Posts Tagged ‘tyranny’

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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The Founders & the Rights of Conscience

October 12th, 2011 1 comment

Those who framed our great nation were not secularists or atheists. They all, from the most devout to the least religious, shared a common belief in a Creator God. They were not evolutionary atheists. On the contrary, each believed humans were created in the image and likeness of God. They acknowledged the fact that God has written His law upon the human heart, with our conscience acting as a built in moral compass teaching us the difference between right and wrong.

And since the conscience was placed within each of us by God, our Founders recognized it was out of the reach or authority of human government.

This is why Governor William Livingston (a devout Christian and a signer of the U. S. Constitution) declared:

“Consciences of men are not the objects of human legislation.”

John Jay (an author of the Federalist Papers, original Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, and President of the American Bible Society) likewise rejoiced that:

“Security under our constitution is given to the rights of conscience.”

Thomas Jefferson (a signer of the Declaration and a U. S. President) repeatedly praised America’s protections for the rights of conscience:

“No provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience.”

”Our rulers can have no authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted.”

James Madison (a signer of the Constitution, a framer of the Bill of Rights, and a U. S. President) similarly affirmed:

“Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. . . . [and] conscience is the most sacred of all property.”

According to our Founding Fathers, the final authority rests in the Author of our being – not in human governments. This conviction laid the philosophical foundation for the idea of “rights of conscience” and provided a safeguard against governmental tyranny.

No Conscience, No Liberty

October 10th, 2011 No comments

Liberties do not arise from a vacuum. Rather, they are attached to and nurtured by deep philosophical roots. When the root is severed, all you have left is an empty concept. Eventually you lose both the idea and the freedoms once associated with it.

This is where we find ourselves today. Secularism is philosophically committed to severing every root that links us to our deeply Christian heritage in America. As a result of fifty years, or so, of rabid secularism we now find ourselves cut off from the philosophical well-springs of liberty.

Perhaps this is why our “rights of conscience” are currently under siege by the Obama administration. Let me explain.

Ideas have consequences. If we reject God, as many secularist do, it impacts our view of humankind. It follows that we are not created in His image and likeness, since He doesn’t exist. If no God, then we have no transcendent Law. If no law, then God’s commandments are not inscribed within the human heart. If this is true, then the idea of “rights of conscience” do not exist because we have rendered the whole idea of “conscience” null and void.

Secularism places government as the absolute authority and therefore has no hesitations about trampling the religious beliefs of the people when they do not line up with the official religion of the “Almighty State.”

The end result of the State’s rejection of God is TYRANNY.

This is not the view of our Founders. We’ll delve into their thoughts on “the rights of conscience” in my next blog.