21 February 2015
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore recently made an appearance on CNN, concerning his defiance of a federal judge’s order to flout the State constitution by granting marriage licenses to homosexuals. He said “… our rights contained in the Bill of Rights do not come from the Constitution; they come from God.” Anchorman Chris Cuomo replied: “Our laws do not come from God, Your Honor, and you know that; they come from man.” (At least he didn't say "humans". See UC #1.) The anchorman said “laws” whereas the Chief Justice had used the word “rights”, but it seems probable that Cuomo, who is likely a leftist regardless of whether he’s related to the odious gubernatorial dynasty that shares his name, is proceeding from the left-wing conceit that what we have is owed to secular government rather than to the deity from Whom, as Romans 13:1 tells us, all secular authority comes. If so, he’s wrong; unhappily, though, so is Moore.
Innate rights come from God—It was reportedly the Roman Catholic Church that came up with the idea that we are born with rights as unique creations of God, although, as I explain below, the concept of “human rights” is greatly abused in our time—but, remember: Moore said that “… our rights contained in the Bill of Rights … come from God.” Let’s look at the Bill of Rights, which is a name for the first ten articles of, or amendments to, the US Constitution. The very first one ordains that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of religion; we therefore have a constitutional right, which, according to Moore, comes from God, to worship a deity of, e.g., Hinduism. In the First Commandment, however, God tells us not to worship any god but Him. Does Moore hold that He gives us a right to disregard His commandment?
The idea that God gave us the privileges that we enshrine in our constitutions as “rights” is not only presumptuous; it has also had a harmful effect. If one sets a precedent by claiming a divine justification for what cannot be inferred from Christian sources (viz., the New Testament, writings of Church Fathers, canons of Church councils, the magisterium, and perhaps post-biblical revelation) or from any other religion, what is to prevent someone else from simply inventing human “rights”? The United Nations has actually declared gun control (not gun ownership) to be a human right; many of my countrymen think that they have a natural right to wed someone of the same sex, which is the very reason why Chief Justice Moore was on CNN.The founders of the USA remind me of the Pharisees whom Christ criticized for passing off human innovations as if those innovations were of divine origin. Why not just reserve the enumeration of rights to the Church, which is responsible for the concept?