universities were started by churches, specifically denominations, the congregationalists are the ones who started Harvard and Yale. Presbyterian started Princeton. It was the Anglicans who started William & Mary. And by the time you get to 1880, of all the hundreds of universities in America, 91% had a minister as the president of the university.
We knew that education, that was a God thing. This is what God wants, is to raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. And you can’t do that in a secular system.
So it’s time for churches to start looking at the Bible again, and looking at history and saying, yeah, we should be engaged in this. As Jesus said, what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul? What does it profit a man if you’ve got 14 PhDs after your name, and you don’t know God? I mean, you’re headed to hell, but you’re really smart. That’s not a good excuse. So I really think we have to get back to that.
But I’m also seeing something really good going right now, is that public education in so many areas has become so woke, and so full of agendas that really dislike America, dislike biblical morality, etc, that people are reacting. And even people who may not have been really strong one way or the other, don’t like the indoctrination that’s going on in schools now, and you’re seeing this in school board meetings across the country.
So that’s going to have an impact on legislators. And while legislators have been really reticent to come up with school choice bills, you’re going to see that change, because the parents are now pushing the legislators that we’ve got to have something different.
And so I was just in North Carolina, we did a series of meetings across the state, and I was really struck by the fact that North Carolina, the state has said, we don’t care where your kid goes to school. But here’s $4,250 you can take to any school you want. And so if you want to go to a private school, or if you want to go to a Christian school, or public school, take the money. And I’ll tell you, what I saw in the profiles of those Christian schools did not look like what I’m used to seeing in Christian schools, because it was a good mix of black students and white students and Hispanic students and boys and girls.
Historically and Biblically
And when parents were given the choice, they choose different education than just the government side that they’re stuck with very often because they can’t afford to spend more. So I think you’re going to see some things change. But I think churches definitely need to step up, re-examine both historically and biblically whether they should be involved in education. And I think they’re going to conclude that yes, we have to be because our kids are the most important resources we have and we can’t let them be solely secular and think we’re pleasing God.
Yeah, I agree with everything you guys said. I mean, it’s a perfect opportunity, honestly, for churches to be more engaged in the community. And a lot of times, look, those church buildings are sitting there four, five days a week, not being used as much, is a great partnership with the community to go in and put those private schools in. But you nailed it.
The most important reason the culture is dying without the salt and light and the influence of the church and the school putting the schools in the community is a great way to infuse that salt, to preserve the culture and to bring out the best flavor in the culture. So absolutely, we encourage churches to do that. Just a great question from Caroline, thanks for sending that in, Caroline.
And Rick, let me add one more thing. For any church that’s going to consider starting a Christian school, you need to go with your eyes wide open. If you think this is going to be a panacea, and it’s going to be fun, and that parents are going to appreciate all that you do, you’re dreaming. Christian schools are very, very difficult, very, very hard to run, because you have students being raised in an extremely secular culture.
And you’re going to draw some moral lines that parents are going to say, no, wait a minute, and you’re going to find that a lot of the parents, even Christian parents have been secularized with so much thinking.
Where There’s No Oxen, the Stall is Clean
And so there is a Bible Proverb that says, where there’s no ox, the stall is clean. Now, people can think about that, and not know what it means. But if you live in the country, very simply, if you have ox or horse or cows in a stall, you have to muck out the stalls.
There’s a lot of stuff in the stalls that you’re going to have to get rid of. And it’s not nice stuff, it’s smelly stuff, whatever. But if you don’t like that kind of stuff, then just don’t have an oxen stall. But that means you have no productivity, you have no growth, you have nothing going on.
Well, and the rest of that verse from Proverbs says, but by the ox, there’s much increase, or much increase cometh from the ox. And so where there is no ox, the stable is clean. So you can get rid of the ox and have no problems. Or you can deal with problems and recognize what you are doing will lead to greater things to productivity, because you’re investing in the next generation, you’re investing that biblical worldview and people that can go out and make a difference.
And so it is something that’s very productive, very profitable. But it’s not going to be easy, because you’re going to be dealing with sinful broken fleshly people that have expectations based on a oftentimes ungodly unbiblical worldview. And so it will be an uphill battle, but it definitely is worth it because with the ox, there’s much productivity. When you are doing this thing, it can be very good.
And certainly, this is time as we’re seeing the growth of homeschool movement and the growth of Christian schools, there’s a lot of parents looking for different options. And so this certainly is a time for churches to consider, is this something that maybe God is calling you to do?
And maybe even individuals listening, maybe there’s some parents listening together thinking you know what, we want to start a homeschool Co-op, we want to start some kind of school we can get to gather our kids, there’s got to be some other options out there. Because what we’re seeing right now, largely under the federal government controlled education system is a very bad and failing system.
And by the way, if you decide to get involved as a community, or a group of parents or whatever, don’t check out of the public system. And I don’t mean schools. I mean, out of the legislative system. Even if you get together as a homeschool Co-op, you need to be pushing your legislators that we want the money divided up among all forms of education. And so even these opportunity of scholarships, you can redeem at home schools. If it’s your tax dollars that you’re spending for education on kids, you ought to be able to redeem that where you want to get your kids educated.
So even if you create a Christian school, or even if you create a homeschool Co-op, you got to still stay involved with your legislators saying, guys, we want the opportunity of scholarships that these states have, or we want the full school choice of these states have. We don’t have any choice in our state, we want choice. You need to still be involved in that legislative solution as well.
The American Story
Alright, guys, we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be back with your other questions from the audience. Folks, send those into [email protected]. Stay with us, we’ll be right back on WallBuilders Live.
Hey, guys, we want to let you know about a new resource we have at WallBuilders called The American Story. For so many years, people have asked us to do a history book to help tell more of the story that’s just not known or not told today.
And we would say very providentially in the midst of all of the new attacks coming out against America, whether it be from things like the 1619 project that say America is evil, and everything in America was built off slavery, which is certainly not true or things, like even the Black Lives Matter movement, the organization itself, not out the statement Black Lives Matter, but the organization that says we’re against everything that America was built on, and this is part of the Marxist ideology. There’s so many things attacking America.
Well, is America worth defending? What is the true story of America? We actually have written and told that story starting with Christopher Columbus, going roughly through Abraham Lincoln, we tell the story of America not as the story of a perfect nation of a perfect people. But the story of how God used these imperfect people and did great things through this nation. It’s a story you want to check out wallbuilders.com, The American Story.
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.”
Exemptions and Mandates
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us on the Foundations of Freedom Thursday. We are diving into your questions. Be sure to send them in about Founding Fathers, about laws that are being passed right now, what’s happening in the culture, anything that has to do with the hot topics of the day we’ll address it from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.
And the next one comes from Bobby in Oregon. And Bobby says “There’s been so much emphasis on religious and medical exemptions, aren’t these just a band aid for the deeper issue created by these unconstitutional mandates? What recourse if any do individuals have for choosing not to submit an exemption?”
Alright, guys, obviously, we have the stopgap measure of the exemptions for some people. That’s the only way to keep the job right now and still hold true to their beliefs and to their physical health. But I think Bobby asked a good question. Are these just band aids? What about the bigger question of this thing just being outside the scope of what the federal government or the local government should be doing in the first place?
Yeah, this is a question and I would back up to and take it a step back, because we can talk about the vaccines and the mandates, as they apply to schools or as they apply to jobs, as Biden’s now creating this new rule through the Department of Labor. We can talk about all that. And we’ve seen this thing of vaccines and exemptions morphing over the last 18 months, whether it was with education, whether it was with medical treatment, or whether it’s now with employment, or whether it’s with the military.
I think the first thing to say is why would you say that it’s unconstitutional to have a vaccine mandate? And I think that’s the first question you have to answer. And I think, Rick, you gave part of it is okay, well, is it unconstitutional, or is it just that the federal government can’t do it? Because you have to go exactly what you said, you go back to the enumerated powers. There’re 17 things the Constitution allows the federal government to do, and in addition to that, it has to uphold the Bill of Rights. So to oppose all the inalienable rights, and there’s 17 more things you can do.
So if healthcare is not one of the 17, then it moves on to the state level. So that’s something would be in the Ninth Amendment, Tenth Amendment. And then when you move to the state level, you have to say, does my state Constitution make it unconstitutional for the state to mandate a vaccine or whatever at job or at school or whatnot?
And if it doesn’t go there, then the next level is, does it go to the city level, like we saw with smallpox vaccines with Baltimore in the 1830s, or whatever? So I think the question of whether it’s unconstitutional, you have to first go through the step of is it unconstitutional, all jurisdictions or some jurisdictions?
Well, in speaking of jurisdictions, here’s what also was interesting. If you look at the federal government, we can say that federal government aren’t allowed to mandate and dictate things on citizens as a whole outside of those constitutional enumerated powers they’ve been given. But what if you work for the federal government? If your job requires… What if you’re in the military and you fall under the executive department, this is where there is some nuance in there that well, can they require this?
And that’s where people would point back to George Washington, wanted to have a smallpox mandate of their vaccine, and certainly, their vaccine was a little different. And we’ve actually talked about this on, I think, our One-Room Schoolhouse on YouTube, maybe some other interviews as well. But obviously, there’s a difference. When you’re talking about epidemic of smallpox, that in some areas was killing up to 40% or 50% of the population…
And in some generations was killing 70% back in the 1630s and 40s, 70% of the population were being killed.
So it’s one thing to say that, you know what, if this hits our military, and up to 40-50% of our military could die from this, well, that’s a different conversation at that point to say, hey, you know what, maybe it’s a good thing to get this for our military. And I’m saying that from George Washington’s perspective, where these are guys serving under him, and he doesn’t want the military to get sick and die. I understand the motivation. And not that good intentions ever justifies tyranny, because every tyrant would argue they have good intentions.
The point being is that’s a very different conversation than what we’re talking about now with COVID-19 when there’s roughly a 99% recovery rate. For those that get it, that’s a very different conversation. And this is where you are now much more in the conversation of tyranny, whether it’ll be the military or federal employment. The point is that there is context and there is jurisdiction that a lot of time is left out of the conversation.
When someone says, okay, but my boss is having us have these mandates, right. How many hospitals now are requiring nurses who worked for the entire duration of the pandemic when there was no vaccines? And now they made it through this incredible whatever level of issues they face during the pandemic, and now they’re told, well, if you don’t get the vaccine now, you’re no longer employable. Wait a second. They were there for the last year and a half when this wasn’t an option. And now they’re being removed.
And ironically, there are now states that are calling on the National Guard and different people to come help fill the vacancies, that those states or those cities created by having these vaccine mandates. So there’s a lot of hypocrisy. But there is more depth to this conversation about jurisdiction issues than just having a carte blanche statement of saying all mandates are unconstitutional. And I’m not saying,
I’m not necessarily taking one side or the other. But I’m pointing out that sometimes we’re arguing things that are not necessarily the most constitutionally accurate because we don’t like them. And oftentimes we fall into the position that if we don’t like it, it must not be constitutional. Those are not always same thing.
And that’s really kind of where I’ve headed with this is okay, are they actually unconstitutional mandates? And if so, at what level, or all levels and why so? Because there’s one of the thing I’d point to here, the Founding Fathers with inalienable rights they gave us, one of the rights they gave us as a natural right or law of nature or nature’s God as the Declaration says, was you have the right to earn a living for your family.
And so if you’re going to start taking my job away, and saying, I can’t earn a living, I can’t go to work because COVID is out there somewhere, now you’re getting into my inalienable right. That’s like my writer speech, my right of self-defense, etc.
The other thing that goes with this, and I think this is a wise part of the question is what are the consequences? What will happen to individuals if they don’t follow these mandates? And if I take you back to the Bible, there’s a whole lot of folks in the Bible that refused to follow, put some mandate, because of their contents, whether is Daniel, the mandate says, you have to pray to the king only, and you have to bow down before this golden idol or whatever.
Disobedience to Government Mandates
They didn’t do that. And their conscience would not let them do that. But you know what? That did not exempt them from being prosecuted for having done it. Because Daniel still got thrown in the lion’s den. Now God saved him. And you still had the three Hebrew children thrown in the fiery furnace.
In other words, you can commit civil disobedience, and that doesn’t mean nothing’s going to happen to you for doing that, even if it’s on a conscience basis. So all through the Scriptures, you can say, I don’t agree with this, and I refuse to do it. That doesn’t mean you’re not going to be punished for it. So that’s the other thing.
Now as we had Mat Staver on few weeks and he pointed out the fact that in all 50 states, there are currently existing exemptions for vaccines. 46 states, I think, is what he said, had exemptions for conscience reasons, and 26 states, I believe the number was, for religious reasons. So for some people, you’re going to have three different exemptions you can apply to. You can have a medical exemption and a conscience exemption and a religious exemption. But every state has exemptions.
And this is where the problem is, is when the federal government decides that it’s going to mandate something that is not one of its 17 areas, and that’s what Biden’s doing with the Labor Department, that’s where it becomes unconstitutional. I don’t know that you can say that mandating a vaccine is on its face unconstitutional. But the way that Biden is going after definitely is unconstitutional.
But that’s where states do have all these provisions for exemptions. And people need to be aware of those and know whether they want to claim some of those and use some of those. And this still may mean that you have to go to court and fight for it to win. But at least the exemptions are there by law.
Context is King
Yeah, it’s really good coverage, guys. You all nailed it. I’ll just add a couple of things. Just stepping back, the first thing you guys said that is so important is, is it the right jurisdiction, is that the right level of government to do this kind of thing? And the federal government has no authority to mandate vaccines, even the case that everybody’s talking about now, Jacobson v. Massachusetts, going all the way back to 1905, that was a local power that the Supreme Court actually upheld in that case. And the Supreme Court said in that case, absolutely, there had to be exemptions that you couldn’t just make it for everyone.
So the jurisdiction question is essential. And then just one more thing for people to think about, even if the local jurisdiction or the state jurisdiction does have authority to mandate a vaccine, there’s always those basic constitutional questions, number one, is there a compelling interest? And that’s what you all were touching on in the difference between smallpox and COVID-19, with smallpox being 300 to 500 times more deadly than COVID-19.
Based on what we’re seeing in the data, and natural immunity and all those things, I would argue there is no compelling interest at this point for government to be involved. But even if there was a compelling interest, the next you have to ask, is it being narrowly tailored and least restrictive?
So those are kind of the steps. You’re 100% right. It’s not right for us to say it’s never okay for government to mandate a vaccine. That’s too broad of a stroke. But it’s definitely the right question to say which level of government should have that authority and when should they have it? How bad should things have to be? And clearly we’re not in a situation where they should be doing those things, as you said, taking away people’s livelihood and so many other areas like that.
So real quick, guys, before we close out today, we got time for one more question. A couple of minutes here for Mark and Cindy. They said, “We love the show, love the knowledge bombs you drop on listeners. You’ve explained in the past, how presidential mandates are being abused, but how is President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation different than a presidential mandate?
Yeah, that’s a great question. And when you look at that Emancipation Proclamation, it was a presidential mandate. But it’s interesting it applied only to the states that were in rebellion. In other words, only the southern states that had separated and they were in rebellion and they were called rebels, because they were in rebellion. Why them? Because the Constitution says if states are in rebellion, there are certain provisions you can do to those states that you cannot do to the other states that are part of the constitutional system.
So the Emancipation Proclamation, he did not have the constitutional authority to do that in any of the northern states that were still part of the Union. He did have the authority to do that in the states that were in rebellion. So that’s a presidential mandate that was actually tailored to be constitutional.
He was very cognizant of what the Constitution said, and a lot of people they say, well, he’s just imposing his will on the south. No. He’s following what the Constitution said, if states are in rebellion, there are measures you can do there that you cannot do in other states. And that’s exactly what the Emancipation Proclamation was.
And to be fair, he was imposing his will a little bit, but he was constitutionally allowed to at that level because of what they did. And this is also what’s worth noting is the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery in America. There was a reason we had to have the Thirteenth Amendment December of 1865, because there were still slaveholding states.
The Church & Education, Government Mandates, And More – On Foundations Of Freedom
Again, there’s so much history not taught. It’s a reason we did things like writing “The American Story”, just trying to tell more of the honest story. There were more slaveholding states but the states that were in rebellion that were throwing off the system and insurrection and all the things that, they can fall under that verbiage under the Constitution, he then had the constitutional authority to step in and say hey, there’s just a bottom line things we’re doing.
And people might argue politically it was strategic that he made the war ultimately about slavery. But if you study Lincoln, you understand that slavery was a big motivation for him the whole time. You understand if you read the southern states went that route, secession documents, read those documents, slavery was a very big deal for them as well.
So the slavery issue was a big issue that led to the separation of the Union. Again, Lincoln strategically followed the guidance of the Constitution in doing the Emancipation Proclamation.
Alright, folks, send your questions in, we’d love to cover them, [email protected]. Next Thursday, we’ll hit more on our Foundations of Freedom Thursday program. We appreciate you listening today to WallBuilders Live.