Stand in the Gap Today Transcript: H.R. 350 and Government Surveillance – Is the Trap Being Set?
This transcript was taken from a Stand in the Gap Today program originally aired on March 15, 2021. To listen to the program, please click HERE.
Sam Rohrer: Hello and welcome to this Monday edition of Stand in the Gap Today. I’m Sam Rohrer and I’m going to be joined today by pastor Gary Dull, and in just a moment by Mark Lerner, who is the co-founder of the Constitutional Alliance.
Our focus for today surrounds a bill, a bill recently introduced in Congress, actually January 19th was the date, by a representative, Bradley Scott, who is a Democrat who hails from the state of Illinois. The bill at that point had 109 sponsors and they have some more now. But it was referred at that point to three committees, Judiciary, Homeland Security and Armed Services.
But just a few days ago, on March the 5th, it was referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Now the purpose of this program, Stand in the Gap Today, is not to specifically track legislation. Other groups do that. But we do however focus on matters of content within law and public policy and all matters of truth where it affects our God given or Constitutional freedoms, and it’s our duty we believe to impart the watchman on the walls to call out deception and lies and attacks in all forms that are against God, the authoritative scripture, and the Biblical world view.
On this program we try to have no bias except a bias for the truth, and for that we do not apologize. As such I feel compelled to address the content of one piece of legislation, H.R…. House Resolution 350, because of it’s potential to negatively impact our freedom, our ability to preach the gospel, to evangelize, and to exercise our God given rights to worship God as we choose, for pastors to preach the whole counsel of God as it is written and as they are commanded, and for each of us to live our lives as law abiding and God fearing citizens.
Taken together with the aggressive efforts of H.R. 5, the immoral inequality act as I refer to it, and multiple Biden executive orders we have to consider well that the net is being laid and we must do all we can as commanded in Proverbs 28:4 to contend or to resist… Another word for that is to strive against the wicked lest we become guilty before God, enabling or literally praising the wicked.
Here’s the entire verse of Proverbs 28:4, and then we’ll get into this. The verse says, “Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law,” that’s the truth of God’s word, “actually strive against him.”
So our theme for today is this, H.R. 350 and government surveillance, why Americans must resist. Today we’re going to define the basis of this proposed law, which is surveillance and monitoring. We’ll define that. We’ll identify what’s in the bill, why it’s being promoted. In segment three we’ll address the key concerns about the bill, of which there are many, and during the final segment we’ll identify how you and I can best resist and oppose the elements of that bill. So all of that and more today right here on Stand in the Gap Today.
With that I want to walk him into the program, right now our special guest, Mark Lerner. Mark, thanks for being with us today.
Mark Lerner: It’s my pleasure. I’m looking forward to the program.
Sam Rohrer: Mark, so are we. Let’s get right into it. We have a lot to cover, but you’re the co-founder of the Constitutional Alliance, and in that capacity your concerned about Constitutional issues, issues of rights as given to us by God assured by the Constitution.
But you’re also perhaps one of the nation’s leading experts on biometrics and biometric based perhaps surveillance, but generally speaking government perspective surveillance, and you’re there in that space.
Before we get into the concerns about H.R. 30, I want to go first and have you define and help lay the foundation here, so do this briefly. Please define government surveillance and briefly how it’s achieved, if you could do that, start there first.
Mark Lerner: I would define surveillance as either having direct or indirect access to all information, emphasis on all, regarding a person or group. The government collects that information directly by requiring biometrics or facial image, et cetera, but also indirectly by going to companies, whether it was Best Buy, Motel 6, travel agency, and paying those companies for information they collect about our activities.
And then finally government uses data mining companies. Data mining companies have about 1,500 data points or more about each of us, magazines we subscribe to, where we travel to, et cetera. So all of that goes into defining surveillance.
Sam Rohrer: Dig down a little deeper on that. By the way, it’s a delight to have you back with us today. But in your opinion, and you’ve studied this greatly, we know that government surveillance of the enemy as a military intelligence is very, very necessary, but when the tools of surveillance are turned on or against the citizens of the United States of America that’s different.
You sort of implied some of this in your answer to Brother Sam, but share with us a little bit more on how developed government surveillance is in targeting the law abiding citizens of the United States of America, and compare that in contrast to what we see in China if you would please.
Mark Lerner: Very simply, the government is interested in collecting all information, regardless of whether you are doing something illegal or not. They want to know everything about you. In my own personal discussions with former NSA whistleblower Bill [Benning 00:06:35], Bill went to great lengths to explain that none of us can avoid government surveillance.
The difference though with China, in China the people know surveillance is taking place. There’s a great deal of transparency. With our government there’s little or no transparency, and the government has exempted itself from providing transparency by exempting itself from the Privacy Act of 1974.
Sam Rohrer: So, Mark, what you laid out there is very critical. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope that you heard that. Again, the theme today is this, H.R. 350, that’s a bill in Washington, we’re going to talk about it, deals with government surveillance and a whole lot more. But what Mark just said, the level of surveillance in the United States, the data points collected and all of that, is about as broad as it is in China.
The difference there, the people in China know the government is surveilling them and to some degree how. Here in the United States we don’t know and it’s not transparent. Boy, that’s not a whole big difference, actually worse here in some respects, right? When we come back we’ll talk about this bill. We’ll get into what it is and why it was introduced. We’ll go there next. Stay with here on Stands in the Gap Today.
Sam Rohrer: Welcome back to Stand in the Gap Today. I’m Sam Rohrer. I’m accompanied today by Dr. Gary Dull and our special guest, Mark Lerner. Mark is the co-founder of the Constitutional Alliance. They have a website at constitutionalalliance.org.
Our theme today is this, our title that we’ve given it is H.R. 30… That stands for H.R. 350 and government surveillance, why Americans must resist. In the last segment we defined it, defined surveillance and the distinctions ultimately between the United States and surveillance on its citizens in China. Mark made the distinction that effectively they are the same except that what’s being done within our nation is not known to people and it is known in China. I’m summarizing that briefly, but we’ll build on it as we go through.
But every bill or law that’s introduced in Congress or various states contain a few common elements. Now I’m sharing this because of my experience of being in office. Many of you out there listening are very astute and you can read bills, and it’s an art to read them and understand them, but here’s just a couple of things.
There are some common elements that are in bills, so if you ever pull one up… In this one, if you go to the US.gov site and you bring up H.R. 350 you’ll look at the bill and you’ll see a certain thing. But here are a couple of common items.
For instance it has the bill number. This is H.R…. House Resolution 350 in this case. There is a brief stated purpose or an overview statement that occurs at the beginning of the bill and then there’s a short title, generally section one it’s referred to. That becomes the official legal reference when referring to the bill.
Then it proceeds into the writing of the bill, and it starts generally speaking with defining certain key words. Then it begins to lay out the why of the bill. There’s some intent generally factored in it, and then how it is a matter of law and how it’s to be enforced by the Executive Branch, because the Legislative Branch writes the laws, the Executive Branch enforces them.
So a bill puts into a law something that is there and it tells effective the Executive Branch what they are to do to enforce it, and it gives them a certain amount of power.
In this case, H.R. 350 says this. The short title is this. “This act may be cited as the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021,” Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021. Now the short preamble purpose statement that is there says this, “To authorize dedicated Domestic Terrorism offices within the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” here’s the purpose, “to analyze and monitor domestic terrorist activity and require the federal government to take steps to prevent domestic terrorism.”
That is how it all fits together. Mark, let’s get right into this. In the first segment you defined, as I mentioned, surveillance generally. I want you now to describe how this bill defines surveillance and domestic terrorism, if it actually does, and how it perhaps changes the definition of those words or phrases as now currently used, or would be used if this bill were to pass.
Mark Lerner: Let’s start by saying the bill does not define domestic surveillance. It does address domestic terrorism by saying acts dangerous to human life, to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, and to affect government by mass destruction, assassinations, kidnapping, and these are acts that would take place primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States.
Gary Dull: Mark, for those of us who follow what goes on in our country, what goes on in Congress as it relates to legislation, we realize that many times legislation is introduced as a knee jerk reaction to some event that took place.
One illustration I think of that that most of us are aware of would be the Patriot Act following the 9/11 event back 20 years ago for example. With that in mind, and in connection with this bill, H.R. 350, do you think that this particular bill has been introduce and is being promoted as a direct knee jerk reaction to what took place in Washington, DC on January the 6th of this year?
Mark Lerner: Yes, I do. There’s no doubt. As Sam had mentioned, this bill was introduced January 19th, the day before Biden took his oath of office. Now as far as a knee jerk reaction, we all believed with regard to 9/11 there was some kind of wall between the Central Intelligence Agency and federal law enforcement like the FBI, but in fact the 9/11 report simply said this. Simply put, there was no legal reason why the information could not have been shared, talking about the information the CIA had and giving that information to the FBI.
So the Patriot Act actually was not needed to tear down this mythical wall that we were all told existed. This is the same thing today with this piece of legislation that supposedly is going to address domestic terrorism.
Sam Rohrer: Now I’m going to go further on this, because in the next segment I’m going to ask you to talk about some definitions that are not in this bill. But I got to ask you one thing. I am reading the bill here right now. It’s not long. This one is not long. But section two, under definitions, number two, I’m going to read it.
It says this, “The term ‘domestic terrorism’ has the meaning given the term in section 2331 of title 18, United State Code.” So that’s already a little bit of a problem, because they don’t really define it here. But here’s the question I want to ask you. It says, “Except,” so the term domestic terrorism has the meaning given in that section, “Except that it does not include acts perpetrated by individuals associated with or inspired by,” and then it goes on and it says, “a foreign person or an organization designated as a foreign terrorist organization,” or in letter C, “a state sponsor of terrorism determined by the Secretary of State.”
I look at this and it would seem to me that domestic terrorism they’re saying under this… Any act of terrorism that happens within the United States one would call domestic, but they’re saying under here that if any of those acts have any connection to a terrorist organization outside the country it’s not going to be included within that. It struck me as highly odd. Comment.
Mark Lerner: My comment is simply this. Law enforcement in general is looking for a way to have greater powers to surveil people in the United States, US citizens, even though there may be no probable cause to surveil those people, to collect information about those people.
So if they can draw a nexus to foreign terrorism great, but with this it’s not necessary. This will just give more power to the federal government, but we’re not even going to know what the power is until the bill is passed, enacted, and we find out in the rules what powers government may have.
Sam Rohrer: Mark, that’s the point I want to emphasize for all who are listening right now. As Mark said, there is already information gathering and sharing that is in place. The Patriot Act which took place after 9/11 tore down some of the walls providing for privacy and combined certain things.
Now here comes this bill, a knee jerk reaction ostensibly to what happened or did not happen on January 6th, and will be used as the justification to further expand government authority to surveil US citizens, and by specifically saying, as I just read from the act… By specifically not involving any act that is in any way associated to any outside terrorist related group in Iran, or Muslim Brotherhood, or anybody of that type.
But by keeping all of those out it focuses this whole brand new focus on really the law abiding citizen, and by failing to actually define the terms, what Mark just said, makes it open that we’ll never know really what it’s going to be about until you get rule making and bureaucracy gets involved in defining these things after the bill may be passed.
So hopefully you got the idea, but the framework of it is what we’re talking about, the framework to authorize government in multiple agencies to focus on law abiding citizens under the guise of domestic terrorism without defining it really is where the real problem is and that’s why we’re raising it as an issue today. Bad law, dangerous law any time it’s written like this.
When we come back we’re going to go further into actually then talking about further concerns in its application of this law, should it be passed, and it is moving, so we need to be aware. Stay with us. We’ll be right back.
Sam Rohrer: Welcome back to Stand in the Gap Today. I’m Sam Rohrer, and accompanied today by Dr. Gary Dull and our special guest, Mark Lerner, who is the co-founder of Constitutional Alliance, with a website at constitutionalalliance.org. Our theme is this, H.R. 350, that stands for House Resolution 350, and government surveillance, why Americans must resist.
We’ve built the foundation on surveillance. We’ve defined it in segment one, did some other things relative to its application, comparing where we are in the United States to that of China in the last segment. We talked about some other aspects of the bill, the what aspects of it, as well as a little bit of the why, a bit of a knee jerk reaction, really too exaggerated, in my opinion, January 6th event in Washington, DC.
In the next segment we’re going to talk about the concerns. But before I do that I want to share just very briefly a couple of notes that just came in. A lot of you listening to this program… If you’re listening to this program you’re hearing me now, you’re listening to Stand in the Gap Today. During that last break you heard another program that we do called our Stand in the Gap Minute program, which is on probably 400 or 500 stations I think now across the country just in a singular form.
We have a weekend program that builds off of a selected program from the week and we re-package it slightly and we use it on a weekend, a program that we call Stand in the Gap Weekend.
I got two just came in this morning, two letters. One came from Memphis, Tennessee. One person who says, “I listen to American Family Radio there,” and I’ll leave out some things, “but normally I listen.” She said, “I just happened to tune in on Sunday evening when it’s carried. I tuned in and I heard it on the radio. I heard the weekend broadcast.”
She said, “I was so excited when I heard it,” and she happened to be listening to a program that we did with our special guest from Ireland when we were talking about the vaccines and so forth, and she was so impressed with that she’s asking for some more information. But that was from Tennessee.
Then one that I just got as well, this is just a short one, but it’s very nice. It actually came from an individual in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She said, “We are so appreciative listening to your weekly program Saturday on WDAC,” which comes out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
She said, “My husband listens to your programs regularly. It’s a major part of our weekend agenda. He listens on his iPad in his skid loader on the farm as he’s mixing feed for our dairy cows.” So it’s amazing, ladies and gentlemen. I don’t know where you are right now. You’re probably not on a skid loader, but we are so thankful to hear from people who are listening to the program and being blessed. I hope that we hear from you.
Go to standsinthegapradio.com. Let us know that you are listening. Participate with us in prayer. Partner with us financially as these folks have done so that we can continue to speak the truth boldly and on more stations across this country.
All right, now back into the legislation we talked about. The legislation or the making of law is both an art and a science. A political body making law possesses certain obligations to make no unnecessary law for instance. I’m talking about good law. Lots of bad laws are made.
But the purpose of a law should be singular. It should be very clearly understood. Significant terms within the legislation are to be clearly defined, and that’s to be a part of the agreement upon which a person who casts their vote is clear. If they’re not clear they shouldn’t vote for it.
The purpose for the bill should also be clear and honestly stated, not intended to deceive, but should be clearly transparent. All ambiguities, potentials for abuse or misapplication should be carefully considered and worked out. No bill should ever be passed where those kinds of things are not fully understood and worked out, and always no authority should ever be given to an Executive Branch for more enforcement than is absolutely necessary, and the bill should have some kind of what’s called a sunset or a termination date so that it can be revisited in case even in that process something happens in that bill that ends up being dangerous or illegitimate. Any bill that doesn’t meet this criteria should get a no vote from every person who’s in office.
Mark, let’s get right into it here. I’ve spent a little bit extra time on this, but N.H.R. 350, Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2021, what could a person do under this act that is not already a crime under existing law? Does that make sense? And what potential harm could this cause for God fearing, law abiding citizens?
In other words, the laws are already in effect. Anybody who breaks the law, they’re already prosecuted. What does this one perhaps set up that could get an innocent person involved in doing something that they could be prosecuted for?
Mark Lerner: My answer is this. Number one, we already have the Insurrection Act. Essentially what that says is any attempt to overthrow the government or take action against the people who are governing it themself… Okay, so this seems to basically piggyback on the Insurrection Act.
We also have hate crime bills or laws that address if a person is going after a specific group of people, whether they be black people, Hispanic people, or even white people, or abortion clinics. So we have laws that deal with opposing what government is doing and committing a “terrorist act”. We have laws against committing acts of violence against specific people or groups based on their religion, their race, et cetera.
So it’s not really clear exactly what this law is intended or will do, but what we know for sure from 200 plus years of experience, it will give the federal government more power than what it already has. Otherwise there would be no reason for the law at all.
Gary Dull: All right Mark, you mentioned that this law, or this bill, H.R. 350 would give more power to the federal government than what it already has. Of course as we look down through history we can see that every one of these bills that are related to surveillance and other things have always strengthened and enlarged the federal government rather than reduced it, and certainly I think that should be a concern for every one of us.
But specifically as you see it, as you’ve studied it, what additional powers are given under this act to government particularly as it relates to the surveillance of individuals that the government does not already have that would really cause harm to our society?
Mark Lerner: Reading the legislation, the only thing that any reasonable person can take away is if law enforcement felt an individual or group of people was considering committing an act of terrorism, which I again say could fall under the Insurrection Act or hate crime laws, this will allow the government to proactively follow that trail of supposed evidence that somebody was about to commit a crime.
This is very dangerous, because now we’re getting into the whole idea of the thought police. Many people think about things. That doesn’t mean they’re actually going to follow through, and that’s where I’m very concerned this legislation is going.
Sam Rohrer: And Mark, I am too, because one of the things that I said, at the beginning of it it says, “require the federal government to take steps to prevent,” that’s the key word, ladies and gentlemen, “to prevent domestic terrorism.” How are they going to know to prevent other than lots of surveillance and lots of insinuation?
Mark, they also have some key terms in here that are not defined. Pick out a couple of… In the last minute here, a couple of terms that are not defined which ought to be defined.
Mark Lerner: The one that really stands out is white supremacy and white supremacist. How do you define the white supremacist? If I want secure borders am I a white supremacist? If I believe we should have strong laws to protect our foreign trade and I want to reduce our trade deficit am I a white supremacist because I think we deal too freely with China or the nations of Africa?
It’s not clear what a white supremacist is. That bothers me, and also the term mass destruction. When you look at the news and you see mass shootings they’re talking about two or more people, so in this legislation it doesn’t define mass destruction. Does that mean where more than one person is hurt all of a sudden it becomes an act of domestic extremism or domestic terrorism? We don’t know because there are no definitions for white supremacy or supremacist or mass destruction.
Sam Rohrer: Ladies and gentlemen, what I described earlier, bills that do not define the terms but use them repeatedly, are absolutely setups for activist attorneys, activist judges, and activist Justice Department and others to basically determine when and how they will pursue it, and this is why this becomes so important. When we come back, we’re going to talk about what we can do.
Sam Rohrer: When we started this program I quoted the verse from Proverbs 28:4 about the necessity and I’m going to suggest the obligation of all who fear God to oppose… And literally strive is the word that’s used… To strive against those who are wicked, and that includes wicked policies or laws that are wicked and God defying.
It’s the concept of Stand in the Gap… We say stand in the gap with us, all right? Stand in the gap is the word that is used, in a technical sense, it’s ‘interposition’… We talked about that a week ago, Gary and I did with pastor Matt Trewhella. That’s what it means. God himself said in Ezekiel 22:30 all right, who’s going to stand in the gap? Who’s going to oppose? Who’s going to stand there before me so I don’t have to judge the nation of Israel, he was talking about then? But he was looking for someone who would strive against those who would do wicked things and put into effect ungodly laws.
So opposing evil in any form, it’s always a duty for every God fearing and Bible believing person. We don’t often look at things that way, but we should, because the Bible talks about it. So how we resist though, that does vary. How we contend can take various forms, and depending on the level of wicked actions and the specificity of the wicked commands that might be levied, discussion would be more perhaps how best and how most biblically we do it, but resist we must.
Mark, in regard to this legislation I want you to identify a few steps our listeners can take. They’ve heard these things, and again there’s so many different bills that are in place, we know that. We don’t spend a lot of time on bills, because in most cases they never see the light of day.
But H.R. 5, which is the Inequality Act, that has movement. It affects potentially every one of us who are listening to the program. H.R. 1, which is the bill that would actually take over all of the voting, and if you liked the fraud in the voting of the last election H.R. 1 cements it into place, but they have movement to them, and the same way with this one, H.R. 350.
So you’re doing some things with your organization Mark. Perhaps maybe our listeners can actually join in with what you’re doing, or maybe perhaps do it separately, so lay it out there for us please.
Mark Lerner: Very simply what we’re doing is we’re honoring what Christ Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 28:20. He told them to observe all things to tell others, “To observe all things that I have commanded you, and lo I am with you always even to the end of age.”
So the disciples were supposed to go out and tell all people, preach the gospel to the whole world, make disciples. We have to ask ourselves how are we going to do that with the growing surveillance state, especially ones where evangelical Christians now are being targeted.
What the Constitutional Alliance has done has changed from the a 501c3 to a 501c4 so we can propose legislation and while being in support of it to protect the right of Christians to go out and preach the gospel to the whole world and make disciples without having to be worried about is this going to be considered hate speech? Is this incitement? No. We have a right to do that based on the First Amendment and we have a commandment, a commitment, a responsibility to do it based on Christ Jesus’ words to the disciples.
So, we’re asking people go to the constitutionalalliance.org, constitutional alliance one word, become a subscriber. If you go to our website today you’ll see a button that says subscriber. Please go there. Go there today and subscribe. Help the Constitutional Alliance. We’re going to be in all 50 states working with state legislators, ministries, state roots, private citizens. Help us to help you.
Sam Rohrer: Okay Mark. I appreciate you saying that. Ladies and gentlemen, you may not be aware of this, but the American Pastors Network is a 501c3. Mark described a 501c4. A 501c4 can actively get involved in legislation and follow that and propose legislation of all types and so forth.
A 501c3 like us more focuses on the subject and the content, the principles undergirding it. So that’s why I said at the beginning of the program we in this program focus on all things, all issues that would undercut truth, anything that would attack truth.
That could be a heresy from the pulpit. That could be from propaganda coming in from China or from Russia or from our own government, or anything that would undercut our constitutionally guaranteed, built upon our God given rights. That’s what a 501c3 does. That’s why the pulpits… They’re separate even from that, but that’s why pulpits and the word of God tells the pulpit to preach to all aspects of life, because the word of God speaks to all area of life, and that’s what we talk about here.
So that’s why you will see us go so far on this program and we don’t go too much further. We’re not activists because we’re not set up to do that, but you are. You individually are, so we would ask you to do more. Take information and act upon it, and as we say stand in the gap. Take information and literally stand in the gap.
Say no to those laws, guidelines, or whatever comes down the pike that would tell us not to do what the word of God tells us to do, or to tell us to do something that the word of God does not tell us to do, or undercuts our constitutional guaranteed God given rights. That’s how it all fits together.
Gary, we’re about up. I want to go to you to conclude the program, any final comments as a pastor in the pulpit and what we’re talking about, and then conclude, if you would, in prayer for this matter and for our people who are listening to the program today to take and use it.
Gary Dull: I think one of the things that we need to keep in mind, Sam and Mark and everybody listening, is that it’s important that we as Christian citizens particularly become aware of what’s going on. Sometimes we are totally oblivious to what is taking place in our government.
Of course here at Stand in the Gap Today we try to keep you all informed, but research these things on your own. Get involved with understanding what’s going on in government. Then build a relationship with your United States Senator and Representative as well as those who are on the state level so that you can have a personal impact in their lives.
When you see a bill such as H.R. 350 or whatever the case is that will not strengthen our country, but will rather weaken it in the long run, or is completely bad law, a bad bill, I would encourage you to write your Senator or your Congressman about that, because we, the people, are the government. They work for us in Washington. They don’t dictate to us. But we must stand up and speak out.
Father, I thank you for the opportunity that we’ve had to put this program together today. I thank you for Mark Lerner and what goes on in the Constitutional Alliance ministry. I pray that you’ll continue to use them. I pray that you protect them in what they do in getting out truth and standing against error. Give the rest of us as Christian citizens of this nation the wisdom, the strength, the ability of the pulpit to stand for truth and stand against error. We thank you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Sam Rohrer: Amen. Amen. Thank you Gary. Thank you ladies and gentlemen for being with us today. Again in conclusion, go to Mark Lerner’s website, constitutionalalliance.org. Find more information. Participate as you can there. Go to our website, standinthegapradio.com. Participate with us. Come alongside of us as we help folks like Mark Lerner and others, all of us together needing to stand in the gap.
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