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Miss USA was Right about Rights

May 17th, 2017 4 comments

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The newly-crowned Miss USA is already in the hot seat.

Kara McCullough, of the District of Columbia, is black, beautiful and brilliant. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry, with a concentration in Radiochemistry from South Carolina State University in 2013. While in college, she was a member of the school’s Honors College, the American Chemical Society, the Health Physics Society, the American Association of Blacks in Engineering and the American Nuclear Society. She’s currently serving as a scientist with the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

So why is she under attack?

She had the audacity to suggest that healthcare was a privilege and not a right. And from a biblical perspective, she is absolutely correct.

So how are we to determine the difference between privileges and rights?

Every election cycle we hear politicians, especially those on the Left, inventing a new list of “rights” for each and every citizen. Following in the political tradition of FDR, they declare

the right to a good education…

the right to healthcare…

the right to own a home…

the right to a good paying job…

and the list continues to grow with each passing year. In fact, what decent person could argue against the pursuit of each of these noble political aspirations?

But herein lays the problem. None of the aforementioned political goals is properly defined as a “right.” When our Founders drafted our Declaration of Independence, they had a clear understanding of the meaning and source of the rights of all men. In the words of our framers,

“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…”

In fact, Thomas Jefferson went on to say, “We do not claim these [inalienable rights] under the charters of kings or legislators, but under the King of Kings.”

If a “right” depends upon someone else’s money, service or work it’s not a right. It is properly a called a “good.”

Take education for an example. People have the God-given right NOT to be prevented from pursuing a good education; however, they do not have the right to that education. Why? Because an education is dependent upon the labor of others to provide that training.

You have the God-given right to your own property, however, you do not have the right to someone else’s goods. Claiming the “right” to the property of another is called stealing!

Let’s look at the current “right” to healthcare. While this remains a noble goal, you’ll eventually have to rob, through taxation, or enslave some citizens through penalties and fines for non-compliance, to secure this “right” for others.

You see, rights are not entitlements.

When goods are required from someone else to secure your “rights” you can be sure that someone else’s inalienable rights are being violated.

According to Miss USA, “For one to have health care, you have to have a job.” Because if you don’t, you’ll be forcing someone else to pay for your “right” and that’s just not right.

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Do Politicians Create Rights?

July 18th, 2012 1 comment

“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…”
-Declaration of Independence

It is not unusual during election cycles to hear politicians making bold declarations of all the rights they think people should have. We hear that students have the right to a good education; the sick have the right to affordable healthcare; the unemployed have the right to a good job, etc. Now while all of these ideas are laudable, we must be vigilant to guard against the flippant usage of the word “rights.”

In his book, 40 Days Toward a More Godly Government, Neil Mammon helps us understand the difference between “rights” and “goods” and why this difference matters. If a right depends upon the labor, money or service of someone else, it’s not a “right” but a “good.” These are not the God-given unalienable rights our civil servants are sworn to protect.

For instance, the right to bear arms does not mean that the government has the right to provide you with a gun. The right to free speech does not mean every citizen has the right to a government sponsored cell phone. The right to own a home or to purchase health insurance does not presuppose the government’s responsibility to get it for you. Why? Mammon explains:

“Goods that are granted as rights require you to enslave or indenture some men fiscally or physically to ensure a continuous supply of the goods that you have promised other men.”

When we turn “goods” into “rights” we end up with tyranny. Socialist and Communist forms of government do this all the time and the result has always been economic failure and the loss of true liberty.

Christianity has always understood justice as equal opportunity under the law, not a promise of equal outcomes. Some will embrace their God-given freedoms and use the gifts and talents they have received to lead fruitful lives. Others, with those same rights and gifts, will squander similar opportunities through poor stewardship.

While we have a God-given right to enjoy our own goods, we have no right to enjoy the labors of someone else’s freedom and initiative. When government makes this a right, they steal from their citizens in the name of social justice. When every citizen has the government created “right” to own a home (e.g. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae sub-prime loans) and every citizen has the right to government sponsored health care (e.g. Obamacare) the government’s noble intentions end in tragic fiscal failure and the trampling of religious liberty.

This is why true social justice always begins by respecting the unalienable rights of others.

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