The Rebirth Of Civil Society – With Katie Gorka: On what level of government can accountability make the biggest difference? Can we turn around our school system to move in the right direction? Are we actually in the midst of a revival, experiencing the rebirth of civil society? Do parents regret taking a stand for truth? Tune in to hear this surprising interview with Katie Gorka, Director of the Feulner Institute’s Center for Civil Society and the American Dialogue!
Air Date: 10/13/2021
Guest: Katharine Gorka
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, where we’re talking about the hot topics of the day from a biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective. Be sure to check out our website, wallbuilderslive.com. T
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My name is Rick Green. I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach, and I’m here with Tim Barton, he’s a national speaker and pastor, he’s president of WallBuilders. And you need to get him into your community to speak. I’m telling you, jaws will be on the ground when he presents the truth. He’ll equip you with it. Check us out at wallbuilderslive.com to learn more.
Also, our third person, which you know, not really the third person because he’s the founder, so he’s really the first person of WallBuilders, David Barton is with us, man. He is America’s premier historian. I think he’s got more Founding Fathers’ knowledge. I started seeing that little head of his, but Tim, would he take that as an insult if I said little? Because if you say big head, it doesn’t sound good.
A No-Win Scenario
It’s a no-win scenario.
It’s a no-way. I should have just not even gone there, is what I should have done. But anyway, he’s got more wisdom about the founders, I have been able to learn from that biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective, I think, than any man alive today. So it really is cool to get to work with David and Tim.
Guys, we got later in the program, Katie Gorka is going to be with us. And we had a program, really, that leads up to this with a guy that had testified at a school board meeting. And we said it’s happening all over the country, it’s not just one area. His was Colorado Springs. But Katie talks about this in her article about how this is all over. And all three of us have been asking people for years, get involved, go testify or go run, but get involved and do your part and be good biblical citizens. So I think all three of us are kind of optimistic right now because we’re just seeing so much activity out there, and citizens, not just learning, but then doing something with it.
Yeah, there is a lot of activity going on. Right now we’re engaged with a location that’s got probably 100 different school board races and is for the same kind of reasons we’re seeing all over the nation. And this is just in one region of one state. And people are saying not anymore. And for me, this throws back nationally, but kind of far away, it’s actually 30 years now.
You go back into the 90s and the 2000s, and in that period, people were saying I have had it with Congress. These guys are crazy. They’ve lost their brains. I’m going to run for Congress. And that’s part of what led to that revolution in Congress in 1994 when you had 87 freshmen congressmen elected, because just average people were just saying, this is ridiculous, I can do better than this. They’re crazy up there.
And so we saw that real revolution. We had a very conservative direction in the nation there for about a decade as a result of that. And those guys kind of retired and moved on and did other things. And Congress then didn’t become a focus like it was then. But now school boards, this is exactly what was happening with the Congress back in the 90s and the 2000s we’re seeing with school board now. And I like this better, because it is more local, which means it’s going to make more lasting change, and it’s more accountable.
The Local Level
As a congressman who got 760,000 people in a district, it’s hard to really be accountable or to feel like you’re having an impact with the congressman. But when you’re in a school board and you only have 5 or 10 people show up a school board meeting and tell you do something like this, and 100 show up, then this is where accountability really does start showing up, and this is where it makes a real difference.
And guys, recently, we got Derrick Wilburn from Colorado Springs, who was the gentleman he showed up at the school board meeting there and spoke out against critical race theory, and one of the points that he made was that if you talk to the average American and ask them the names of the school board members, most Americans have no idea who’s on the school board. And so one of the challenges he gave is you need to show up a school board meeting just to find out who’s there.
One of the things we pointed out is that in the Bible it tells us that we’re supposed to pray for all of our elected officials and really the Bible doesn’t actually say elected officials but says all of those in government in leadership positions you need to pray for and that would be our elected officials. And you can’t pray for them if you don’t know who they are. And so you get to show up so you can know who they are, know to pray for. But also when you show up, you can make a difference.
And this is one of the things, dad, as you’re pointing out, this is where we are seeing a groundswell across the nation by people now realizing that they have been unengaged for far too long, and now is the time that they need to show up because we talked about so often that there is a cliff in front of us and we have to stop or turn this car or whatever the adage, the phrase is, stop this moving thing before it reaches a cliff. And there’s a lot of people questioning, can you turn this around? Is there hope? Have we gone too far?
And for the public school system, it’s hard to think that you’re going to get this thing turned around, and all of a sudden, it’s going to be the way it was, maybe back in more the founding era where there was more of a classic model approach and it was definitely religious faith-filled Christian motivating principles, the Bible was a textbook in what they did. It’s hard to imagine public schools or going back that direction.
Salt and Light
But one of the things that certainly can’t happen, just like when Jesus said that you’re the salt of the earth, you’re the light of the world, salt can prevent the decay or the further decay of something. And certainly, the more people get involved, the more they can stop the decay that’s happening inside this public school system.
Yeah. And let’s definitely make sure people realize this is not a doomsday situation. We don’t have to look at this school situation and say it can’t be fixed. Or because it’s not going to be fixed, like you said overnight, and it’s going to take time, and it’s going to take an effort, that we got to be in it for the long haul.
That’s no reason to be discouraged. That’s actually a great reason to say, hey, this is going to have a long term gain as well. It’s going to take a while to do it. But it can last a generation if we do it right.
Well, I’m going to go a little further than that, Rick. Not only can it last a generation, but it can make a much more substantial impact than we imagined. And just looking historically, this is what has the look of a revival. Let’s take a spiritual revival, people across the nation say in America needs to revival, or praying for revival. And they think that’s a national thing. And it really is not. It is a local thing that happens in so many communities that it becomes national.
Our problem is we want some national news. And so I don’t care what the watch on the right, you watch maybe Newsmax or maybe the Blaze or you watch FOX or you watch Victory News or on the Left, you watch CNN or MSNBC, or whatever it is, all you’re going to get national stuff. You’re not going to hear about Watertown, New York or you’re not going to hear about Scottsbluff, Nebraska or Jacksboro, Texas, or all these other places. And so your focus is on what’s coming out of DC, what’s happening in DC. What’s the president doing? What’s happening on the borders? It’s not your own community.
And although people look at the first great awakening with George Whitfield and say, oh, look, that was a national revival, look with George Whitfield did. He preached 34 years, 18,000 sermons, that’s a national revival. No, no timeout. 80% of all Americans physically heard him preach a sermon. And that’s not because they had rallies and stadiums of 100,000.
No, that’s, I mean, communities he was in. He wanted this community of 400, and they had a revival. Then he went to the next community of 12,000 and turn into a revival. It was community after community after community after community that that started having revivals.
And you had so many communities have revival that it looked like a national revival. And so historians say it’s a national revival. No, it’s a revival in communities all over the nation, but it starts in communities. That’s what Jesus said in the Great Commission. Hey, you go first to your world, then you go to Jerusalem, to Judea, then Samaria, then uttermost parts of the world. You start with watch right around you.
And what I’m seeing with local school board emphasis right now is one of the healthiest things I think I’ve seen in a long time. And I think it can become a national movement, not because we’re trying to change the nation, but because we’re trying to change our school board, and fix what’s going on in our community with our kids. And when we get that focus and communities all over the nation start getting this focus, you’re not going to worry about whether states or red or blue, it’s I’ve got so many communities here that have done the right thing that the state’s going to be healthy because the communities are healthy. And I think that’s what’s happening right now.
Now granted, it’s a slower-moving thing because we like to watch the national news and we would love to hear that there’s a national revival because the new said so. Well, eventually the news going to recognize what’s out there and there is a national revival going right now. And I think it’s spiritual as well, is showing up kind of in caring for our kids and caring for what they’re being taught, and caring for what fills their head and what kind of doctrine and philosophy they’re going to have. That has a spiritual impact as well.
A Moment from American History
So I think this really is the start of what will eventually be called a great awakening because finally is starting at the local level, not the national level. And that’s where you have to get healthiest from the local level out.
Well, our guest, when we come back from the break is going to be sharing some of these examples across the country and how this is looking like a revival across the nation, so many communities where this type of response is taking place. Katie Gorka is going to be with us when we come back from the break. Stay with us, you’re listening to Wallbuilders Live.
This is Tim Barton from Wallbuilders with another moment from American history. American patriot Paul Revere wrote to alert Americans of the impending arrival of the British, but he also sought patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock to warn them that the British were seeking their execution.
Adams and Hancock were staying with the Reverend Jonas Clark in Lexington. When they asked pastor Clark if his church was ready for the approaching British, he replied “I’ve trained them for this very hour, they will fight and if need be, die under the shadow of the house of God.” Later that morning, 70 men from his church, a several 100 British in the first battle of the war for independence, as Pastor Clark affirmed, “The militias that morning were the same who filled the pews of the church meeting house on the Sunday morning before.” The American church was regularly at the forefront of the fight for liberty.
For more information on this pastor and other colonial patriots, go to wallbuilders.com.
Welcome back to Wallbuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Katherine Gorka is with us. She’s the Director of the Feulner Institute’s Center for Civil Society and the American dialogue. Katie, thanks for joining us today. Appreciate you coming on.
Welcome Katie Gorka
So happy to be here
Loved, loved, loved your article in Real Clear Politics on ‘The Great Parent Revolt’. I know everybody out there is frustrated right now. They’re thinking we’ve lost the country. But I’m encouraged, all of these people are responding: parents are saying not on my watch. And you documented incredibly well with a lot of great examples. This is actually a healthy thing for the country, isn’t it?
I think it’s a great thing. You know, I actually think we’re seeing the rebirth of civil society. A lot of people talk about the fact that people have lost faith in our institutions, and plus the fact that we’ve all gotten kind of isolated through technology, not to mention the COVID shutdowns. And I think we’re seeing a kind of awakening amongst Americans. People are getting together. Parents are working together. They’re even working across the aisle, which is amazing because it’s not just conservatives who are upset about what they’re seeing. And I agree with you, I think it’s really promising.
And I’ll say one other thing that I think is super exciting about it is not just the way parents are getting active, working together, taking a greater interest and role in their child’s education. But it’s also a great moment for people digging in and learning new about our history. You know, even people of my age, don’t want to date myself too much, but even by the time I was in school, civics was on the decline. A lot of us and a lot of younger parents did not get good American history or good civics. And parents, because of the things that the country is being accused of, parents are having to dig down and learn the responses and learn what this country is really about. So I think that’s very helpful as well.
Yeah, no doubt about it. And they’re learning the process too. You know, I’ve said for years, the system works if you work the system. And parents are working the system. They’re saying, hey, I’m a citizen, I’m paying these property taxes. Even if you don’t have a kid in that school, so it’s not just parents, it’s the entire community waking up and saying this has got to stop.
The Great Parent Revolt
And as you mentioned, I’ve loved this scene it’s not just conservatives or Republicans. It’s actually I’m seeing a lot of different philosophies come together here, people that are upset about the government overreach, upset about the poisoning of our children’s minds. And again, healthy, healthy thing to happen to have all of these people get engaged.
You give all these great examples in the article that I think is a great message to the average citizen out there that’s thinking, I don’t have Katie’s audience, I don’t have Rick, and David, Tim’s audience, how do I make a difference? You give all these examples of people that just showed up, testified for 60 seconds or three minutes, the video ends up going viral, they end up impacting thousands and thousands of people and getting other parents to then show up. So I just think there’s a great opportunity for where anybody can make a difference if they’re willing to get engaged.
Yeah, I think that’s right. And I mean, on the one hand, I think there was a slightly tough message in my article, which is that oftentimes the people who were courageous enough to stand up first kind of paid the price, right? It’s not an easy thing to do.
But it’s interesting I’m working on an article right now where I went back and talked to all of those parents, and I asked them, I said, A, did you pay a price; B, do you regret it? And for the most part, yes, you paid a price. It is tough when you stand up and fight. But every single one said, they don’t regret it, because it’s too important. It’s our children’s future. But even almost more importantly, what they said was it was amazing to see the way so many other parents joined in the fight, once they kind of led the way and raised their voice. And that’s an important message for people.
That’s good. So you confirmed in your discussions with them, kind of the old adage, “if you raise the banner, people will rally.” And we say that often around here. And I get to talk to people where that’s happening in their community on some other issues as well. But it sounds like that’s exactly what you heard from these parents. It took a lot of courage to stand up and be the first one, but then other people came along.
100%. And I think it’s particularly difficult with school. I know I went through this when my kids were in school: you’re afraid to speak up, because you don’t want to put a target on your kids back. We all worry that if we make trouble, our kids are going to get bad grades, or they’re going to be singled out by the teachers. But I’m telling, nobody has had regrets who spoke out. And all of them have started national movements. I’m not kidding.
It’s crazy. I mean, the things that are happening, I’ll just tell you one example. Two moms in Florida, who were school board members started a group back in January, called Moms for Liberty. Okay, so we are now nine months later, because of what they started, they Moms for Liberty now has 125 chapters across this country. I mean, it’s amazing.
Wow! See, that is so encouraging to me. I mean, again, it tells you, number one, if you’re courageous enough, and you step up, you can make a difference. But also, that there’s a lot of people out there looking for you to do that. They’re willing to get engaged, they just don’t know what to do, so they need someone else that’s going to start the ball rolling, but man, then they will jump on board. That is super, super encouraging. What are you seeing in terms of the school board’s response to all of these parents speaking out?
Honestly, I think school boards are the toughest place for the fight. So I was just on a call listening to parents from the Fairfax County Public Schools who have a recall in place. And it’s a tough place for the fight. But it’s one of the places that’s really necessary. And I think there’s been tremendous success both in holding school boards accountable and getting bad candidates recalled.
And one of the points that somebody made, because one problem is, in the past, only 17% of school board members who are targeted are actually recalled. So that may seem not like a winning number, right? But what happens is there’s a whole side effect where it kind of puts people on notice, it brings attention to people. And the other thing is it really elevates the importance of school boards for parents.
Powerful School Boards
And so as we go forward, I think we are going to see a lot more engagement by parents who recognize the power that school boards have to set curricula, to decide on mask mandates, all that kind of thing. I think that we’re going to see a lot more parents stepping up and running for school board. And that’s critical.
I agree. And I’m hearing testimonials of that on a weekly basis almost. And it almost sounds like you’re saying that some elected officials, they see the light when they feel the heat. The pressure works.
Yeah, they do. So, some of them really dig their heels in at the same time. And so that’s why I think people stepping up and running for school board is really important.
Yeah. Alright. Well, Katie, God bless you. Thank you so much for coming on. Thanks for a great article. This is good news for folks out there. And I hope they’re encouraged by. We’re going to have a link to this article on our website today, wallbuilderslive.com. Appreciate what you’re doing.
Thank you so much.
Alright. Stay with us, folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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. And 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.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with a special thanks to Catherine Gorka for joining us today as well from Heritage Foundation. We’ll have a link to her article on our website at wallbuilderslive.com today. David and Tim, just good news, I mean, it’s good news across the board. And it’s not limited to red states. It’s happening in blue states. It’s in communities across the nation.
Yeah, this is about philosophy. And that’s more important than whether you’re red or blue, although red and blue is largely determined by philosophy. But so many people look at the labels and not the philosophy. And the fact that we’re now looking at the content of what’s being taught, that’s good news for politics in years to come. Because if we start looking at the content of policies, not just the label they were, but what does the policy say, and is this a good policy or bad?
You see, that’s what’s happening in school boards right now. They don’t particularly care whether you’re Democrat or Republican, because most school boards are not partisan. That’s just an open kind of election of the community. Matter of fact I don’t know of a single school board that’s partisan. Do you guys?
Well, and to clarify, saying we don’t have a school board that election is partisan, I mean that does kind of come out depending on the county you live in. There definitely are people that we can think about who we know that have run locally, that certainly advertised where they’re coming from. Obviously, if you live in a more Democrat or Republican community, you want people to know kind of the side you’re on. But as far as having them be on a Republican ballot or Democrat ballot, and I do not know of a school board that does that.
Yeah, me either.
Yeah, I don’t either. And when you consider the fact that, as even Derrick said a few days ago, that ask people to name one person on the school board, can they name one person? Well, most people can’t name one person, which means they don’t know whether they’re Republican or Democrat. But they are caring at the product they see coming out of the school, and they’re not liking it. And so the fact that people are not looking to see whether you’re Republican or Democrat, but rather what are you teaching my kids, or what are you trying to indoctrinate them with, I mean, that sets itself up as something really healthy for the long term if this will continue.
Yeah. And I’m curious, is it just one issue or is it multiple issues? You know, she talks about that in the article how right now we’re hearing mostly about the critical race theory. But the whole boys and girls bathrooms, and guys and girls locker rooms, and all of that has been going on for a couple of years.
So this has really been festering underneath and people have already been upset and been in a few areas showing up and speaking. It’s almost harder to speak on that issue, I think, for some people, because it’s kind of like the third rail. You can’t question at all, any of the sexuality issues, probably more important to speak up on that one than even the critical race theory stuff.
So there seems to be multiple things that are motivating people to get out and finally question what’s actually happening to my kid while they’re at school? And should I even be sending up to this school?
Yeah, and I think that you’re going to see more and more asking that. We’ve already had several programs in recent months on how that homeschooling has increased from like 3% to 16%. I mean, so the question is, should I be sending them to school? And for a lot of parents is no. And in looking, even article I looked at today, 41% of homeschoolers are non-whites.
They’re Hispanic, they’re Asian, they’re black, American, etc. And there’s just a lot of parents not liking the product they’re seeing coming out of the school with their kids, and they want a good product with their kids. They want their kids to have a good education and not be hostile to everybody else in the country, etc.
And even going back to Rick, as you mentioned, it kind of looks like one issue right now, CRT or critical race theory, I think what you’re going to find is a lot of the other movements that have been out there and really haven’t been big enough by themselves, they’re going to find that this is a movement they can join to and it’s going to become an umbrella kind of a movement, where you may see four or five or six issues eventually pop up. It may be not just sex education, but age-inappropriate sex education.
When you’re giving birth control pills to 10-year-old girls in Chicago schools, that’s age-inappropriate, even if you think you should have birth control pills for sexual activity, not 10-year-olds. So I think you’re going to see a lot of groups start gathering together and linking arms to change the way schools are run and make them more accountable to parents. And it may be several issues eventually, that the same revolves around. But right now the hot button clearly is CRT.
And guys, one thing too, as we’ve mentioned often, with the growing number of homeschool students, with the growth of Christian and private schools over the last two years, I mean, we’ve advised a lot of parents, you need to really think about, pray about where your kids need to be. And if they’re in a public school system, you need to think and pray really hard about that if they’re going to stay there.
We Love the Band
One of the things that you can look at the public school and we can talk about, there’s actually probably listening, we have some public school teachers, public school administrators, and there’s a lot of people that we love that are connected with the public school. Just because there are good people that we know and love doesn’t mean it’s a good system. It’s kind of like saying I really loved the band that was on the Titanic, it’s not going to necessarily save that ship from sinking. So we want to be careful…
And I think it’s a great analogy, Tim. I’ve never thought about that. That is a perfect analogy because I’m the same way again, I got a lot of friends that teach in public schools. And every time I talk about this, I feel like they’re listening and going, you don’t love us, man, you don’t love us.
You’re exactly. I love the band. I love the band. It doesn’t change the fact that the Titanic sank. That’s so good.
Yeah. And I’m not blaming the band for the boat sinking. The boat is sinking, whether you’re on it or not. And I can love you and so acknowledge the boat sinking. And that’s where a lot of these public school systems are. I know a lot of really good teachers there. Every summer we do our teachers’ conference, and we have a lot of political teachers come to our teachers’ conference. And there are teachers making a difference in their school system, making a difference in the lives of their kids. They’re not enough to change the direction the system is going right now.
And until that system changes, this is whereas obviously, as parents, your number one responsibility as a parent is raising your kids in the fear and admonition of the Lord. And what they’re being indoctrinated with the schools as these teachers are teaching them to hate America, to hate God, to do whatever is right in their own eyes, so many unbiblical, unbeneficial things that’s happening in far too many school districts; as parents, you need to really be careful where you’re sending your kids and who is pouring into their life.
The Rebirth Of Civil Society – With Katie Gorka
Alright, folks, we’re out of time for today. Be sure to visit our website today at wallbuilderslive.com. That’s where you get archives of the program. It’s also where you can make that one-time or monthly contribution. As you listen to these interviews, you listen to our Good News Friday programs, our Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs, you may be getting hungry to be involved and to make a difference, just like we’re talking about, whether that’s testifying at a local school board as we’ve been covering today or influencing may be running for the local school board or city council or an office.
It may also mean just writing a check, literally supporting another someone else to run, supporting them as the candidate but donating to their campaign, lives, fortunes, and sacred honor. We can all be part of that middle one, right? I mean our lives, of course, the first one too, we can be a part of it by giving some of our time, not all but some.
And then our fortunes, give some, not all, but some of our fortune by donating to candidates that are running, donating to good causes out there like WallBuilders, making it possible for us to reach more people with this radio program. So lives, fortunes, sacred honor, folks, it’s up to all of us to give a little bit of each of those three if we’re going to preserve and pass the torch of freedom to our kids.
Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.