The WallBuilders Show

Foundations of Freedom Thursday: Core of Constitutional Freedoms and Spirit of the Law

January 11, 2024 Tim Barton, David Barton & Rick Green
The WallBuilders Show
Foundations of Freedom Thursday: Core of Constitutional Freedoms and Spirit of the Law
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Today lets dive in to listener questions here on Foundations of Freedom Thursday! Would the First Amendment work in a nation like Haiti, where Voodoo and Witchcraft are prevalent? Is freedom of religion compatible with this mindset? In the United States, Satanist are working their way into the public square more and more. Can't we choose what is allowed in a decent society? What can be done? Tune in today to get the answers and more!

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Child 1:

President, Thomas Jefferson said, "I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves. And if we think them 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."

Rick Green:

Welcome to the intersection of faith in the culture. It's WallBuilders. We're taking on the hot topics of the day from a Biblical, historical and Constitutional perspective. We're doing that with David and Tim Barton. Tim's a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. David Barton, of course, America's premier historian and our founder at Wallbuilders, and I'm Rick Green, America's Constitution Coach and a former Texas legislator. It's an honor to serve with these guys. I hope that you enjoy the program, hope you check us out at Wallbuilders. com. So many great tools there, whether you want to get into some of the videos, or you know books or whatever it is and dive a little deeper into our founding principles and learn those things, or you just want to listen to some of the archives or the radio program. There's so much there. But one thing I do want to ask you to do when you get to that website, Wallbuilders. com, make a contribution, help invest in freedom. You know life's fortune's sacred honor fortunes it takes fuel in the tank. Everybody's got to be willing to give a little bit. You know, if you can just do a small contribution there, maybe you can do a big today today. It helps us to train more pastors and teachers and young people and legislators and all the things that we're doing at WallBuilders to restore America's Constitutional Republic, and also it helps us to add stations to reach more people, with this program, where we're teaching truth, we're getting into the foundations. That's what today's all about. Foundations of Freedom Thursday is to get into the. It's an opportunity for all of us to get into those foundational principles and answer your questions, and it's a great time for us to share and to learn and sharpen each other's countenance. All right, David and Tim, I love these. Foundations questions we get! Sometimes unusual questions that people may not expect on a you know WallBuilders Constitution history. Everybody thinks we only talk about America, but we do cover international issues as well, because guess what? Biblical principles apply everywhere, not just here in the US. I think you guys are going to enjoy this one. It's about Haiti. So this one comes from Glenn and he said Greetings! This morning has been a rich and worshipful thing and has brought me to a question of our nation's founding as a model for what, and how I hope, Haiti can be restored both spiritually and practically by the Lord if it will forsake false religious exercise. On questions of this great nation's founding, Wallbuilders is my go-to. I have leaned on Wallbuilders across four decades and been a supporter, with my few resources, across portions of them all. I've been a missionary in Haiti across two decades. So here's my questions. One, when constructing and debating the First Amendment, was the nation populated with such a diverse array of religious beliefs, including such things we find here today, including acceptance and worship towards clear, unabated unrighteousness and evil? And two, did the First Amendment intend to allow national worship of unrighteousness or is it your opinion that the First Amendment intended to deliberate freedom only in the context of various expressions of accepted Christian thoughts, because righteousness exalts a nation? Haiti, of course is known for it being steeped in voodoo and gathered so many other faiths. I've seen and experienced very, very little of voodoo, although darkness has always occulted. So he's got some really interesting questions here, guys. So, and really honestly, I had this one in my home county. This question came up because they were going to do a Satanist prayer at the city council, and so what was the founder's view? First of all, just this idea of you know, Haiti has a very different makeup. Can you make something like the First Amendment work in a nation like Haiti?

David Barton:

First off, let's go back to Haiti. I love getting questions like this. It's always amazing to me to find international folks listening to radio on American issues and programs. But, Rick, as you said, biblical principles work everywhere, and so even in Haiti, and it's significant that Haiti is a nation that was talked about very often by the founding fathers. Jefferson has a lot of letters on it. It was called Santa Dominique back at that point in time, so not Haiti the way we know it now, but it had been a colony of the French and of the Spanish and others, so it has a long history of being there throughout the founding era and our presidents had to deal with diplomats and issues in that country. It was really created Haiti as a slavery vote back in when the national slave trade. They were trying to kick that off, and it was created by slavery vote and has the name Haiti, but it has a long history with America, so there are principles that would apply. As to the First Amendment, the First Amendment did not mean to exclude this kind of religion, because of the fact; The First Amendment only was to prohibit the establishment of any national religion and that didn't matter whether it was the national religion of Voodoo or the national religion of Christianity. Congress does not get to establish the religion. Now, that doesn't mean that they wanted a secular nation. One of the things always stood out in the scriptures is in First Corinthians, where it talks about how the spirit of the law gives life, but the letter of the law kills. You can obey the Bible to the letter and it can be a very oppressive document if you don't interpret it by the spirit of the scriptures. If you just take the letter of the law, it's really harsh. And if you'll take that and apply it to the First Amendment and you say, hey, what was the spirit of the First Amendment? This is where it gets to heart of the question.

Tim Barton:

Well, dad, let me point out too that, as we talk about the spirit of it, this is where we have the great example of Jesus talking about. Was the Sabbath made for man, or man for the Sabbath? Where the Pharisees were getting on disciples Jesus' because they're eating these heads of grain on the Sabbath? They're not supposed to do that! And Jesus said okay, you've kind of missed the point of this. And Jesus, of course, if you can go to something like the Sermon of the Mount, he brought so much practicality to 'what was the spirit behind?' He said, you've heard, don't murder. I tell you, really angry in your heart at somebody. You've heard, do not commit adultery. I tell you, even lust after a woman. He went after the spirit of this. I just want to make that connection as people might look at this and go wait a second. Are you suggesting the Bible would be oppressive? And really, as none of the Bible was oppressive, because even the Old Testament, where God said everything I've commanded you is for your good, it was not supposed to be an oppressive thing. But you can take what God meant for good and you could use it in a negative connotation and now to draw that into the interpretation of the First Amendment. If you don't understand the spirit of what they were trying to do, you certainly could take something out of context and misapply it, which I think we've seen, and maybe even as part of the question I'm gonna get into later, and I don't want to derail that of where you're going. But I did want to give some of that thought of examples of the New Testament, just so nobody misunderstands the idea that the Bible itself was not oppressive, that's not why it was there. But it can be misused and distorted to be very oppressive as opposed to the spirit of freedom and life, and life more abundantly, as God intended.

David Barton:

And that's what you find at the First Amendment as well. And we're finishing up a book that'll come out, Lord willing, in just a few weeks here, and it's the American Story, The Second Volume, and it deals with building the Republic and it covers the first seven presidents and significantly, all of those seven presidents were part of the founding era. They were part of the American War for Independence, they were part of being there when the Constitution is being written and what they did in various states, and so they were all founding fathers, all seven. And yet, you will find that founding fathers like James Monroe and founding fathers like Andrew Jackson upheld the Constitution, did serious damage to the nation. For example, Jackson, what he did with the Trail of Tears, starting that Trail of Tears that led to such tyranny over the native tribes. He actually was Constitutional in what he did, because the constitution sets up native tribes as being independent nations. There's no other independent nation that we would have done what the Indians were wanting us to do. We wouldn't do that for an independent nation. But that's because, if you got the spirit of it and John Quincy Adams has a great piece where he talks about if you ever try to apply the Constitution without using the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, then you'll fail. And so what Andrew Jackson did, rather than seeing that all men were created equal, rather than seeing that you want to treat people in a certain view of how God sees them, he treated them like they were a foreign nation, and that led to really bad stuff. And the same happened when you look at the Missouri Compromise with President James Monroe. Hey, under the Declaration of Independence you can't establish slavery and move that forward. And John Quincy Adams made that point as Secretary of State for Monroe. He said look, under the Declaration you cannot (if you're trying to preserve the rights of life and liberty) you cannot create a state where that it has oppression. There were states that came in before we did the Constitution. They had slavery. Okay, Constitution didn't end that. But you can't start a new state that has slavery under the Declaration and the Constitution. And so what's happened is we've had a really secular reading of the First Amendment since about the 1960s and anything you believe, and whatever your belief, is that's protected under the First Amendment. No! The first Amendment is to prevent the establishment of a national religion, but because George Washington and others talked about the fact that religion and morality has to be the basis of the Constitution of the nation, there's no way they were trying to secularize or remove Christianity or remove the Bible or anything else out of the public square. So the First Amendment itself does not deal with which religion you have. That comes from the spirit of the Constitution.

Tim Barton:

And dad, to be very clear about this, and probably those listening know they've they've heard you talk about this for decades. They've heard Rick and I talk about it for not as many decades, but still, we've talked about it for more than a decade or two as well. The idea from the founding fathers, specifically applying the First Amendment, it dealt with which denomination inside of Christianity. So it wasn't a an idea of you can't establish a religion, as in Hindu or Buddhist or Christian or Islamic or whatever it might be. It literally was that the context they were dealing with was whether you were going to force people to be Anglican or whether they're going to be forced to be Lutheran or whether we're forced to be like a Methodist or Presbyterian or Baptist, whatever that denomination might have been. It was all within the Christian realm of denomination. And this is where that there's so many things you can point to from the founders writings where John Adams, late in life, writes Thomas Jefferson and he's reflecting back on on what they did and really kind of establishing America as a free nation and going through the Revolution and America becoming independent, and he said the principles upon which the fathers achieved independence were the principles of Christianity and what he pointed out was that they came from such a diverse position, with all the different colonies, all the individuals involved. They had such different beliefs in so many areas, but they all have the same foundational beliefs. That were the principles of Christianity and that was the common ground they found to work together. So when they said that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, it was the establishments within Christianity of the Anglican and the Baptist and the Methodist and the Presbyterian and the Congregationalists, and on down the list you can go. But for them, they never had this idea that of all the freedom of religion, you have the freedom to do witchcraft in all of the evil that entails. Where, right now, right, there are people in America saying that they're going to uphold right these satanic rituals and there's literally people saying that human sacrifice, ie abortion, that's literally what they say abortion, human sacrifice. Those words are the words they use human sacrifice and abortion together. They say that is part of their faith and therefore they should be allowed to practice their faith of human sacrifice and what they do and therefore states can't ban abortion etc. That's totally contrary to the idea of the founding fathers with the Constitution, with the Bill of Rights, with the First Amendment, and certainly with the understanding of having a religious and moral foundation. It's very contradictory. So, looking, for example, at Haiti and this idea of having the freedom of religion it really was the freedom inside of Christianity where the apostle Paul talks about that there might be a different thought of beliefs or convictions. Right, that each must work out his own salvation with fear and trembling. That if you see somebody who has a conviction in a certain area this is in 1 Corinthians, chapter 8, that there might be a different conviction when it comes to, for example, eating meat offered to idols. There can be different beliefs inside of the realm of the same theological position that there is a God, Jesus is his son, Jesus is the way to the Father, etc. But they didn't embrace the same notion, for example, of in Haiti, where you can have witchcraft and these various kinds of forms of other religions the founding fathers recognized in America. We want to be a freedom to people. A freedom only works if you have the same basic moral structure, the underpinning of society, and that underpinning were the principles of Christianity. If you have a system where some people believe in human sacrifice and some people believe in the sanctity of life, freedom is not going to function well, in that society. So the First Amendment should be read in the context of who the founding fathers were, what they were building, what they were establishing. And, Dad, to your point, that's where it goes back to the principles of the declaration. Those principles are what America was built on and the Constitution was just the way it was going to function built on those principles.

David Barton:

And to reaffirm that, Tim, what you're stating was the scene view for generations in America. Nearly 70 years after the War for Independence, the House Judiciary Committee was looking at this and they said had there been any thought or any view of any attempt to war against Christianity? With the First Amendment, they said that Revolution would have died in its cradle. The founding fathers would never have separated from Great Britain if they thought what they were doing was going to limit or restrict Christianity in any way, shape, fashion or form. And we're talking there are three generations afterwards. Three generations later, they still knew this was all about using Christian principles. So what's happened since the 60s, where that they reject Christian principles and now try to read the Constitution without those underlying principles, It becomes an abusive document. It becomes a tyrannical document that can be used for all sorts of stuff that was never intended. It was intended to preserve liberty and, as Tim said, the framework for that was religion and morality, specifically biblical religion and morality, and if you get away from that, it just doesn't work. So that's a long answer to the question of Haiti, but it goes back to the principles. The First Amendment is really not what you look at for Haiti, what you look at for Haiti is the fact that the whole foundation of how the Constitution is going to work is it has to be for religious and moral people. As Washington said, and as Tim was just quoting from Adams, it was made for that religious people. Christianity was the base. That's what it takes to get a First Amendment that works right.

Rick Green:

Alright, guys we got to take a quick break. When we come back, we've got a follow-up question from someone else. That is closer to home, let's say, but somewhat on the same topic. Stay with us folks. You're listening to the WallBuilders Show.

Child 2:

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.

Rick Green:

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Child 2:

Thomas Jefferson said, the constitution of most of our states and of the United States assert that all power is inherent in the people, that they may exercise it by themselves, that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed, that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property and freedom of press.

Rick Green:

Welcome to The WallBuilders Show. Thanks for staying with us on this. Foundations of Freedom Thursday, and we were talking first part of the program, I had a question from an audience member about Haiti and freedom of religion, First Amendment history, of how that works in a country. We've got a question that's somewhat like that, but closer to home. But first, guys, we had a thank you email I wanted to share with you. This one's from Colleen and it was right before Christmas. She said Thank you for making WallBuilders Live MP3 downloads and transcripts available on your website. Just wanted you to know the Lord has used your work, another brick in my wall, and what he is doing in my life right now. Thank you all for your work and the years of ministry serving God, building the body of Christ. Much love and appreciation. Merry Christmas, Colleen. All right, it's after the first of the year, but, Colleen, God bless you. And Merry Christmas because David Barton wishes Merry Christmas to everybody while he's playing Christmas music year round, no matter what time of the year it is anyway. Right, David?

David Barton:

Yeah, exactly right. Christmas is, without Christmas there's no Easter, and without Easter there's no resurrection of Christianity. And so Christmas has got to be the starting place for all this. You got to celebrate it, man, embrace it!

Rick Green:

So David is giving a Christmas present to all of our audience and it's called a new website and a new facelift on the program and all that good stuff. So everybody, be sure to check that out and make sure you see all the new tools, the information wallbuilders. com. Check it out today. Make sure you get there. Okay, guys, this next question is kind of almost like a follow up, even though it's totally somebody different that sent this in, and it deals with us here in America. If we still consider California America, I'm kidding we have a lot of listeners in California and a lot of friends, a lot of Constitution coaches, a lot of pastors. So we love you, California, but yeah, come on, you got to do better, all right. Anyway, here's the question from Scott. He said hello from the Socialist Republic of California. Recently we saw Ohio let Satanist put a diabolical display in their capital. I think it was Iowa actually, but anyway, he said they have been getting into the public square more and more. They claim freedom of speech and religion. However, as the Constitution is not a suicide pack, do we not have a choice as to what is allowed in a decent society? Thanks for the radio free Commie Fornia. Every day. You are changing hearts and minds. That's from Scott. Scott, I just have to say the chair is against the wall. The chair is like okay, nevermind, that's a red dawn joke. For anybody that watched red dawn and radio free, you know whatever. Okay, David and Tim, what about right here in the US? That he's right, man. I mean. You're seeing a lot more of this and I don't remember. It might have been Ohio. It was either Ohio or Iowa where that Satanist display was and the guy tore it down.

David Barton:

Yeah, that's significant because it was a real thing at Christmas time, because there you have nativity seen up. Well, if you get yours, I get to put mine up, and that's not the way it works! Literally. We've already talked about the spirit and the intent. If it was ever thought there was any intent that the First Amendment would limit the expression of Christianity or demean it, that was. The Founding Fathers were never engaged in what they did. They would never have done the Constitution or the Revolution or anything else. And again, that's three generations later from the House Judiciary Committee after their research into original documents. So what you get is that state is they're coming at the secular mindset since the sixties that this is a valueless document, has no values on which to operate. It's whatever value system you want to impute to it. And that's where it doesn't work well. And what you see here is that governor, that state, I, we got a lot of calls from legislators in that state saying, hey, I can't believe our state just did this because it is a conservative state, it is a red state, it was a surprise, but that's the thing that, if you ask the attorney general or most attorney jones, is yeah, if one side gets a sad, the other side gets a sad. That's not the case when it comes to state speech. State speech may protect speech, but it doesn't have to sponsor all forms of speech. And going back to what Tim said, one of the most active litigants against all these abortion laws passed in the last three years since the dobs decision came down and gave it back to the states and leading up to the dobs decision, states were passing all these anti abortion laws to try to get the supreme court to pick it up and overturn abortion. Put it back the states. The chief litigator against pro-life laws has not been planned parenthood, it's been the satanist. The satanist say look, our religion requires blood sacrifices and that's what an abortion is, is a blood sacrifice. And the courts consistently ruled against the satanist. They did not give them even standing to go into the lawsuits and challenge the lawsuits. And if they did give them standing, they lost lawsuits. So the federal courts reject time after time after time this thing that is an equivalency between traditional religious moral values and satanist. It's just not there. And when it comes to a display in the Capital, I can't walk into the capital, even in my own state in Texas, and start putting up a display because I want to make a speech in the Capital, I have to go through all the approval process. The state gets to control that and that's why the states can choose what they put up in holiday seasons or what they choose to put up any other time. That's their property. They don't have to sponsor all all the viewpoints. That's not required by the Constitution.

Tim Barton:

And we actually reached out to several of our attorney friends to ask them to review some of these state standards because it is different in different states. Some of the codes they have that covers what can be displayed at the Capitol, but generally speaking, what you see are the Capitol can put a display for holidays, number one, and there is no federal Satanist holiday, but there is a federal Christmas holiday, so you can have a Christmas display. And then the second thing they pointed out is in a lot of these statutes they can have historic displays for the state or for the nation. Well, if you look at historic displays, there's a lot of religious nature in historic displays because of who the founding fathers were, because the establishment of the nation, because of the foundation to the nation, what it was built on. There's a lot of things you can point to historically and even federal holidays that are religious content and so people that would be grieved by the fact that you're having up these nativity scenes, these religious displays. Well, that is part of the historic nature of the nation. It's also part of our federal holiday system. But what is not and, dad, to your point, what is not part of the historic portion of the nation and not a federal holiday. Although there are all kinds of arbitrary holidays, like Puppy Dog Day and Kitty Cat Day and Ice Cream Day, there's a lot of holidays. Those are not federally recognized holidays. Those are just days that people have arbitrarily chosen to celebrate things they might like or desire. To that end, you don't have those kinds of displays and celebrations at state capitals because they're not historic and they're not federal holidays. But Christmas falls in for both those categories. These satanic displays do not, and that is where there was a big contrast and certainly we could debate whether or not somebody should have the legal authority to go in and do that. But then also, guys, it's an interesting thought from a spiritual perspective that just because something is or isn't legal doesn't mean someone should or shouldn't do it always, when you look at the Bible, you have the example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. You have the example of Daniel who, right that the three Hebrew boys were told to bow down and worship a false God and they said yeah, we're not going to do that. Even if you kill us, we're not going to do that. Well, Daniel was told that you're not supposed to pray to anybody except the king for 30 days, and he's still three times a day in front of his window, bows down to honor and pray to God. Just because the law says you shouldn't or should do something doesn't mean the law is always correct, and there does come a time when we should recognize that we need to obey a higher authority. Now I bring that up because certainly, destruction of somebody's property is not the correct thing to do. However, if we are talking about something that is promoting evil, that could mislead generations, at some point you got to ask all right, do we have boldness as Christians anymore? When you go back, go back and read the story of Gideon, where Gideon takes on the false God. He tears down the false God. The people want to kill Gideon for doing it and Gideon dad's like, hey, if this God's real, if this God defend himself. I'm just saying there is a little bit of biblical precedent on some of this not calling for destruction of property, not calling for violence to people but I think it's an interesting thought that a lot of times, as American Christians, we don't consider what is the balance between when a law is good, when it's moral, when it's immoral, and where do we draw the line? It's something that maybe we should consider, because I think we will see more of this kind of stuff going forward in the future.

Rick Green:

All right, folks, be sure to send those questions radio@wallbuilders. com, radio@wallbuilders. com. I hope that today, actually after you get more of these foundations, after you learn from these questions and we go back into history and we study these things, I hope that you'll be motivated to do more, that you won't just sit on the sidelines. Faith without works is dead that you will take your faith. You'll live out your faith in every area of the culture, including how we treat our neighbors and what our society looks like. Get educated on these things. Get more information at wallbuilders. com. Take our biblical citizenship class, host that class, become one of our Constitution coaches and host those classes in your home or at your church. Just got back from a coaches conference. Got to hear all these great testimonials of what's happening in communities where they're hosting these classes. It's absolutely phenomenal and you can be the catalyst for a restoration of those biblical values and constitutional principles. You can be the one to lead the way in your community. Every single one of us can do something. Every single one of us has a voice that needs to be heard. Our values need to be counted. Step up and be a part of the solution. Folks, thanks so much for listening to WallB uilders.

Child 1:

President Calvin Coolidge said the more I study the Constitution, the more I realize that no other document devised by the hand of man has brought so much progress and happiness to humanity. To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.

Freedom of Religion in Haiti
First Amendment Interpretation and Founding Fathers' Intent
What is Decent in Society?
Considerations for American Christians