Can you name all your human rights?
It’s hard. I know. The list keeps growing.
And that should make you very suspicious.
And what makes the task all the more difficult is that the idea of a human right has changed as well. Things that had never been thought of as a right before have now become rights. And that should also make you very suspicious.
Something is changing, and we need to know who is doing the changing and why.
Our country is based on the idea of human rights. They were unique among the nations of the world, but now not so much. Yes, some nations copied us, but lately, we have been copying other nations. That too should make you suspicious.
And what is even more suspicious is that rights that had existed from the founding of our country are now being called into question, and demands are being made to limit, restrict, and even abolish them. And things that were never considered to be rights, in fact, they were often found to be morally wrong and offensive, are now given full right status with the full legal backing of the government.
The genius of our country is that God gave unalienable rights to people, rights that precede and supersede government. The government did not give them, and the government cannot take them away.
The Founders debated whether to put a list of them into the Constitution. They were concerned that people might think that these rights came from the government. They were concerned too that people might think that these were the only rights God had given them, and they were concerned that people might think that the government had the power to limit, change, or revoke them.
It is important too to ask how they came to believe that God had given them rights, and what God were they talking about. Every nation at that time believed in a god of some sort, but they were the only ones who believed in these unalienable human rights.
The short answer is that they believed in the God of the Bible and that the Bible showed humans His plans for how life is to be lived.
Somewhere between our founding and today, with the help of the court called supreme, the idea took hold that our nation, as in our government and our public life, must be neutral toward all religions. It must not favor one over another. All are equal.
In practice, this came to mean that government and public life must be conducted apart from religion as if there were no such thing as religion. Religion came to be seen as people’s personal views, like their preferences in books or movies or food. But no religion was seen as being true, as in describing how life really is.
But all this cannot be true, if our nation’s founding was based on one particular religion, namely, Christianity. If that religion is not true in a sense different from how any other religion might be considered true, then our country was founded on a myth, a lie, a false belief, and as such it has no basis in reality.
Along with this neutrality toward any or all religion, it was concluded that our nation was intended to be and always was a secular nation. God had no place in our government or our public life. Religion was entirely a private matter best kept to oneself.
Prior to this time, the Ten Commandments formed the moral values of our country. But as a secular country, there was no pre-made moral system to resort to. A new one had to be made up as they went along, from the ground up.
So if our rights don’t come from God, then they must come from the government. This is what is commonly known as a perfect storm.
People in government like to stay in government. One reason is that they get to make the rules, including the ones that affect them. Who else gets to do that?
Another reason is that the government has access to seemingly unlimited amounts of money. You can get very rich being an elected official in our federal government. And one of the best ways to get elected is by what you offer the people who can vote for you.
And, of course, the government has no money of its own, only what it gets from the people who pay taxes. Which leads to the point about the meaning of rights being changed.
The rights that our Founders listed in the Bill of Rights all have to do with individual freedoms, things that people could do without government interference, restriction, or supervision. People were, well, free. The government was created, added, to help keep it that way. Other countries often liked to impose their will on other nations, so a national government was the best way to defend our nation from them.
There were also rights that protected people from the government, like the right to a jury or legal defense.
When God, and Christianity, were part of the fabric of our country, people didn’t look to the government to solve every problem or to meet every need. But now that God has been removed from public life and government, problems arise, and there is nobody else to look to for help but the government.
When the government starts giving out, or recognizing, new rights, they will generally fall into two categories.
The first category is the establishment of a new moral standard that supersedes the old one and compels everyone to follow the new one.
The First Amendment guaranteed the free exercise of religion. It couldn’t do that unless religion was consistent with the moral values of our country. This shows that our country was a Christian nation because some well-known religions of that time burned widows alive with their dead husbands or constantly waged war on those who did not practice their religion.
Two recent examples today are abortion and gay marriage. Obviously, if you don’t believe in abortion, you don’t have to have one. But you do have to subsidize those who do.
The Founders would have found that highly offensive, and so do a very large number of people today. The idea of freedom of conscience, which is how the Founders often referred to this right of free exercise of religion, is trampled on as people are forced to have their money spent on something they find abhorrent.
It’s true that God, or evolution if you prefer, gave incredible responsibility to mothers by this whole pregnancy, birth, and very intense raising process, but our society used to value the life and birth of every child, and it used to be common to be able to raise a large family on one income. Now that has been made difficult for many families due to inflation and the loss of millions of good paying jobs due to other government policies.
Gay marriage is another example. It was touted before it became a right as simply letting people love who they want. Nothing else would change. But you can’t believe what people say about the long-term effects of new things.
Now people of conscience are being forced to give up their businesses and their jobs if they do not enthusiastically embrace something that was unknown throughout all of human history until a few years ago. Your freedom of conscience and religion mean nothing to the government if their new secular values differ from the old religious ones.
The second category of rights that government gives is that it requires the compliance of everybody else to meet the rights of other people.
Again, this has two forms.
One is the right to be protected from the free speech of other people. The Founders would have highly objected to this. If you read a lot in the early writings of our country, you will see that much of what was said, particularly about public figures, was very crude and often far from the truth.
But more particularly these new rights put the burden of deciding what speech is acceptable on the hearer rather than the speaker. And the government, the media, and the public will use every means they have to shame, shut down, or prosecute violators of this policy. And because the hearers now determine the validity of the speech, free speech is being highly restricted, a large part because people are afraid to speak freely. Free speech has now become very costly.
This is simply wrong. But it is the natural result when a government establishes a new moral order (secularism) over a country’s original moral order (religious, or Christian).
The other form of government rights requires other people to pay for them. If a person has a right to low-cost medical insurance, for example, then everybody else, at least those who pay taxes, is paying toward it. If a person has a right, not a full right yet, to own a home, everybody else has to pay to make that possible, often in indirect ways like shifting tax or loan costs.
What happens is that, in a secular world where God has no place, rights are viewed collectively instead of individually. Charity was voluntary, and by the way, it was considerable. Read de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. There used to be voluntary organizations aimed at every possible societal problem to be found at the time. Now the government has taken that over, and your freedom of choice to participate has gone.
Some people have described this as a form of slavery: forcing people to work for other people against their will. But just saying that many people will find offensive because those who might say that are not usually of the same race of some other people who were slaves here 150 years ago.
This whole new value system of secularism is fundamentally changing our country. It’s happening slowly, over generations, so that younger people start out with new normals, and nobody is teaching them the original ones.
This goes the same for the millions of people who have been coming into our country over the last few decades. We don’t teach them the founding principles of our country either. They might get the new watered-down simplified version, but, being far from the original, over time, when they vote, run for office, and make new laws, it turns our country in a very different direction from where it was intended to go.
It’s like we are being taken over by a foreign power; but because it is gradual and the military is not involved, nobody is paying attention, or they are too busy to interrupt their lives to be involved themselves.
Does anybody remember the story about the camel’s foot in the tent? It hasn’t been used in years. It starts with the foot, but eventually, the whole camel got into the tent, and, well, there’s not much room left for anything else with a camel in a tent.
The fact is that this is a war for the soul and the life of our nation. And wars require sacrifices and disruptions of our normal lives to do whatever we can to regain and preserve our freedoms. Those who want to change our country in these ways will tell you that you got the original story wrong or that our country has been wrong all along.
Most people are probably not prepared to answer those views, but we need to get prepared. That’s part of the sacrifice, and then we need to get involved. The first way to get involved is to talk about these things, in conversations and then to the media and the people in government, and certainly to become active in every election and to know where the candidates stand on the principles that define them and not just the positions they publicly run on.
Wars used to be three or four years, and then they were over. This war has been going on for generations and will last for, well, we don’t have any idea. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, then do it for your children and your grandchildren.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.