In this episode, Kurt speaks with Jenna Ellis on the intellectual grounding for a moral Constitution. You can follow Jenna on Facebook and Twitter. Learn more about the Convention of the States project here.
Kurt: Good day to you and thanks for joining us here on another episode of Veracity Hill where we are striving for truth on faith, politics, and society. We apologize for our delayed start today. We had a few tech issues with our system and actually there’s good news because this next week we’ll be getting a new unit, a new mixing and video switching board, which will allow us to mix everything all in one central hub instead of the jimmyrig system that we’ve got right here. So again I apologize to those of you who may have been waiting for us to begin the program today. We’ve got a very wonderful and intelligent guest on our program today and so we’ll just jump right into it. Her name is Jenna Ellis and she is a constitutional law attorney, a contributor to the Washington Examiner and radio host and she’s the author to The Legal Basis For A Moral Constitution: A Guide for Christians to Understand America’s Constitutional Crisis. Jenna. Thank you so much for joining us on the program today.
Jenna. Are you there?
Jenna: Yes. I am. Can you hear me okay?
Kurt: Yes. Yes. Okay. Sorry about that. On today’s program, I invited you on because you’ve written this great book where you argue that the true roots of America’s founding, the founding documents, is in objective morality and that our system of government is founded upon a Judeo-Christian worldview, some might call that sort of divine natural law, and that a secular humanist worldview really does not and cannot make sense of human rights and so on today’s program, I want to unpack this for our audience because thinking well about ethics and political philosophy is a part of what Christians should do. I know a lot of apologetic ministries sort of shy away from the political stuff, but here on the program from time to time we have political episodes because of how important this is for Christian worldview and for the future of the church, so you’ve written this great book and so I want to just ask you a few questions about it and so first I want to ask you this. What seems to be the biggest problem that you understand for a so-called progressive government?
Jenna: Yeah. That’s a great question. I really appreciated your introduction because it’s very true that a lot of churches do shy away from entering into politics and that’s exactly not what we should be doing because if we look at the Christian worldview as a whole, we have to have a foundation of truth and then every perspective in any other subject matter whether it’s economics, whether it’s law, whether it’s policy, whether it’s government, has to be premised and outflowed from truth and so often, I’m in this case into your second question, what’s the biggest problem today, and especially for Christians, and I’m a millennial and the students I teach and others that are among our age group, really the main problem is this disconnection between the Christian worldview of truth and understanding and objective truth and applying that to all other areas so rather than thinking of this comprehensively and the foundation being truth and then building up from there, often what Christians will do, especially younger Christians today, will kind of have a smorgasbord, and say “I have my Christian worldview on Sundays. That’s what I believe about the truth of God, but that doesn’t permeate into what I do in other aspects of my life. That has no bearing on my political perspective, who I vote into my office. It has nothing to do with my career path. It has nothing to do with my sex life. It has nothing to do with anything else, and we can’t approach it that way. We have to understand it comprehensively.
Kurt: Yeah. Interesting that you say that, how many people say they keep it separate, but then they want to take Jesus, some people, they might want to take Jesus as my own. Jesus was a socialist. He told people to share things.
Jenna: It’s not a very deep thought there and it’s not really comprehensive and it’s not taking either the entirety of the truth of Scripture and looking at what has been revealed to us in both general revelation and the reality of the world to which we’re presented and also the specific revelation of the truth of the Word of God.
Kurt: Amen to that. That’s great. It seems that for a progressive government and one that really is taking the mantle of secularism, it strikes me, and this I think gets into a discussion of your third chapter, about understanding where does morality come from? If secularism is true, then we should keep God and any ethical ideas that come from our belief in God out of politics, out of the halls of power, and some people posit that, well, the government should just do whatever we say it should do.
Jenna: Right. The more stricter Democratic perspective.
Kurt: Yeah. Dive into that for us.
Jenna: Yeah. So how I laid out this book was talking about what does the Constitution mean in context because often for those of us who are patriots, who love to live in America, understand these ideas of liberty and freedom, want to get more invested. We don’t really understand the Constitution often in context and so we have to go back and if we’re looking at the top level issues like pro-life, for example, like same-sex marriage, like all of these things that touch and concern on our everyday lives, we have to go back to the root worldview of where does law come from. That’s really getting into your question, Kurt, because morality can only come from, and our system is ethics, the measurable difference between right and wrong. That can either come from one of two places. Either one of man himself, whether that’s one supreme sovereign man, the king, or whether it’s a collective Democratic mob, whether it’s anarchy, whatever it is, that’s still man. Right? It either can come from man or from something outside of man, and the something outside of man has to be an intelligent being and we would understand that to be God and we can have the conversation of who is God and all of those things as well in terms of apologetics, but coming from the perspective, C.S. Lewis wrote so brilliantly about this in Mere Christianity, Abolition of Man, and others, but really the root worldview is to say where does morality come from? We all know there is a measurable difference between right and wrong, but who is the arbiter of that distinction? How do we understand that to operate in the reality to which we are presented? Looking from a Constitutional framework and looking at just law as a general philosophy, first we have to say, “Okay. Is morality objective? Does it come from something outside of man? Does it come from God?” We can look at the relationship in law between the physical universe as well as the moral universe and we see that morality doesn’t change any more than physics change, any more than the scientific world changes. There are always the same consequences to moral decisions and we all have an understanding as a human race of the difference between right and wrong and that those exist. This has to come from something outside of man and if we base our law only on man’s arbitrary whim then we get to the place that law itself becomes arbitrary and then it doesn’t reflect the moral objective truths of God, and one of the great things, Kurt, about the American Constitution, is that this was such a novel idea that we would root our system of law not in what a collective sovereign rule or a direct Democracy would do, not just what a king or conquester by virtue of their harsh enforcement power would decide, but rather would say our system of government is predicating of recognizing that they’re unalienable rights that are given to us pre-politically by God Himself and that the only proper role of government is to preserve and protect those rights. So our Constitution doesn’t give us our rights. It gives the government-specific limited powers just to preserve and protect those rights.
Kurt: Wow. There’s a lot to unpack there.
Jenna; So definitely get the book as well. I know Kurt’s read that. I try to unpack it very well in thirteen chapters.
Kurt: I like what you said there about how our rights are pre-political. For secularists, rights are given, they are conferred by the government and so our right to freedom of speech, our right to bear arms, our right not to have an unreasonable search or seizure, these, according to secularism, can change. We can modify them. We can call a convention of the states, which by the way I want to talk you about towards the end of our interview.
Kurt: But the idea here that these rights can be changed and modified I think should be indicative for Christians, that we have to stay on top of these political battles, and it maybe is how we present ourselves in these political battles that we could work on, trying to be more winsome for example, to appeal to natural law instead of only the Bible. I think Christians need to be on top of this, because next thing you know, some of these very rights, which we adore and we simply take for granted in this country could be gone. They could be gone and they might not be gone tomorrow, but they might be gone in ten, twenty, forty years, they might be gone for our grandkids. We have to preserve the checks and balances between the relationship between the government and the people and for me, it’s really heartbreaking when, as we’ve mentioned, there are Christians that just don’t care. They want nothing to do with politics. I think that’s a bad recipe. That’s a recipe for disaster.
Jenna: It is. The flipside as well is I often interact with people who have read the book, listen to my radio show, will hear Veracity Hill today for example, hopefully people will contact me if you have any questions and there are a lot of Christians who are very interested as well, but the problem then becomes sometimes that we approach it from an extreme passionate perspective without that foundation of understanding all of the nuances and understanding how law actually interacts in society and what it is that we’re asserting, what our best argument is, because for example, as an attorney, if I go into court I may be the most passionate person there, and I may say, “Judge. You absolutely should hold this way for my client,” but if I don’t give him a legal reason to do that, he might say, “Miss Ellis. Great job on my passion, but that doesn’t fall in line with what I actually have the authority to do.” So as Christians, we can’t just be passionate, we also have to be educated and understand how our system of government works, where our rights come from, and why they can’t as you said earlier, be arbitrary. Why it’s not just up to the legislature to determine, “Okay. We’re totally against same-sex marriage and been that way for throughout American history” and then suddenly in 2015 with Obergefell v. Hodges, guess what? It’s totally different. That then is the whim of man’s authority and I always give the example. What if Congress tomorrow in session, were to say, “You know what would be a really good idea for America? Let’s repeal the law of gravity. We just don’t want that to exist.” You laugh, and you’re laughing, because we recognize Congress, as much as they might think they have the authority to do that, they just don’t. They know that there is an inherent limitation because they live in reality as well, so why do they think that they can just dictate the bounds of moral truth as well? They can’t. The Constitution in fact says that they can’t and that’s a brilliant wonderful thing about living in an American society is that we’re not even combatting against a system of government that doesn’t recognize moral truth. We’re premised as America on a society that recognizes that our rights come from God, the Declaration’s worldview statement, we hold these truths, truth is self-evident. All men are created equal. They’re endowed by their creator, not their government, with certain unalienable rights, and so then the Constitution is built upon that.
Kurt: Yeah. You mentioned, I’m not sure how it’s pronounced, Obergefell.
Kurt: Obergefell. I’m not sure I’d ever seen someone say it that way, I hadn’t heard anyone say the name. I think with that Supreme Court case, what I’ve told people, isn’t that that gay marriage became the law of the land. My issue with it was that the Supreme Court overruled the will of the people in multiple states who had voted as to how they wanted their society to be run. That for me, was concerning because it takes away the right of people to govern themselves.
Jenna; Right. That’s where we have to understand our Constitutional framework and what specific limited powers are granted to the federal government to operate in very specific areas and what is reserved through the ninth and tenth amendment to either the states or to the people respectively. Order to the people is very important and that’s something that both the state and federal government really doesn’t talk about and doesn’t recognize, that our Constitution actually grants some powers to the people to self-determine as well and to self-govern so there are very very few things even granted to the states, but especially to the federal government. Article 1 section 8 gives very specific subject matters in the law that Congress as a national legislature can determine in terms of how they create the law and then the Supreme Court can only review congressional action within the federalist structure, so the Supreme Court can’t just pick and choose and hear every case that it wants to. It’s limited in terms of its own subject matter review as well and so what should have happened regardless, which the arguments are plentiful from a Christian worldview perspective of why Obergefell was an incorrect decision, but just strictly from a procedural standpoint, before we even get to the merits of the case, from a procedural standpoint, the Supreme Court should have said, “You know what’s not in Article 1 Section 8, domestic relations, as an entire subject matter.” It’s reserved to the states and they should have said, “We can’t declare the law of the land, because one we’re not the legislature, and two, that’s not something that is a federal question.”
Kurt: This is, over the last sixty or eighty years, there’s a philosophy and I’ve actually, I wrote a blog series on it once on the incorporation doctrine. I take it that this decision stems from the incorporation philosophy where the federal government is beginning to take on these cases that in the past they never would have taken because they as you said, there’s sort of a judicial restraint where they say, “No. This is not our jurisdiction.” Is that the case with that case and other cases where the Supreme Court is now interested in whether a high school coach prays on the football field?
Jenna: Right. And you’re talking about the incorporation doctrine which stems from the 14th amendment which was one of the reconstruction amendments after the Civil War and in my view is one of the most problematic amendments in terms of its language because it just kind of opened that Pandora’s Box. In order for the Supreme Court to look at their concept of judicial review and say, “Okay. We’re just going to use the language of the 14th amendment to claim more power than is actually granted by that amendment than a Constitution as a whole.” I want to highlight and some people have talked about this, the amendments to the Constitution because of article 5 do become part of the supreme law of the land, so it’s no different the language in the 14th amendment vs. articles 1-7 as far as the legitimacy of it being the supreme law of the land, but the problem is that the Supreme Court, and what they’ve done for the past fifty or sixty years as an activist court, they have looked at the Constitution and they have twisted a lot of those terms just to fit in to what they already want to do. Putting this in a church context, for example, we’ve all heard pastors, whether intentionally or not, want to say something and so then they’ll do their Google search or however they find it and they find a verse totally out of context that seems to support their point. If you look at the context around it, it really doesn’t, but they’re using it in order to get to the point that they wanted to reach out anyway. That’s not really good expository preaching. It’s not really good originalist view of the text. It’s what called prooftexting. That’s exactly what our Supreme Court is doing. They’ve done that not only from the fourteenth amendment and other places in the Constitution, but then their own judicial precedent has been so far off, so one of the cases that I highlight in the book is Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, this was the kind of the rise of the sexual revolution. This was one of the first cases of contraceptives and then Planned Parenthood v. Casey. We ended up with Roe v. Wade. All of these sexually driven cases to say we as the government aren’t going to put any kind of restraint on sexual freedoms because that’s what the people are wanting to assert. Griswold v. Connecticut, the court in that instance looked at the Constitution, understood we actually can’t determine this case, it’s not a federal question, but what they did is created what’s called the penumbra doctrine which basically said that they were literally reading between the lines of the Constitution. They would find what they called rights that emanate from the vast penumbra and then they said because those rights emanate between the space between the lines we now have jurisdiction to determine how those rights interact in society. Rights don’t come from the Constitution much like texts that’s in between the lines. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
Kurt: AKA, texts that doesn’t even exist as text.
Jenna: But it sounds like such a fancy doctrine doesn’t it? You have to be one of those magical nine people in robes on the Supreme Court to possibly understand it and it’s purely a legal fiction.
Kurt: For me, one of the most important distinctions to be made here isn’t that the Supreme Court as nine individuals detected that there was a searching right, but rather that they thought there was a right and that the federal government had the obligation to protect that right, not say a state government or to leave it to the states to decide. It’s that overreach of power and authority which in my understanding has really restricted peoples’ ability to create society. A Supreme Court once called it the laboratories of Democracy.
Jenna: That was the whole idea between the states was that they would have some measure of….
Jenna: And we see that they still do and it’s interesting how the Supreme Court is even arbitrary of terms of what it picks and chooses to weigh in, because for example, here in Colorado, we still have the death penalty. Texas still does. A variety of other states do. Some states in the criminal law context don’t, but we don’t see the Supreme Court calling that a conflict of law and we’re going to have to create the law of the land on death penalty questions. They allow the states to have a variety of opinions and laws that are specific to the individuals that live in those states.
Kurt: That’s right. We’re going to take our short break here, Jenna, but when we come back I want to pick your brain more and about the founders and their relationship to the law and different documents that they had written to help us understand a bit better about the structure, the philosophy of federalism, that they put into place and so that we can understand how best to go forward to perhaps bringing back a little bit of the vision that they had for this nation so stick with us through this short break from our sponsors.
Kurt: Alright. Thanks for sticking with us through that short break from our sponsors. Today we are talking about the need for a moral Constitution and we’re not just talking about why it would be nice in society if people had moral lives. We’re talking about the intellectual grounding for a moral Constitution. That on secularism you really can’t have a moral Constitution. Where do morals even come from? That comes ultimately from the creator. Joining me on today’s program is Jenna Ellis, she is a Constitutional law attorney, contributor to the Washington Examiner and a radio host. Jenna. Before we get into the second half of today’s program where I’m going to ask you more about the founders and what they believed, we do a short segment on the program here called Rapid Questions where we ask goofy unrelated questions to our guests. We intentionally try to catch you off guard so there’s a minute clock that you won’t be able to hear but our audience can and so I’ll start that clock and ask you the first question so are you ready?
Jenna: I’m ready.
Kurt: Alright. Here we go. What is your clothing store of choice?
Jenna: Ann Taylor and White House Black Market.
Kurt: What school did you go to?
Jenna: I was homeschooled K-12. Loved it. Have a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Colorado State University and then I’m a proud graduate with my Juris doctor of law degree from the University of Richmond.
Kurt: Nice. What’s
your favorite sport?
Kurt: oooh. Have you ever had a Dr. Pepper?
Jenna: I have.
Kurt: And if you were given a Dr. Pepper right now, would you drink it?
Jenna: I would.
Kurt: Excellent. If you were stranded on an island, what’s one thing you’d be sure to keep with you.
Kurt: What fruit would you say your head is shaped like?
Jenna: Oh gosh. Probably a pineapple because I have crazy hair.
Kurt: What is your inner milkshake flavor?
Kurt: What’s your favorite movie?
Jenna: Beauty and the Beast.
Kurt: If you were a baseball pitch, which one would you be?
Kurt: Alright. Nice. That’s the round of Rapid Questions. I am so very glad to hear that you are a fan of Dr. Pepper.
Jenna: Who isn’t?
Kurt: Amen! Who is not a fan of Dr. Pepper? That is the best drink on planet Earth as far as I’m concerned? You live in Colorado. You’re a baseball fan. Does that mean that you are a Rockies fan?
Kurt: I’m a diehard Cubs fan and I know that the Rockies and Cubs have had a couple interesting series recently so I’m not sure how they all ended though. I’d have to look that up. I do have Nolan Arenado on my fantasy team and actually Trevor Story so I will take the Rockies where I can get them.
Jenna: Good. Then we can still be friends.
Kurt: Alright. So back to today’s topic. We’re talking about the need for a moral Constitution. In the first half of the program, we talked about the importance of having that intellectual basis for where morals even come from and how secularism really doesn’t work on that and how overtime the federal government has sort of overreached their initial boundaries and so to help folks understand why it is that since you and I see eye to eye on this for the most part, why that’s the case. Tell me about the founders and their relationship to law.
Jenna: Yeah. That’s such a great question. Part of what we have to understand about the Constitution and even the Constitutional Convention and the Founding Fathers themselves is that often we’ll look at them as great historical figures and who they were as family men which is all very accurate and true, but one of the most overlooked aspects is that the majority of the founding fathers, in fact, it was about 35 of the 55 signers or 32 were actually lawyers and so they understood law and policy, they understood what it means to have legitimate law in society and they weren’t just this great rabble of patriots that came together and threw together this brilliant document. In fact, the five founders that were on the Declaration Committee, we know Thomas Jefferson primarily because he was the primary drafter, but all five of the founders that were on the Declaration Committee so they understood the philosophy of law, they understood also the history of it. They understood what a Bill of Rights were in old England. They understood that typically that those would be rights that people would reserve to themselves to say we can’t give up everything to the king. We can’t just allow this arbitrary man dictator and so when the founders, and Madison and Hamilton had this great debate about whether or not we should even have a Bill of Rights in the Constitution and I actually agree with Hamilton in the sense that he argued in Federalist 84 that said Bills of Rights in the sense for which they’re contended don’t actually make sense in the context of our Constitution, because our Constitution doesn’t give us our rights. It gives the government specific limited powers, so why should we create a Bill of Rights that would look like to future generations, our current Supreme Court for example, that just because we have the text freedom of speech, free exercise of religion, now the government thinks that they can overregulate it simply because we have those amendments. I think from the 2018 vantage point, it’s probably a good idea that we have those specifically as fundamental rights, but the point here is that the founders understood, regardless of whether the 1st amendment or 2nd amendment, all of those even exist. Even if tomorrow we were to appeal the 1st amendment, you and I would still have the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, all of those freedoms of rights that are endowed by God that the government still couldn’t do anything different about.
Kurt: Yeah. So when we’re talking about these rights here, the Bill of Rights, what you’re saying here is that the first ten amendments weren’t necessarily saying, “Person A over there, you have this thing. This value to you.” Really, what it’s saying is, “Person A has that value and therefore the government won’t prohibit, won’t stop them from doing that.” So really the Bill of Rights is sort of just like a restriction upon what the government would do more so than saying that the government’s going to give someone to something. Is that right?
Jenna: The Bill of Rights acts, basically it’s a redundancy safeguard. The Article 1 Section 8 that we talked about on the first part of this program, is that those are the specific subject matters that Congress can legislate on. For example, immigration is a federal question. It is something that Congress can look at and say “What makes sense for our entire country, for the union?” What’s not in there are any of the particular rights that are given by God our creator and so the Bill of Rights basically says “Congress. If you didn’t understand what you’re limited to in Article 1 Section 8, we’re going to tell you specifically certain things that are so incredibly important that the founders knew are most often over infringed by the government. We’re going to specifically say Congress shall make no law. That is the very first phrase in the first amendment in the Bill of Rights. Congress shall make no law. Often, we have a completely inverted perspective and we’ll term it as my first amendment right. That’s not precisely accurate. It’s my unalienable God-given rights that the first amendment is designed to preserve and protect and that is an incredibly important distinction. It’s not just semantics, because if we look at it as a first amendment right, then what happens tomorrow if the government interprets it differently or the first amendment certainly would not exist, then if my right is only my right because it’s in the first amendment, it becomes a privilege that the government is granting to me, not unalienable right.
Kurt: Right. Let’s talk. You mentioned if the Constitution were interpreted differently. Tell me about the philosophy of originalism.
Jenna: Yeah. This is, we could unpack this for an entire program and maybe we could do that at some point, but the basic philosophy is that we interpret the document understanding what it means in context. For example, again, if I went into court and I had a legal contract between two parties that said Kurt owes me $500. Right? Suddenly, I would say to the court, “Well, $500, back in that day, XYZ, this really you should interpret it to mean 5 million” and the judge would laugh and be like, “That’s not a fluid document. It says what it says. You’re limited to the scope of the words.” So why is it that the Constitution that is the only document in the world that is so magical that we can’t precisely ascertain its meaning and we have to divine what George Washington would have thought about iPhones. That’s not what this is about. It’s about saying what are the powers that are given to the government to operate on today’s issues. It doesn’t matter what George Washington would have thought about an iPhone. What matters is what powers did they specifically intend to give to government to operate? Then we can start addressing the political questions based on what the government can and can’t do, so the originalist philosophy is that we have a document that says what it says, it means what it means, and that we can know that 240 years later just like any other document. We look at the Magna Carta. We look at, even going back to the apologetics view, we look at Scriptural documents that are way more than 240 years old and we know exactly what they mean. This isn’t some magical concept of originalism. It’s just the way to interpret the Constitution. That doesn’t mean that people can just make it out to mean whatever they want it to mean.
Kurt: That’s because it’s not hip and cool, Jenna. It’s not hip to think that people can say what they want, because you might hurt my feelings.
Jenna: Too bad, but I don’t intend ever to but that’s part of speaking truth is sometimes the truth hurts and sometimes we have to, just like if I were to go to the second story of my apartment building and jump off of it. Gravity would kick it. It would hurt, but that doesn’t mean that I can say that just because gravity is offending me, then suddenly it doesn’t exist in reality. We have to make sure that we understand the difference between reality and these false constructs of this sort of hyper oversensitive world that doesn’t want to live in reality. It just doesn’t work that way in terms of our biological reality and it doesn’t work that way in our legal reality either. Imagine Kurt, for example, if we went into court and someone was charged with a DUI, Driving Under the Influence. Their defense was, “I didn’t feel like I was drunk so you can’t say that I was.” How would our law ever have any enforcement power, have any legitimacy, or be able to be predictable? It wouldn’t.
Kurt: It seems like for people who want the law to change, there’s a way to make that happen. First, I would say let the states make it happen. It’s amazing that people want Washington D.C. to do XYZ. Why don’t you have your state capital do XYZ first and we’ll see how that plays out before we demand other states to do XYZ? That’s not the route people want to take.
Jenna: Because often what we see on mainstream media and the news, there’s such an emphasis on the federal congress. We see almost these political celebrities where everybody knows different senators and representatives on a national level, but hardly anyone would know the state representative. Some people in their own state don’t. We tend to go and think that we have to make the biggest impact by going to the highest office, but that’s not always the case because Congress actually doesn’t have the same authority that my Colorado state legislature does. My Colorado state legislature doesn’t have unbridled authority either because remember what we talked about. Some of those power are actually reserved to the people and not just to the state, so for example parental rights and church government systems. God established the civil government authority, but also the family government and the church government. Those are also self-regulating and those are not touchpoints. They do interact altogether, but they have a very different sphere of authority than the civil government.
Kurt: Jenna. I know you’ve got to leave here soon, but before we let you go, tell us about the Convention of the States.
Jenna: Yes. Thank you so much for the opportunity because I’m an advocate for the Convention of the States and the primary reason is because article 5 in the U.S. Constitution allows for the Constitution to be amended in two separate ways. We currently have 27 amendments that have been duly ratified. I’m super happy about that because as a woman I can vote. That was an amendment. Right? We’re also really excited about some of the other amendments. No one has ever said that amending it the first way, which is through Congress, that somehow tomorrow when Congress is in session, oh no, they’re going to rewrite the entire Constitution. We all understand they don’t have that authority. Well, when Congress convenes, any time they could propose a Constitutional amendment. In the exact same way if enough states get together and want to convene together like a Congress, they then have the authority under article 5 to propose amendments. They would have to be duly ratified in the exact same way as congressional amendments vs. a state Constitutional amendment in a Convention of States, so this term convention is what people are really hung up on, but all that means is that the states send delegates to convene. It’s no different than are we really super concerned that at the Republican National Convention or the convention at the downtown Hilton that suddenly the U.S. Constitution is going to be rewritten. No. Conventions happen all the time. What matters is what are they authorized to do. What the states are authorized to do is the same thing under article 5 as the United States Congress, and frankly, there are more conservatives and people that would actually put forward some common sense amendments in the state legislature than you will ever see through Congress in our current political climate and that’s why the Convention of States project has gotten together for three specific reasons. They want to impose term limits, balance the budgets, and then also judicial reform. Judicial reform is key. We need that. The states can do it because Congress won’t, and the founders unanimously added that on proposal because at the original Constitutional Convention because they recognized that the states might step in to protect and preserve our fundamental inalienable rights when Congress wouldn’t and that’s what we’re seeing today.
Kurt: So it’s a way for the states to come together and bypass the ineffective bureaucrats and some wimpy or lacking courage politicians.
Jenna: Article five gives them that power. There are two completely different ways that we can go about doing this and when Congress won’t, the states have the specific delegated power to do that. We’ve just never as states taken advantage of that particular provision of article five and we should and we need to.
Kurt: Great. Jenna. We’re going to put a link to your Twitter and Facebook on our website along with this episode and we’ll also put a link to the Convention of the States project so people can learn about that. Thank you so much for joining us on today’s program.
Jenna: Thank you. It’s been a lot of fun. I really appreciate being with you.
Kurt: Of course. God bless and we’ll bring you on again to maybe talk about Originalism for the whole episode. That’d be great.
Jenna: Sounds good. I’ll look forward to it. Thank you.
Kurt: Take care. Bye-bye. That was Jenna Ellis. She is a constitutional law attorney, contributor to the Washington Examiner, and we’ll put up some links on our website so you can be sure to follow her. She’s got some great commentary and analysis on hot topic issues that are going on in our country right now, and you might be able to hear the fire truck going right on by our office. I would like to again apologize for the delayed start to today’s program. We had some tech issues, but there’s good news on the way. This past week we ordered a very nice video switcher, also has audio capabilities there. It’s called the Roland VR50, high-tech piece of equipment so we’re going to streamline our process for how we bring in the different cameras and the audio all into one hub and then send it into the computer we use to livestream. Hopefully, your viewing experience will be improved through this. We couldn’t have done that without the help of our patrons who are folks that just chip in a few bucks a month to make this program run.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and as I was thinking about what to say Mother’s Day, I’m so grateful for my wife Michaela, the mother of three children now, in case you haven’t heard. We are expecting #3. We are excited about that. That human will show up into my hands at some point in early November. We’re very excited about that. Today we’re talking about the role of government, ethics, and the way it plays into society, and the future of society depends upon a well-ordered relationship between the government and the people and one of the ways that society can continue to flourish is through mothers because if women stopped being mothers, society would cease to exist. I know this might be a profound truth to some, but we’re all here as a result of some woman that decided that they wanted to bear a child and it’s really a blessing and an honor and I want to encourage you to touch base with your mother tomorrow and to thank those that are mothers tomorrow. I know for our guest preacher tomorrow at my church, the fellow will be speaking on anger. We’re going through a series on the seven deadly sins and he was a bit perplexed on how you do a sermon on anger on Mother’s Day. Best of luck and God’s providence to him on that.
Well, we have a substitute tech producer today. Chris is out down in Florida and Chris will be absent for a number of weeks here for the next couple months. He’s getting married so he’s got a lot on his plate right now. Robb Emmett is filling in for Chris. Rob. Thanks so much for coming into the studio today.
Robb: Yeah. Thanks. Great to be here.
Kurt: Yeah. Two B’. Two E’s. Two M’s. Two T’s, in your name Robb Emmett.
Robb: It’s a little redundant isn’t it?
Kurt: A lot of double letters there. Tell me the background of Robb two B’s. Are there two B’s in Robert.
Robb: No. I was born Robert, the spelling. I don’t remember, but there was another Rob in pre-school and my Mom wanted to distinguish me.
Kurt: So she threw on another B.
Robb: Another B and that way ever since…
Kurt: Okay. Nice. Robb. You own your own video production company and you are also the leader for the, I always get it wrong, leader for the Illinois Colson Fellows Affiliate program.
Robb: That’s right.
Kurt: So tell me about that and what you do.
Robb: The Colson Fellows program used to be called the Centurions program. It was a ministry Chuck Colson started, 15 or 20 years ago now. He passed away, of course, a couple years ago. The program continued on and they updated the name to be the Colson Fellows Program. John Stonestreet is part of the group that oversees that now and a couple of years ago they began to start affiliate programs across the country because instead of everybody having to go to one place a couple of times a year to have their residencies, they figured it was easier and cheaper for more people to be able to access the program to do affiliate program. I went through the program a couple years ago as a Wisconsin Affiliate.
Robb: And then this past year, a bunch of us here in Illinois decided to start our own affiliate in the Chicago area and this was our first year.
Kurt: Yeah. So in a nutshell, it’s a discipleship program that helps folks to learn more about the Christian worldview, and not just learn it, but apply it as well.
Robb: Yeah. Besides the head knowledge, remember Chuck Colson was a former Marine, so he was all about doing stuff and he did a lot of stuff, but part of the program is you come out with a three-year plan of what you’re going to do in ministry, not with what you’re learned, impact your little part of the world.
Kurt: Giving people goals. Sometimes people just rush into ministry without a plan. Things begin to fall apart because they’re not organized even mentally. If you’ve got that plan in place, you’ve got benchmarks to meet, and you’ve got a goal to get to. That’s good. We’ll be sure to put a link up so people can learn more about that program as well. We look forward to having you fill in for Chris over several weeks here. Hopefully, today wasn’t, it’s a big learning curb on the first day I take it.
Robb: When’s that switcher coming?
Kurt: The switcher is actually coming this next week so we’ll have it for next week. I think Chris will be here next week and then we’ve got you coming up for a few weeks here in the next couple months. But yeah, that video switcher will be very next. I know we had some tech issues just today this afternoon, and a little bit of a delayed start, but hopefully, it’s been okay for folks, and I’m really hoping we’ll see a big improvement in what’s called the latency, so sometimes folks might see that my mouth is moving either before or after the audio. That’s called the latency issue. I’m learning all sorts of things here doing this program. Hopefully, that unit will be able to fix each input end. It will be a lot easier, but of course, it’s another thing to learn for all of us. Great to have you here Robb and look forward to having you assist in the production of the podcast so thanks.
Robb: That does it for today’s program. I hope that this has been encouraging to you. I know that again, for some Christians, they don’t want to think deeply about how their Christian faith should apply into the realm of politics, but if you think that, say, Marxism, doesn’t post a threat to the Christian church, I think you are very mistaken. The Christian church is in a war and we are in a war not of flesh and blood, but of ideas, dark forces, and while the church will ultimately survive, that doesn’t mean we should lose battles for being lazy. It’s really important for Christians to think well about these topics so if you want to hear more topics like this and you’ve got suggestions, please feel free to reach out to me. You can email me. Kurt@VeracityHill.com and I’m happy to take topic suggestions or if you a have a guest that you’d like to hear on the program and you want to ask them questions as well, we can arrange those interviews. I hope that these types of topics are beneficial for you and I know we’ve had a string of apologetic and theological topics so I’m glad we could get a political one, which, of course, it all falls within the realm of theology, but how we can describe them sometimes, we use different camps to describe different topics, different terms and labels. There’s a taxonomy if you will.
Before we go, I do want to mention this. We have a conference coming up in September, September 28 and 29. It’s on divine genocide. Genocide in Scripture. We are bringing in a host of scholars to present their unique perspectives on how to interpret the supposed genocide commands in the Old Testament. We’re bringing in Dr. John Walton, Paul Copan, Clay Jones, and Kenton Sparks, and it’s going to be fascinating. Each of them are going to present a case for why their interpretation should be advocated for and then at the end of the event, we’re going to have a roundtable discussion where there’s going to be some fistfights. No. I’m just kidding. Fireworks are going to be up in the air. Maybe I’m kidding about that too. You get what I’m saying. It’s going to be fascinating to hear these guys come together, and to the best of my knowledge, I don’t know of any other event that has picked this topic as a theme to really kind of hammer out and present for people an array of interpretations within Christendom for how they can understand these ancient war passages. Copan thinks they are, it’s war rhetoric for example. I would love it if you were to join us at this event. It’s the type of thing that you might consider flying in for. We’re hoping for lots of people. It’ll be a great time. We’ll have different apologetic organizations represented at the event so I’ll hope you’ll consider joining for us.
That does it for today’s program. I’m grateful for the continued support of our patrons and the partnerships that we have with our sponsors. Defenders Media, Consult Kevin, The Sky Floor, Rethinking Hell, The Illinois Family Institute, Fox Restoration, and Non-Profit Megaphone. I want to thank our technical producer, Robb, and look forward to seeing him over a few weeks here throughout the next couple months, and I want to thank our guest Jenna Ellis for her time and enlightening us about these historical, political issues, that still bear effects to this day and for which we are even responsible ourselves as voters, and last but not least, I want to thank you in for listening in and for striving for truth on faith, politics, and society.
[NP1]21:10. Couldn’t hear Jenna over Kurt.
[NP2]Couldn’t make out name at 26:20