Sharia law in Texas? Don't miss this incredible interview

On tonight's Glenn Beck Program, Glenn was joined by Dr. Taher El-Badawi and Imam Moujahed Bakhach to discuss the Islamic Tribunal in Texas. Believed to be the first such body operating in the United States, the tribunal operates as a legal non-profit and follows Sharia law. In the interview, Glenn let the two men speak at length about the role of the Islamic Tribunal in their community and why people shouldn't be afraid of Sharia law.

While both guests said that they don't have the authority to enforce the Islamic Tribunal's rulings and those involved have to decide for themselves if they will adhere, they also didn't shy away from some of the harsher punishments in Sharia law.

This is one interview you need to watch and decide for yourself how you feel about the story:

Below is the transcript of the interview. 

Glenn: Well, hello, America, and welcome to The Glenn Beck Program and to TheBlaze. This is the network that you are building. North Texas is the last place in the world I would expect to hear about sharia law in the local news, but that’s exactly what is happening. Texas, you’d better wake up. It’s now catching the eye of the nation, but the gentlemen you’re about to hear tonight are ones…they are the principals involved, and they have not been on the national news yet.

Let me quickly get you up to speed on the story. A group of Muslims have created what is believed to be the very first official sharia law system in the United States of America in the form of an Islamic tribunal. The leaders of the tribunal call it a “nonbinding arbitration firm that adheres to Islamic principles.” Leaders also claim that it would only make decisions on noncriminal cases and defer to state and local laws and courts on criminal cases.

Now, many people are concerned that this is the beginning of what has already happened in the UK, where they now have 85 sharia courts. The BBC investigated and found extensive abuse among women, among other human rights violations. Can we expect the same pattern to follow here in the United States?

I want to make it really clear. All of our churches, our synagogues, we have our own tribunals, if you will. You can be excommunicated from your church. You have councils that tell you and help counsel you on how to live your life in your own personal life. If that’s what this is, then we can’t expect anybody to be any different.

I spoke earlier today with the leaders of the Islamic tribunal. They are at the center of all of this. I want you to watch carefully and listen carefully, and you decide what this tribunal is really all about.

Interview:

When people hear sharia law, they tend to get a little nervous. Can you understand that?

Imam Bakhach: Yes, I understand that, but I want them to understand what is sharia law, why we didn’t speak about sharia law the way that they think about. Sharia law is not what they are talking about and they are protesting, because we protest the same way if that would be sharia law. Sharia law, the word sharia first as an Arabic term refers to a set of rules and regulations, principles, guidelines for the Muslim to live with, and this includes family issues, includes manners, behavior characters, including marriage divorces, including inheritance law, including a lot of aspects of the family and the social things.

Also, if there is true state, to say, to claim that I am Islamic, which we don’t have today, long time ago, even Saudi Arabia is not practicing sharia law the way that it should be, there’s no need to talk about it, because it does not exist. But we have here as we are dealing with the Islamic tribunal that we are trying to help those who came from different backgrounds, culture packages, and Muslim from different nationalities in this society just really being here, and they have issues.

When they have disputes, in a family dispute, to say, they appoint one or panel to arbitrate or to mediate and to tell them what they should do from Islamic point of view.

Glenn: So, if a woman goes to the tribunal, or she doesn’t go to the tribunal, she goes to a U.S. court to get a divorce, is she divorced?

Imam Bakhach: That’s the very great misconception. Both of them parallel with each other, because the Islamic divorce will not be sufficient without the American civil divorce. At the same time, if she went to the court that we have many times on most of the cases are true to say that go to the court first, being granted decree from the judge that being divorced in the court would not be sufficient for the Muslim individual, he or she, that to be enough. He still is in need or she is in need to have the Islamic divorce, because the marriage being established through the word of God—

Glenn: But will she get the divorce? If the U.S. gives her a divorce, will she get the divorce through the Islamic court as well?

Imam Bakhach: That’s what I’m saying, because here there’s no need for that maybe, but when she go back home to travel to go like…on a very common, the most and the strongest our ally in the Middle East, Jordan, will not accept the only American divorce. They ask the embassy from here and go back to the country. Go back, we need the Islamic divorce. So, where to go? She will come to our tribunal to be granted that way. As a mediator, I mediate. We mediate the issue first, and then there is no solution, you got the American divorce? Yes, so we can discuss that and have meeting for the process.

Glenn: Is a woman’s testimony as valuable as a man’s testimony?

Imam Bakhach: Absolutely. Most of the cases that woman applying, not for men. Actually, we see the men object. I have a case yesterday, today is Monday, yesterday in Fort Worth, a lady from Djibouti. They married tribal system way. I’m not familiar with that. I’m from Lebanon. What they do, the chief of the tribe, he performed the marriage, and it was verbal. There is no document to sign. There is no paper, nothing. She came here as a refugee, been here now two years. Her husband was not granted the refugee status, so he still in Djibouti.

Now she wants to finish the relationship. What to do? She doesn’t have the money to go to the court or to give the lawyers or something, but she need only Islamic divorce. What to do? When I asked give me the address, there’s no address. “Why there’s no address?” to me, I wondered. She said because he has three cows and one donkey in that village. There is no way to reach. So, how to reach him to contact him to tell him that your wife applying for divorce? I didn’t accept the case yet to say, but this case happened yesterday, is the most recent situation we have.

Muslim community, wherever they are, they came from different background, different culture packages, and different traditions, you know, so different understanding. Misunderstandings really common among the men to understand that wife have no right to apply for divorce. We say no, it’s not true. Fourteen hundred years ago, God gave her the right to apply for divorce, but what we as Islamic tribunal do, advise to go first to the court and then to be granted that way, whatever now, especially when they have children and custody and all the child support and the visitation rights and no traveling, documents, international law, all this stuff that we cannot ourself handle it.

Glenn: So help me out, because, you know, I look at sharia law as it is being used around the world, and it allows for abuse. It allows for slavery. It allows for the stoning of homosexuals. I mean, it pretty much makes lawful everything that most Americans despise.

Imam Bakhach: That’s what the mistake misconception. I’m very thankful to all of you to help us to come here to clarify this position. As you know, there is a criminal court, and there is civil court. We cannot, no way to discuss the criminal court because all the time scary tactics here, sharia, no sharia, in a way that cutting the hand off or chopping the head, this is not sharia. It is not sharia. What we see and overseas now with ISIS, ISIL, the whole Muslim world condemned that and rejected it, unacceptable.

Glenn: Not true.

Imam Bakhach: At least from our side to say we condemn that.

Glenn: Where’s the reformation come from then? You’re saying that you don’t practice that kind of sharia law. Who is the reformer that you look to that says—

Imam Bakhach: For every Muslim actually that’s a student of knowledge or a scholar to start, first of all, the sharia law does not refer to the government, not refer to the civil…it was in the hand of scholars, religious scholars, to translate the text that mentioned in the Qur’an, and that’s called the first resource of the law. With the Jews, they have their law. The Christians, they have law. So the law based on any, as we say to any Muslim, wherever you are living, if you have a problem, first to say what God says in the book. Then you go to the next.

Glenn: But Jews and Christians don’t believe that man making laws is an abomination, where it’s my understanding that in the Islamic culture, man doesn’t make laws, God makes laws, and that’s sharia law.

Imam Bakhach: Who is beyond the sharia? The sharia means a holy text mentioned, whether general or specific. For example, Muslims, we do not drink alcohol. Why? Because God says in the Qur’an don’t drink alcohol.

Glenn: Right.

Imam Bakhach: Why we don’t eat swine, for example, prohibited, so the law prohibition, that permissibility is mentioned in the Qur’an even when we pray and when we respect our parents, respect the elders, all of this in the law. My point really I want to make clear here is not the issue of cutting the hands and even the criminal law. It’s not just because somebody steal and then cut the hand. It’s not that way. There is a system of investigation, a system of hearing, and a system of finding out if it’s criminal. We have execution. Just recently somebody executed in the jail because confessed and proven beyond doubt.

Glenn: There is a separation here. I’m assuming you both would say the Constitution is great, but God willing, you would rather live under sharia law, under Islamic rule.

Imam Bakhach: If you understand what the intents and the objectives and the principles of the Islamic law from Islamic perspective to say what the goal achieved, what the desire of God intended from these laws. We have five major departments—to preserve the faith for the individual, regardless what his faith is or the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, doesn’t matter in the society, to protect the soul that nobody to attack without any right.

I mean any right if not violated by a human being that he did not commit a crime to be deserving the punishment, then will be Islam very sure and very clear and very strict that nobody has a right to violate and attack this innocent person as we see today done by many so-called ISIS, ISIL, or others. That’s not Islamic sharia, by the way or to protect the mind or to preserve the mind or preserve the offspring, the children and the wealth, the fifth one.

So, all the objectives of the sharia are of Islamic law, to say, that’s called sharia in Arabic to preserve all this point. It’s not just cutting or chopping. That’s not the issue. We have nothing to do…let’s go back to the point. We are here today. We are here. We’re dealing with the issue of family disputes, and we mediate, and we arbitrate. They ask us we need help, what Islam say, because a lot of ignorance among the Muslims themselves.

So, what we should do? What should I do as a wife? Where to go? What do you advise me to do? Do I have the right or not have right? We have somebody an Islamic point of view, when a husband marry his wife, he must, not an optional, must give his wife gift and to be mentioned in the contract, and this gift can be paid during their life together or at divorce or after death if not paid during the lifetime. That’s her right, because from Islamic law that the wife is not requested to spend any penny on the house. If she want to volunteer chair, that’s okay but not requested.

The husband, there’s the commitment from the beginning of the marriage, I’m willing to commit myself to take care of you and the family. There’s talking of commitment but must be given. Why must be given? Because God says in the Qur’an the husband must give his wife. So here now come a time of dispute, he would run away from that. He will try. Fifty thousand dollars, $100,000, he doesn’t want to pay it, so what to do? The wife will ask the help.

The system, with my respect to all the judges, they have no idea what we’re talking about, so I was invited to different courts in Tyler Texas, in Dallas in family court that explain to us what we have, what you do, and how we perform and what does it mean, these things, because through the lawyers, they present the issue, Your Honor, that the husband commit himself to pay on this and this and that, so we need you to approve that and order him to get it through that court, not our court.

Glenn: I think where a lot of people come from is we can all live side by side, and we can all have different faiths. You know, every church has their own kind of little tribunal where, you know, you can be excommunicated, etc., etc., and if that’s what’s happening with the sharia court, then every religion has that, but I think where people come from is there has been no reformation.

I mean, our president just accused Christians of slaughtering people, you know, during the Crusades, but there’s been a reformation. There’s no reformation in Islam. I mean, for instance, the Qur’an says that the trees and the rocks will cry out there is a Jew hiding behind.

Imam Bakhach: It’s not true.

Glenn: It’s not true?

Imam Bakhach: No, I challenge you to bring me that. What’s her name, Barbara Walters, she challenged the minister of education in Saudi Arabia in his palace. I remember that years back.

Glenn: It is in the charter of Hamas.

Imam Bakhach: I don’t know about Hamas. I’ve nothing to do with that issue, but here we are here as Muslim too. You are referring to me that the Qur’an as in the God mentioned in this book, what you are saying about, the cry, that’s not true.

Glenn: Is it in the hadith?

Imam Bakhach: I’m sorry?

Glenn Is it in the hadith?

Imam Bakhach: This is fabricated.

Glenn: It’s fabricated? There is no place in any Islamic scripture that says that?

Imam Bakhach: No. You know, when you have every, let’s say the hadith sciences, I’m talking about, they have the sound hadith. They have weak hadith. They have a preferable hadith, so the ranking, more than 23 ranks and levels of hadith sciences that the scholars worked very hard on this to verify how many people added to what is not from. That’s the point.

Glenn: Okay, so well then, an easy way to solve this is you reject Hamas?

Imam Bakhach: Absolutely.

Glenn: One hundred percent reject?

Imam Bakhach: Not reject, condemned.

Glenn: Condemn Hamas?

Imam Bakhach: Absolutely.

Taher El-badawi: I am here, I am sorry to say it, back to the first point, I am here to discuss issue with Islamic tribunal, so please don’t get up ask us to another situation. We are ready for any discussion. It is open.

Glenn: No, I know that.

Taher : We are ready for any point to discuss with, but the main point here, the reason we are here to discuss this issue what kind of cases Islamic tribunal handle, and you start with the sharia. Why the people afraid from sharia? I’m sorry to say it, one point related to this, cut head is not just in sharia law, just in Islamic law. It’s everywhere. Who said that just in Islamic law? That’s even another sharia, in Jewish sharia, in Christian sharia, in American here, we cut we cut head for some reason.

So, I’m asking you an easy question, if anyone kill another, he should get killed by law, by Islamic law, by government. He should get killed. What is wrong with that? If a thief jump, I’m sorry, to your house, scare your wife, scare your children, scare your neighbor, and they did that with our stores, this is the law, the law to cut his hand because if he feels my hands were cut because of that, he will think about this 100 times. He will never do it. If he do that one time, he will never do it again.

Look how many millions of dollars American here or other states or other states outside spend to keep the criminal in jail, a lot of millions of dollars. We can save that, just let him go, and that’s it, because he did something wrong in the whole community and this kill the whole community. Why not? So, back please to the point. Islamic tribunal, yes, we never deal with anything of that. We don’t have authority for that. We don’t have power for that. We just have two cases.

Glenn: You seem to be okay with that if you had the power for that, but you don’t have the power.

Taher: Absolutely not. As Imam said, we have system. We are very organized people. If, last time, sorry for this example, somebody killed my dad, I shouldn’t kill him. I have to take this case to the judge, and judge have to consult the governor. There’s a system, procedure, I have to follow, so it is not like this one killed this, let’s get him killed—no.

I give you just an easy example for leader, [indiscernible]. This is after Prophet Muhammad [indiscernible]. He sent one to Yemen, and he told him, before he leaves, he ask him always as a habit, “What did you do if the people bring a thief for you?” He said I will cut his hand. Okay, he said, you do that, okay? [indiscernible] said, after [indiscernible], he said, okay, if one person came with me without work, unemployed, I will cut your head because he has no job.

If you rob something from the store or grab something from here to eat, nothing happen to you, but if you have your job and enough income to care about your children, and you have house, and you have car, and you rob from any store or thief from here or there, you have…so this is the law, but please, the point with sharia I ask people, we are not here to do that at all. It is not our authority. It is not our power. It is not our job.

We have specific people to do that stuff, and those people have full of power and full of authority, full of knowledge too. So, we are not dealing with these cases at all. It is not our job, and our cases is family cases, just religious part, that’s it.

Imam Bakhach: Even the point that you mentioned, I mean, there is a procedure that there is a judge, hearing sessions to investigate and find out to bring the proof and the evidences beyond doubt that this man, he committed the crime, whether to confess or other evidences or witnesses that saw, the same with the system we see in the civil world today. Then, after all this procedure now found out that there is no doubt that this man, he committed this crime, not toward the hunger, not for the unemployment or whatever the reason, excuses, you know, there is an excuse and doubtful, you know, what’s the reason of doubt of what a crime committed for.

I think at that time the judge would say your case would be, if that any doubt, even the sharia article that you mention about that even a single doubt that this man did not with the intention ahead of time and planning of this, then it would be excused, lesser punishment will be then to be maybe in prison, maybe to pay lien, whatever. But beyond doubt, beyond all this, so there are a lot of procedures to wait until finally he is the one. Then what is the code? And the code, yes, we have a verse in the Qur’an that says—I will say it in Arab—

Taher: Absolutely right.

Imam Bakhach: We in Texas here, we used to have in cowboy time that to hang the people in the public square, downtown maybe to say. Why it was in public, not behind the walls in the jail? Because let the people to see the crime committed like this will be the same punishment and preserve, as we said, one of the principles and objectives that the sharia are to see what to accomplish that to observe and protect the rest of the society from such crime or such, you know, person to be evil that way.

Glenn: What do you think? We let them say their piece, and you have to decide. By the way, I’m not an Islamic scholar, but it is in the hadith what I referred to. Let me quote. “I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘The Jews will fight with you, and you will be given victory over them so that a stone will say, ’O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me; kill him!’” That’s in the second-highest or most accepted volume of the hadith.

The most accepted volume of the hadith uses it, saying, “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘You Muslims will fight with the Jews till some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will (betray them) saying, ’O ’Abdullah (i.e. slave of Allah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.’”

If we can’t trust an Imam, a scholar that knows the hadith, the two most respected volumes of the hadith, and he denies that he has ever even heard that, how do we trust the rest of what he said? Back in a minute.

From the moment the 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson arrived at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1776, he was on the radical side. That caused John Adams to like him immediately. Then the Congress stuck Jefferson and Adams together on the five-man committee to write a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain, and their mutual admiration society began.

Jefferson thought Adams should write the Declaration. But Adams protested, saying, “It can't come from me because I'm obnoxious and disliked." Adams reasoned that Jefferson was not obnoxious or disliked, therefore he should write it. Plus, he flattered Jefferson, by telling him he was a great writer. It was a master class in passing the buck.

So, over the next 17 days, Jefferson holed up in his room, applying his lawyer skills to the ideas of the Enlightenment. He borrowed freely from existing documents like the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He later wrote that “he was not striving for originality of principle or sentiment." Instead, he hoped his words served as “an expression of the American mind."

It's safe to say he achieved his goal.

The five-man committee changed about 25 percent of Jefferson's first draft of the Declaration before submitting it to Congress. Then, Congress altered about one-fifth of that draft. But most of the final Declaration's words are Jefferson's, including the most famous passage — the Preamble — which Congress left intact. The result is nothing less than America's mission statement, the words that ultimately bind the nation together. And words that we desperately need to rediscover because of our boiling partisan rage.

The Declaration is brilliant in structure and purpose. It was designed for multiple audiences: the King of Great Britain, the colonists, and the world. And it was designed for multiple purposes: rallying the troops, gaining foreign allies, and announcing the creation of a new country.

The Declaration is structured in five sections: the Introduction, Preamble, the Body composed of two parts, and the Conclusion. It's basically the most genius breakup letter ever written.

In the Introduction, step 1 is the notificationI think we need to break up. And to be fair, I feel I owe you an explanation...

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another…

The Continental Congress felt they were entitled by “the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" to “dissolve the political bands," but they needed to prove the legitimacy of their cause. They were defying the world's most powerful nation and needed to motivate foreign allies to join the effort. So, they set their struggle within the entire “Course of human events." They're saying, this is no petty political spat — this is a major event in world history.

Step 2 is declaring what you believe in, your standardsHere's what I'm looking for in a healthy relationship...

This is the most famous part of the Declaration; the part school children recite — the Preamble:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That's as much as many Americans know of the Declaration. But the Preamble is the DNA of our nation, and it really needs to be taken as a whole:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The Preamble takes us through a logical progression: All men are created equal; God gives all humans certain inherent rights that cannot be denied; these include the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; to protect those rights, we have governments set up; but when a government fails to protect our inherent rights, people have the right to change or replace it.

Government is only there to protect the rights of mankind. They don't have any power unless we give it to them. That was an extraordinarily radical concept then and we're drifting away from it now.

The Preamble is the justification for revolution. But note how they don't mention Great Britain yet. And again, note how they frame it within a universal context. These are fundamental principles, not just squabbling between neighbors. These are the principles that make the Declaration just as relevant today. It's not just a dusty parchment that applied in 1776.

Step 3 is laying out your caseHere's why things didn't work out between us. It's not me, it's you...

This is Part 1 of the Body of the Declaration. It's the section where Jefferson gets to flex his lawyer muscles by listing 27 grievances against the British crown. This is the specific proof of their right to rebellion:

He has obstructed the administration of justice...

For imposing taxes on us without our consent...

For suspending our own legislatures...

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us...

Again, Congress presented these “causes which impel them to separation" in universal terms to appeal to an international audience. It's like they were saying, by joining our fight you'll be joining mankind's overall fight against tyranny.

Step 4 is demonstrating the actions you took I really tried to make this relationship work, and here's how...

This is Part 2 of the Body. It explains how the colonists attempted to plead their case directly to the British people, only to have the door slammed in their face:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury...

They too have been deaf to the voice of justice... We must, therefore... hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

This basically wrapped up America's argument for independence — we haven't been treated justly, we tried to talk to you about it, but since you refuse to listen and things are only getting worse, we're done here.

Step 5 is stating your intent — So, I think it's best if we go our separate ways. And my decision is final...

This is the powerful Conclusion. If people know any part of the Declaration besides the Preamble, this is it:

...that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved...

They left no room for doubt. The relationship was over, and America was going to reboot, on its own, with all the rights of an independent nation.

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The message was clear — this was no pitchfork mob. These were serious men who had carefully thought through the issues before taking action. They were putting everything on the line for this cause.

The Declaration of Independence is a landmark in the history of democracy because it was the first formal statement of a people announcing their right to choose their own government. That seems so obvious to us now, but in 1776 it was radical and unprecedented.

In 1825, Jefferson wrote that the purpose of the Declaration was “not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of… but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm… to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take."

You're not going to do better than the Declaration of Independence. Sure, it worked as a means of breaking away from Great Britain, but its genius is that its principles of equality, inherent rights, and self-government work for all time — as long as we actually know and pursue those principles.

On June 7, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania State House, better known today as Independence Hall. Virginia delegate Richard Henry Lee introduced a motion calling for the colonies' independence. The “Lee Resolution" was short and sweet:

Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Intense debate followed, and the Congress voted 7 to 5 (with New York abstaining) to postpone a vote on Lee's Resolution. They called a recess for three weeks. In the meantime, the delegates felt they needed to explain what they were doing in writing. So, before the recess, they appointed a five-man committee to come up with a formal statement justifying a break with Great Britain. They appointed two men from New England — Roger Sherman and John Adams; two from the middle colonies — Robert Livingston and Benjamin Franklin; and one Southerner — Thomas Jefferson. The responsibility for writing what would become the Declaration of Independence fell to Jefferson.

In the rotunda of the National Archives building in Washington, D.C., there are three original documents on permanent display: the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. These are the three pillars of the United States, yet America barely seems to know them anymore. We need to get reacquainted — quickly.

In a letter to his friend John Adams in 1816, Jefferson wrote: “I like the dreams of the future, better than the history of the past."

America used to be a forward-looking nation of dreamers. We still are in spots, but the national attitude that we hear broadcast loudest across media is not looking toward the future with optimism and hope. In late 2017, a national poll found 59% of Americans think we are currently at the “lowest point in our nation's history that they can remember."

America spends far too much time looking to the past for blame and excuse. And let's be honest, even the Right is often more concerned with “owning the left" than helping point anyone toward the practical principles of the Declaration of Independence. America has clearly lost touch with who we are as a nation. We have a national identity crisis.

The Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

It is urgent that we get reacquainted with the Declaration of Independence because postmodernism would have us believe that we've evolved beyond the America of our founding documents, and thus they're irrelevant to the present and the future. But the Declaration of Independence is America's thesis statement, and without it America doesn't exist.

Today, much of the nation is so addicted to partisan indignation that "day-to-day" indignation isn't enough to feed the addiction. So, we're reaching into America's past to help us get our fix. In 2016, Democrats in the Louisiana state legislature tabled a bill that would have required fourth through sixth graders to recite the opening lines of the Declaration. They didn't table it because they thought it would be too difficult or too patriotic. They tabled it because the requirement would include the phrase “all men are created equal" and the progressives in the Louisiana legislature didn't want the children to have to recite a lie. Representative Barbara Norton said, “One thing that I do know is, all men are not created equal. When I think back in 1776, July the fourth, African Americans were slaves. And for you to bring a bill to request that our children will recite the Declaration, I think it's a little bit unfair to us. To ask our children to recite something that's not the truth. And for you to ask those children to repeat the Declaration stating that all men's are free. I think that's unfair."

Remarkable — an elected representative saying it wouldn't be fair for students to have to recite the Declaration because “all men are not created equal." Another Louisiana Democrat explained that the government born out of the Declaration “was used against races of people." I guess they missed that part in school where they might have learned that the same government later made slavery illegal and amended the Constitution to guarantee all men equal protection under the law. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were an admission of guilt by the nation regarding slavery, and an effort to right the wrongs.

Yet, the progressive logic goes something like this: many of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, including Thomas Jefferson who wrote it, owned slaves; slavery is evil; therefore, the Declaration of Independence is not valid because it was created by evil slave owners.

It's a sad reality that the left has a very hard time appreciating the universal merits of the Declaration of Independence because they're so hung up on the long-dead issue of slavery. And just to be clear — because people love to take things out of context — of course slavery was horrible. Yes, it is a total stain on our history. But defending the Declaration of Independence is not an effort to excuse any aspect of slavery.

Okay then, people might say, how could the Founders approve the phrase “All men are created equal," when many of them owned slaves? How did they miss that?

They didn't miss it. In fact, Thomas Jefferson included an anti-slavery passage in his first draft of the Declaration. The paragraph blasted King George for condoning slavery and preventing the American Colonies from passing legislation to ban slavery:

He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights to life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere... Determined to keep open a market where men should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce.

We don't say “execrable" that much anymore. It means, utterly detestable, abominable, abhorrent — basically very bad.

Jefferson was upset when Georgia and North Carolina threw up the biggest resistance to that paragraph. Ultimately, those two states twisted Congress' arm to delete the paragraph.

Still, how could a man calling the slave trade “execrable" be a slaveowner himself? No doubt about it, Jefferson was a flawed human being. He even had slaves from his estate in Virginia attending him while he was in Philadelphia, in the very apartment where he was writing the Declaration.

Many of the Southern Founders deeply believed in the principles of the Declaration yet couldn't bring themselves to upend the basis of their livelihood. By 1806, Virginia law made it more difficult for slave owners to free their slaves, especially if the owner had significant debts as Jefferson did.

At the same time, the Founders were not idiots. They understood the ramifications of signing on to the principles described so eloquently in the Declaration. They understood that logically, slavery would eventually have to be abolished in America because it was unjust, and the words they were committing to paper said as much. Remember, John Adams was on the committee of five that worked on the Declaration and he later said that the Revolution would never be complete until the slaves were free.

Also, the same generation that signed the Declaration started the process of abolition by banning the importation of slaves in 1807. Jefferson was President at the time and he urged Congress to pass the law.

America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough.

The Declaration took a major step toward crippling the institution of slavery. It made the argument for the first time about the fundamental rights of all humans which completely undermined slavery. Planting the seeds to end slavery is not nearly commendable enough for leftist critics, but you can't discount the fact that the seeds were planted. It's like they started an expiration clock for slavery by approving the Declaration. Everything that happened almost a century later to end slavery, and then a century after that with the Civil Rights movement, flowed from the principles voiced in the Declaration.

Ironically for a movement that calls itself progressive, it is obsessed with retrying and judging the past over and over. Progressives consider this a better use of time than actually putting past abuses in the rearview and striving not to be defined by ancestral failures.

It can be very constructive to look to the past, but not when it's used to flog each other in the present. Examining history is useful in providing a road map for the future. And America has an obvious road map that, as a nation, we're not consulting often enough. But it's right there, the original, under glass. The ink is fading, but the words won't die — as long as we continue to discuss them.

'Good Morning Texas' gives exclusive preview of Mercury One museum

Screen shot from Good Morning Texas

Mercury One is holding a special exhibition over the 4th of July weekend, using hundreds of artifacts, documents and augmented reality experiences to showcase the history of slavery — including slavery today — and a path forward. Good Morning Texas reporter Paige McCoy Smith went through the exhibit for an exclusive preview with Mercury One's chief operating officer Michael Little on Tuesday.

Watch the video below to see the full preview.

Click here to purchase tickets to the museum (running from July 4 - 7).

Over the weekend, journalist Andy Ngo and several other apparent right-leaning people were brutally beaten by masked-gangs of Antifa protesters in Portland, Oregon. Short for "antifascist," Antifa claims to be fighting for social justice and tolerance — by forcibly and violently silencing anyone with opposing opinions. Ngo, who was kicked, punched, and sprayed with an unknown substance, is currently still in the hospital with a "brain bleed" as a result of the savage attack. Watch the video to get the details from Glenn.