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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Endowed by their Creator with Certain Unalienable Rights

Matt K. Lewis writes at The Week:
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo recently declared: "Our rights do not come from God." Then this week, Sen. Ted Cruz's assertion that "our rights don't come from man, they come from God Almighty" came under scrutiny when Meredith Shiner, a Yahoo reporter,tweeted: "Bizarre to talk about how rights are God-made and not man-made in your speech announcing a POTUS bid? When Constitution was man-made?" [Cruz was closely paraphrasing JFK.]
I am astounded by how many people in this country (and particularly in the media) don't believe the Declaration of Independence's assertion that all men are "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights." The Declaration of Independence also refers to "The Laws of Nature and of Nature's God." Believing that our laws are God-given, and not man-made, has become something that secular liberals seem to take joy in openly mocking. As if there were something inherently funny or backwards about faith. As if there were something hollow and foolish about believing in God....

Without an absolute law that transcends the whims of man, the very concept of "rights" metastasizes into a definition having more to do with the current and often capricious preference of the majority. Oppressed minorities have long found comfort (and, in fact, seized the moral high ground) by pointing out that there is a greater law, a universal sense of right and wrong, that transcends the will of the majority.
The majority can be wrong. The majority can be in the wrong. History is littered with examples of the folly of man-made law, of man-made injustice. (This is not to say people haven't done terrible things in the name of God — they have!)
Consider Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail": "We have waited for more than 340 years for our constitutional and God given rights," he wrote. "To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law."
More and more, the secular left seems to want to entrust human law to always be just. That's fine when it is. But what happens when it isn't?