Our rights come from God and not government—so sayeth Paul Ryan.
And what rights are so granted? Life, Liberty and the Pursuit (not guarantee) of happiness. Ah, but to believe Ryan, we must forget about Jefferson;s next sentence:
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men
So, then, Governments are the tool God uses to ensure the rights he grants.
Where was God’s government before the Magna Carta,before the declaration of Independence, before the United State(which surely is God’s crowning accomplishment, if you believe the right wing)?
The Constitution and its amendments set forth other rights: free speech and assembly, right to bear arms in certain circumstances,freedom from unreasonable and unwarranted search and seizure, and eventually, the right to vote for women and so on. If God was acting through the Founding Father, why were women not given the vote immediately. . .or did we sin when we gave them the vote? And why was slavery not abolished? Did Lincoln sin when he freed the slaves?
Oh yeah, it was not God acting, it was people. This country is a great experiment in self-rule and it ain’t pretty.
We get all bottled up over what is a right and what is not. At one time there was no right to vote for senators, now we have the right because of a change in what the Hallowed Founders wrote.
So, do we have rights to health care? Phones? Welfare? Aid For Dependent Women and Children? Food Stamps?
Where do we draw the line?
But really, this is the wrong way to look at it.
To cite the evangelical right: What Would Jesus Do?
Well, what he said was this: (Matthew 5:38 – 42:
You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.
Well, I stand ready to carry the gear an extra mile, but welfare and food stamps, well, they go to far.
The issue regarding dealing with disadvantaged and poor is not rights, it is what is right to do. For a Christian, it is WWJD. For others, it is simple human decency. We can afford it.
source for the phone picture: