Publius-Huldah's Blog

Understanding the Constitution

Do Our Rights Come from God, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, or Congress?

By Publius Huldah.

The future of our Posterity depends on a proper understanding of the Source of our Rights.  I will explain four views;  show you which one is True, and why the other three are False and lead inexorably to the destruction of any country which embraces them.

 

1.    Let us begin with what is True:   Our Declaration of Independence says our Rights come from God.   Our rights thus pre-date & pre-exist the U.S. Constitution.    The Declaration of Independence says:

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…

 

So these, then, are the foundational principles of our Constitutional Republic:

 

· Our Rights are unalienable and come from God;
· The purpose of civil government is to protect our God-given Rights;
· Civil government is legitimate only when it operates with our consent;  &
· Since the US Constitution is the formal expression of the Will of the People, the federal government operates with our consent only when it obeys the Constitution.

 

Because the Declaration of Independence identifies The Creator as Grantor of Rights, we look to The Bible – or the Natural Law – to see what those rights are.   The Bible – or the Natural Law – reveals many rights,  such as the rights to Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of Happiness;  to inherit, earn, and keep property;  the right of self-defense;  the right and duty to demand that the civil authorities obey the Law;  the right to speak;  the right to live our lives free from interference from civil government;  the rights of parents to raise their children free from interference from civil government;  the right to worship God;  etc.

 

The distinguishing characteristics of all God-given or Natural Rights 1 are:

 

· Each one may be held and enjoyed at NO expense or loss to any other person; and

· We can look them up for ourselves! They are not subject to someone else’s interpretations.

 

2.    But many conservatives mistakenly believe that our rights come from the first Ten Amendments to the Constitution.    So they speak of  “our constitutional rights”,  “the bill of rights”,  our  “First Amendment right to free speech”;   “our Second Amendment right to bear arms”,  and so forth.  But it is a dreadful mistake to think that our rights come from the Constitution.  I’ll show you two reasons why this is such a pernicious error:

 

a)   It is logically incoherent to say that our Rights come from the Constitution: Let us read the Preamble to the US Constitution:

WE THE PEOPLE of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

 

WE THE PEOPLE established and ordained the Constitution.   WE are the ones who created the federal government with its three branches:  legislative, executive, and judicial.  WE are the ones who gave the federal government permission to exist and told it exactly what it had permission to do, when WE assigned enumerated powers to each branch.

 

WE are the “creator” – the federal government is merely our “creature”. (Federalist No. 33 ( 6th para), A. Hamilton.)

 

So!  The Constitution is about the Powers which WE THE PEOPLE delegated to the federal government.  The Constitution is NOT about Our Rights,  which come from God and thus pre-date & pre-exist the Constitution!

 

b)   Now look at Article III,  Sec. 2,  clause 1,  U.S. Constitution:

“The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases…arising under this Constitution…”.

 

Think carefully, for this is the hook:  If our rights come from the first Ten Amendments or elsewhere in the Constitution,  then they “arise under the Constitution”; and that clause is what gives federal judges power over our rights!

When judges have power to determine our Rights,  our Rights are no longer unalienable – we hold them at the pleasure of five judges on the supreme Court.  But because so many of us,  for so long,  have believed and said that our rights come from the “bill of rights”, those judges have seized on Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 1, to claim the power to determine the scope & extent of our rights!

So! Federal judges claim the power to regulate our political speech and religious speech.  They claim the power to determine & regulate our property rights in the fruits of our own labors.  They claim the power to control our retirements by forcing us to participate in social security!  They even claim the power to take Life away from unborn babies.

Thus, when we say our Rights come from the Constitution, we are, in effect, agreeing to the submission of our Rights to the tender mercies of federal judges,  because Art. III, Sec. 2, clause 1,  gives them power over all cases “arising under the Constitution.”

 

This is why we must always insist that our Rights have a source – Almighty God , the Natural Law – which transcends the Constitution! 2

And furthermore, why would the Creator of The Constitution (that’s us) grant to our “creature” (the judicial branch of the federal government), the power to determine the scope & extent of OUR Rights?   It makes no sense at all!

 

c)   You might well ask, “Why did our Founders add the first Ten Amendments if they were such a bad idea?”

There was controversy over this! Alexander Hamilton warned in Federalist No. 84 (9th para) that a bill of rights would give a pretext for regulating to those inclined to usurp powers.   And he was right!   The supreme Court has used the first amendment to regulate political speech and to ban Christian speech in the public square:  no prayers at football games,  no nativity scenes on county courthouse lawns, and Judge Roy Moore is ordered to take down the Ten Commandments.

But some States refused to ratify the Constitution without them.

 

So, the proper way to look at the first Ten Amendments is this:  They are not the source of our Rights since our Rights come from God, and thus TRANSCEND the Constitution.  The first Ten Amendments is merely a partial list of things the federal government may not do (they can’t take away our guns),  and some things they must do (give accused persons a fair trial).

 

3. Judges on the supreme Court have claimed, in recent decades, that the source of our “rights” is the Constitution, as such “rights” are defined and discovered, from time to time, . . . . . . BY THEM!

 

I’ll show you how they did it:    The original intent of the 14th Amendment (one of the “civil war” amendments) was to protect freed slaves from southern Black Codes which denied them basic rights of citizenship.

But judges on the supreme Court have perverted the 14th Amendment to fabricate so-called “rights” which negate Rights God gave us and undermine the Moral Order!

Section 1 of the 14th Amendment reads in part:

“…nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…”

 

The original intent of that clause was that States couldn’t go around lynching freed slaves and taking away their freedom and property.

But not so long ago, a handful of supreme court judges looked at the word, “liberty” in that clause, and claimed to have “discovered” underneath that word,  a “constitutional right” to kill unborn babies ;  and another “constitutional right” to engage in homosexual contact.

 

We will soon see whether the supreme Court also “discovers” underneath that word, a “constitutional right” to same-sex marriage.

 

When we substitute federal judges for God as the source of our rights, the entire concept of “rights” becomes perverted.   Literally.

 

4.   The “liberal/progressives” say our Rights come from “government”.   They say a “right” is an entitlement to goods or services produced, or paid for, by somebody else:   So, they speak of the “right” to medical care;  the “right” to a free public school education;  the “right” to housing;  the “right” to food stamps;  etc.

But it is a contradiction in terms to speak of  “rights”  to stuff that is produced or paid for, by other people!  This is because it undermines our God-given or Natural Rights to private property,  to the fruits of our own labors,  and to liberty.  To hold that people who produce exist to be plundered by civil government for the ostensible benefit of others, is slavery.  Just as no one has the right to own another human being;  so no one has the “right” to own the fruits of another man’s labors.

 

To sum this up:

REMEMBER that clause in Our Declaration of Independence which states that our rights come from God, are unalienable, and that the purpose of civil government – the federal government – is to secure the Rights GOD gave us.

Our right do not come from the first Ten Amendments;  they do not come from the Constitution as interpreted by federal judges;  and they do not come from Congress which purports to give to their parasitic constituency the “right” to live at other peoples’ expense.

Our Rights were bestowed by God, and as such, they transcend,  pre-date & pre-exist the Constitution.

End notes:

1   “Natural Law” refers to that body of Law which is woven into the Fabric of Reality:  The laws of physics,  economics,  logic,  morality,  etc.   Non-theists, such as the brilliant philosopher, Ayn Rand,  saw Rights as inherent to the nature of man.  Either way, one comes up with essentially the same set of Rights.  And if you listen carefully to “liberals/progressives” as they speak on any topic,  you will see that their war is against Reality itself – they reject altogether the concept of transcendent Law.  This is because they know no “law” but their own Wills.

2   Re the “tender mercies” of federal judges:  During Senator Tom Coburn’s questioning of Elena Kagan during her confirmation hearings,  she refused to acknowledge the fundamental Principle stated in Our Declaration of Independence that our Rights pre-date & pre-exist the Constitution.  Kagan in effect claims to sit on God’s Throne and to decide what “rights” you have and what “rights” you don’t have.

The only Document   The Hard Left  hates as much as the Bible is Our Declaration of Independence.  PH

October 31, 2010

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October 31, 2010 - Posted by | Declaration of Independence, Rights

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  1. [...] 1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government. [...]

    Pingback by Nullification Deniers! This Is What James Madison Really Said | American Clarion | February 28, 2013 | Reply

  2. [...] 1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government. [...]

    Pingback by NULLIFICATION DENIERS: WHAT JAMES MADISON REALLY SAID PART 1 & 2 | Jericho777's Blog | February 6, 2013 | Reply

  3. [...] 1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government. [...]

    Pingback by Nullification Deniers! This Is What James Madison Really Said | Unified Patriots | January 31, 2013 | Reply

  4. [...] 1.Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government. [...]

    Pingback by Publius Huldah: "James Madison Rebukes Nullification Deniers" | USA NEWS FIRST | January 31, 2013 | Reply

  5. [...] 1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government. [...]

    Pingback by James Madison Rebukes Nullification Deniers. « Publius-Huldah's Blog | January 31, 2013 | Reply

  6. [...] 1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government. [...]

    Pingback by Nullification Deniers! This Is What James Madison Really Said | January 31, 2013 | Reply

  7. [...] 1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government. [...]

    Pingback by Nullification Deniers! This Is What James Madison Really Said | Grumpy Opinions | January 31, 2013 | Reply

  8. [...] 1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government. [...]

    Pingback by Nullification Deniers! This Is What James Madison Really Said | Illinois Conservative Beacon | January 28, 2013 | Reply

  9. [...] 1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government. [...]

    Pingback by Nullification Deniers! This Is What James Madison Really Said « Veteran Patriot | January 28, 2013 | Reply

  10. [...] 1. Our Declaration of Independence (2nd para) recognizes that God is the grantor of Rights. So Rights don’t come from the Constitution, the supreme Court or the federal government. [...]

    Pingback by Nullification Deniers! This Is What James Madison Really Said « Set You Free News | January 27, 2013 | Reply

  11. [...] [...]

    Pingback by Dear God... - Page 14 - WaltherForums | December 20, 2012 | Reply

  12. I noticed your two videos on this subject, watched them, and just recommended them to the members of the local Tea Party Individual Rights Action Committee.

    I completely agree with what you say there. However, our committee includes a number of Ayn Rand Objectivists who would argue for a fifth, non-religious source. Regardless, they have also come to the same obvious conclusion as you have. Are you aware of this group?

    Anyway, I find it fascinating that some believers and non-believers have reached the same view of individual rights and will defend it with equal enthusiasm. Conversely, there are many ill informed on both sides who would agree that rights come from the Constitution, Supreme Court, or Government.

    I’d think that the believer/non-believer divide would alter ones perspective so much as to prevent any sort of convergence, yet there it is as if there is something more fundamental that we base our perspective upon (and consequently our understanding of rights) than a belief in God.

    I wonder if our founders had come to that very same realization when they used “Creator” instead of “God”. Although, to suit the Ayn Rand Objectivists, it would have to be “… that they hold as a result of their own existence certain inalienable rights …” or something like that.

    Comment by Eric Neubauer | March 12, 2012 | Reply

    • Dear Eric,

      Thank you for your important comment. I pay frequent tribute to Ayn Rand. In two of my several posted papers on rights, I specifically acknowledge Ayn Rand and her contributions:

      publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2009/10/11/is-medical-care-a-right/

      publiushuldah.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/do-our-rights-come-from-god-the-constitution-the-supreme-court-or-congress-2/ (be sure to read end note 1 and accompanying text)

      I also pay tribute to her in my paper which you can find under the Category “Existentialism”.

      I normally say our Rights come from God or the Natural Law, and then explain that the Natural Law is that Law which is woven into the Fabric of Reality: The Laws of physics, chemistry, logic, economics, civics, morality, etc. THAT encompasses both the Christian theists who believe in God’s Law and the Ayn Rand non-theists who also embrace the Natural Law.

      I know many professing “christians” who believe that all God’s Laws are done away with, that what one does is a personal matter, that they are guided by the “spirit” which somehow permits them to do whatever they want, that God has nothing to say about what goes on on this Earth, etc. In short, these professing “christians” have made God irrelevant to this life on Earth. They see Jesus as their “savior”, but NOT as a Lord who tells them what to do!

      Thus, the Great Divide is not whether one professes a belief in God BUT whether one embraces the concept that the Universe is ruled by LAW, and that the duty of man is to learn this LAW and to obey it. It really doesn’t matter whether one says that GOD wrote this law and wove it into the Fabric of Reality [as I do], or whether one says that this LAW just somehow got woven into the Fabric of Reality [Ayn Rand].

      THIS is why I can have complete kinship with Ayn Rand – and none whatsoever with the professing “christians” who deny the existence of this Law.

      I recently finished re-reading Atlas Shrugged. Her world view really is Biblical in that she sees the WORLD as run by LAW including the MORAL laws. In fact, if she didn’t have a few things in there such as how Dagney prayed “to no one in particular”, I wouldn’t even be able to see that she claimed to be an atheist.

      But, ultimately the key to Christianity is obeying and trusting in “God”. Ayn Rand just called “God” something different. But it is the same belief in the supremacy of a transcendent LAW.

      In C.S. Lewis’ series, The Chronicles of Narnia, there is a character in the last of the books, who was a soldier [but a very good man] for an enemy Country. The people in that Country worshiped a pagan god, Tash. The World ends in this last book, and this soldier is “saved” by the Christian God, Aslan. The soldier asks Aslan, “Why was I saved? I worshiped Tash!”. Aslan says, “No, you didn’t. When you thought you were worshiping him, you were really worshiping me.” So, it didn’t matter what name this soldier for the enemy country called the God he worshiped – what mattered was his heart and his love for and obedience to all the things that Aslan – the Christian God – stood for.

      I have read some of Ayn Rand’s comments about Christianity – they show that she did not understand Christianity! What she attacks is the false teachings and perversions of Christianity to which we are constantly subjected on TV and from the pulpits. I rejected that version of “christianity” also. It was not until I read a good modern translation of the Bible cover to cover for the first time – and saw what the Bible really says – instead of how preachers have butchered it, that I became a Christian.

      Our Framers were Christians, contrary to what we were told in school. By “Creator” in the Declaration, Jefferson meant the Creator God of our Bible. And the Rights God gave us are the same Rights Ayn Rand claimed for mankind. She just arrived at the same destination using the power of her own rational mind! I owe her much!

      Comment by Publius/Huldah | April 1, 2012 | Reply

  13. Hi PH
    Re the claim that if the Founders had wanted the States to have the power of nullification they would have written it into the Constitution…(noting of course that actually, people have rights and States have powers).

    As I recall, wasn’t one of the major arguments against the Bill of Rights the fear that in providing a list, people would come to believe that those listed rights were the only rights they had…which was the very antithesis of what they intended…hence the Tenth Amendment…to assure there was no misunderstanding on that point..

    “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

    My, what it must have been like to breath truly free air.
    God speed

    Comment by Sapient | October 9, 2011 | Reply

    • Sorry dear, to be so long in responding. Somewhere in my notes, I have links to James Madison’s comments about the Bill of Rights. He did introduce them into Congress, but was not an enthusiastic supporter of them. But he introduced them b/c a few States refused to ratify the Constitution w/o a Bill of Rights. Also somewhere I read where he said that he thought the argument made by Alexander Hamilton at Federalist No. 84 (10th para) was the strongest argument against them – that they would give a pretext for regulating to those inclined to usurp. I meant to look this up for you and give you the cites, but…..I am trying to come to terms with my inability to organize my info on the ‘puter. I can’t remember where I put the links. Before ‘puters, I had things in physical file folders! And I could always find stuff.

      Yes, I just found the appropriations bill which Congress passed in 1790! Oh my! and the revenues came from import tariffs, etc. It breaks my heart. But we substituted civil government for God – we decided we would look to civil government to meet our needs. And so we morphed into a totalitarian fascist welfare state. library.uchastings.edu/library/topical-and-course-research-guides/wkadisplay/1%20Stat.%20103.pdf the appropriations bill is on page 104.

      Comment by Publius/Huldah | October 23, 2011 | Reply

      • PH
        Ya make me smile…always.
        re: Computers
        You know how to tell the new from the older generation. The new adds on paper and checks it on a calculator. The old, does it on a calculator, and checks it on paper.
        More truth than fact.
        God bless

        “You and I, my dear friend, have been sent into life at a time when the greatest lawgivers of antiquity would have wished to live. How few of the human race have ever enjoyed an opportunity of making an election of government, more than of air, soil, or climate, for themselves or their children! When, before the present epoch, had 3,000,000 people full power and a fair opportunity to form and establish the wisest and happiest government that human wisdom can contrive? I hope you will avail yourself and your country of that extensive learning and indefatigable industry which you possess to assist her in the formation of the happiest governments and the best character of a great people.” –John Adams, The Foundation of Government, 1776.

        Comment by Sapient | October 24, 2011 | Reply

  14. Imagine this… A right is the ultimate fiction, nothing more than an abstract idea propagated by men along with “the law” to control men and induce them to act in a certain way within a society. There are no rights in the natural world, only constant struggle.

    You are endowed by your creator or nature not with rights, but only your five senses and various characteristics or skills such as speed, agility, endurance, and intellect to assist you in that struggle. Life exists for you only as long as you can successfully use those senses and apply those characteristics in struggle or join with others to avoid, ward off conflict with, or defeat anything bigger and badder that has a compulsion or desire to deprive you of it.

    The Constitution is nothing more than a pact between mere mortal men to collaborate in a group effort to protect each other’s lives, liberty and property from those forces, both foreign and domestic, wishing to deprive them. It has been and always wil be under attack and it is only as good as our mutual continued support to engage in the continuous struggle to defend it to preserve equality, justice, and fairness for all.

    Comment by Frank Koza | July 23, 2011 | Reply

    • Some political philosophers have argued along those lines. Fortunately, Our Framers did not subscribe to such views. Our Framers subscribed to the view that Our Rights have a source which transcends mortal man and that the rights are unalienable. Our Declaration of Independence is a masterwork in the history of mankind.

      Comment by Publius/Huldah | July 24, 2011 | Reply

  15. [...] Do Our Rights Come from God, the Constitution, the Supreme Court … [...]

    Pingback by Bigjournalism: Left Assails ABC Over First Amendment Respect | Katy Pundit | October 31, 2010 | Reply

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    Pingback by Tweets that mention Do Our Rights Come from God, the Constitution, the Supreme Court, or Congress? « Publius-Huldah's Blog -- Topsy.com | October 31, 2010 | Reply


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