Declaration of Independence

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, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Unalienable Rights

The topic of discussion for this Freedom Friday is unalienable rights of man. Through their study of the Bible and other good works, the Founding Fathers understood that God gave unalienable rights to mankind through direct revelation to His prophets. These divine principles are found in the Holy Scriptures, and they are preserved and protected by divine law. Most people recognize these laws as the Ten Commandments, which are basically as follow: 1) Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 2) Thou shalt not make unto thee any gravel image or any likeness of anything. 3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain. 4) Remember the Sabbath Day, to keep it holy. 5) Honour thy father and thy mother. 6) Thou shalt not kill. 7) Thou shalt not commit adultery. 8) Thou shalt not steal. 9) Thou shalt not bear false witness. 10) Thou shalt not covet. (See Exodus 20:3-17.)

Whenever God gives blessings to His children, He makes those blessings dependent on obedience to His commandments. When God bestowed divine rights on His children, He also bestowed duties. We know that our Founding Fathers understood the connection between divine or natural rights and unalienable duties because Thomas Jefferson made the statement that man "has no natural right in opposition to his social duties." (Bergh, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, 16:282, as quoted by W. Cleon Skousen in The Five Thousand Year Leap, p 100.)

Skousen indicated that "our unalienable duties, both public and private are an inherent part of Natural Law. They constitute a responsibility imposed on each individual to respect the absolute rights or unalienable rights of others" (Five Thousand Year Leap, p 101). Skousen proceeded to list twenty of what he considered the "more important responsibilities which the Creator has imposed on every human being of normal mental capacity." Several of those duties correspond directly with the Ten Commandments. Here are some others: The duty to be law-abiding. The duty to care for the poor, sick, injured, etc. The duty to work hard enough to provide for your own needs and the needs of your family. The duty to vote and be part of the community. The duty to protect the institution of the family.

Skousen quoted Sir William Blackstone who was a contemporary of the Founders: "Man, considered as a creature, must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator…. This will of his Maker is called the Law of Nature…. This law of nature, being coeval with mankind, and dictated by God, Himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the glove in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this." (Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1:54, 56, 63, as quoted in Five Thousand Year Leap, p 104).

God's laws are sacred and are not subject to legislation. No man or government has authority to take away rights that were bestowed on us by God. Our Founders understood the sacredness of the laws of God, and they wrote the Constitution to support the natural laws, not to oppose them.

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