David Barton reacts to the DOMA decision: 3 major areas are now in play

This morning on radio, David Barton called in to provide his insight into the Supreme Court’s rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act. Glenn’s feelings were split. On one hand, he was glad to see the government get out of the marriage business, but he also feared what the Prop 8 dismissal meant for our civil liberties. David Barton, meanwhile, looked into the implications the decisions will have for churches and other religious institutions.

“What's happened is that the decision, the DOMA decision, has brought in probably at least three major areas into play that weren't into play before,” David explained. Those three areas are:

  1. The military
  2. The State Department
  3. Conscience cases

The Military

“One is going to be the military because the military is under federal jurisdiction, federal law. It's not a state,” David said. “And so in that sense what we've been fighting the last two years is trying to protect the rights of chaplains not to have to perform gay marriage against their will, and two consecutive years the president has threatened to veto the defense spending if we didn't get that out of there that now becomes a real problem because we were able to do that before. Under DOMA we said, ‘Wait a minute. Under federal law you as the chaplain don't have to do this. DOMA defends you.’ We don't have DOMA anymore.”

“So now you watch the pressure on the chaplains and you watch what will happen now without DOMA,” he continued. “And we've already had this. We've already are two and three star generals tell these guys, look, if you don't like it, get out of the military. If you can't go along with this, get out. So now that will escalate. The rights of conscience are a real problem.”

The State Department

“The secondary where it will have a big impact is through the State Department. Now, the State Department has had DOMA in place, but hey've been ignoring it,” David explained. “I got word today from down in Central America the State Department saying, ‘Hey, sorry, we're going to withhold all State Department funds to your country until you get gay marriage in your Constitution.’…And see, that's another aspect, too, is in Kenya. Kenya has in its constitution we don't do abortion in Kenya, and the State Department said until you get that out, you don't get more funds.”

“Now people, you know, people don't keep up with the State Department anyway, but this will escalate State Department efforts to promulgate those two particular lifestyles instead of, you know, have at least a little restraint,” he continued. “And, you know, the next president would come in and it goes from president to president, who promotes and who doesn't. So that goes away.”

Conscience Cases

“And the third thing that will happen with the DOMA decision is it now complicates the conscience cases we have all over the nation in states that do have gay marriage,” David said. “For example, New Jersey where a church said, ‘Hey, we don't do gay marriage’ and [the government] said, ‘Great, you lose your tax exemption.’ That's it."

Tax exemption could prove to be a huge bargaining chip for the government, if churches don’t begin to walk away from the loophole.

“What are we going to do to get churches to walk away from their income tax exemption,” Glenn asked.

“I mean, they need to at the state level. What they believe is that they can't survive without it. Now, I'm a big believer in the way Paul did it. Paul was bivocational. He had his own income so that he wasn't dependent on a church,” David explained. “Right now what happens is so many ministers depend on their church, and I'm sorry, I often call it church welfare. These are guys that get their check from the church and they don't want to mess with their check, don't want to jeopardize that. It's time for more pastors to become bivocational so that nobody can tell them what to do with their money. They own their own money. If the church money dries up, great, they are still ministers and they can still preach because they've got an income. So I'm really into that mold. And until we get out of the church welfare mold, the church takes care of me and I can't afford to lose my check from the church. It's going to be really tough to get the guys in a different direction.”

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Glenn has talked for a long time about reaching the end-of-the-road, the tipping point in which there is no return. In terms of religious freedom and protection under the First Amendment, it looks as though we have reached the point of no return.

“This, this is it,”David said. “Even the Prop 8 decision or non-decision as it is was – we don't allow the will of the people to stand, we're remanding it back. Well, guess what. They've already struck down the will of the people. So the Supreme Court in essence is saying, ‘Hey, we don't recognize the republican form of government.’ And that's a real problem. This is a time if we're going to keep our fundamental system as a republican form of government with traditional moral values and the basis of our Constitution, that plan has to go into effect. No question it has to go into effect.”

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

Get tickets and learn more about the event here.

The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!