UNALIENABLE RIGHTS? FROM GOD?
By Berit Kjos
July 4, 2010
"...when in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another [England] and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
"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 [cannot be taken away], that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
- The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. (Thomas Jefferson, primary author)
Is that true? Does our sovereign Creator give us certain "unalienable rights" as American citizens that cannot be lost or taken away?
Like most of our presidents, Barack Obama affirms that historical promise. In The Audacity of Hope, he referred to Jefferson's introduction as "the foundation of our government" and "the substance of our common creed."
Yet those promised "rights" are fast being crushed by a vast machinery of blurry laws and oppressive regulations. Obama's next comments only illustrate the confusing double-speak so often heard from Alinksky-trained change-agents:
"...the essential idea behind the Declaration -- that we are born into this world free, all of us; that each of us arrives with a bundle of rights that can't be taken away by any person or any state without just cause; that through our own agency we can, and must, make of our lives what we will -- is one that every American understands.... Indeed the value of individual freedom is so deeply ingrained in us that we tend to take it for granted."
Yes, we have taken our freedom for granted. But, no, we don't "arrive" in this world with a bundle of irrevocable rights. Today's evolving laws and government "entitlements" are actually replacing our original "rights" with unthinkable restrictions on speech and liberty! The most offensive "right" of all is our fading freedom to share God's unchanging truths! As He warns us,
"...the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one." 1 John 5:19FROM FREEDOM TO "CHANGE"
James Madison was alert to the threats ahead. As the main author of our "Bill of Rights," he saw the need to limit government control over personal liberties. Ratified on December 15, 1791, the First Amendment states:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
But, as we have seen, this promised protection is not irrevocable. Step by step, those wise legal guidelines are being torn down.
Historically, it makes sense. God doesn't promise us earthly "freedom" in this world. Nations that reject His guidelines will suffer the consequences:
"...when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them... when your heart is lifted up and you forget the Lord your God. ...you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’... Then it shall be, if you by any means forget the Lord your God, and follow other gods... you shall surely perish. As the nations which the Lord destroys before you, so you shall perish, because you would not be obedient to the voice of the Lord your God." (Deut. 8:12-20)
Naturally, that warning doesn't fit our thinking today. It's far easier to believe the nice-sounding illusions in The Audacity of Hope that appeal to our feelings than to accept a disturbing reality based on facts. For example, the historical balance Obama mentions in the next paragraph has little in common with his communitarian dictates, which are fast transforming America:
"In every society (and in every individual), these twin strands -- the individualistic and the communal, autonomy and solidarity -- are in tension, and it has been one of the blessings of America that the circumstances of our nation's birth allowed us to negotiate these tensions better than most."
Today, those tensions are simply resolved through his undefined plan for "change," which embraces the UN vision of communitarianism, solidarity and control. Our old individual "rights" have no place in this rising global collective -- nor in the UN Alliance of Civilizations, which recently added America to its roster of western and Muslim nations committed to unity through "dialogue."
WHO SAYS THEY ARE "UNALIENABLE"?
Since Thomas Jefferson penned the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, it reflects his philosophy. Unlike most of our founders, he claimed to be a Deist, not a Christian. He mentioned the Enlightenment's impersonal "Creator" -- "Nature's God" and the "Laws of Nature" -- but ignored the Biblical God who led the pilgrims to this continent.
Francis Schaeffer explains the difference in his 1976 book, How Then Shall We Live?
"The utopian dream of the Enlightenment can be summed up by five words: reason, nature, happiness, progress, and liberty. ...And if the humanistic elements of the Renaissance stand in sharp contrast to the Reformation, the Enlightenment was in total antithesis to it.... To the Enlightenment thinkers, man and society were perfectible...
"If these men had a religion, it was deism. The deists believed in a God who had created the world but who had no contact with it now, and who had not revealed truth to men. If there was a God, he was silent."
The kind of national and legal freedom that America has enjoyed for two centuries is rare and precious. But since it is not unalienable, it can be given or taken away through corruption, compromise, sedition, etc.
As a Deist, Thomas Jefferson believed in the wisdom of man, not in the sovereignty of God. Like many of his personal letters, his message to William Short dated April 13, 1820, reflects the Enlightenment's hostility toward the Bible:
"Among the sayings and discourses imputed to him [Jesus] by his biographers, I find many passages of fine imagination, correct morality, and of the most lovely benevolence; and others again of so much ignorance, so much absurdity, so much untruth, charlatanism, and imposture, as to pronounce it impossible that such contradictions should have proceeded from the same being."
About two weeks earlier, on January 24, he wrote the following letter to John Adams:"The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it: and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills."
Similar views are taught by today's college professors, the Jesus Seminar, Gnostic researchers, and numerous leaders in the emerging church movement. Denying the Holy Spirit, they can't see the truth.
"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light..." (John 3:19)
THE ONLY SOURCE OF CERTAINTY
America's first president, George Washington, studied the Bible and was well aware of the national consequences of rejecting God. His 1796 Farewell Address left us with these wise warnings. Notice his emphasis on Christian moral standards:
"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion [referring to Christianity] and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness...
"Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion....
"...virtue or morality is a necessary spring of popular government. The rule, indeed, extends with more or less force to every species of free government....
"In offering to you, my countrymen, these counsels of an old and affectionate friend, I dare not hope they will make the strong and lasting impression I could wish; that they will control the usual current of the passions, or prevent our nation from running the course, which has hitherto marked the destiny of nations."