Trump’s Religious Liberty Executive Order Is Better Than You Might Think: Mat Staver From Liberty Counsel is with us today discussing Trump’s Religious Liberty Executive Order and how it is making huge steps for religious freedom! Dealing with things like the Johnson Amendment, Obamacare, and more. We also discuss the importance of Israel and why we need to have a Biblical worldview in regards to Israel. All this and more on WallBuilders Live! 

Air Date: 06/13/2017


Guests: Mat Staver, David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast.  However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers.  Additionally, names may be misspelled because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Welcome

Rick:

You found your way to the intersection of faith and the culture! Thanks for joining us here on WallBuilders Live, where we”€™re talking about today”€™s hottest topics on policy, faith, and the culture, all of it from Biblical, historical, and constitutional perspective.

We’re here with David Barton, America’s premiere historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, president of WallBuilders, national speaker, and pastor. And my name’s Rick Green.  I’m a former Texas state rep, national speaker, and author.

Find out more about us and the organization at our websites WallBuilders.com.  And also the radio program WallBuildersLive.com for a list of the stations and our archives.

The Most Biblically Illiterate Generation

We appreciate you joining us. One of our major topics when we talk about faith and the culture, of course, is how does your faith impact your position on issues in the culture? Guys, we call that a worldview.

David:

And one of the things we know right now is that over the last several years America’s population, even though it”€™s still highly professing as Christian, it is accelerating in its lack of having a Biblical worldview.

We now have one of the most Biblically illiterate generations in American history, hands down. Even among those who are professing Christians, even among those who are professing evangelicals, they know less about the Bible and the Bible’s teachings than any generation before this.

Tim:

You know, it’s interesting that when we’re saying, “€œBiblical worldview”€ that statistically that percentage has been a 9 to 10 percent range of Americans for quite a while. But it’s the other Americans that are dropping so quickly where it used to be some 80 percent of Americans identify as Christian.

But now, even among those who identify as Christian, you’re talking to a university president and he said, “€œOf the freshmen coming in, coming from churches where they all profess Christianity they can’t distinguish between Moses and Jonah.

Well, it used to be that even if you weren’t a really Biblical thinking person you knew who Moses was, right? Parts the Red Sea, 10 Commandments. You new Jonah, there’s a whale who spits him up. You knew those stories. 

But today it’s not that we’ve had even the significant drop off of that 9 or 10 percent that actually lives according to their faith.  It’s a major drop off from the rest of culture who just has no clue about the Bible anymore. Which is- we’ve talked about even the impact of the church, the training of pastors, the lack thereof. But that’s becoming more and more evident in the rest of the American culture.

David:

And there’s really three areas that I can quickly point to and pretty much tell whether someone has a basic general understanding, a very broad Biblical teachings. If they have any Biblical literacy at all, even if they themselves are not Christians, it used to be as Tim pointed out, just the culture itself had a pretty good degree of Biblical knowledge and literacy. We understood a lot of Biblical idioms, and phrases, and whatnot, knew where they came from. We knew heroes of the Bible even if people weren’t Christian.

But if I start with the question, “€œIs man inherently good? Does man generally tend to be good?”€ If you answer that “€œyes”€ that means you don’t understand Bible. Because the Bible says, “€œNo, man does not tend to be good. Man will always be wrong. 

He’ll do the wrong thing. History proves that time and time again. When you leave man to his own ways, he doesn”€™t get better, he gets worse. unless God intervenes and changes his heart and he moves in the right direction.

And that’s a scriptural teaching, Jeremiah 17:9, the heart of man is desperately wicked. Who can know it? Who can predict it? What you can predict is that it will do the wrong thing.

And so you see secular governments across the world end up being oppressive.  They end up killing in the 20th Century, killing hundreds of millions of people in secular governments.

So, the heart of man is not good. If you think man inherently tends to be good. You don’t know anything about the Bible or about history. Another one I’ll throw out-

Tim:

Or about humanity.

David:

That’s right.

God Is In Control Of The Weather

Another one I”€™ll throw out is weather. It’s interesting in the Bible, weather patterns are often predicated on whether the people doing the right thing or the wrong thing. And if people sin against God, then you get floods, and you get storms, you get lightning, you get all your crops get destroyed, you get all sorts of things- 

Tim:

And of course, the most common is droughts. God says, “€œI’m not going to send rain, I’m not going to bless their crops or the labor of your hands.”€ And so drought was one of the most common things.

Which, even if you look at the United States right now, there’s a lot of states who live- I mean, California, they don’t know what to do with themselves. Now granted, some are policies, what they do with water and don’t do with water. But drought was certainly a big thing as part of the weather, as you’re mentioning. But there are all kinds of aspects of weather.

David:

So we understood and that’s why if you look back on WallBuilders website we have a section in the library of historical documents. We have now 850 actual proclamations that we own that were issued by governors. And they could be Founding Fathers governors like John Hancock, or Sam Adams, or signers of the Declaration like all for Oliver Wolcott, or Samuel Huntington, signers of the Constitution like John- We”€™ve got their proclamations.

And so often their proclamation says, “€œMan, we’ve got to have God’s help with the weather. We have to pray, and repent, and fast because something is going on wrong with the weather and our crops need rain.”€ We understood that.

Well, today 52 percent of Christians think that God does a really lousy job with the weather. Maybe it’s not his choice that is doing it. Maybe it’s our own sin or our own unrighteous policies. Maybe it’s because we love killing unborn kids, 60 million of them. Maybe God says, “€œI’m not going to bless your land when you’re doing it.”€

Well, that used to be a Biblical worldview. And that’s why to hold office, the Founding Fathers said, “€œYou can’t hold office unless you believe in a future state of rewards and punishments.”€ Even Ben Franklin when he wrote the 1776 Constitution of Pennsylvania, he”€™s one of the authors of that document. He said, “€œYou can’t hold office unless you understand that you will answer to God, you”€™ll account to God.”€

Is Israel Actually Important

So things like, for example, things like the nature of man, is he good or bad? Weather. And another one, Israel. The more Biblically grounded you are, the more you understand how important it is to support Israel.

And the less Biblical worldview you have the more you say, “€œWell, this is not that big of a deal. Palestinians, I mean they’re the ones oppressed by Israel.”€ The less of a Biblical worldview you have, the less support you have for Israel.

So there are a lot of things today that we see changing from recent years. One is there is a growing desire to not be affiliated with Israel. “€œLet’s deal with other nations, let’s help the Palestinians, let’s help the other nations in the Middle East.”€ That’s a lack of a Biblical worldview.

And one of the guys who’s been on the ground there doing remarkable work to help Christians understand not only what the Bible says about Israel but also why Israel is so unique, is Matt Staver. And we often talk to Matt because of legal cases he argues. Cases at the U.S. Supreme Court. Got a great religious liberty law firm, he was the dean of Liberty Law School, the founding dean actually that the law school at Liberty University which now is the largest Christian university in the world. Over 100,000 students go to school there online and in person. So, he’s got really great credentials. But what he’s doing right now with Israel is just absolutely revolutionary.

Rick:

Matt Staver our special guest today.  Stay with us. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.

A Moment From America”€™s History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. In the case, Abington vs Schempp the Supreme Court ruled that the Bible could no longer be an independent textbook in public school curriculum. Would our Founding Fathers have agreed?

Benjamin Rush certainly would have disagreed. Benjamin Rush was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and he was a leading educator of the day. In fact, he was the first Founding Father to call for free public schools.

Benjamin Rush declared, “€œThe great enemy of the salvation of man, in my opinion, never invented a more effective means of extinguishing Christianity from the world than by persuading mankind that it was improper to read the Bible at schools. The Bible should be read in our schools in preference to all other books.”€

In the view of Founding Father Benjamin Rush, the Bible was the textbook of preference for public schools. For more information on God’s hand in American history contact WallBuilders at 1 800 8 REBUILD.

Why Israel Matters TV Show

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live, thanks for staying with us today folks. We”€™ve got Mat Staver, our good friend from Liberty Council back with us. Matt, always good to have you, Sir.

Mat:

Good to be with you.

Rick:

A lot to catch up on, a lot of projects going on and actually a new television program airing about Israel on TBN.  Tell us about that first and we’ll jump into some of the daily issues.

Mat:

Yeah, this is an original 13 part series on Trinity Broadcasting Network TV. It’s called, “€œWhy Israel Matters.”€ It’s an amazing series. You can also go online to watch any of the previous episodes. You can go to LC.org, click on the “€œWhy Israel Matters”€ icon, that’ll take you to our other website Christians in Defense of Israel. And there is all the information for the times and also how you can watch all the episodes online.

But it’s amazing because I just got an email from a woman who’s been to Israel 73 times for tours, lived in Israel five years, very involved and she says she’s so amazed because she didn’t know many of these places even existed, and this is a veteran of tours Israel. It’s an amazing and fascinating program.

Rick:

So, on the program, you basically take us there through the program?

Mat:

Yeah, we take you there. Each program has three segments.  There are three stories about different people under a particular theme. One of them recently was on one of the early Founders of the Israel Air Force Base. And he’s in his late 90″€™s now and if he survives and he’s in good health until 2018 he’ll be there for the 70th year of Israel’s independence and he was one of the first Air Force pilots in 1948.

So it’s amazing stuff.  We just did one involving Miriam * and you go to the top of her house and she’s right there by the Western Wall.  You can see the Temple Mount. You go down through a couple of floors underneath her house is an archaeological dig.

It’s all started by her late husband and it goes back 2,000-3,000 years.  Literally, you can go from modern Israel on the top of her house all the way to 2,000-3,000 years in the past showing the connection to Israel with the Jewish people.

A Life Changing Experience For Young Men And Women

Rick:

This is obviously an area where with Millennials we’ve been losing the battle on college campuses as they’ve been lied to about the whole history here. You’ve got an effort on that front as well to get young people educated about this.

Mat:

Yeah, it’s called Covenant Journey, the website is CovenantJourney.org. This is a ministry we’ve been working on since 2011, launched it in 2014, and it takes Christian college students who are leaders to Israel and those that are selected through a rigorous application process.

We’re looking for Christian college students who have leadership potential. They only pay $500 and we underwrite the rest of it. It’s literally a 10-day life transformative experience in Israel.

I mean, these are some of the top of the top Christian college students that are leaders not only in the future but they’re leading on their campuses now. One of our students that graduated from our program was in Israel last year. He now works for * he works on the F-35 flight simulator which is the new high-tech stealth fighter jet. He was in Israel last year training IDF pilots and he was there when the first F-35 was delivered to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He is doing his mid-twenties So these are amazing young men and women.They go on this literally a life-changing experience in Israel with Covenant Journey.

College Aged Legislature

Rick:

That’s powerful. It”€™s so important to get the leader’s and get them the truth so they can win over their generation.

Mat:

Yes, absolutely. In fact, one of our young girls is still in college.  She’s still living at home and she’s the youngest female ever elected to the Florida legislature. After coming back from the trip last year in January she got off the plane on Thursday, went to the Florida legislature on Monday, was part of the co-sponsorship for an anti-BDS or Boycott Divestment and Sanctions resolution that ultimately passed in Florida. She is a leader already in Florida in the legislature and she’s still in college, it’s amazing. These are some of the people that we have. A wide variety from ministry to physics, and engineers and everyone in between.

Rick:

That is incredible. Alright, we’ve got several websites we want to share today and we’ll put them all up at WallBuilders Live to make it easy. But one more time if you would run through them. So for the young people, it is CovenantJourney.org?

Mat:

Yeah, for the young people it’s CovenantJourney.org. For our Christian advocacy for Israel, it’s CIDIsrael.org, that’s Christians in defense of Israel. You can find more about the “€œWhy Israel Matters”€: series there. And then, of course, our main website is Liberty Counsel which is  LC.org. You can also find information there about the new series called “€œWhy Israel Matters”€ on TBN.

This Puts Every Journalist At Risk

Rick:

And I assume that you’re still doing your legal thing with Liberty Counsel, right? I mean, you’re doing your religious liberty cases.  Do you ever sleep?

Mat:

In fact, just a few days ago our attorneys were in San Francisco representing Sandra Merritt. She is the 64-year-old grandmother, lived in the same house for 41 years and she’s the undercover investigator against Planned Parenthood with what’s going on behind those closed doors.

And she was in jail last week for 12 hours before three judges.  We had to appear with $75,000 in bail to get her out and start this process regarding our defense of her against the California attorney general who has brought 15 felony indictments for undercover investigation.  And at the same time there is an illegal immigrant charged with rape $2,500 bail. So you can see the differences that’s going on.

Rick:

I”€™m assuming they’re not at all interested in going after Planned Parenthood for selling baby parts or any of those things.

Mat:

Oh, I wouldn”€™t. He’s actually getting campaign contributions and has for some time from Planned Parenthood. So he’s in the pocket of Planned Parenthood and even the L.A. Times editorial board blasted the attorney general for going after this indictment because obviously this puts every journalist at risk.

Never before in the history of California have we ever found that the state of California has gone after any journalist for undercover investigation. In fact, not long ago there was an undercover investigation of animal abuse and obviously no attorney general went after that undercover investigator.

Rick:

Yeah, no doubt. For this case, mat, LC.org would be the place to follow the developments?

Mat:

That’s right, that is the place to follow the development of our defense of Sandra Susan Merritt who is one of those undercover investigators for the Planned Parenthood videos.

Trump’s Religious Liberty Executive Order

Rick:

Folks, LC.org for more information. Great organization to support financially, with your prayers, spreading the word on social media, all of those things are critical in winning these battles. Mat, before I let you go, just your thoughts on President Trump’s religious liberty executive order?

Mat:

I’m very pleased with it. Some people said that they were not pleased, but the fact of the matter is when you compare that particular executive order with the one that was leaked in February, the one in February went beyond what the president can do.  He can’t really change things on the state level.

But this one is huge because he starts off with a broad religious freedom that the Trump administration will rigorously protect and promote religious freedom. Then it talks about the Johnson Amendment. Therefore it says to the IRS, “€œDon’t penalize these churches, and persons, and religious organizations. Use maximum discretion not to penalize them for political speech.”€ That’s huge.

Then also the Obamacare, “€œBack off on the mandates on the Obamacare.”€ He invited the Little Sisters of the Poor back up on stage. For the first time they’re the ones that have been the targets, plus others, of the Obama administration under these abortion, drugs, and devices mandates.

The other thing is he has actually directed the attorney general to issue guidance across the board, not just on the so-called “€œJohnson Amendment”€ regarding political speech or the Obamacare mandates but across the board to implement religious liberty in every one of the departments and agencies, that’s huge.

And by the way, he had many of his Cabinet heads on the front row there while he’s giving this directive. It’s the CEO of a corporation if you will, telling the agency heads, the department heads, “€œThis is our mission, this is our message, you go implement it now.”€ So, it’s a huge step forward for religious freedom and it’s being led by President Donald Trump.

Rick:

I love it. Alright, so much good news from you today, Mat. Appreciate your time, we’ll put all those websites up so folks can go get more information on on each of these areas. Mat Staver, keep up the great work, brother.

Mat:

Thank you, my pleasure.

Rick:

Stay with us, folks.  Be right back with David Tim Barton.

Bring A Speaker To Your Area

Tim:

Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders.  And as you’ve had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live, you’ve probably heard a wealth of information about our nation, about our spiritual heritage, about the religious liberties, and about all the things that make America exceptional. And you might be thinking, “€œAs incredible as this information is, I wish there was a way that I could get one of the WallBuilders guys to come to my area and share with my group.”€

Whether it be a church, whether it be a Christian school, or public school, or some political event, or activity, if you’re interested in having a WallBuilders speaker come to your area, you can get on our website at www.WallBuilders.com and there’s a tab for scheduling. If you”€™ll click on that tab, you’ll notice there’s a list of information from speakers bio’s, to events that are already going on. And there’s a section where you can request an event, to bring this information about who we are, where we came from, our religious liberties, and freedoms. Go to the WallBuilders website and Bring a speaker to your area.

Christians United for Israel

Rick:

Welcome back.  Thanks for staying with us here on Wallbuilders Live. We’re back now with David and Tim Barton. Special thanks to Mat Staver for joining us today. We’ll have links today to Liberty Council and the other organizations we discussed as well. So we’ve had Matt come on quite a few times on the program over the years, guys. But he’s really gotten focused on this Israel issue at this point.

Tim:

I’ll tell you, several aspects of what he said was very interesting to me. First of all, the TV show, which seems like a very cool thing. I’m very interested in it, I want to check it out. Learned some of these stories, meet some of these people.

The pilot who was part of the Israeli Air Force back when they were fighting for independence-

David:

In 1948, are you kidding?

Tim:

And he’s still alive today, it’s unreal. And as he mentioned, next year’s going to the 70th anniversary. And and so he’ll be the only guy that still there that was part of this. But one of the things-

David:

I’ll tell you what, going down in your basement and finding 3,000 years of history, you”€™re living in a house where you can see the 21st century and going to the basement where you can see back 21st century and go into the basement where you can see back 10 centuries B.C. that”€™s amazing too.

Tim:

And you know what, what he mention with Covenant Journey, that’s taken college kids over to Israel and giving them a perspective. And we know several groups that do this. CUFI-

David:

Which is the acronym for Christians United for Israel, about 5 million Americans are part of that group. It’s a really good group in supporting Israel and they’ve got I think 100 campuses where they have CUFI on campus. Becauses as Mat alluded to, on campus this is going the wrong direction.

What The BDS Movement Is

The BDS movement, a lot of people may not know what that is. It’s big on campus, as a matter of fact we’ll put a link up today for a great video, it is an award winning video from Israel when we were over there we saw it for the first time. It talks about the BDS movement and its impact among Christians. How Christian young people are starting to support it. So we’ll have that as well as a link today.

Tim:

Which Mat did explain a little bit of that. So if you heard that for the first time and don’t know what that is, and Mat did talk about it a little bit, the Boycott Divestment Sanctions. Which is where you just don’t want to have anything to do with anybody even associated with Israel, that’s how much you hate Israel.

Well, this is what these college kids are learning, that Israel is so bad that you shouldn’t support the people that support Israel because that’s how bad they are. But this Covenant Journey that takes college kids over there and shows them what Israel really looks like, it shows them the difference it makes.

Mat pointed out, this young girl from the Florida legislature was still in college at the time, she comes back she gets elected, and because she visited Israel, because of that experience she came back and said, “€œNo, we should not be doing this BDS.”€So she comes back and does an anti-BDS legislation. Just so many positive things that they’re doing.

And the one that we finished with, the Sandra Merritt, that was to me the most shocking. Looking at the fact that she’s now under 15 felony indictments for this undercover investigation that was brought by the attorney general who receives funding from Planned Parenthood, part of campaign contributions, and a $75,000 bail.

Well, even though there was this illegal alien who was convicted of or charged with rape, as the case were, well, there’s only a $2,500 bail for this person.

Just unbelievable, some of these things that Mat and their religious organization does and goes through. But it makes me so grateful that we do have guys like Mat that can help defend Sandra and that are promoting these Biblical values with Israel. Just so many positive things from this interview.

Rick:

Stay with us folks, we”€™ve got a quick break. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton on WallBuilders Live.

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This Is Something Both Parties Are Concerned About

Rick:

Welcome back to WallBuilders Live.  Thanks for staying with us today. Thanks again to Mat Staver for being with us earlier in the program. Tim you”€™re pointing out just all the different things they do at Liberty Counsel and the other organizations that Mat is associated with, making a real difference out there.

David:

Even that case that Tim was talking about defending Sandra in California. Imagine this, she’s in her 60s, she’s being charged, and her bail is 30 times higher for doing investigative journalism- 30 times higher than being charged with rape. How twisted are your values when-

Rick:

No doubt, talk about an abuse.

David:

Yeah. No wait, investigative journalism, why is that a criminal felony? Why are you even going to jail and being booked for doing investigative journalism? Are you kidding?

Tim:

As he points out, that’s why the L.A. Times even got fired up about this. That even the liberals are going, “€œThis is not good.”€ That’s a bad precedent to set, that you can attack this freedom of the press. Which is part of what we hear from the first amendment. But now if you’re saying, “€œWait a second, you can’t have freedom in the press. You can’t say something we don’t like.”€

Their Interpretation Of The Constitution

David:

“€œIf it has a viewpoint I disagree with then you don’t have the right to a constitutional- I’ll tell you what your constitutional rights are.”€ That’s a dangerous precedent. And that’s where progressives have gotten. They will tell us what the Constitution means and they interpret it their way and that’s just not a good place.

Tim:

Also, in the case, it’s an attorney general who is more interested in an ideology, an agenda, and motivations than he is in what is constitutional, what is not constitutional.

Rick:

We used to call that, “€œBeing intellectually dishonest.”€ Whenever they would do this double standard like this and they have their agenda trump everything that they should be stand standing.

Tim:

Yeah, “€œI only want to use the law or the Constitution when it benefits me. But when it is something I don’t like, well, then we don’t apply it here.”€ And that and you’re right, that’s an intellectual dishonesty that he is applying in this situation which is why the left and right together are going, “€œThis is a bad deal. This shouldn’t happen.”€ Which hopefully it gives Mat plenty of ground, and in this case, that they’re able to get this dismissed and thrown out, and maybe get this AG to have to face some accountability for his poor decisions and behavior in this. But it’s pretty appalling where it is.

David:

Let me also say that Matt got it right, on the president’s executive order too. Because in talking about what he did, there are a lot of Christian friends I have even over Christian legal groups that thought the president did not go near far enough. That he should’ve done a whole lot more.

But I agree with Mat, what the president did is as far as you could go constitutionally. For him to have gone further would have meant he had to have a pen and a phone. And we’ve gone through enough years of that over recent years for a couple of presidents that we don’t need a pen and a phone. We need the Constitution back in play and in place. The president has set a precedent. He was not an activist but he did what the Constitution allows him to do. And so that’s great news.

Rick:

Yeah, that is showing some restraint in actually doing it that the right way. So we appreciate that kind of leadership. Appreciate Mat Staver for joining us today, and we especially appreciate our listeners for listening today. Thank you for joining us on WallBuilders Live.