During patriotic holidays, as July 4th is here in the U.S., I often here people, politicians mostly, jabbering about how our rights are from some God – usuallyof course the Judeo-Christian version of the same. Even when I was a believer, i found that an odd thing to say simply because any grade schooler knows exactly where our rights, at least in the U.S., are derived. I realize that politicians, and yes, even some pundits on television, pander to the general public but is it really necessary to give credit for basic human rights to an invisible diety? The question has always been, for me at least, is why does the United States get these special rights that no other country have?
If there was a God, wouldn’t that god want all of his human creation to enjoy the same rights and dignity? Of course, I used to hear, in church on occasion, the explanation that we were the chosen of God. Based on the outcome for the Israelites in the Old Testament, I’m not sure that’s an honorific we’d want to have, or brag about.
All we have to do is look at a simple piece of paper to discover the truth and it doesn’t exist in any holy text. It’s the Bill of Rights, the first 10 amendments to our Constitution. Why did our framers decide that these were important for a new nation? It’s because of the experience we’d had with our English overlords before the revolution in that people were, at times, not treated with that same dignity and respect. Of course, even in early America, only certain people were granted privilege and the Bill of Rights, corrected that, at least for most. We still had, for nearly a hundred years after, the stain of slavery.
Today, no other country on the planet has a document that lays out the rights of the people, the governed, like the United States. Our government cannot just decide on a whim of who runs the government what we can say, or write, what religions are valid, how personal property is treated, and on and on. Sure, those rights could change, but not arbitrarily. We have an obligation amongst ourselves to respect those rights for every citizen. that’s always and always will be a struggle. No god can determine the outcome for us, only the people who are governed by consent, can decide.