Moreover, man has a natural right to be respected. He has a right to his good name. He has a right to freedom in investigating the truth, and—within the limits of the moral order and the common good—to freedom of speech and publication, and to freedom to pursue whatever profession he may choose. He has the right, also, to be accurately informed about public events. – Saint John XXIII, PACEM IN TERRIS
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. – Declaration of Independence
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. – Article One, UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Human rights come from the government. – General belief of most members of the news media
Many members of the news media were stunned a few days ago when a man announcing his run for political office mentioned that our fundamental rights come from God. The typical comment went something like this:
“Is that guy crazy? I mean, like, everyone knows the government gives you rights. I mean, for sure…God doesn’t make laws, Congress and the President make laws. That’s where I get my rights. Duh.”
This would be really funny were it not laying the groundwork for tyranny. Many of our citizens believe that good (and goods) come from the government, which determines what we can and can’t do – apparently for the common good.
The government has some important roles in society. But it ought to make sure that our rights (which really do come from God) are protected and (occasionally) serve as referee when rights come into conflict.
Example: I believe I have the right to freedom of movement. In other words, I should be able to go out my front door, get into my car and drive to Zesty Burger. However, other people have the right to public safety and a peaceful neighborhood, so government reasonably requires that I drive on the street, not my neighbors’ yards, at a reasonable speed and with a muffler to dampen engine noise. HOWEVER: it isn’t the government that grants me the right of movement – God does. Of course, a tyrannical government could deny me what God has granted.
Example: I’m walking down the street with a T-shirt that says, “Jesus Loves You.” It doesn’t say, “If you don’t believe in Jesus I’ll kill you.” So, my reasonable expectation is that I ought to be able to wear my T-shirt without incident – that the government will protect my right to self expression. Unfortunately, in today’s politically correct world, someone likely will call the police and claim I’m wearing something offensive that should be banned from public display. Some folks are easily offended these days.
I have some shocking news for the purveyors of “rights come from government” nonsense: God was here first. Think about it.
God created man. When the population grew past a handful (man having fallen into sin), folks needed to organize some sort of government, not so they could determine right from wrong, but to make sure that they were following the moral rules then had received from God.
It isn’t complicated. And if you can get the Catholic Church, Founding Fathers and UN to agree on it, I’m betting it is right.