Monday, February 26, 2018

Things I Hate: God-Given Rights (Phrase)

In American politics, it's not uncommon to hear a Republican say something about our "God-given" rights and I cringe on the mere words. One might think this is just mere words like someone saying "I swear to God" but some people actually believe that their rights don't come from the government but they come from God.
Now of course they mean the Abrahamic God, especially their Christian version of that god. Have you ever read The Bible? It's not too awesome in the rights department. I'd say it's one of the most anti-rights things to ever exist. The Bible says you can't eat shellfish, you can't wear mixed fabrics, you don't have any freedom of religion, you can't be LGBT, and you have even less rights if you're a woman. 
Most of our rights do come from the United State Constitution which was amended 27 times, because nobody's deity wrote the thing. Other rights come federal and state laws but those are less permanent because a change in party-rule can easily make or break such "rights". 
Even when our rights are clearly defined (such as birthright citizenship or freedom of speech) it still takes the courts (mainly the Supreme Court in major cases) to rule in favor of one way or another when those rights are challenged. How could God-backed rights be challenged? Before the 20th century, our rights were questionable because the older Supreme Courts often ruled wrongly on issues of religion, gender, and race. 
But say our rights came from God. Why pick those rights? And why just for Americans. To quote George Carlin "I believe that if your rights came from God, he would've given you the right for some food every day, and he would've given you the right to a roof over your head. God would've been looking out for ya."

4 comments:

  1. I prefer the term "inherent rights" to make it clear that our rights belong to us simply by virtue of our being human. They are not "given" to us by any outside power or authority.

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  2. I like that quote by George Carlin.

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  3. The quote from George Carlin is a good one!

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