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May 8, 2013

God-Given Rights, Are You Kidding?

Patrick W. Allen

It is impossible to reconcile religious freedom by arguing that your rights have been given to you solely on a Christian-based dogma or doctrine.


Attributing sainthood and porcelain personality traits to America's Founding Fathers (Framers) is a tragic mistake that so many right-wing, propaganda peddling conservatives ascribe to them. Nothing could be further from the truth. They were mortal men ... flawed, some seriously more flawed than others. Some were corrupt businessmen, lawyers, bankers and land owners believing that human life, not of their gender or color, was a property or a commodity to benefit their personal enterprise.


These are the men who gave benefits and rights to themselves, under the guise of Rule of Law, while denying or limiting those same rights to women and persons of color.


A review of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, both documents considered by scholars as rule of law documents, reveal that the words "God" and "Creator" do not appear anywhere in the text of these documents. So where does this God-given rights declaration come from? Thin air ... left field ... someone's imagination.


Speaking of scholars, let's look at quotations from two.


John Adams – Founding Father and President of the United States: "The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion."


Sarah Palin – Half Governor and Media Glutton: "Go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant – they're quite clear – that we would create law based on the God of the bible and the Ten Commandments."


There seems to be a stark contrast and serious difference of opinion between the statements from two Constitutional icons. A betting person would put their money on the intelligence of John Adams rather than the delusional imagination of Sarah Palin. Unfortunately, today there are persons who demonstrate intellectual acumen in their chosen professions but share Sarah's delusion and ignorance regarding politics.


European Anglo-pilgrims came to the New World for many reasons ... primarily to distance themselves from the Church of England and to worship faith as they saw fit, or to worship no faith at all. Others came for non-religious reasons, such as to avoid incarceration, to remove the temptation of Holland's speculative culture, or simply to seek adventure.


People of faith, regardless of the flavor of that faith, come in many shapes and sizes. There were then and still are today avid practitioners, sometime goers as well as those who avoid practice and premise altogether. These freedoms of religious behavior are very much a part of the American fabric.


Since rules of law are originated by the state, and our country has a doctrine of separation of church and state, how about those who follow the Palin doctrine or try to infuse religion into the rules of law simply re-educate themselves before speaking. It doesn't matter if your faith, should you have one, is based on God, Allah, a crocodile or a tree branch, you – nor anyone else – should legislate from the pulpit or lie to an ignorant or less informed public and electorate.


But, let's not leave out the Natural Law zealots. You know, the people who can't find what they are looking for in the Constitution so they reach into thin air and create whatever ‘right’ suits their purpose.


NOTE: Although natural law is often conflated with common law, the two are distinct in that natural law is a view that certain rights or values are inherent in or universally cognizable by virtue of human reason or human nature. Common law is the legal tradition whereby certain rights or values are legally cognizable by virtue of judicial recognition or articulation ... for example, that would be the Constitution.


It is important also to note that the words “God” and “Creator” appear once, respectively, in the Declaration of Independence ... a document which does not contain rules of law but rather is an 18th Century OpEd ... the opinion of a collected few, expressing a desire to break from the Crown and have the United States take control of its own destiny.


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